Homemade Bulgarian Bag

First we had the homemade T-Bar Kettlebell, which I hope many of you are still using (me? I have to get back on that bandwagon)

Now, we have a homemade Bulgarian Bag – bulgarian bags for those of you who don’t know are weighted bags perfect for throwing around, lifting over your head, squatting with, even swings (ala, kettlebell swings).

If you search for Bulgarian bags online, you’ll notice they cost around $200 for an approximately 35lb model.  The one I made in my garage took about 10 minutes and around $20 to make.

You’ll need the following items:

  1. truck/car tire inner tube ($15 at AutoZone, or similar shop)
  2. 40# bag of sand ($3 at WalMart)
  3. Duct Tape ($1.50/roll at WalMart)
  4. Wire ties ($1 at WalMart)
tire, sand, duct tape, wire ties - ingredients for DIY Bulgarian Bags

Cut the tube into a “C” shape.  Cut out the section that has the air intake tube.  Then with one wire tie, tie off one end of the inner tube and duct tape the end creating a “handle”

cut tube into a "C" shape
tie off one end, duct tape and create a handle

Now start filling the open end with the sand.  Fill until you get the bag to your desired size.  You can make the bag as small or as big you want.  It all depends on how big you cut the tube, and how much sand or filler you put in it.  I didn’t set out for any specific size, but rather filled it until I got it to a point that I thought would be about right for the handles I wanted it to have.

When you get it to your desired weight or fill – tie off the other end, and duct tape it into a second handle.  You’ve now completed your Bulgarian Bag.

final product, make sure to cut off the ends of the wire ties

Because I haven’t had a chance to video myself using it, I’m going to link to a video of a guy using the bag in all sorts of ways.  I plan to use it for jogging up a large hill in a park nearby, along with doing pushups, swings, cleans, squats, presses, etc…

What do you think of this?  Is it something you could see yourself using?  What are some other homemade equipment you guys are using?

Putting the “4 Hour” into 4 Hour Body

**two things: sorry for the infrequent updates – life has been hectic (with work and a new baby on the way), and sorry for all the weird changes around here – I’m playing with the site’s layout/themes and trying to find one I like best.  Please bear with me!**

I’ve decided that for this next month I will do my best to put the 4 Hour” into my 4 Hour Body.

By that I mean I want to see what happens if I commit to doing only 4 hours worth of work/exercise in this next month.  One hour per week, for 4 weeks.  I want to see what kinds of changes I can make. [Read more…]

T-Bar Kettlebell – Review

I finally put together my homemade t-bar (or t-handle) kettlbell – and I will give you my impressions of the usefulness of this tool along with some pros and cons.

First – it is supremely easy to make this since most everyone has access to the parts needed.  Any Home Depot or Lowe’s or local plumbing supply shop will have all the necessary parts.

I purchased the following:

(1) 3/4″x12″ black pipe
(1) 3/4″ tee
(2) 3/4″x6″ black pipe (nipple)
(1) 3/4″ floor flange galvanized
(1) 1″ spring clamp* (TF recommends Irwin brand – I could not find 1″ Irwin spring clamps at either Lowe’s or Home Depot)

Simply put the 3/4″x12″ pipe together with the floor flange slide your weights on then put together the handle by putting the 3/4″x6″ nipples in either end of the 3/4″ tee – spin the  bottom part of the tee onto the 12″ pipe – and you have your t-handle kettlebell.

I’m lucky enough to have a bunch of weights that were given to me, so I didn’t need to go out and purchase any weights.  If you have weights handy this could be an easy affordable way to perform KB swings – if you don’t have weights available and want some, I wouldn’t go out and by new.  Check craigslist.com or local Salvation Army or Goodwill – you should be able to find inexpensive weights.

I did the 75 kb swings workout from 4HB using a 25lb and 10lb “olympic” weight – this totaled 38lbs (according to my digital scale).

Before you do this, please make sure you have gloves to protect your hands.  The threads on the ends of the handle will tear your hands/palms up without protection.  I purchased a cheap pair of Gold’s Gym workout gloves from Wal-Mart for less than $9.00 – after my first workout I would say they were worth the expense.

I’m not going to give a lesson here in how to properly do the KB swings (TF does a good job in the book) – but let me say I was able to get a good short workout doing the 75 swings.  I am sore, but not overly sore.  I was breathing heavy after performing 4 sets (I did 25, 20, 5, 25) with as little rest in between sets as possible.

Pros Cons
Cheap! Pretty much one-dimensional**
Adjustable, can change weights easily Without good clamps could be very dangerous
Portable – easily broken down and stored Threading on pipes makes it painful without gloves
Functional – does what it is intended to do

** could possibly be used for more than just KB swings – if you extended the tee bar.  I may purchase another 3/4″ tee and 3/4″x8″ or 10″ nipples which would extend the handles out to make it wide enough to possibly do some curls or Yates bent rows (see book pg. 211) but probably not much more.

As for cost – this is certainly economical.  In total, I spent $17.18 (including tax) – so for me it wasn’t exactly $10 – but still more affordable than a typical 35lb kettlebell (on Amazon for as low as $35 up to and over $90) and adjustable kettlebells (over $85 on Amazon).  Throw in the cost of the gloves and I spent under $30 for a functional kettlebell.  The major drawback, for me, is the inability to other kettlebell moves (such as snatch, turkish get up, etc…)  Trade-offs though, for the ability to the swings which are a critical kettlebell exercise.

If you made your own, or have experience with homemade equipment – please share in the comments!

Happy 4HB’ing in 2011!