What can you do using a barbell and 2 milk crates?
The Answer: A LOT!
And, you can get strong as all hell!
Trust me, I've been there...it's how I trained in my Dad's garage for a year and I piled on strength and muscle faster than ever before. I loved it. I cranked the music and had barely any equipment:
- Pair of 50 & 100 lb dumbbells
- 300 lb Barbell set
- Squat Stand
- Flat Utility Bench
It's the training template I included in The Russian Lion Power Course. It's also very similar to the way George Hackenschmidt trained when he was training for wrestling and as a Circus Strongman.
You see, I know many people are reverting back to Underground training in their homes, backyards, basements and garages. There is nothing fancy needed when you want to get stronger.
Dave Tate told me that when he trained at Louie's first Westside Barbell Club, there was very little room, which meant very little variety, yet those were the days they got the strongest.
For leg day, Dave said they knew it was the same 3 exercises: box squats, glute ham raises and reverse hypers. There was no room for variety, yet that gym had many of the strongest squatters & lifters in the world! You can use the milk crates as your training blocks. You can floor press from them, zercher squat and deadlift from them and much, much more.
The original box squat pictured above was made by Bill Peanuts West. He then reinforced the milk crate with wood. Now, we are spoiled. And as I always say, comfort is the enemy. Stop training in comfort. You got a barbell? Milk crates? You can become a BEAST.
And of course, as I speak of minimalist training, I would be remiss if I didn't mention Dinosaur Training by Brooks Kubik. Watch this Video and you'll feel ready to take on the world lifting scrap metal.
There are No excuses when you want to get strong. You just gotta do it.
Let me share with you a final story on when I set up some minimalist equipment in our most recent home. First off, the garage has high ceilings, this is a dream for us garage gym junkies. I installed a climbing rope on the beam as well as a pair of wooden gymnastics rings.
I had plenty of Kettlebells so I kept a few handy, allowing me to get some short and intense bodyweight & kettlebell workouts. But, the itch to lift heavy on weekends was there so I decided to purchase a barbell and bumpers.
I planned to pull everything from the floor for every exercise. No squat rack. I remember the gains I made in my back and shoulders were tremendous. I would perform the exercises below:
- Clean Variations: power clean, hang clean (above or below the knees), muscle clean, clean & press
- High Pulls with various grips on the bar (wide or shoulder width apart)
- Deadlifts: RDL, Sumo, Conventional
- Front Squat (Had to clean weight to start every set)
- Barbell Row (Overhand & Underhand)
- Back Squat (Clean & Press to start every set to get the bar on my back)
The constant cleaning and pulling the bar off the ground was a GREAT addition to my program and was a stark reminder of how powerful it is to actually have less than what you think you need.
Do you really NEED more equipment or just want more? Most people fear the work which causes them to struggle with progress. Food for thought!