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
2 each 205/65R15 Tires with wheels (Craigslist)
2 x 44 lbs = 88 lbs (39.91 kg)
1 used Weider 6′ barbell (Play it Again Sports)
18 lbs (8.16 kg)
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)
109 lbs (49.5 kg)
Cut two squares of 2×10 lumber. Draw an “X” corner-to-corner to find the center of each. Note: the wood is gray because it’s a painted scrap from a previous project.
Use an “L” to drill a straight pilot hole for your paddle bit.
Drill your 1″ center hole following the pilot hole.
Prop up your block with a couple of bricks so that the wheel will make contact with it (the back side of a wheel is deeper than you think)
Center the wheel on the block.
Drill 5/16″ pilot holes for the lag screws which are 1/2 x 1 1/2″
Use a socket adapter to put the lag screws through the wheel into the wood block.
Repeat the process for the second wheel.
The finished product!
†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.
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.
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!
Drill a hole through the tennis ball. Careful to get it totally oriented to the poles.
Get yourself some wire and cut a piece about a foot long.
Cut yourself about a meter of parachute cord. Toast the ends a bit so they don’t unravel.
Fold that wire in half and stick the loop through the ball. Thread the parachute cord through the wire loop and pull cord through the ball with the wire “needle.”
Once the cord is through the ball, tie the ends of the cord together.
Put the ball between your feet and pull on ONE SIDE so that the knot is hidden inside the ball.
Center the ball so that there are two even loops on each side. Then tie a knot on either side of the ball so that it doesn’t move around.
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.
I teach martial arts, fitness, outdoor skills, and spiritual development. Interested in a custom seminar? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many programs are available free through my non-profit — even the distance learning program! Visit the Heritage Arts website to find out more, or click here to join the Heritage Self-Defense group on Facebook.
What is Heritage Self-Defense? It’s a realistic and effective western martial art drawing on boxing, wrestling, and “Rough ‘n’ Tumble” — including defensive use of walking stick, knife and tomahawk. Textbook in production.
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