Remember when I told you about the walker I started using as a dip station for my Bodyrock workouts? Well, I have another inexpensive, DIY piece of workout equipment to share with you.
They use sandbags as weights on Bodyrock all the time. The one they use sells for about $100. Of course there was no way I was going to spend that sort of money on one. So I’ve been using the dumbbells that we’ve had for years, and they work ok most of the time. But heavy metal dumbbells aren’t the most comfortable thing to have stuck behind your neck while doing lunges and squats. They’re meant to be held in one hand, so it’s a bit awkward and uncomfortable to hold them by the ends. I use a 30 lb dumbbell for squats, and I have to wrap a sweatshirt around my shoulders to keep the weight from digging into my neck. Not to mention the fact that it’s hard to get a good grip on a dumbbell if you’re holding it with two hands – and I don’t like the idea of possibly dropping a 30 lb weight on my head or toes.
So I thought about that sandbag some more. And then I made one.
I went to Goodwill and found a sturdy duffle bag that has handles on the top and both sides. It was $4.
Next, I raided my fabric stash and found an old flannel sheet. I cut five rectangles of flannel to make into bags, and I sewed around the edges twice to make them nice and strong. I also had a couple of fabric bags that had once contained soap nuts – perfect, since all I had to do with those two was sew them shut once they were filled.
We have a pea-gravel driveway in our side yard, and I used our postage scale to weigh some gravel. 6.25 cups of gravel weighed five pounds. So after I had seven open-top fabric bags, I filled each one with 6.25 cups of pea gravel. Then I sewed the tops shut. Easiest sewing project ever. I triple stitched the tops closed, folding over the hemmed edges before sewing over them to contain loose ends.
I put a sandbag (gravel bag?) in the zippered compartment on each end of the duffle bag to help keep them from all clumping together in the middle. Then the other five go in the main compartment. That gives me a 35 pound sandbag, and I can reduce the weight in five pound increments as needed.
I used it yesterday for my workout, and it’s so much better than the dumbbells. I was able to hold it behind my neck without it digging in, and it was easy to keep a good grip on the handles. I love it! The whole thing cost me $4, since the gravel and fabric for the bags were stuff I already had. Even if you had to purchase the fabric and gravel, it wouldn’t be expensive. The Goodwill store near here has 99 cent jeans days when all the jeans in the store are on sale for 99 cents. You could buy a pair of jeans and chop the legs into sections to use as sandbags – all you’d have to do is sew the top and bottom shut. And it doesn’t have to be pretty – you don’t even have to turn over the rough hems if you don’t want to. Pea gravel and sand are both pretty inexpensive too.
This whole project took me about an hour, although that was with two kids “helping” me. I’m guessing it would take less than 45 minutes if you were uninterrupted.
Hooray! I now have a dip station and a sandbag! They aren’t as pretty as the fancy ones, but they’re functional and that’s really all that matters – especially when they cost a fraction of what the fancy ones do.
EDIT: For any of you who are also fans of Bodyrock – Zuzana has her own YouTube channel now, and is posting new workouts: http://www.youtube.com/user/ZuzkaLight?feature=watch You can also follow her on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ZuzkaLight I think she’s great, but I’m also happy with the new team at Bodyrock.tv. So I’ll be mixing it up with workouts from both of them.