Best Fitness Tool for Less Than a Cup of Coffee

Fitness equipment is expensive.

Outfitting a gym or box with exercise equipment can get you into debt deeper than the U.S. is with China.

As an individual building up your own home gym in the basement or garage can be daunting process as you start figuring out what you want/need and how many trips to the sperm bank it is going to take to pay for it all.

Luckily, there is one piece of equipment that I can suggest that will only cost you about the price of your favorite cup of joe.

The dowel rod or pvc pipe is a great piece of equipment that you can get a lot of use out of.  You can use this tool for mobility, stretching, and as a tool to keep your form in check.

 

I picked mine up at Lowe’s (hardware store chain) already pre-cut and for less than $3.

Today I will give a few ways to use a pvc pipe and how to add it in to your training.

Hip Hinge

If you read my blog posts, you should have already of seen this a few times as I keep hammering proper hip movement into my posts.  Keeping the pvc pipe against 3 points of contact (tailbone, shoulder blades, and back of your head), push your hips back with “soft” knees until you feel your weight go into your heels and a stretch in your hamstrings.  Having the pipe on your back will make sure that you do not start to arch through your lower/upper back or drop your head.  Drill this movement until you can perform the hip hinge movement perfectly without using the pvc pipe anymore.

 

 

Shoulder Mobility

The shoulder is a joint that needs to be mobile, yet stable.  As we lose stability in our thoracic scapular region, the body will make up for it by becoming more stable (tight) in the glenohumeral joint.  This mobility drill will open up the shoulders in all directions allowing you great range of motion in all planes of movement.

 

 

Shoulder Stretches

This stretch is great for getting your arms overhead, like in an overhead squat.  Many of us walk around with forward rounded shoulders, which make it difficult if not impossible to reach overhead.  In certain exercises, such as the overhead squat, this is not good and will greatly impact your ability to complete the exercise successfully and to your full potential.  The video shows a great stretch using the pvc pipe to get overhead and also overhead and wider for more of a snatch position.

 

 

 

Plank/Pushup Form

Holding a plank or movement involving a plank is very challenging.  When someone starts to fatigue, form will start to break down.  In a plank or pushup for instance the hips will start to sag towards the floor.  By using the pvc pipe on the back , keeping the same 3 points of contact as I described in the hip hinge, you will have feedback if your form starts to fail. A heavier rod, like a dowel rod, would work better for this as some weight will keep it from easily rolling or falling of your back.

 

 

 

I will be sharing other tips and exercises using a pvc pipe in future blog posts.  This post doesn’t even scratch the surface of all of it’s uses.  The more I use one the more I can’t train without it.  I am sure you will feel the same way.

About The Author

Kevin Fulton

Kevin Fulton is personal trainer in Pittsburgh, PA. His goal is to help his clients look, feel, and move better. In his spare time you can find him under a barbell or practicing jiu jitsu.

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