MacGyver was the super agent who could solve complex problems with the basic materials he had at hand. So, how would he get a good workout if he had little to NO equipment?

Olympic Coach Jim Schmidt used to show us some of the best videos ever. Stuff he’d taken himself or stuff he acquired from others on his trips through foreign countries during  his competitive days.  Old school videos, hard to find film really, of athletes doing old school workouts. The videos were shot in black and white, held by a shaky hand, and filmed either in 8 or 16 mm and then transferred to VHS tape.

I enjoyed looking at these things. He had a large pile of them in his gym. One of the more memorable videos showed bare-chested Lithuanian Olympic style lifters running through the snow. 10 or so, gathered in a ring by the side of a frozen river, and they began to toss tree logs around the ring. One by one, they formed a line, and leaped over a small boulder and tumbled into the snow. Then they rose and began to do upside-down, handstand pushup in the snow. They leaned their legs onto the length of a tree, while their partner waited his turn.

The picture in this article shows me dressed in filthy clothing at a dusty OP (Observation Post) about to lift some weights. At least we had weights. Some guys on deployment have nothing to work with at all. A big thanks to the bright soldier(s) (whoever you are) who had the sense to place weight plates in a ruck and bring them along to our location. Over time, the amount of equipment available to us increased. You got a great workout simply by doing a higher amount of reps.

In a lousy gym in Ireland I had to work with the lousy equipment the place had. By day it was a community center, and by night they moved the weights away and it became a disco/pub for the locals. Too funny to me. We had to make do with a mishmash of kilos and pounds, weight bars and a lack of weight collars. Everything had been donated to the center. Nothing ever balanced out right so your best workout came by supplementing your lifting with calisthenics.

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