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Resourceful Strength: Making Big Gains With Minimal Equipment

Resourceful Strength: Making Big Gains With Minimal Equipment

Lack of time, space, and equipment are frequently the excuses many will lean on to “skip out” on a day’s work, or to be accepted as a “discouraging factor” in regards to trying to achieve performance.

Yes, the more resources that are available to one the better, however those resources don’t always have to be defined as just having a fully stocked weight room. No, knowledge of training and the grit to leverage what resources you do have at your disposal are what will really yield you the biggest results! In short, a creative approach and the ability to tap into what you have will always trump just having access to a bunch of bells and whistles.

Resourceful Strength

Being resourceful is defined as having the ability to find quick and clever ways to overcome difficulties and challenges as they present themselves. Hell that just sounds much like life in general! All joking aside this is a very real thing and yes resourcefulness is something that I’m always working towards improving regardless of whether there is ample supply of equipment and space.

I’ve had many years of practice with this scenario and admittedly this is something that I’ve definitely gotten better at in regards to my training. I remember early on in my career when there were days, weeks, and even years I didn’t have access to all the desired equipment that I wanted to utilize in terms of my strength and conditioning program and although it presented a challenge to me it also forced me to get a lot more creative.

What I realized is that all of those obstacles were not a reason to stop because I discovered that resourceful strength is a very real quality that can be discovered by forcing creativity and simplicity  making my pursuit of strength and conditioning a lot more impactful.

As I pointed out athletic strength can be developed through applying the correct stress within the fabric of strength and conditioning program. Of course bodyweight strength is the most common go to here, but even if all you have at your disposal is a kettlebell and a single medicine ball there are other strategies that can be applied to a situation in order to be resourceful in athletic strength development.

Learning To Do A Lot With A Little…

One drill that I enjoy implementing to spice up the bodyweight training including a medicine ball is to perform some double to single arm push ups. When performing the drill execute it with one hand on the ball and one hand on the ground. When ascending up out of the push up bring the hand that is on the ground up to touch your ribcage. This slight variation will create an entirely new challenge for you by having to produce some serious shoulder and core stability. Case in point…

As demonstrated here in the video there is a significant level of greater stability that is required by merely lifting the arm off the ground. To continue to ramp up the intensity I also generally prefer supersetting my lift combinations.

As an example in this case when performing the double to single arm medicine ball push ups I will generally program for 3 sets of 3 to 5 reps on each arm and then perform a completely different drill behind it to complete the superset combination.

Once again resourceful strength is about taking what you have available to you and leveraging it to yield a big result. Obviously this can be done here with our own body resistance and with the addition of a single medicine ball applied in the right way we can substantially enhance our standard push up drill.

Another way I like to leverage body resisted movement is by leaning on the mighty act of sprinting. By performing sprints, or sprint conditioning variations with an agility ladder I can significantly enhance my power development, intensity, and anaerobic work capacity in a relatively small space and with little equipment. If an agility ladder is not a tool that is accessible for you then some well measured tape on the ground would suffice for the following drill. Check it out.

As you can see being resourceful with what is available to us can make a huge difference in our training and it doesn’t mean that we have to have access to a fully stocked gym in order to make it happen. What is needed is a little knowledge and creativity.

Granted I am using a weighted vest for greater intensity for the drill and an agility ladder in the video, but at the end of the day the only way to make gains and improvement in training is by training with intent and purpose. Once again, a quality plan and a desire to get better will always trump fancy equipment.

The Takeaway

Learn to recognize and formulate a plan of action based on what tools you can leverage at your disposal. In order to formulate such a plan you have to recognize that your knowledge of training is the key to applying resourceful strength, as well as for when you do have access to a full line of equipment resources.

Remember to train with intent and purpose and to always look at performing movements with optimal technique. There are no excuses. I hope you enjoyed today’s post. Please don’t be shy about posting up in the comments section below. Stay strong, be better, and don’t adopt a victim mindset!

Related Articles:

Progressing Mobility: A Half Get Up To Optimal Performance

The Keys To Implementing High Intensity Workouts

Ballistic Strength: Sharpening Your Blade And Your Mind!

Single Limb Training: Moving With Fluidity And Symmetry

The Gravity Method: Dynamic Bodyweight Strength Performance

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I'm a Certified Strength And Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and author. I have had over 17 years experience in MMA fitness, strength and conditoning, and athletic performance for most every sport. As an author and specialist I've written close to a million words on fitness and strength. I'm also a Muay Thai practictioner and enjoy helping others to reach their peak potential through fitness and performance.

This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. I love the resourcefulness.
    It just goes to show you that you don’t need expensive gym equipment to stay active and healthy!
    Nice post.

    1. Thanks Ryan! Yes, you are exactly right. Obviously the more equipment that is available to us the better (assuming we have the knowledge of application). However if the knowledge is present then we can also just leverage what is available to us. My whole approach is that we can do a lot with a lot…and we can also do a lot with a little! Thanks so much for the feedback Ryan and please don’t be a stranger!

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