Ever been stuck inside a closet?
The other week I went back home to visit my parents and walked into my old room to find everything missing.
My little sister shifted all the contents to a walk-in closet upstairs.
My room was no longer in existence. It was replaced with shades of purple and an extensive collection of hair products.
As I ventured into the closet upstairs to claim my belongings, I was overwhelmed by the space (not the one pictured above, unfortunately).
My child-like imagination instantly took over.
What if I got stuck in here forever? What if I couldn’t get out? How in the world would I get my workouts done?
Serious questions, I know.
But the entire scenario does bring home a very important point.
It shines light on the fact that it is absolutely possible to build incredible endurance even if you had very little room to work with. With the right tools (and skills) in hand, you can put together workouts to elevate your heart rate and engage your muscles in powerful ways without the need for much real estate.
Pretty crazy concept if you think about it.
It’s refreshing to know that running is not the only option, right?
This post explores this topic. Let’s begin.
Short Story: How I prepared for a 21km Spartan Race without moving
Earlier this year, I completed my very first Spartan Race.
For those who haven’t heard about the Spartan race, it’s an obstacle style course roughly 21km in length. Most of the terrain is up and down steep ski slopes and the course is infused with 25+ challenging obstacles.
The run is timed, so the idea is to finish it as quickly as you can.
21km is no joke. That’s just about half a marathon. Only with steep hills. And for a non-runner like myself, it was somewhat intimidating.
The truth is that I absolutely hate running. It bores me death.
I forced myself to do two short (3km) runs before this behemoth of a race just to get my legs ready for the pounding, but even that was a mental struggle. Did I mention I hate running?
So here’s what I did instead…
The majority of my preparation was built around kettlebell, jump rope, and bodyweight training.
95% of my training for the race revolved around activities that only required enough room to fit a small coffee table.
Kind of ironic when you really think about it.
But it worked.
I managed to finish the race in 4:46 minutes – a full hour and 15 minutes ahead of the average overall time.
Nothing crazy there, but that time put me in the top 20% of all 1387 participants in the race.
Not so bad for someone who hates running.
A Different Approach
My Spartan story isn’t meant to deter you from running.
If you enjoy running, then go for it.
But the point I’m trying to make is that it’s not the only option you have.
Sometimes I’ll be driving in the dead middle of winter and see one or two lunatics running around the block in -25 degree Celsius. I admire the dedication, but the approach is just awful. There are better ways.
There are a number of tools and exercises that allow you to build endurance and aerobic capacity without the need for a lot of real estate.
Tools like the kettlebell, jump rope, barbell, and your own bodyweight offer plenty of exercise options for developing bulletproof endurance.
With these simple tools you are able craft a variety of metabolic conditioning workouts that will elevate your heart rate and engage multiple muscle groups at a time without ever having to leave your designated spot on the floor.
Personally, a good chunk of my workouts revolve around full-body, high repetition, dynamic exercises like kettlebell swings and snatches, heavy jump rope single unders or speed rope double unders, and bodyweight exercises like burpees and mountain climbers.
Here’s an example of a workout I did not too long ago:
Click play to watch the video.
Notice how little space is required for something like this.
I could literally do this workout in my closet if I wanted to. But my mom would probably kill me.
You have access to a wide variety of exercises that can help you build incredible endurance without the need for much space at all. You just have to use your imagination and learn how to maximize your resources.
How to Get Started
There are numerous tools and exercises you can use as you start looking for ways to build endurance in your closet zone.
The following are five of my favorite exercises you can get started with. There are many more, but I’ve had the most success with the following:
- The jump rope double under
- The heavy jump rope single under
- The kettlebell swing
- The burpee
- The mountain climber
With these five exercises, you could easily put together some killer workouts in your closet, in your basement, in your living room, or even in your hotel room when you’re traveling.
Let me hook you up with some useful resources to get your started.
Here are some resources to get you started with each of these:
If you’re looking to improve your jump rope technique, then take a look at the free Jump Rope Crash Course I’ve created to help you get the basics down. It covers everything you need to get started and gives you some advanced resources as you develop your skills.
If you’re looking to get started with kettlebell training, check out Kettlebell Ninja. This is the ultimate kettlebell training program for beginners. It will give you everything you need to get started with kettlebells and will help you progress to the more advanced kettlebell exercises like swings, squats, and presses.
If you want to maximize your bodyweight training results, then check out Funk Robert’s 50 Shades of Burpees program. This is an incredible guide that will show you how to get the most from this one single bodyweight exercise.
The point of this article is rather simple: if you’re looking to build endurance and stamina, running is not the only tool in the toolbox.
You have other options available to you. Options that don’t require much physical space at all.
Simple fitness tools like the kettlebell, jump rope, and even just your own bodyweight give you the opportunity to train without ever having to leave your closet. This gives you the chance to train even when you’re limited by space or weather conditions.
You must learn how to use your imagination and do what you can to maximize your resources.