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What equipment do you use?

Power Tower/ Pullup bar

For skills like the one arm chin, front lever, and back lever, a bar is essential for training. I picked up a door mounted pull up bar for $15 from a sporting goods store, then later bought a used power tower for $25 on Craigslist. The power tower is an old Gold’s Gym version.

Be careful of weighted pull ups on a door mounted bar though – too much weight and the bar will come crashing down. If you need a beefier pull-up bar, check out Delta Fitness for a solid, wall-mounted one.


Power Tower (left) and door-mounted chin-up bar (right)


These are such a fantastic piece of equipment for a variety of exercises, and essential for skills like the iron cross and muscle-up. If you’ve never done exercises on the rings, then you’re in for a big surprise – everything is harder to do. I got mine from Since the original design pictured below, Tyler Hass has released several updated versions, all top quality.


These are designed to replicate gymnastic parallel bars to help you perform a number of different exercises. You can use PVC, metal, or wood and build some bars to any dimensions you want. Here’s an easy online guide to making your own.

A fellow trainer, Tom Brose, also gave me the following instructions for building a great set of parallettes:


One PVC pipe 10 feet, 1 1/2″ diameter

Four elbow connectors

Four T-joint connectors

Eight end caps

PVC pipe glue


Cut the 10 foot pipe into the following sections:

    Two 2 foot sections

    Four 8 inch sections

    Eight 5 inch sections

If you’ve done it right, there should be no leftover pipe

The 5 inch sections are the feet, the 8 inch sections are the vertical legs, and the 2 foot sections are the part where your hands go. Take a look at the picture and it’s pretty easy to figure out where everything goes.

When gluing everything together, I recommend starting with the feet and legs first. They just make a “T” and require no adjustment. Glue the elbow connectors to the 2 foot sections next. You can then press the elbow connectors down against a hard floor to make sure they are lined up at the same angle. Finally, glue in the legs to the top and adjust quickly to get the legs lined up parallel before everything dries.

There you go, a nice set of parallettes that should work well for your training.

Weightlifting belt + chain + carabiner + weights

I never use a weightlifting belt for abdominal support, but I do find it useful for strapping weights to me for weighted dips and chin ups. Chain from a home improvement store, a carabiner from a rock climbing store, some weights, and you’re all set. Where to find weights? A yard sale, newspaper ads, or a used sporting goods store – there is ALWAYS someone selling their weights.

If you’re really loading on a lot of heavy weight, then I suggest investing a bit more for a quality dipping belt. I’ve used Ironmind’s Dipping Belt with great success. I found the previously mentioned weight belt/chain combination to break when anything around 100 lbs was added. The Ironmind belt has comfortably held double that with no signs of stress. The difference is amazing. Again, highly recommended if you’re moving heavy weights.

(Ironmind dipping belt, Belt being used for a 180 lb (81.6kg) dip)

Stretch Bands

I’ve got some surgical tubing and a physical therapy band in the picture above, but you can either buy some – Iron Woody Bands or cheap bands from Perform Better – or just pick up some old bicycle tubing from a bike shop. These bands can assist you with skills like pull ups, planches, and iron crosses.

Iron Cross Band Assist


Levering the sledgehammer around is an amazing exercise for your wrists. The sledgehammer is cheap and the difficulty easily adjusts, simply by moving your hand along the handle. I use to have a link to an outside page describing a host of sledgehammer levering techniques, but it has unfortunately be taken down. If you have a good site, let me know!


I’m not talking about the cheap foam grippers you may have squeezed before. These are heavy duty grippers and they are STRONG. When I first started working the one arm chin, I found my grip needed to be much stronger to hold myself on the bar. Enter the grippers. I recommend the grippers from Ironmind or Weightlifter’s Warehouse. And of course, head over to The Gripboard for more grip training advice then I could possibly type here.

Oct 18, 2010 | Category: FAQ | Comments: 2


2 Responses to “What equipment do you use?”

  1. Rob

    links are broken. pictures not showing.

  2. Toi

    Hm, the pictures don’t seem to be loading?

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