Introduction: Home/travel Gym From Recycled Innertube
So, I've recently been experimenting with various things that you can make from old bicycle innertubes, which are very often thrown away by bike shops. I saw this as a potentially very valuable and free resource, which is yet to be used by most people, so I asked around my local area and I now have three shops saving me their old tubes for weekly collection. This amounts to around 10-30 tubes per week altogether, which is ample supply for some larger projects that I have planned.
If you are only wanting to make one of this design, you should only need two tubes; these should be easy to get hold of from a friend who cycles, even if you don't have access to a bike repair shop.
This design is roughly based on the idea of gym bands and multi-exercise bands, which are usually marketed as a cheap, lightweight and versatile way to work out with little equipment. However, there is no reason why you can't make one yourself with a few materials that should cost no more than $1. Also, this has an advantage over resistance bands in that it has an actual handle, which means you can better replicate the way you would normally do curls, rows, pushdowns and so on.
The only real downside to this design is that butyl rubber - the material that innertubes are made of - are not as stretchy and elastic as purpose designed gym bands; this means that stretches and movements which require a large range of motion are difficult to achieve. On the upside, you can customize your home-made gym band to whatever length, resistance and handle size you like, and personally I prefer to use this for resistance exercises rather than stretching, which typically involves a lower range of motion.
Anyway, enough talk, lets get on with the build and there will be demonstrations of several possible exercises at the end of the tutorial.
- 1 innertube in decent condition, ie no large holes/tears, the larger the diameter the more resistance it will provide
- 1 innertube of any size and condition
- Electrical tape or duct tape
- Length of broom handle or any type of metal, wooden or PVC pipe at least 30cm (12inch) long
- Any kind of saw
Step 1: The Handle
Once you have the ~30cm piece of wood or PVC for the handle cut, use the scissors to cut all the way along one side of the lower quality innertube. Tape one end of the tube to the end of the handle and start wrapping it, making sure to keep constant tension on the tube so that it doesn't come loose.
When you reach the end of the handle, do several more wraps around the end with at least 1cm of the tube overhanging the end of the handle (this will stop the handle rubbing on the resistance band), then work your way back along the handle giving it a second layer and repeat the overhanging layers at the other end of the handle. Cut off any excess innertube and secure with tape.
You should now have something that looks similar to the last picture.
Step 2: The Resistance Band
The last step is to slide both ends of the larger innertube onto the ends of the handle and secure it in place with tape. The fact that the resistance band tube will be pulled at a right-angle to the handle during the exercises means that there shouldn't be any risk of it coming loose - this is because of how well innertube grips to itself.
During this time of Covid-19 and social isolation, I know a lot of people are missing the gym, and although this isn't at all as useful as a full home gym, it is certainly helpful for preventing atrophy and keeping somewhat in shape until the gyms are open again.
I am posting several other home workout equipment tutorials right now so feel free to check them out too for some further ways to keep in training while at home.
Another point to note is that if you want to make one with higher resistance, simply make the tube double-thickness by threading another one through it before you attach it to the handle. In general this seems to work best for high volume hypertrophy-based workouts and accessory work, although it is definitely possible to train for strength with these.
In terms of the exercises you can do with these, I would recommend checking out some online examples of resistance band workouts as they will go into a lot more detail than I would be able to here. I was going to link a video of me demonstrating some exercises but today of all days I managed to hurt my neck pretty badly so unfortunately I havn't been able to.
Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and find it useful; if you do, please consider voting for me, and check out my other entries, in the Exercise Speed Challenge :-)
Stay safe and keep training!
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