August 24, 2023

Tools matter

Why the tool matters. Here is a timeline of when we first introduced different tools in our gym:

Resistance bands 
Bumper plates
Pull up bars




Squat racks
Push up handles
Ab wheel


Centre mass bells
Swiss bars
Split squat stands


Peg board
Lat pull-down handle
Open back trap bars


Plyoboxes/ stools
Dip stands
Stirrup handles
Compact flange plates
Belt squat stand


Training bars
Glute ham rigs
Pivot arm attachment


Farmers carry handles
Slide board


Weight vests
Push/pull rigs
Squat slant board


Landmine and pulley row attachments
Belt squat
Lever squat
Back extension rigs
Neutral grip deadlift bars
Safety squat bars
Air bikes (from Octane Fitness)
Quad extension

There are 44 different objects in our gym that let clients interact with an external object to get stronger. It’s actually 45. 

No. 45 is you .

The most interesting thing about training is how you learn to use your body to pick up things, jump, land, crawl, lift, throw and just move efficiently. You do this because your body can do these things. The decline of physical capacity is not inevitable. 

Physical decline is a self inflicted wound from an unwillingness to do inconvenient things. 

Why do we have so many objects in our gym? Great results have been achieved with a lot less. 

But as our client base grows and we spend more time in the coaching trenches, having more tools makes it simpler for coaches and clients to get more value for their time, effort and energy. 

Every tool is comfortable in its own way. It can help you work around constraints, injury and fatigue. You can also load a move more effectively and efficiently factoring for limb and torso proportions. 

Constraints: Do you have dodgy backs, sore tendons or a sensitive wrist or shoulders? There is a tool that can help you start moving without pain and build up tolerance and capacity to move more freely. Often racking a dumbbell or kettlebell can be the limiting factor in building a better squat. 

Obsessing over the versatility of a tool is the enemy of doing a move well. 

Comfort: Some people prefer how a swiss bar feels vis-a-vis a barbell. Others squat better with a safety squat bar versus a barbell. Folks with back problems are more comfortable with a belt squat or GHR. More tools means the ability to chart the smoothest course for a client who is just starting out on their strength training journey. 

Leverages: There are no fewer than 20 ways to squat. Throw in different stances, bars, slide or slant boards etc, you have at least 100 different ways to squat. Each subtly different from the other. I am not arguing you need all the tools. After all squatting is squatting. You sit down with your feet firmly planted and stand back up. But sometimes being in a big playground with many toys can be a lot of fun.

About Adarsh

- I run a strength and conditioning facility in Chennai, India
- I work with my clients to make training and eating for better body composition a part of everyday life
- I coach online and in-person
- I design and manufacture strength training equipment for use in our strength training facility