The DIY Grind-Straps Portable Calisthenics Gym

The DIY Grind-Straps Portable Calisthenics Gym

    The DIY Grind-Straps Portable
    Calisthenics Gym

    Throughout this book, I've been mentioning a piece of equipment called
    Grind Straps. Grind Straps are the latest iteration in a long line of DIY
    calisthenics home gym projects I've been working on since the start of my
    bodyweight training career.
    Over the years, I've created many different designs, including some that are
    made out of rope that I gave instructions for in Smart Bodyweight Training.
    These Grind Straps return back to the use of nylon straps for easy assembly,
    set up and portability. They also incorporate several anchoring advantages as
    you shall see.
    In many ways, these Grind Straps are the pinnacle of my designs. They are
    the simplest, easiest to use, most versatile and most portable set up I have
    created. But before I go into showing off their features and easy assembly, let
    me made a few things clear.
    The design that I'm sharing with you has not been tested, nor can I promise it
    will always hold up to adverse conditions. Some of the modifications I'll
    mention will minimize the risk of breaking but, as with all DIY projects,
    there's always more risk involved with using them compared to a
    commercially available product. This also goes for any modifications or
    adjustments you may wish to make to the system. I always encourage folks to
    modify the design to suit their needs but know that such changes may
    increase the risk of something going wrong.
    Second, know that Grind Straps are not at all necessary for GSC training.
    You can use any other suspension trainer you like. You can also just use the
    floor and solid bars at the local playground.
    Okay, now that I’ve covered the incidentals let’s get into the design and set
    up of the Grind Straps.

    Why use Grind Straps?

    You don't have to make or use any sort of suspension trainer in GSC, but they
    do offer several big advantages. The first of which are these straps give you
    the freedom to adjust basic bodyweight exercises to your level of fitness. In
    some ways, they can make challenging exercises easier and more accessible.
    Incline rows and push-ups are a perfect example of this.
    The straps can also make basic exercises much more difficult and challenging
    for those who may consider bodyweight training to be too easy. The saw
    planks and strap dips are great examples of exercises that can challenge even
    seasoned athletes and exercise enthusiasts.
    Straps are also a flexible and adaptable tool which accommodates your
    personal preferences while providing valuable feedback on every rep. You no
    longer have to force your hands into a fixed position during pull-ups or rows
    since the handles will move however you wish. That same movement will let
    you know if your technique is starting to erode during a set or if there’s a
    discrepancy between your right and left side.
    Finally, Grind Straps are essentially a portable gym you can take anywhere.
    You’ll never be without a trusty pull-up or dip stand, even when traveling
    and can’t find a gym when on the road.
    Grind Straps assembly
    One of the advantages of Grind Straps is they are easy to build. Each strap
    only consists of three separate pieces, all of which are readily available.

    Cam Straps

    The main section of the system is a ¾ inch wide length of nylon strap with a
    sturdy cam buckle on one end.
    These straps are lightweight, easy to pack up, and take up a minimal amount
    of space. The length of each cam strap depends on your application, but a
    length of 15 feet is ideal in most cases. Lengths of 18-20+ feet are better if
    you're going to be hanging them from a support that's out of reach.
    You may be able to find the straps you need at a local hardware store.They give you a great
    price while offering custom strap lengths and colors to suit your preferences.

    PVC Handles

    You have a couple of options for the handles of your grind straps. The first
    option for DIY trainers is the use of PVC pipe. PVC is inexpensive and
    available in most any hardware store. You can select the diameter and length
    of the handle that suits you best.
    The downside of PVC is that you need to be precise in cutting it to length and
    make sure you smooth the edges to prevent abrasion into the straps. Even the
    slighted burr or rough edge can cut into your straps under load and
    compromise their strength.
    Never use a strap that’s frayed or showing signs of
    I recommend cutting each length with a small tooth saw for the smoothest cut
    possible. You can then use fine grit sandpaper to smooth down the edges of
    each handle. Foam sand blocks are also helpful since they flex and adjust to
    the contours of the PVC tube.
    Some people like to wrap their handles in hockey tape, but I've found this can
    get sticky and collect dirt over time. My solution isn't to use any sort of tape
    or wrapping at all. Instead, I score each handle with the tip of a razor blade
    down the full length of the handle. Doing this creates a slight ridge in the
    plastic, which is perfect for a firm, yet comfortable, grip.
    Commercial handles
    A slightly more expensive, but professional option is to buy a set of
    commercial weight machine handles and remove the nylon strap. This costs
    more, but you’ll end up with a handle that’s designed to move against the
    straps while providing a comfortable grip texture.
    You can find handles on the internet or a specialty exercise equipment store. I
    use the plastic handles off of the D-handles from Inspire Fitness.
    Door anchor
    Lastly, Grind Straps have a built-in door anchor attachment. This attachment
    is a minimalist way to hang your straps from a sturdy door frame, like in a
    These door anchors are a durable rubber material which is actually a length of
    fuel hose you can pick up at local hardware or automotive repair shop. You'll
    typically purchase a foot length of tube for less than two dollars, and cut it
    into one-inch lengths, one for each strap. 3/4" width fuel hose works best.
    Grind Straps set up

    Anchoring your straps

    Grind Straps can be anchored three different ways depending on your
    situation. The first option is to create a loop that you throw over a bar and
    then feed the strap through the loop on the other side.
    This type of anchor is ideal for indoor use where you have something like a
    pull-up bar or similar support within reach. This anchor allows the handles to
    twist and rotate freely. It also grips the bar so the strap won't slide to the side
    during exercises like chest flys.
    The second option is to throw the cam buckle over the support and attach it to
    the other end of the strap. This anchoring solution is the fastest and easiest
    way to hang up your straps, and it's ideal for hanging from supports that are
    out of reach.
    The disadvantage of this anchor style is it doesn't allow the handles to twist
    or rotate as freely, especially during exercises like pull-ups where the handles
    are close to the anchor point. This setup will also slide along the support if
    you place enough lateral force on the handles.
    The third anchor point is to use the door attachment I mentioned earlier. To
    use the door anchor, slide the rubber stopper about 4 inches away from the
    cam buckle and fold the strap over. Do the same thing on the other strap and
    throw the straps over a sturdy door. Close the door and pull the strap taught
    to secure the anchor point.
    Ideally, you should be pulling against the door in the same direction you
    would close it. This ensures the resistance of your body is supported by the
    whole door frame. Pulling against the door in the opening direction is usually
    fine, but you have a lot less support since you're only being supported by the
    door handle mechanism. If possible, lock the door with a deadbolt and set up
    your straps closer to the hinge side of the door for additional support.

    Handle set up

    Grind Straps use two different handle setups. The first is the most
    straightforward and easiest to use. Just run the end of the strap through the
    handle and feed it through the cam buckle.
    The second option gives you a set of foot slings and locks the handle in place
    so it won’t tilt under pressure. It’s still pretty easy as you just feed the strap
    through the handle twice before running it through the cam buckle.
    Keep in mind that setting up your handles with the foot sling does add an
    extra step when adjusting the height of the handles. With the first set up, you
    just push the button on the cam buckle and pull on the strap to make the
    handles higher or lower. If you’re using the foot sling version, the handle will
    stay in place along the strap so you’ll need to slide the handle along the strap
    while making your adjustments.
    Setting up your straps for use
    Grind Straps allow for a variety of both vertical and horizontal adjustments
    so you can create the optimal setup for any exercise. For the most part, there
    are three primary positions you’ll be using for both vertical and horizontal

    Horizontal adjustments

    The three horizontal adjustments are close, shoulder width, and wide. The
    close anchor position is ideal for exercises that involve pulling the straps
    apart like during rear deltoid flys or hip abductions. The close position gives
    you more resistance as you pull the ends of the straps apart since the narrow
    anchor point makes the handles naturally fall together.
    The shoulder width or medium anchor point set up is ideal for most of your
    exercises like push-ups, dips, pull-ups, and planks.
    Wide anchor points are seldom used, but it does come in handy for exercises
    that involve pulling the handles closer together. Chest flys are a prime
    example for this setup since the wider anchor points do the opposite of the
    narrow and use gravity to resist pulling the handles together.

    Vertical adjustments

    The three vertical adjustments include floor level, naval height, and overhead
    reach. The floor height setting is perfect for all three support chain exercises,
    hamstring curls, and push-ups. Naval height is usually the ideal height for
    exercises like jackknife pull-ups and dips. Lastly, overhead reach heights are
    great for pull-ups and any other form of hanging work.
    All of these adjustments are general guidelines and you may wish to make
    your own adjustments as you see fit. Don't feel like you always have to use
    these heights. Sometimes, you may not be able to have your straps close
    together, or wide apart due to your environment. You may also not be able to
    bring your handles all the way to the floor or above you. In these cases, it
    pays to be creative and adapt your technique to your available setup.
    Above all, be creative with your set up and workout space. All environments
    have their pros and cons, so don't get too caught up in getting everything
    perfect, especially if you're traveling or in unfamiliar settings. Just be aware
    of your surroundings for potential hazards to the straps or yourself. Most
    importantly, have fun!


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