Tag Archives: diy

DIY Auto Tire Barbell

Update 9/15/20:  I started lifting barbells with some sincerity immediately after this post over a year ago.  I’ve come a long way since then.  The instructions below are included in my book Martial Grit which released last month.  If you dig this post you’ll dig the book.

The finished product!

Original Post from Aug. 2019:

Full disclosure — I’m not a young buck trying to win Crossfit competitions.  I’m just a martial arts instructor in my late fifties augmenting my martial arts with strength training a few times a week.


Space is limited in my home gym so I lift only dumbbells.† Many people say dumbbells will only take you so far.  So I decided to put some barbells under a lean-to behind the shed along with my Ironmind sandbag.

I’m crazy frugal so I did this DIY and on the cheap.  Below find the price breakdown and the photo set showing the how-to.

Now all I have to do is learn how to lift the doggone thing without hurting myself!


DIY Auto Tire Barbell Breakdown Weight  Cost 
2 each 205/65R15 Tires with wheels (Craigslist) 2 x 44 lbs = 88 lbs (39.91 kg)  $10.00
1 used Weider 6′ barbell (Play it Again Sports) 18 lbs (8.16 kg)  $24.99
2 scraps of 2 x 10 lumber from another project approx 2 lbs (.9 kg)  $        –
10 1/2 x 1 1/2″ lag screws approx 1 lb (.45 kg)  $ 6.00
Totals: 109 lbs (49.5 kg)  $40.99

†If this is your first visit to this blog, my “home gym” is the Cabal Fang Temple — ground zero for Cabal Fang Temple, Inc., a 501 (c)(3) federally-recognized non-profit educational corporation (I’m founder, president and head instructor) providing free martial arts, fitness and personal development services to those who cannot afford it.   I’m also the sole proprietor of Bobcat Martial Arts, a for-profit martial arts venture teaching Frontier Rough & Tumble and Vigny-Lang Walking Stick Self-Defense.

A Weekend of Making and Doing

I spent the weekend making and doing all sorts of things I’ve been meaning to make and do.

First I made a 30/60/90 triangle out of 2×10 and painted it white. Why? Inclined bench press. I also installed a sump pump under the house, put a coat of paint on my all-wood-DIY can crusher, and for the martial arts club I made and painted a sign and put together a new membership scroll.  Pictures of everything except the sump pump below.

The way I see it, on my death bed I am not going to be lying there wishing I had spent more time watching TV. I am going to be wishing I did more, created more, shared more, gave more, and inspired more.

New roadside sign for the martial arts club.

Here’s the sign installed.

The new membership scroll.

Here’s the detail of the studs that attach the leather cover to the paper roll.  There’s one stud for each of the Five Vital Graces of Cabal Fang.

Closed view of the new membership scroll.

Closeup of the scroll’s knobs.

Close-up of the metal closure of the scroll.

Here’s the add-on I made for my weight bench so that I can do incline bench presses. It’s made from 2×10 stud wood and assembled with 3″ construction screws. The angle is 30 degrees.

My DIY can crusher. This thing works like a charm! It’s actually more of a can folder than a can crusher. Only problem is, it’s 100% wood, which means it needs to get a fresh coat of paint as soon as it starts so wear down.

DIY Double-end Balls for Boxing and Martial Arts

What does it mean when your martial arts club is free, open to the public, and meets at the park?  Well, it means no money and no permanent equipment installations. These constraints force a certain amount of creativity.

Note: Creativity and freedom are not as closely linked as most folks think. Restrictions are what drive innovation, the same way that predators drive the evolution of prey animals, the weight of soil shows seedlings which way to grow, and the way Blues music sprang out of dirt poor people’s need to express their situation with the instruments they could afford.   Examples abound. Think about it.

So I made these horizontally mounted double-end balls for striking practice.  Before I show you how to make them, here’s a video of me playing with one for the first time:

Anyway, here’s a photo gallery showing how I made the “sharpshooter” tennis ball one.  Follow the captions below the photos.  Once it’s done, all you have to do is anchor your ball to opposing surfaces or sturdy objects — hooks in walls, posts, pillars, or what-have-you — using bungee cords.

Be prepared though — these seem to be bit harder to hit that vertical double-end balls!


Making Your Own Heavy Bag

If you have a heavy canvas sea bag, one of the military-style kind, you can make your own heavy bag in just a few minutes.

Put a heavy-duty, contractor grade trash bag inside your canvas bag and roll down the top so that you can pack it tightly from the bottom up (see photo gallery below).  Fill it with folded linens (sheets, not towels), packing tightly as you go.  Slowly unroll as you fill.  It’s very important that your linens are folded, not just crumpled and crammed.  The less air the greater the weight!

When it’s full, tie off the plastic bag and link the top.  If you use linens, your bag should work out to be in the 40 – 50 pound range — lighter than a traditional bag but okay in a pinch.

Why make your own bag?  In my case, since our club meets outdoors, I didn’t want to get any of my good bags wet on rainy days.  So I put this one together.  If it gets wet, all I need to do is wash and dry the outer bag and repack.