Home Gym Equipment – (WWMD) What Would MacGyver Do?

March 3, 2011

Using $5 furniture gliders as effective home gym equipment? A piece of paper, a crazy Canadian, and a metalworker to make the ultimate pull up device?

A duffel bag, duct tape, and farm feed bag for an indestructible sand bag? This is how MacGyver would setup a home gym for sure! All of these fitness guys deserve a place in the WWMD Hall of Fame!

[This MacGyver collage would look awesome airbrushed on the side of a van. You know you’d dig it.]

One-Half MacGyver and One-Half Bad Ass!

Adam Steer and Ryan Murdock are to blame for this post. I was skimming Youtube yesterday and saw a couple videos where they turned into MacGyver and created their own fitness equipment.

In one video they make a suspension trainer for under $10 at a dollar store…out of dog leashes and zip ties. Then later on, someone emailed me about Ross’s furniture glider video. I figured I would do some digging on the net to find others with this special talent.

All joking aside…there are some fantastic ideas here.

Ross Enamait – The Furniture Slider Exercise Tutorial

This is one of the coolest workout videos, I’ve seen in a long time. Ross is built like an Olympic gymnast and is just as strong (or stronger). No wonder this guy has such deep abs!

Some of these movements don’t even look like they should be possible. This is all done with a $5 furniture slider (used to slide heavy furniture over carpet). This is a sweet piece of home gym equipment…which would also be great for working out while traveling.


[Here’s a link to Ross’s site: Ross Training.]

Adam Steer – Gives You His “Pull Up Rig” Blueprint

Adam didn’t like most of the home gym pull up bar options, so he had his own created. He hired a metalworker to build a pull up bar to his exact specifications!

What I love about this is that he had a ring put on the side of the bar…so he can hook a bunch of equipment to it…Olympic rings, TRX, resistance bands, etc. Adam Steer and Ryan Murdock run the best body weight blog online called Body Weight Coach. I’ve become friends with both of these guys over the past couple of years…and love their blog, videos, courses, etc.


[Here’s a link to the post with the blueprint: Body Weight Coach.]

Stevo Reed – Homemade – “TRX Style” Suspension Trainer

Here’s a video showcasing how to make a homemade device that is pretty darn close to TRX suspension trainer. TRX is a great company that makes incredible suspension trainers…but they will run you in the $200 range. This is an alternative for people who don’t want to spend that much, but still have a great piece of equipment.


[Stevo Reed’s website: All About Performance Training.]

John Sokolowski – The Indestructible Sandbag.

This was the best make your own sandbag tutorial I found online. I also noticed a strange sandbag trend. Many of the sandbag training videos were set to a really cheesy brand of rock…like they wanted to show how hardcore the training is with “intense” music.

If I hear “Let the Bodies Hit the Floor” one more time I am going to be forced to call it a day. Yes, I am a little bit of a music snob…but I have to call it out when things are this corny.

Got to get that terrible song out of my head now!

[John also has a great blog with hundreds of posts: Athlete 365]

Matt Wichlinski – PVC Pipe Dip Station

I hadn’t heard of Matt before, but I found out that he is big in the “functionally fit” community. He has quite a few great do-it-yourself equipment videos.

I liked this video the best because he showcases his dip station made of PVC pipe. He also shows how to make a homemade power wheel, bulgarian training bag, and a mace?

Yes…I only thought maces were used for war until I watched this video.


[Here is a Link to Matt’s site: The Strength Shop.]

RJ Nelson – A Homemade Power Rack Made of Wood

Simply a nice looking power rack made of wood. I like using power racks for doing incline barbell bench presses. With an adjustable bench press you can set the incline at any angle and then adjust the pins to hold the bar.

I also love power racks for doing partial presses, to increase pressing power. Finally…they can also be rigged with a chin up bar for chin ups, hanging leg raises, etc.


[I don’t think RJ has his own website, but great video!]

Tim Bell – Homemade Weight Vest In Seconds

Tim uses a book bag in combination with some other equipment to make a homemade weight vest. This is great for people who want to make body weight exercises more challenging. MacGyver would be proud for sure!

[Here is Tim’s website: Jungle Fit]

Pete Mazzeo – Homemade High Impact Medicine Ball

I ran across tons of homemade medicine ball tutorials and Pete makes the least “ghetto” version by far. The one in this video is designed especially for medicine ball slams.

This is where you take the ball from an over head position and slam it as hard as possible to the floor. This exercise works your abs and all of the surrounding “detail muscles” hard. He demonstrates this towards the end of this video.


[Here’s a link to Pete’s website: Today Fitness.]

Ryan Murdock – Mare’s Milk Hangover Cure (Yuck)!

Yeah…I know I already featured one guy (Adam) from Body Weight Coach, but this video from Ryan is cool. Ryan and his wife were recently in Seattle for a couple of concerts.

Me and my girlfriend met up with him and his wife for some seafood and beer on the waterfront, not too far from my workspace. This guy has traveled all over the place and has tons of entertaining stories. Here is a video, shot when he was in Japan, about a “fermented mare’s milk” hangover cure.

It kind of feels MacGyver’ish…so I figured I’d include it. He also discusses more readily available cures in case you don’t have any fermented mare’s milk handy.

[Ryan’s main site: Body Weight Coach.]

MacGyver’ing Your Way to Getting In Shape!

Bottom line…there are a ton of creative ways to get in shape at home. These are just a handful of countless videos I found online to develop your own fitness equipment, MacGyver style.

Note: Sadly…MacGyver’s final episode aired on May 21, 1992…a day I will never forget (okay so I looked it up on Wikipedia). The important thing is that people like this, prove that his spirit lives on!

----> (New) Facebook Comments..."Cause all the cool kids are doin' it!"

{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

Ahmed March 4, 2011 at 4:39 pm

Great post Rusty! Bodyweight training is great as it is, and this equipment will just improve on that. You’re much more likely to workout when you have this kind of stuff laying around!

Yavor - RelativeStrengthAdvantage March 4, 2011 at 6:03 pm

Cool stuff man. I sued to do the book bag trick but I would fill it with rocks. Great for dips and chins.

My 2c’s: use a stack of books to restrict range of motion on handstand pushups or one legged deadlifts (those are one legged squats where your one leg is bent at the knee and pointing backwards instead of forwards like with a pistol).

Start wiht a big ass stack and very high rep sets. Once you are able to do 20 reps, take a book out.

Rotate rep ranges every 2-3 weeks. Watch your shoulders explode and your legs shred.

Ryan March 4, 2011 at 6:55 pm

I love this post! Ross is a madman, those ab slides he does are hard. I am working on doing both hands and going down as deep as him. However, I just use paper plates ( a lot less expensive :))

The medicine ball trick really does work, I have one of those as well.

P.S. I think my only downfall here is that I don’t have the lavish mullet to get the full McGyver skills

Darren@MorePrimeTime.com March 4, 2011 at 7:17 pm

Rusty, I’m off to buy some furniture sliders – leave it to you to show us how to do a push-up that gives you deep abs!

On MorePrimeTime I have a MacGyver style video of Zuzana doing a killer workout with a bag full of sand. In Prague you work with whatever you can find.


Raymond- ZenMyFitness March 4, 2011 at 7:38 pm

What an excellent list of tutorials on home equipment, this site is like Home Equip Wiki !
Every seems so easy .. I hate when the gym is closed and this is a very cool and inexpensive way to workout at any time.
I’ll do the sliders straight away .. cause I can tell my wife I’m cleaning the carpet whilst really working out ..yeah!
I’m thinking about getting a MacGyver tattoo .. what do you think?

Greg March 4, 2011 at 7:52 pm

Great Post Rusty! This goes to show that there are really no excuses for not having a gym.
PS. Love how you included Ross Enamait’s video in there. He is the man. When I first got into working out I started following his stuff. It was geared towards fighters but its funny how similar fitness blackbook training is to rosstraining. Both include low rep strength training and high intensity interval training / circuits. Only difference is exercise selection especially with respect to legs.

PPS. Was this post made with utility poster?

Pete - Abs Workout Program March 4, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Hey Rusty,

Awesome videos! I was really inspired by Ross’ training methods with the furniture sliders…that was nuts! No wonder that guy has a such a solid core. Not many people can do those types of movements and maintain such perfect form.

You’ve definitely sparked my “inner MacGyver”…thanks for the motivation!

Warm regards,


P.S. I could have done without the hangover cure…yuk! 😉 LOL

Bova - IamSpartan.com March 4, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Wow . . . good timing, only this morning I had to save my own life by using a hair pin, a rubber band and a pocket watch to make a jetpack.

Thanks for the videos to check out. Looks like you’ve found some gold from across the net and delivered it in one fantastic post. Much appreciated.


P.S. Rusty I think you’d look good with a MacGyver hairdo.

Adam March 4, 2011 at 9:46 pm

Love it! MacGyver rocks…

Glad you included Ryan’s DIY hangover cure. 🙂

BTW, I think MacGyver was one of Ryan’s favourite shows. In fact, it may have been one of the last series he followed before he stopped watching TV… LOL

April March 4, 2011 at 10:31 pm

So funny you posted this today. Right before I got home and read this I went to Ace Hardware and got parts to make my own clubbells! I think I will go back to the hardware store and make my own Trx now!

Aaron March 5, 2011 at 12:09 am

Hey Rusty this post is rad! First off I love MacGyver! Totally dope! Second of all, I’m also totally frugal, so this is REALLY a great post!! Thanks for all the great stuff its most appreciated!

Kelly-Fitness Overhaul March 5, 2011 at 12:32 am

I watched Adam’s video on his pull up bar a while back and was going to have one made. One day I was at Home Depot and saw a display made out of gas pipe. The wheels started turning in my head and I made my own pull up bar and dip station out of black pipe (gas pipe).

Here are a post that has a few pictures of what they look like.


They were real cheap to make and are super strong. Anyone with even a small amount of skill can easily make either of these.

I really want to get some of those furniture gliders. I keep forgetting to look for them when I’m out!


Howard - Energia Fitness March 5, 2011 at 2:52 am

Hi Rusty

Excellent post. Being the worst DIY guy in the world the thought of trying to make anything myself is terrifying. I love the slider things although I don´t have carpet here in spain so not sure they would work. The pull up bar looks great, I´m off to find a metalworker who can make one for me. Anybody know pull up bar in Spanish?



stazzers March 5, 2011 at 4:22 am

Homemade leverage club: youtube.com/watch?v=Nux8nu2Jaks

Kris March 5, 2011 at 6:32 am

After being in crossfit for a few weeks I started to appreciate how all this fancy equipment at the gym isn’t really that necessary.

It’s amazing how good of a workout you can get with just your bodyweight, a dip bar, a medicine ball, a kettlebell etc.

Anna @ Path to Fat Loss March 5, 2011 at 11:58 am

Rusty, these are pretty amazing stuff. I especially like those furniture sliders idea and the sand bag idea. Will definitely try to make those myself 🙂 The only thing is my studio has rubber flooring. Not sure if the furniture sliders will work but will give it a try.


LD @ Dead Simple Diet March 5, 2011 at 12:35 pm

This post is right up my alley. I’ve really be focusing on DIY in the past few months. Everything we buy is so cheap anyway, might as well get the catharsis from making it yourself.

Ryan March 5, 2011 at 2:22 pm

These ideas are great and so creative. I may have to build the dipping station out of PVC pipe. The furniture sliders prove that working out does not have to mean going to a fancy gym and using all the cool machines. A demanding workout can be done with a bit of imagination. Thanks for putting together such a cool list of exercise videos.

Kasper@Fortius Fitness Body Transformation March 5, 2011 at 6:17 pm

Great post Rusty.

You can’t go wrong with a solid combination of chins and dips. For experienced trainees to keep increasing their numbers, I have found the combination of a heavy weight low volume day and a light weight high volume day to work the best.

This is a killer combo for the upper body that smokes the abs hard as well. Save yourself a lot of time by doing chins and dips on the same day in alternate fashion.

scott March 5, 2011 at 6:58 pm

You know that saying, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” If you don’t have access to a traditional gym you can still get a good workout using whatever expedients happen to be on hand. The more resourceful you are the more options you will have.

Greg Plitt devised a workout with a deck of cards so anything is possible.

Clement March 5, 2011 at 10:55 pm

Hey Rusty, I see you’ve joined the DIY bandwagon. I’m a huge proponent of spending the least money as possible on fitness. What better to achieving this aim than DIY equipment?

I do have a few misgivings about the equipment, though. First: are the PVC pipes durable enough to handle weighted dips? I don’t think they are. And are Adam’s dog-leash straps strong enough for dipping? They look pretty flimsy to me!

In my opinion, Steevo’s video is the best. The homemade power rack one is awesome, as well.

Keep ’em coming!

Jason G March 6, 2011 at 1:54 pm


Cool stuff! I use to be a big gym junky. I now only workout at home. I own the ironmaster adjustable dumbells with the ad on kit that brings each dumbell to about 120 lbs. The dumbells are not that fast changing but they are the only dumbells that allow me to feel comfortable putting over 150 lbs over my head.


I love working out at home due to the fact that I can workout in front of my 50 inch television. I also prefer hiking twice a week for a few hours to other cardio. Life is good!

I also have this pullup bar (http://www.pullupbar.com/) that is great for wide-grip pullups. It might also be overpriced but it is solid.

Not that creative I know.

Alykhan - Fitness Breakout March 6, 2011 at 3:53 pm


These are some great home gym tips! I especially like the pushup and plank variations using the furniture sliders. I’m definitely going to try some of these out! Thanks for sharing!


Semper Phi March 7, 2011 at 12:40 am

Russ, can’t seem to see all of the text with the vids there, am I missing a move/close button?

Adam March 7, 2011 at 8:52 am

I love the floor sliders. We used to make our own ab-rollers by taking the wheels off of shopping carts. Thanks for the great ideas. I think they will go very well with the program I’m using through http://www.reallifeforhealth.com. Have you heard of them? Their system is really easy to use and it does everything.
They have a lot of different exercises in their fitness section, including bodyweight, and I think a lot of your ideas could work for some of their gym suggestions.

They also help you build a fitness and nutrition plan that suits your goals. They even send you printable daily meal plans and menus, as well as printable daily or weekly grocery lists, which are broken down by the area of the grocery store or supermarket.

Hope their site helps people as much as your MacGyver site is going to help me.

Sam- Look Like An Athlete March 7, 2011 at 2:22 pm

It goes to show that having expensive equipment or a gym membership is not necessary to have in order to get in shape.
I have known of guys making their own dumbbells out of concret blocks. Or using stop lights in the neighborhood for pull ups.
All it takes sometimes is creativity or learning from what others are doing to get in shape.

dagregory March 7, 2011 at 9:20 pm

I have used the furniture gliders before. They work great. These are the things that people need to realize that it’s not that hard to find ways to get a workout in.

Shane March 8, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Great post, Rusty. My one critique is the “One half MacGyver and one half badass” headline. Mac is already 100% badass!

scott March 11, 2011 at 5:38 pm

I’ve been working out for a year using a specialized set of resistance bands that allow me to get up to 388lbs resistance if I need it. Quick changing and really versatile. I can do anything I can find at a gym or otherwise with them. They travel with me around the world which I really like. I placed in a body transformation contest last year with them. They rock. In fact, there is $3000 up for grabs with a new contest starting in 9 days. http://oceangrand.net/fitness/how

Come join in the fun.

Michael H March 12, 2011 at 6:34 pm


Great post! I have built the same exact wooden power rack. I use it every day, too. The great thing is that it only cost $150 or so. Another recommendation I would put out there is to buy weights, dumbbells, and any other equipment you can on craigslist. I got 300+ pounds of Olympic weights for $100. I also got 150lbs of standard plates for $50 along with some other equipment, too. I’m also going to be making a dipping belt and neck harness out of chains. Recently I have found good ideas from Matt Wichlinski and Rosstraining, as well. Those guys have a bunch of good DIY equipment!

Thanks for the post, Rusty!


D R @ Motivating Minutes March 13, 2011 at 3:48 pm

Interesting post, I’ll be keeping my gym membership though. The moment after I decide to DIY my own gym equipment I believe I would be on my way to the local ER room.

Dylan March 14, 2011 at 4:17 am

Great post Rusty. The pushup sliders was my favorite.

I have a question I was hoping you guys could answer. I’m trying to stay lean, but feel I need to add muscle to get a good look (Cam gigandet vacation body blueprint look). Should I eat after my workout or wait an hour or two? I want that look but right now I need more muscle!

Awesome post Rusty!

Ian - HomeWorkoutBlog March 15, 2011 at 4:36 am


Some awesome videos there. The homemade weight vest and the pvc dip station have already got me thinking of some new DIY equipment options…

I’ll keep you posted.

Thanks for the post!


Lance - LanceTraining.com March 15, 2011 at 11:15 am

Geez and I thought I was smart using a roof beam as a pull-up bar!

Troy - Cube.Dweller.Fitness March 15, 2011 at 3:38 pm


What a great collection of videos. Awesome proof that you can get creative and build a ton of equipment for yourself.

I ended up building my own pullup and bar for Elite Rings in my garage out of 2″ pipe. Still need to write up a post detailing how it is all built. It was fairly simple, but it is rock solid.


Ross Enamait March 15, 2011 at 7:22 pm

Thanks for the shout out.

Best of luck with everything


Chris- Exercise Ball March 20, 2011 at 5:44 pm

Very interesting set of videos there. Just goes to show that when there is a big will to workout you will find a way

Homemade Exercise Equipment March 21, 2011 at 2:39 am

Great post Rusty! You can’t beat DIY training gear, I especially love Ross Enmait’s furniture sliders, boy do they get you blowing!! The weight vest is a pretty cool (but simple) idea too!
Thanks Rob

Dennis Blair Loveland Personal Training March 21, 2011 at 11:55 am

I love this!!! My training is geared towards those people who don’t want to join a gym, so these videos just add to the way I can train my clients. Thanks for sharing!

Michael Hines March 22, 2011 at 6:23 am

Hi Rusty!

Wow man! This is one of the coolest posts I have come across recently. You have definitely done your homework here and I love that about this blog. You sure do make it easier for the rest of us to learn a few more things on how to build your own home gym!

I workout from home and bought a few things that helps me tremendously without spending a fortune at a real gym. Especially bodylastics! Love that I can do any exercise with it!

But this is a great post! To be honest, quite inspiring as well to know that you can literally build any type of gym equipment without spending a lot of money!

Thank you for posting all the videos! I have gone through most of them but will make sure I watch them all.

Thanks again.


Marcel Jahnsen March 24, 2011 at 5:51 am

Yeah, Mac Guyver! In the latest 80 he was an idol of me! Science FIction for real! Someone knows anymacguyver exercises?

Kyle Hoffman March 25, 2011 at 10:08 am

This is pretty hilarious but very useful at the same time. I LOVE the pvc pipe dip station! Living in an apartment with limited supplies, this might be exactly what I’ve been looking for. Thanks!


IPBrian March 25, 2011 at 11:06 am

Nice post Rusty, I love all the DIY home exercise equipment. There is so much you can do with little equipment. There really are no excuses not to participate in a quality exercise program.

Dave - Not Your Average Fitness Tips March 29, 2011 at 8:50 pm

Good stuff…pretty much shows you can get a great workout at home using some pretty generic, readily accessible materials.

ankino April 11, 2011 at 3:56 am

Great tips, thanks. Good to know what we can do at home. I will keep an eye at this blog, it is something here interesting at all. Thanks!

Ronnie April 20, 2011 at 10:46 pm

There are some great ideas in this post! I just made several of my own sandbags for my gym and am continuously looking for other ways to save money and “do-it-yourself” for my gym equipment. (I might also have had cheesy rock in the background of my own how-to video…but it wasn’t Bodies!)

Troy - Cube.Dweller.Fitness April 22, 2011 at 10:24 pm

I had to make some more stuff for my DIY equipment.

Plyoboxes are easy to make and are an incredible workout.

I also make a Bulgarian training bag

Fun stuff. Keep sharing the ideas.

Kreikka May 3, 2011 at 10:51 am

Ha Ha! Some great inventions and ideas for homemade exersize equipment you got here on these videos. You don’t have to be rich to get in shape. Just use some imgination to get the work done.

Mark's Fat Burning Food and Fitness Blog May 25, 2011 at 6:43 am

That’s a good one !;-)

MacGyver’s a cool Dude!
I just recently upped a post on how to train effectively without equipment, bodyweight only, and yet get a good workout out of it, over on my blog:



Scott May 26, 2011 at 9:29 am

Is it me, or does Macgyver look EXACTLY like David Beckham in that pic?!?! LOL I think there is a conspiracy…..and I may have cracked it!!

Raza - Workout Routines Guy June 5, 2011 at 11:17 pm

Haha… I think you’re on to something Rusty…

“What would the A-Team do?”
“What would Mission Impossible do?”
“What would Magnum P.I. do?”
“What would NightRyder do?”
“What would Hawaii 5-0 do?”

Just a few more reasons the 80’s were the BEST decade…

Gabriel Martinez NYC Personal Trainer June 22, 2011 at 5:03 am

I have seen a few of these videos. Sometimes when Im training clients i have to be that guy who creates new shit out of thin air. As an NYC Personal Trainer I feel you should be able to get fit with no equipment necessary.

Jeff - Get This Ripped June 28, 2011 at 1:34 am

Love the homemade stuff, especially the TRX style suspension trainer. I think now when I’m travelling, I will keep an eye out for improv training equipment!

Fitness Guy@ Get Skinny Arms July 24, 2011 at 6:40 pm

These videos are great. I recall watching episodes of MacGyver where he made a glider out of some tape, sticks and a rototiller! lol. Id imagine his gym equipment would be rather impressive.

Just goes to show you really don’t need a ton of fancy equipment to get the job done.

onketing August 4, 2011 at 1:53 am

There is a constant hard work to have a body . Also it depends on a kind of food we eat . There is a specific food that a body builders eat. For further information we have to chech at Golds gym.

Toni August 17, 2011 at 4:03 pm

The furniture sliders remind of a workout dvd I have from this site: http://wwwnowloss.com

Instead of furniture sliders, the guy in the video uses two kitchen towels to perform planks on the floor. I don’t have sliders so I decided to try it. This version of planks bumped up the burn ten notches at least.

It just goes to show you that you don’t need to spend all your hard-earned cash on fancy exercise equipment or a gym membership.

free cell phone spy software September 15, 2011 at 2:39 am

Effective home gym equipment? A piece of paper, a crazy Canadian, and a metalworker to make the ultimate pull up device? A duffel bag, duct tape, and farm feed bag for an indestructible sand bag? This is how MacGyver would setup a home gym for sure! All of these fitness guys deserve a place in the WWMD Hall of Fame!

TRUTHTELLER October 31, 2011 at 12:22 am


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Michael Den March 8, 2012 at 3:39 am

McGuyver!!! I luv em!!! 80s rocks for 4 ever! Nice music and absolutely cool actres!

Kamagra March 29, 2012 at 7:41 pm

I agree. A comment should say more than just great post. In fact, why would you say great post without explaining your reason behind your words?

John Oxnard April 28, 2012 at 9:28 pm

Great post, I just workout at home but I have been struggling to find new ways to workout. The homemade exercise equipment is genius and I will deferentially try to make some of them.

vps July 12, 2012 at 9:16 am

In one video they make a suspension trainer for under $10 at a dollar store…out of dog leashes and zip ties. Then later on, someone emailed me about Ross’s furniture glider video.

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