Fighting. Training. Mindset.

Complete Guide to Home Gym Equipment for Fight Training (Old School)

Training
April 03, 2023

Old school training is the best training.

Functional, gritty, simple and most importantly - effective.

But you need the right equipment for this.

It'll probably take you few years to acquire all the gear you need to solo train with. So start as soon as possible.

Here is what I have and recommend.

At the end of the post I will list what you should start with first.

Quick Full List

Full list before I break everything down.

  • Bodyweight and weighted vest
  • Ab wheel and power wheel
  • Pull-up bar
  • Punching bags
  • Boxing Gloves
  • Kettlebells
  • Jump rope
  • Regular rope
  • Metal hand grips
  • Tennis ball with elastic band (reflex ball)
  • Sandbag for head movement (slip bag)
  • Tires
  • Battling ropes
  • Sandbag
  • Barbell
  • Old heavy bags
  • Dumbbells
  • Neck harness
  • Gymnastic rings
  • Resistance bands
  • Slam ball

Video Breakdown

Bodyweight and Weighted Vest

Piece of equipment you already own and carry with you everywhere - your body. It's also the only thing you can rely on in a fight.

Start training it.

You need to master bodyweight exercises such as push-ups, handstand push-ups, pull-ups, jump squats, single leg squats, burpees, muscle-ups, hanging leg raises, dips and ring dips.

The one downside of bodyweight is the volume you will have to do once you are strong enough. But you can make it difficult again with a weighted vest.

Start with 20lb vest. This is the weighted vest I use:

The Gold's Gym vest is old and hard to find but Cap 20lb Weighted Vest is similar to the one I have.

I also have adjustable weighted vest that goes up to 70lbs. I used this for long hikes and for low rep bodyweight work.

Additionally you can add the weighted vest when working footwork, shadow box and even bag work but don't do a lot of this.

Ab Wheel and Power Wheel

Ab wheel is underrated and underused. It will expose your body weaknesses quickly.

If you can do standing ab wheel rollout you have serious core strength.

Ab wheels are very cheap, durable and highly functional.

Be careful. They could mess up your lower back if you don't have the body strength to pull it off. Start with knee rollouts.

Power wheel is another addition to the ab wheel but for your legs. Get the ab wheel first before the power wheel.

Pull-Up Bar

Pull-up bar is one piece of training equipment you absolutely must have. If you want unbreakable grip and ability to squeeze in clinch and choke, you need to do pull-ups.

There are many different variations you can do. Standard pull-ups, wide or narrow grip, towel pull-ups and even chin-ups. You can also do hangning leg raises and other various core exercises. You can hang rings off of the bar.

Now I have backyard pullup bar installed into the ground as well as one inside Both aren't easy solution to a pull-up bar.

However, there are pull-up bars you can use to non-destructively and install between your doorway. Such as this Iron Gym Pull-Up Bar.

You need to do pull-ups on regular basis. If you have the space for outside pull-up bar then you need to work your way up to doing muscle-ups as well.

Punching Bags

No fighter's gym is complete without punching bags. It's how you get to train your power, speed, technique, combinations, footwork and distance.

Standard Banana Bag

Start with the standard 80+lb punching bag. Something you can punch, kick and knee.

Here is the bag I currently have and brand new as of 2023. It's an Everlast 100lb and was bought at Dick's Sporting Goods. Here is a comparable 100lb Filled Heavy Bag from Meister.

Before this new bag, I had this Everlast at 80lbs. It took a beating over last 8+ years so had to be replaced.

Body Snatcher Bag

Ideally you want to have a second bag - a Snatcher Bag. It's a 60lb+ round bag that allows you to work more angles, hooks and uppercuts. Something standard bags cannot provide. Here is the same Body Snatcher Bag I own. I've been punching it and kicking it for almost a decade and it is still going strong. This one has been extremely durable. Here is another comparable to the one I own and one I would buy - Prolast Wrecking Ball Body Snatcher Bag at 80lbs.

When shopping for a heavy punching bags, make sure you buy the ones that have been already filled. Don't buy unfilled as you would have to find old clothes and and to stuff the bag with.

Boxing Gloves

Boxing Gloves are another necessary item.

You will need these for drilling on the punching bag and for sparring.

I don’t have a favorite brand that I buy. I just get whatever is decent enough to get the job done. You’ll go through a lot of boxing gloves so I don’t believe you need to spend a lot of money on these.

Size of boxing gloves I like are 14-16oz. Heavier gloves will help to condition your shoulders and arms more due to the weight. Heavier gloves also have enough padding for you to spar with.

Eventually you want to NOT rely on boxing gloves as much to help you protect your hands. You want to condition your wrist and your fist to withstand the impact without having to always wrap your hands and put on boxing gloves. But how to do that is for another time.

But even with bare knuckle conditioning, you will still need a pair to wear for drilling.

The pair I’ve recently had were Everlast 16 Oz Boxing Glove. These lasted me about a year.

Current pair brand I’m using are Venum 16oz Boxing Gloves.

Kettlebells

Kettlebells are another essential piece of equipment you need to own.

KBs train your fight conditioning, dynamic functional movement and help develop a strong grip.

I started with Kettlebells in 2010 and I saw my conditioning, strength, power, explosiveness and overall grappling and striking drastically improve. I only wish I started using them earlier.

KBs are extremely versatile and you can do a lot of different exercises, routines and circuits with them.

I own 5 Kettlebells total so far:

I recommend to start with a pair of 25lbs or 35lbs. Get the basic movement down then get heavier KBs.

Last word about Kettlebells: Fedor trained with them. As many other fighters now do. It's all that needs to be said.

Jump Rope

Jump rope improves your footwork, rhythm and timing. Here is the jump-rope I have.

It trains you to stay light on the ball of your feet and helps to strengthen the tendons around your ankles which is essential for fighters.

With all these benefits you can't ignore jumping rope. It is also very cheap and small that can be taken with you when traveling.

Regular Rope

Simple piece of equipment that can be used for improving your head movement and develop fighter's conditioning.

There are two ways I implement this rope in training.

First way is for footwork and head movement. Tie the rope between two bars and work bob and weaver. Utilizing distance, footwork and striking combinations.

Second way is for conditioning. It's an old school Lion's Den cardio drill. Tie the rope at knee level between two bars. Then jump non-stop side to side, front to back and over under. Do this 10x each, one after another, rest for 60 seconds and repeat. Can be used within a circuit or as a finisher.

Metal Hand Grips

Metal hand grips are for supplemental work to train your grip anywhere and everywhere.

Do grip work while watching fights, driving, flying, walking, etc.

Squeeze for reps, for time or squeeze and hold.

I have 4 of these at different weight pressure: 150lbs, 200lbs, 250lbs and 300lbs.

Here is a full set of Metal Hand Grips starting from 100lbs to 350lbs.

Tennis Ball with Elastic Band (Reflex Ball)

Self-made reflex ball using a tennis ball with elastic band. Use this to train accuracy, precision, timing, head movement, reaction and speed.

I've made two training equipment out of this.

One is double-ended tennis ball with elastic band. I tie it to the top of the bar and bottom of a dumbbell. Then throw strikes. This will train your speed, accuracy and timing. See this post and video on how to create one yourself.

Second is a baseball hat with elastic band and tennis ball.

This will train your timing, accuracy, reaction speed and head movement. You punch the tennis ball and you have to keep punching or if you miss you have to avoid getting hit.

Elastic band I use is 1/4 inch and regular tennis balls. Both of these can be bought on Amazon. However there is a pre-made reflex ball you can also buy without having to make one.

Sandbag for Head Movement

Very simple piece of equipment that is extremely effective for head movement.

There are bags sold for this but you can make your own.

It's a small, light weight (5-8lbs) bag of sand hung by a rope. Couple of zip-lock bags full of sand then wrapped inside a t-shirt.

Hang the bag with a rope on a bar and push to let it swing back and forth as you bob, weave, duck and throw combinations at. You don't punch the bag but only use it for head movement.

If you don't want to build your own, you can buy one like this.

Tires

Use tires for flipping and sledgehammering.

Tire flips will develop brute explosive strength. You'll need this for explosive takedowns and clinch work. Tire flipping requires full body work to pick it up, similar movement to double leg or single leg. Also when you get the tire up to flip over, push it away in one violent force as if you are pushing someone else. Additionally, you can incorporate throwing some knees when you are picking the tire up.

Tire sledgehammer will develop your punching power.

Punching power never comes from your shoulders or arms. It always comes from the ground, feet, legs, hips and torso pivot. The hands are just the connection point of your power. Sledgehammer simulates that and helps you develop the KO power.

You can find large tires at auto body shops or junkyards. I got mine from an old tractor/semi tire shop. Tires were damaged, had nails and screws in them and multiple patches and are now waiting for the landfill. They were happy to give away the tires for free. We just had to find a way to transport them back to the house.

Extra exercises you can do with a tire are: tire jumps and back extension.

Battling Ropes

Battling ropes are used for anaerobic conditioning and endurance.

You can't half-ass battling ropes. You have to snap the ropes down to get a good wave arc so there is additional work on explosiveness.

Some ropes are thicker than others so it can additionally help strengthen your grip.

Rope I own are 40 feet and 1.5 inch diameter. Here is a similar rope.

Sandbag

Sandbags train your functional strength lifting and conditioning. It also helps to strengthen core, grip and explosive strength movements.

Another thing I like about sand bags is uneven load, making it harder to lift. Same weight sand bag will be more difficult to pick up than same weight of barbell. You have to balance the sandbag as you lift. You can also toss the sand bag on one shoulder, swing to the side and throw it around like a rag doll.

Go to Home Depot and buy 2x-50lb of play sand. Then buy lot of zip-lock bags and fill them all with sand. It will look like you have kilos of coke.

Then get a sand bag to put the zip-lock bags into. I found this one on Amazon which has been working great so far.

The only downside of sand bags is the limit of weight you can fit into one bag. Also makes it more difficult to do progressive overload as it makes it impractical to load and unload sand bags from the bag. But that's why you should also have a barbell.

Barbell

Barbell is an essential piece of equipment that will build brute strength.

You can go very heavy with a barbell, something that sandbags and kettlebells can't provide. So doing progressive overload is very easy.

With barbell I only stick with compound movements such as deadlifts, zercher squats, zercher lunges and rows. I used to do Olympic style lifts but stopped and only stick to compound exercises to lift heavy barbell off the ground.

I do some kind of barbell work once per week. Here is an Olympic barbell set that has everything you need.

Old Heavy Bags

Don't throw away your old punching bag. Use them for ground and pound and hip swings.

You can also use it as you would a sandbag. Pickup, carry, grip work carry as well as wrestling throws such as suplexes.

Dumbbells

After switching to Kettlebells, I've nearly removed dumbbells from training. But I haven't eliminated them.

Dumbbells are still great to train with for strength and muscle endurance. But for fight training, you need to start switching to Kettlebells over dumbells.

I only have few pairs of dumbells. 2x-35lbs and 2x-40lbs.

Neck Harness

Train your neck to minimize getting chocked out and knocked out.

Best neck training is done through grappling and wrestling. But you also need to do supplemental work. One of the tools to do this is a neck harness.

I use this periodically to strengthen my neck. Just hang a kettlebell on the end and do forward extension and back flexion. This is the neck harness I have.

Gymnastic Rings

Gymnastics rings are very difficult to do due to the instability. But it's because of this instability that helps you build raw upper body strength.

Rings are very verstatile. You can do dips, pull-ups, pulls, pushups and variety of static holds.

Gymnasts are known to have unbelievable upper body strength and they work the rings all the time. You need to do the same. Here are similar rings I use.

Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are great for leg work to strengthen the inner thigh muscles you use in kicking and grappling. You can also use these bands for additional resistance in punching and throws. Here are similar resistance bands I use.

Slam Ball

Slam ball will train your explosiveness, core and conditioning. Also similar to sledgehammer, slam ball helps to develop punching power.

I like incorporating slam ball training within a circuit to work fight cardio. Here is a similar 20lb slamball I use.

What Should You Start With

It'll probably take you few years to acquire all the gear you need to solo train with. So start as soon as possible.

Here is what I recommend you to begin with:

  • Punching bag (standard or wrecking ball body snatcher)
  • Pull-up bar
  • Kettlebells
  • Jump Rope
  • Gymnastic Rings
  • Barbell

Fight Training From Home Programs/Courses

Fight Training From Home Programs/Courses

Whether you are a professional or a beginner, you'll be spending majority of your life training solo (from home or on the road). Working on technique, drilling, developing strength and cardio. I've been training all my life. Here are some of the best programs and courses to start or continue fight training from home.


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