Minimal equipment, getting results

October 29, 2009

I was training my Dad yesterday at the “gym” in his condo which is essentially a walk-in closet with a few dumbells, an adjustable bench (thank god!), a lat pulldown, a treadmill and elliptical, and some other minor pieces of equipment. Needless to say, it isn’t perfect by any means both in terms of space and available equipment, but it has enough of the bare essentials for a good workout to be possible.

This was also something I encountered during the early portion of my job working in Vaughan at the beginning of the summer. As we were opening up the facility, we didn’t have all the equipment I could possibly want, but there was enough that I could provide training results to our initial clients. Sometimes this required more creativity than others with respect to modifying exercises, but all in all it proved to be a valuable learning experience for me. The important thing isn’t what equipment you have access to or don’t have access to, its all in how you use it.

Expanding on this, I think where I was really able to improve in this area was when I had to train groups under two conditions: 1) either young pre-adolescent children and/or 2) training off-site. The former because I didn’t want to use anything that was too advanced for the young athletes (and frankly, they don’t require advanced things), and the latter because there was only so much equipment I could fit in my car. In the end these experiences helped me become a better coach and improved my ability to think on my feet.


3 Responses to “Minimal equipment, getting results”

  1. jonnygetsfit Says:

    I agree – equipment is not the most important thing when it comes to working out. Attitude and Imagination are much more important, and I find a watch / clock is the best bit of a equipment to have before anything else. Doing rounds of press-ups, burpees, bodyweight squats, shuttle-runs, etc, against the clock will produce much better results than the routines many people do in their gyms.

    I post all my routines on my blog:

    Check it out if you like – comments appreciated.

    Stay fit,


  2. Chris Brown Says:

    Jonny- Thanks for the comment!

    Competition whether against a clock/watch or a person can definitely add that something extra to training!!

    Good blog you got there! Especially liked the post about workout efficiency.


  3. Patrick Says:

    Hey Chris,
    Interesting topic. Something I’ve found over the last few months is that the on-the-fly workouts that I come-up with tend to be enjoyed more by my trainees than their programs. They also seem to be more intense as indicated by verbal and non-verbal cues. On Wednesday evening I switched things up for one of our figure skaters and gave her sled pull, med ball floor slams, battle ropes, front squats and hanging leg raises. She found it gruelling and was glad that it was over.
    I don’t think it would have been as effective for her had she not performed the 5 weeks of traditional programming as GPP but her intensity was greater than anything I have seen out of her before.
    I’ve noticed the same sort of thing with the adult classes we run – if I stick to a couple of principles (lower / upper pairings with some increased HR intervals) the programming doesn’t have to be fancy. Walking lunges & medball front raises for a fitness participant is more effective than clean and press because almost anyone can do it immediately.
    It isn’t how I thought it would be but I’m glad this is how it is because I can get the same results with 90% of the population with what I can fit in my car without having to stock a gym with $10000’s of equipment.

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