The words “Do It Yourself” might bring to mind images of crocheted scarves and hand-embroidered mittens, but turns out the DIY community also has a harder edge. Fitness aficionados across the country are figuring out how to make their own gym equipment, saving money and boosting self-sufficiency in the process. Here, we’ve rounded up 21 DIY fitness projects designed to give you the tools to strength train, do some cardio, and stretch it all out in the comfort of your own home. Though some of these projects might be a little intimidating (concrete and power tools, anyone?), many of them are accessible to even the novice do-it-yourselfer. Happy making!
1. Pull-up Bar
Pull-ups work a variety of muscle groups in the arms and back, which explains why they’re a classic complement to strength training routines. To make a homemade pull up bar, just fit some pipes together and hang the contraption over a suitable load-bearing I-beam. (Emphasis on load-bearing! Make sure the bar is suitably secure and supported before you start pulling.) Struggling to get your pull-up? Check out our three-week plan for building the necessary strength to heave-ho on the bar.
Kettlebells’ unique shapes make them a great way to improve strength, cardio, endurance, and flexibility. They’re a great resource for workouts — but they can also be pretty pricey, especially when buying ‘bells with different weights. The bargain solution? Tim Ferriss’ simple “T bar” construction. For approximately $10 at a hardware or home improvement store, it’s possible to make an alternate kettlebell that allows for changeable weights (it’s like 10 kettlebells in one!) and easily disassembles for travel and storage. For those desiring a tool that more closely resembles traditional kettlebells’ shape (and who are comfortable with welding), look no further than these instructions for building a rounder kettlebell made from concrete.
3. Farmers’ Walk Bars
Named (we can only presume) after the image of a farmer carrying loaded buckets to the cows’ feed trough, the farmer’s walk is an exercise beloved by strength athletes around the world. The move looks simple enough: Athletes hold heavy objects in each hand and walk until they’re exhausted. But the move is deceptively difficult and a great way to improve core strength. With some pipe, screws, and recycled or store-bought wood, it’s possible to build two giant farmer’s walk bars bound to make you the talk of the neighborhood.