Make your own training equipment

tornado ball
(Image credit: Unknown)

Gyms are full of shiny metal equipment designed to sculpt you into shape, but there are some bits of kit they simply can’t – or won’t – offer you. There are sound reasons why your high street health facility doesn’t offer things that are designed to be thrown around, smashed into the floor or whirled around your head at speed but, annoyingly, they’re also some of the best accessories for chiselling you into shape.

Fortunately, there’s a way to train with them without breaking the bank: make them yourself. MF asked three experts for their favourite bits of fitness kit, then brought out the Leatherman tool and got to work. A couple of hours later, we had a new home gym. For more home gym kit ideas, subscribe to the magazine. YOu can download a digital version of the magazine here.
Tornado ball
‘The tornado ball’s inventor, training expert Paul Chek, called it that because it’s designed to give you the power to throw a cow over a barn,’ says personal trainer Ben McDonald. ‘And he’s right, it’ll give you incredible power. I work with a lot of boxers, and it transfers very well into body shots and hooks.’ One caveat: if you’re using it properly the ball’s going to be moving very fast, so test your DIY version somewhere spacious and non-breakable before you try it indoors.
Take a gander at the below video to see what you need to make it and how you put a tornado ball together.

Slosh Pipe
‘The slosh pipe is ideal for anyone who needs to control someone else’s movement – I use them with grapplers or MMA fighters, as well as in pre-season with rugby players,’ says personal trainer Andy McKenzie. ‘It’s not heavy enough to use for a strict strength workout, so I’ll often use it as a warm-up for moves I’m about to work on, or I’ll hold it for as long as I can as a finisher after my workout.’
Check out the below video to see what pieces of kit you need to build a slosh pipe and how you put it together.
Bulgarian Bag
‘The Bulgarian bag is a fantastic training tool,’ says trainer BJ Rule, whose gym, the Optimal Life Fitness centre, is the first in the UK to offer a certification from the International Bulgarian Bag Confederation. ‘It’ll work your entire body and improve your grip. If you get really into Bulgarian bag training you’ll want to buy one, because they’re really hard-wearing and come with a variety of handles, but a DIY version is a good way to get a feel for the real thing.’
Have a look at the below video to see what gear you need to create a Bulgarian bag and how you put it together.

Joel Snape

From 2008 to 2018, Joel worked for Men's Fitness, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Though he spent years running the hills of Bath, he’s since ditched his trainers for a succession of Converse high-tops, since they’re better suited to his love of pulling vans, lifting cars, and hefting logs in a succession of strongman competitions.