Frugal fitness?

Simple living, extreme early retirement, being wealthy, ...
Post Reply
Posts: 288
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 8:02 pm

Post by S » Wed Sep 29, 2010 5:11 am

Hi guys, I'm looking for some home fitness ideas. I used to get most of my exercise through bike commuting and racing, but since I started traveling there's just not enough exercise built into my daily routine. I do walk a lot and still ride occasionally so I think I'm fine on cardio (and I don't want a heart attack, hah). I feel I ought to add in some resistance training for overall fitness. I've been doing nifty nines fairly regularly since high school so my abs are strong, but I'm clueless otherwise. I'd like to do exercises not requiring equipment as I don't have the space for anything heavy / bulky while living out of my car. Also, I've had surgery on both my elbows so I can't do tricep movements like pushups. My other arm muscles are fine, but very weak. I have difficulty lifting moderately heavy objects and I've never done a pull-up in my life! Ideas?

Site Admin
Posts: 9067
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73

Post by jacob » Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:21 am

See ... -dime.html ... art-2.html
Especially the lifeline products (rubber bands) in the second post might be a good match.
The inability to press has me stumped. Almost everything I have done has revolved around pressing. You can bring weights to shoulder level without pressing. I'd say there's still stress on the elbow just holding it there... I don't know.
It's not easy to arrange something to pull, since gravity points in the wrong direction for that. You need a bar or some rings and something to hang them from. Playgrounds and door frames are typically the answer to that---not easy doing from a car.

Posts: 392
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:58 pm

Post by Matthew » Wed Sep 29, 2010 2:01 pm

No tricep movement? Can you curl? I am a little lost on upper body recommendations if it can not include bending the elbows.
I think walking lunges rock (especially with additional weight) for legs.

User avatar
Posts: 664
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:18 pm
Location: Cambridge, MA

Post by akratic » Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:51 pm

I've thought about this a lot, but never followed through. I've picked up some ideas along the way though:

- learn how to do pistol squats (google them)

- carry a single set of kettlebells or weights in your car at a weight you can do many different exercises with

- the bands in jacob's lifeline link

- do lots of lunges and normal squats, these are hard even without weight if you're not strong. you can also hold something like a broom over your head to make them harder.

- trees and playgrounds for pull-ups. until you can do pull-ups, do isometric "reverse" pull-ups. (basically you go down as slowly as you can, instead of trying to go up.) if pull-ups ever get too easy, try to do muscle-ups or handstand pushups.

- here's a list of crossfit workouts you can do on the road

Posts: 123
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:15 am

Post by RightClawSouth » Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:19 pm

I know people who have good things to say about TRX:
I'm sure you could improvise you own set of hanging straps rather than paying them $190. The useful thing is probably the set of exercises they recommend.

Posts: 107
Joined: Wed Jul 21, 2010 9:30 pm

Post by il-besa » Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:28 pm

Hi S,

I know you mentioned "resistance" so I may be in the wrong path, but how about activities like run and yoga?

Then can be done everywhere and very beneficial!

Posts: 288
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 8:02 pm

Post by S » Wed Sep 29, 2010 7:21 pm

Thanks for the suggestions. This morning I tried some burpees, woodchoppers, and side lunges with pretty good results. The crossfit exercise list akratic linked to looks like just what I was hoping to find, though I'm still trying to figure out a no equipment way to exercise the other muscles in my arms other than pushups. Perhaps looking for some monkey bars and working my way up to pullups is the best plan. Kettlebells look useful, but I'm hesitant to buy one and lug it around without trying it out for a bit first. I've read milk jugs are an ok cheap substitute, so maybe I'll try some of the moves with that.
@The Dude All about olecranon fractures Basically, my other muscles are fine so I can do stuff like bicep curls no problem. Heavy use of my tricep gives me pain inside the bone. The first one I broke has a lot less pain than the second one (2 years vs 1.5 years ago), so I'm hoping in time everything will be healed up enough to do at least some girly pushups.

Posts: 392
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:58 pm

Post by Matthew » Fri Oct 01, 2010 4:48 am

Jacob's "Especially the lifeline products (rubber bands) in the second post might be a good match" would be a good way to go. You could probably work everything that way and they probably come with instructions on how to use them for the muscles you want to target.
I would imagine you could wrap them over your arm (over the tricep next to your elbows) to keep tension off the elbow joint and work your shoulder muscles. Something similar could be done for chest muscles.
I also like akratics resistance pull up. You start in the up position and try to keep yourself from going to the down. If you do 10-20 of these 1-3 times a week you should eventually work up to being able to do actual pull ups. Another option, you could try a low bar and assist yourself minimally using your legs. I am a firm believer that pull ups are one of the most useful upper body exercises. They work many muscles,big groups like lats, and even increase your grip and forearm strength. I just hope you don't have problems as it might transfer too much stress through the elbows in your situation.
Let us know how an attempt at a pull up feels!

Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2011 6:07 pm

Post by ChicagoERE » Mon May 21, 2012 4:59 pm

""Jacob's "Especially the lifeline products (rubber bands) in the second post might be a good match" "
--- I went to the Lifeline website and noticed they now have multiple 'systems' and multiple bands. Which ones would be recommended? I see the jungle gym is $100. Doesn't appear frugal anymore.

Scott 2
Posts: 836
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Post by Scott 2 » Mon May 21, 2012 5:32 pm

If your elbows can handle it, yoga might be a nice fit. A little instruction is nice when getting started, but it is easily done with no equipment. It can be as strenuous as you want, with some people getting in great shape doing it.

Posts: 75
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2011 7:40 am

Post by Roark » Mon May 21, 2012 6:44 pm

What aspects of human fitness are you interested in improving? Flexibility? Balance? Coordination? Strength? Strength-endurance? Power? VO2 max? Metabolic conditioning?
Or are you interested in improving your health, which is defined by absence of pain and disease? If you are interested in improving your health, then increasing fitness will not give you the greatest results for time invested provided you are not bed-bound.
For improving your health, I suggest you begin researching nutritional strategies. For fitness, first start by answering which area(s) of fitness you wish to improve.

Posts: 240
Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2011 4:32 am

Post by pooablo » Wed May 23, 2012 2:53 am

I highly recommend you check out the book "You are your own gym" by Mark Lauren. There is a list of 125 exercises using strictly your own body. The author used to be a part of the US Special Operations Forces!
I found a copy of it at my library. :)

Post Reply