Raise your hand if you’re still forced to train at home and feel your gainz disappearing?
I am confident no one following #ThirdMonkey training has their hand up right about now.
Way back when COVID closures kicked off, we introduced an at-home training program called Third Monkey which evolved into a complete strength and conditioning program we deliver through TrainHeroic. With $50 of equipment pieced together from Home Depot, we created at-home weight training sessions with no barbells, dumbbells, or any other sweet piece of action locked away at your old gym.
If your hand is still up, it is probably getting tired. Clearly your fitness fix has been surviving bodyweight bootcamps, Insta-yoga sessions, and maybe even dusted off the old running shoes. But you feel soft and part of you misses the strain and comforting discomfort the barbell provided. There’s a part of you that is still a motivated person and you’re thinking home gym. I support your decision. As you begin to price out a home gym, let’s aim to train and start getting your strength back now.
If you’re just finding Third Monkey, bring it in for an elbow bump. We pull several different levers than the programs or camps you’ve been following to keep training intentional, driving results, and keeping your immune system bolstering forces for your triumphant return to social life.
This article will introduce a small sample of the movements and training tools we apply in our training program, Third Monkey. A full $50 equipment list is provided below along with a link to a 7-day risk free trial of the program.
Strength Movement Set Up
A sandbag or bucket can only have the capacity to hold so much weight. In order to continue to challenge your ability to move and increase your strength, we can make minor adjustments to how you set up your body for a movement. These adjustments go a long way when strength movements like the ones below because they target limitations in your body that can hide when you’re underneath a barbell.
These are just two examples of nearly a dozen different foot positions Third Monkey utilizes for strength training to target feet, calf, hamstring and glute strength, as well as target improving the health of your Achilles, knees and hips. A 60lb bucket of concrete feels a hell of a lot heavier when you’re forced to use your weak feet in a way you neglected with your globo way of training.
Strength Movement Execution
Movement selection and set up is one thing, but how you move is another lever we can pull to make light loads more fruitful. Examples you’ll find in the program include tempo contractions, partial range of motion sets, and my personal favorite, blood flow restriction (BFR) without the cuffs.
Keeping the budget under $50, no restriction cuffs are needed to reap (some of) the benefits of the highly researched BFR training. Holding a squat position, hovering in a push up position, and loading up in a rack position are ways we use this tool in Third Monkey. BFR allows you to drive more blood to the muscle through the arterial circulation but its exit or venous circulation is restricted. Proposed mechanisms at work include an increase in fast-twitch fiber recruitment, elevation of free testosterone, and increased growth hormone secretion we’re aiming to take advantage of and pair up with big pumps during our strength training on Third Monkey. We did an epic podcast with Dr. Keith Baar where he explains the benefits of BFR and is linked below.
Strength Through Space
Not just the final frontier, also a key component of developing athleticism. One of the first things covered (and equally forgotten) in any anatomy book are the planes of motion: Sagittal – Frontal – Transverse.
A plane of motion is an imaginary two-dimensional surface through which a limb or body segment is moved. If you have never done a Power Athlete program, there is a high chance the majority of the movements you do in your workouts are through the sagittal plane. Think deadlifts, burpees, pull ups or any movement you can execute in a door frame. While these will get you strong and fit, neglecting the other two planes potentially increases your risk for injury and decreases your athleticism.
Third Monkey hits all planes of motion in each day of training adding weights, in the form of cinder blocks or buckets of concrete, to protect you from injury and empower your performance.
Empower Your Performance: No Gym Needed
Do not let the lack of access to a gym or lack of equipment at home be your excuse for not training the way you enjoy. Third Monkey is heavy, hard, fast training that finds creative ways to target strength and athletic development. Plus, the community and personality that is developing within the team on the feeds is a great time.
Weight training is extremely important not only for fighting off physical and health decline. Not to mention the mental health benefits. Third Monkey is not a bodyweight bootcamp. We present challenging tasks with movements you’re not good at making training something to aim for again. Third Monkey has inherent goals built into the program to keep you stressing and progressing your strength, body and mind, taking you where you cannot take yourself.
The $50 Third Monkey Gym
- 2 x 80lb bag of Quickcrete – $3.90 ea*
- 2 x 5 gallon bucket – $3.25 ea
- 2 x Bucket Lid – $1.65 ea*
- 6 x 16x8x8 Cinder Block – $1.68 ea
- 4 x 48in HDX Standard Bungee – $1.77 ea
- 1 x 8′ Keeper Ratchet Tie Down – $9.97 ea
- 4 x Carpet Sample – $1.00
NOTE: these are FREE at carpet department in-store* Quickcrete contains silica which you shouldn’t inhale, so wear a mask when you fill your bucket, and make sure your lid is on tight.
PODCAST: PA RADIO – EP 352: Dr. Keith Baar Engineers Tissue
EDU: Power Athlete Methodology
BLOG: Here’s How to Select Your Training Program by Tex McQuilkin
BLOG: How to Prepare High Schools for Fall Sports Post COVID by Tex McQuilkin
John Welbourn is CEO of Power Athlete and Fuse Move. He is also creator of the online training phenomena, Johnnie WOD. He is a 9 year veteran of the NFL. John was drafted with the 97th pick in 1999 NFL Draft and went on to be a starter for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1999-2003, appearing in 3 NFC Championship games, and for starter for the Kansas City Chiefs from 2004-2007. In 2008, he played with the New England Patriots until an injury ended his season early with him retiring in 2009. Over the course of his career, John has started over 100 games and has 10 play-off appearances. He was a four year lettermen while playing football at the University of California at Berkeley. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in Rhetoric in 1998. John has worked with the MLB, NFL, NHL, Olympic athletes and Military. He travels the world lecturing on performance and nutrition for Power Athlete. You can catch up with John as his personal blog on training, food and life, Talk To Me Johnnie and at Power Athlete.
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