DIY Barn Gym to Keep Your Body and Wallet Fit

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Equestrians are low on two things: cash and time. A monthly gym membership may not be an option because of proximity or cost. Considering the time spent driving there, working out, changing clothes, and scoping out the best shower, going to the gym quickly becomes an extra burden. This, in large part, is why many people struggle to get into the habit of daily fitness. Some people need the external motivator of actually going to the gym to work out, but there are many options for an at home/in barn gym workout. In my opinion, every barn should have an allocated space for the humans to exercise!

Barn aisleways provide an excellent area for walking-type exercises (lunges, squats, inchworms, bounding), and with the help of a yoga mat, any place with even ground is suitable for setting up shop. This goes for in-house workouts, too! You can do a lot within the space of a yoga mat, or if you’re really a penny pincher, a beach towel!

Equipment-wise, you can save money and avoid buying portable weights by making your own! Four-liter milk jugs or water jugs work as excellent substitutes. The best thing? You can adjust the weight as you need and hydrate at the same time. A full four-liter jug weighs approximately 15 pounds. Two jugs full of water or sand are great additions to your DIY gym.

For those of you working out in the barn, buckets of water are also great adjustable training tools. You may get wet, but adding these to lunges, squats, or arm workouts is a simple and cheap way to add some weight to your workout. Bales of hay, straw, or shavings can be used as steps/boxes for plyometric work (jump up, jump down, jump around), or if you don’t mind some heavy lifting (and have been taught the proper form) you can also use bales to do basic deadlifts. At home, you can use a stool for step-ups.

If you like having a workout to follow, there are some excellent YouTube channels dedicated to recreating bootcamp style workouts, Zumba, or yoga. My favorite yoga app is the DownDog app, which is completely free (monthly membership for some enhanced features is around $5). I also like the Nike Training app. If you’re looking for something a little more specific to your goals, many personal trainers are now beginning to offer online training options at a fraction of their in-person rates. As a trainer, I use the website/app called Trainerize for this purpose, and I offer programming and monthly memberships.

Staying in shape doesn’t have to expensive, and since most of our money is tied up in horses, these tips will keep both you and your wallet fit!

Kathlyn Hossack

A long time equestrian, holder of a BSc. in Kinesiology, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, I specialise in helping riders (and all sorts of athletes) understand their bodies and improve their movement potential.

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