Emmet’s Blackboard

What’s in my Training Bag?

This is a selection of equipment I bring with me when training outdoors. Just because its called bodyweight training doesn’t mean its no equipment training.

Hey guys, how’s it going? I got a new mike, so thought I’d give it a test and give you guys a bit of insight into my own training.

Now, it’s summer in Ireland, and despite the grey clouds outside, I like to do a lot of training in the park, a few hours every day. So, hit the parks as much as possible.

As you know, bodyweight training is the main focus of that. I’m trying to gain skills and control to master my body, like a lot of you watching my videos. One important point is bodyweight training does not mean it’s no equipment training.

While we are using our bodyweight as resistance, you can do a lot of this with no equipment. I find equipment to be quite helpful to speed up this process.

First thing, I have my training bag over here. You can’t see it; it’s off camera. I’m going to show you basically some of the equipment I bring most days to the park, just to let you know how I use it, and how you can replicate your own.

I use rings a lot in my training. It’s not really a massive focus to get good at rings, but to use them to get stronger. I hang them from the trees in the park. I don’t want to rings to be on separate straps; I don’t want to be going up and down too much. Sometimes the branches aren’t suitable where I am.

What I found is I have this thing. This is a 3m long lifting strap. I got this from a shop that deals with equipment for cranes, other industrial lifting equipment. It’s rated at about 2.5 tonnes.

What this enables me to do is put one set of straps of my rings on one end, one set for the other. Then I pick a suitable tree branch, and just throw my rings over.

I’ve got a little U. I’m careful not to just hang on one side of this, but then I can do whatever I need to with my rings that day. When I want to take them down, I just pull on one side. There’s no snags, no hassle. You can use a better variety of trees that you wouldn’t necessarily be able to climb and hang your rings on.

Also, it saves you a bit of wear and tear on the actual straps of the rings. If you notice, they are thin nylon straps that can get worn out pretty easily. These are designed for heavy construction use; they can take a bit of abuse.

At 10 euros for this, you can’t go wrong. You can replace them faster than you can replace your rings. Invaluable, useful for so many things.

Next on my list of things to bring is this little device, and its accompanying band. I got this in a Dick’s one time in San Francisco when I was there for a few months. I went in one day, and this has been a staple of my training for five years. It’s great.

See here, it’s got elastics, but I can swap it out. I have a range of elastics; I got every single one they had in the shop, which is about $10 each. They’ve lasted me five years, in great condition. You can just pop them in and out, use multiple elastics at a time.

I mainly use this for mobility work, but sometimes for a bit of strength work, or a lot of elbow pre-hab if I’m doing curls and pushdowns. The handle is nice and handy, can get a hold on.

The main thing you want when you get one of these is a way to attach it. That’s just latex rubber. If you put it around the tree, it’s going to break and not last long. These have lasted a long time because I used a little piece of equipment.

I have this, a petzl climbing swivel. It’s a carabiner. And this is a lifting strap, another little one. These are a couple of euros. This comes in so handy – I just put my elastics around.

I use these on the wall bars of the gym as well. It’s so handy, gives a lot of options to quickly change things.

I have my carabiner, I find a suitable tree, put this around, clip it in. This thing can move around on the swivel. It’s nice, it’s handy, it doesn’t get ruined. It keeps it safe.

You would spend maybe 100 euros or dollars on these bands at the time, so this has kept them, training in parks for years at this stage, perfect.

It also comes in handy for a normal band, same deal, just clip it on. Put it on. It gives you options to quickly move it up and down, and also keeps the bands nice and clean. Definitely worth getting that equipment, costs about 30 euros total for the swivel and carabiner.

Next time is my dark chocolate. What can I say, I like a bit of dark chocolate. It’s nice to have a little snack in the park when you’re training. Not 100% necessary, but definitely nice to have.

As you’re training outdoors, while it is great to go barefoot a lot of the time, and I do recommend it, it can be a bit dirty or damp. So I have two pairs of shoes.

The first I will talk about are these, my ballet shoes. I think I got this from a company called Dance Direct, for about $14. They’re Men’s split sole leather ballet shoes. These are great and have lasted me years as well. I use them a lot in the gym actually. We’re not allowed to train barefoot, so I put on my ballet slippers and I’m not barefoot. I have complete freedom of motion.

They are light, probably less than 100g. You can’t go wrong. They last, they’re well worth the investment. Nice split shell so you can still flex and extend your foot without anything forcing or bending against it. Definitely worth getting for the kit bag.

The next pair of shoes are my normal day to day shoes. These are a pair of Vivo Barefoots. These are great. I’ve had this pair for about 14 months now; it’s probably time to get another pair. I literally wear them every single day.

The sole is about 1.5-2mm thick. It has great grip. I had VIbram Five Fingers before. I found it immobilized my forward toes. I found I could move my big toe. The others were squeezed together. While they could move, there was a bit of friction. These have a nice wide toe box so you can move as much as you want. You can wiggle, extend. If you’re running, you roll over stuff much easier. They’re also just incredibly flexible so they don’t get in the way if I’m doing handstands or other flexibility work, like to point my legs or extend.

They’re great and well worth the investment. I will definitely buy another set of them.

What else have I got in here?

I have my headstand donut. There’s a way to make this on my Facebook page, if you want to go check out these photos. It’s quite straightforward; it has been a boon for my headstand training. Hopefully by the end of the year – I’m not going to put a lot of time in this – I should be able to juggle in a free head stand. That’s what I’ve sort of set my task to.

We’ll see how I get on with that; hopefully you guys can follow along.

Next in the bag is a floss band. I find this not to be the magical cure all a lot of people say it is, but I find it great for certain applications with myself and my clients.

This is an unbranded floss band, that was 12 euros. It’s a bit thicker than the normal floss band, which I prefer. It’s got a bit more stretch and power to it.
Personally, in my own experience, I find floss bands great for gapping joints. That’s what I use them all the time for. I wrap it up, boom, especially with my bad wrist. I put it in, gap it, get a bit of freedom, some motion freed up, it doesn’t hurt me during training anymore.

They’re also great on forearms of people if you feel a bit of niggle, tendonitis types feelings – just bang on the floss band and sort it out.

I didn’t find it too great in the legs, too great on the shoulders. I tried it pretty much everywhere. Didn’t find it too great on the calves. Definitely on the arms. Maybe it’s just the application of it, I don’t know, but definitely worth having. Not the cure all that a lot of people say they are.

Lastly, in the bag, then I’ll show you one more thing – my handstand blocks. Now you’ll notice I have a sloped handstand block.

The reason for this is that when I broke my wrist, I lost a lot of range of motion. This just enables me to train handstands. I’ve regained that range of motion and should be back to normal training.

At the time I wasn’t actually able to do anything, but I thought I would. I find with people who make sloped handstand blocks, it can take a bit of pressure off.

I find that with the girls who train who are small – 50kg, 150cm girls – they always have narrow wrists and a lot of problems, even though we do a lot of strengthening. Sloped handstand blocks just take it off.

To make these is so simple, these probably cost me less than $5 and an hour’s work to make. Definitely you don’t want to spend too much money on these.

I just got some pieces of 2×3, 3 pieces. I stuck them together, cut them to the desired width, roughly about my palm width, even a bit wider, doesn’t really matter.

Then I marked what I wanted the slope to be. I have an inch and a quarter slope here. Then you mark your line, get the handsaw out, saw it. Then a bit of sandpaper to round out the edges, get the splinters away and smooth it out. They will smooth out with use; just use a bit of chalk on them.

Definitely worth getting. You can just use normal 2×3. or 2×4…sorry. Use it, cut a segment, bit wider than the palm of your hand. It’s great. You can wrap usually 3 fingers on the front, little finger on the sides.

Some people turn out; I’m not a fan of that. Keep those fingers forward.

You don’t need to spend $50 on a pair of these. You can make them. Everyone I know, I think the same length of 3m of 2×4 has done so many blocks of these.

Lastly, from my training thing, is my handstand board. I bring this to the park. This is just a piece of wood that was a shelf reclaimed from the house. You can use anything.

Basically hands are very tactile in their nature. You have a lot of nerve endings. We’re not used to the sensation we get from the ground.

When we’re training in parks, a lot of the time it’s raining, sunny, the ground texture changes. I can get into that a bit, but it gets inconsistent.

Sometimes you squeeze and your fingers sink in. Other times they’ll stay on top. The grass can be dry, wet…with this board, I know I have a consistent surface. Every time I go down, I place it somewhere nice and level, I’m sorted. I know I have a nice consistent surface to train on. It doesn’t take much time to carry with me. If I want to slide my blocks out on grass, they can topple over or won’t move. On a board they slide with ease. Quite easy, quite simple.

All this equipment you see me use fits in my bag. I bring it with me to the park most days when training. I get a lot of use out of it. I recommend to give some a go.

Try to make your own if you can; you can save a lot of money on this. Just remember, it’s bodyweight training, not no equipment training.

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