#4 Ultra Low Cost Home Gym and 8 Week Plan

exercise podcast

 PDF Link: Ultra Low-Cost Home Gym

In this podcast I talk about an ultra-low cost home gym with 8 week plan that I used throughout residency to stay in shape. Now, I give this beginners routine to my patients. This plan focuses on strength-training and a full exercise plan should have:

1. Skill work
2. Strength Training
3. Long Range Cardiovascular Fitness
4. Flexibility and Stability (Yoga), and
5. HIIT components. 

Skill work helps to provide inspiration then the rest of the exercise regimen helps to provide support for the skill work and activities of daily living: shopping, cleaning, care-taking, and more. 


Tom (00:03.95)
So today we're gonna talk about an ultra low cost home gym that I frequently give to my patients whenever they say they can't join a gym or they can't buy home gym equipment. I give them this worksheet and this kind of workout regimen that's super low cost and super simple. So what does it compromise of? What does it look like?

Well, it's actually using a gymnastic rings and a kettlebell to work out at home. And you might've seen Jocko Willink, he recommends that the number one thing to have in the gym is gymnastic rings. They're ultra portable, ultra easy to set up either on a bar at home or on trees outside at a park. And then to use them,

is pretty simple as well. So the total cost for equipment that I list in my home gym worksheet is less than $100. So if you look at the gymnastic rings, the plastic ones are about 26 bucks, the wooden ones are 35, a kettlebell, the Amazon kettlebell that weighs 10 pounds is 15 bucks. I think if you go up to the...

25 pounder, I think that's 25 bucks. And then a floor mat to protect you, so in case you fall from the gymnastic rings is $40. And then of course the magic chalk ball, which is good for your hands is $10. And all of this adds up to about less than $100 or around that price point. And it's important to know that

our strength decreases over time. So as we get older, the ability to maintain muscle and ultimately maintain the quality of things that we want to do decreases. And this is due to multiple things. One, sarcopenia, the replacement of muscle through hypertrophy decreases, and the availability of hormones in our bloodstream decreases as well.

Tom (02:28.662)
So we no longer have those levels of in men, testosterone, and even in women, same thing, that actually help to build our muscles. So if we start out with a high level of it, then it will decrease over time based on that initial level. So strength training becomes extremely important. Now, what does that plan look like? Well,

It looks like this. So you have a push and a pull and a legs and an ab or core regimen. And so the pull or the push one could be on Monday. So you start saying, my exercise plan starts on Monday. And in that day, I'm gonna do all of the pushing exercises. And these are very helpful in everyday life.

We're pushing open a door, we're pushing close a door, and we're trying to reach up, putting things up, and whenever we are unloading the dishwasher. And so this push mechanism that we have is very helpful. On the second day on Tuesday, we'll have a pull regimen. That's very helpful when, say, you're lifting a kiddo, right? You're trying to lift them up.

and you're actually doing kind of a bent over row to pick up a kid as well as a squat. And it's very helpful and you wanna be able to pick up your grandchildren. Wednesday, what I usually say is either rest or low cardio such as walking or rucking. Rucking is where you have a backpack and you place something in that and...

then you walk with it. So you place a heavy object, like a 10 or 20 pounds in the backpack, and you go hiking or walking with it. That is very important for keeping our bone health up and preventing osteoporosis. And then you can always try biking. So what I suggest is something that's continuous over time. And if you can do it for 30 minutes an hour, that's a really good start. On Friday, the next part,

Tom (04:49.942)
Sorry, Thursday, what we would have is lower body, like legs, and then you add on the abdominal exercises or core exercises. Friday, some sort of skill work you might try. And skill work's very important because you want to have some type of goal in your life. And having it around some type of exercise will keep you motivated to do exercise.

And then you kind of reap all the benefits from it, including decreased anxiety, depression, and you may have some social aspect to it. So these are things like swimming and biking in a group. Like me, I do jujitsu, maybe soccer or basketball, something that is a skill that you can progress on.

Even gymnastic rings, you could do the same thing. You could progress in a planche and that may be your skill work. Or you could do some type of high intensity interval training. On Saturday, you can pick out your own choice of exercise. Again, if it's skill work, that's perfect. Or you can do a little experimentation or even take a rest. On Sunday, kind of the same thing, rest or...

skill train. Now, when you're actually going to do the routine, let's say the warmup, the warmup takes about 10 minutes. The first part of the warmup, what I would say to do is a scapular pushup circles in a forward motion. So you're in the pushup position with both arms out, like you're kind of gripping a pistol facing downward, and you're rolling the shoulders forward 10 times.

and then backwards 10 times, doing it very slowly each time. And you could be even on your knees so that you're preserving that strength for later on. And then scapular row exercises. So in the rowing position, which is kind of laying on your back and with the rings above you, you can do these exercises again. So 10 forward and 10 back.

Tom (07:12.798)
and then do a plank after that for 30 seconds times two sets. So plank position, holding it 30 seconds twice. And then after that, you wanna warm up your wrists. So in gymnastics when I was little, we were taught to do what's called wrist rockers. And so you put your hands flat on the ground, kind of like, and you're in the position like a tabletop position.

or the cat position, like in yoga, with your wrist kind of flat on the ground. And then you're rocking in each position. So you're doing rocking back and forth, and then your wrist and fingers are pointed at the 12, three, six, and nine. And then what you do after that is you turn.

your palms facing up. So you bend your wrist backwards very lightly and rock in that position and then face your fingers all the way back, which would be the six o'clock position and then rock in those as well. And after that, you do a ring hang, which can be with your feet on the floor and you hang for about one minute. And that gives you a really, really good warmup.

and get your shoulders nice and set up for the routine. Now, the routine is across eight weeks and you do it for three weeks, you rest for one week, and then do another three weeks and then rest for that next week. And the way you rest is you...

either decrease the difficulty by one step or one stage, or you decrease the reps. So if you're doing 10 reps, you're gonna do five reps for each exercise. And that's how you decrease or de-load for that fourth week, the fourth and eighth weeks. So the routine, the first day, let's take out, let's take Monday, right? We're working on our,

Tom (09:35.982)
pushing exercises. And the first push exercise routine is push-ups, ring dips, pike press, and chest press. And this is kind of a basic layout or basic starting exercise regimen for pushing on the rings. And there's ways to make these things more difficult that I'll talk about. Then...

On Tuesday, the pull is pull up body weight rows, face pulls, and then bicep curls. And if you notice, I'm kind of throwing in some quote unquote glamour exercises, but they're also helpful. Just because it's kind of important to have a little bit of both in an exercise regimen, you may want to look good and also focus on the

high impact movements like pushups. And so that gives you a motivation on both ends of, hey, I'm functioning better and yes, I also look better. And then your legs will mostly consist of working out with the kettlebell and the kettlebell gives you added resistance against gravity. And so the legs day consists of squats, straight deadlift, lunges, and then

a little bit of plyometrics with jumping in place. And this touches on the functional movement of exercise, not only strength training, but just a little bit of functional movement in there to keep that active. Then you have your abdominal core exercises, which include ring rollouts, your Russian twists, knee raises, and kettlebell swings.

So how do you do each of these, right? How do you plan the routine? Well, you're gonna do three to four sets for each exercise and then eight to 10 reps for each one. And then you're gonna rest two minutes between each set. So that first one, let's say the Monday you're doing the push routine, well, you're gonna do eight pushups. You can even start with six if you like. And you're gonna do that

Tom (12:00.57)
three times each. So eight pushups, rest for two minutes, then eight more pushups, then rest again, and then eight more pushups. So you've done three sets and for a total of 24 pushups, and you rest two minutes between each set. Now,

you're going to monitor your body as well. Are you having, is it painful, right? Is it painful to do this? Well, you may want to stop if you're experiencing sharp excruciating pain in your shoulders. And of course, you're always gonna get checked out by your doctor before you start any of this. And then once you're able to do 10 reps across those three sets, 10 to 15 reps,

you're gonna increase the difficulty of that exercise. So I'll take pushups. So pushups, you start in the kneeling position and try and do a pushup where your hands are, your thumbs are upwards facing the ceiling and you're grabbing the rings. Well, they're not necessarily upwards, they're kind of facing towards the wall and your knuckles are down towards the ground.

and you're on your knees and you're kind of bent over a little bit towards the rings and you're gonna push up and then a lower back down with your knees, with your elbows squeezed in next to you. So you're gonna squeeze in and then lower yourself down. And that's gonna be one level of difficulty. Then as you get better, your knees are gonna go farther back and then eventually you'll extend your feet out.

and then eventually you'll be on a raised platform and that will help you increase the difficulty of those exercises. And I have, for each exercise, I have the ability to make it more difficult, list it out in the worksheet itself. So now what are the safety implications that you want to do?

Tom (14:20.502)
or think about, right? So safety, one, always consult with your doctor. There is a full testing regimen that they can go through and ask you these different questions to actually assess whether you can do these exercises. And then always check the ring straps and buckles. Always use the floor mat, right? Don't ever not lay out the floor mat. It's extremely important, even outside, even if you're hanging from a tree.

No excuses on that. And then always do the shoulder warmup exercises over time. It helps you reduce injury. And then you can always use chalk on your hands to reduce the amount of wear and tear. And that way your hands still feel nice for your partner or spouse. So this is the overall kind of...

strength training regimen that I used in residency to save me a ton of time. And I would come home at eight o'clock at night and then be able to work out and do my strength training and then eat a little bit and study and go to bed. So there are also really good books on this. One is Overcoming Gravity by Stephen Lowe.

There's a whole online training program called Body by Rings by Daniel Vadnel. And then there is the Primal Kettlebell course by Eric Leja, also known as the Primal Soldier. So I put this all in the little PDF handout, completely free on my clinic's website, Clear Health Medical.

because I want it to be available one for everybody to you know check out and then also for my own Patients, I don't want them to have I want them to have as a lower barrier to strength training as possible so I hope that was super helpful and Tune in next Tuesday for our next podcast. We'll have a very special guest who is a health coach

Tom (16:44.442)
and more to come on that later. All right, you guys have a happy and healthy day, and I'll see you later.


Disclaimer The Clear Health Podcast is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute the practice of medicine, nursing or other professional health care services, including the giving of medical advice, and no doctor/patient relationship is formed. The use of information on this podcast or materials linked from this podcast is at the user’s own risk. The content of this podcast is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Users should not disregard or delay in obtaining medical advice for any medical condition they may have and should seek the assistance of their health care professionals for any such conditions.

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