T Nation

Limited Gear


I am a long time reader of the forum in general and I have a question for you guys. I know you guys get a lot of questions about different workouts and different routines. Well this is one of those questions but I need your creativity on this one........
I am 23 years old looking to improve my overall health and increase my strength. I am soon to be deployed and would like help on how to continue working out. One of the biggest obstacles is that I am stationed on a submarine, so equipment is pretty much out the window.

On my last deployment I made some decent progress from where I started but not very much progress at all considering I was gone for 6 months. As far as equipment goes this is what we have: 1 treadmill, 1 stationary bike, 1 adjustable bench, and one set of 85lb power blocks. Recently I've gathered up some more equipment like a pull up bar, resistance bands, sand bags, and a belt for weighted dips.

Our days are pretty different too, no one day being the same as the next. They are also 18 hours long in which I have to cram everything into. Fitness isn't really a priority when we go out on deployment due to the lack of material, but I am determined not only to stay fit but increase my strength and muscle mass while I am gone!

Thanks for you Help,



Pushups, dips, and pull ups will be your best friends. For weighted push ups you could ask for a body or band those sand bags onto yourself. For weighted dips and pull ups you said you have a belt, so there you go. Good luck.


Bands will be your best friend in a situation like that. Which ones did you get?

Get some 1/4" steel rod stock and a couple pieces of tube steel that will fit over it. Fashion band holders that clip onto the handles of the powerblocks. The tube will be easier on your bands, and will help keep the tension even. I'm about to build a pair of these myself.

I got the full set of short bands from EFS. If I were in your shoes, I'd buy the full set of long ones, too. With dumbbells, bench, bands and a handful of ingenuity (and extra food however you can get it), you should be able to make gains just fine.


Thanks for the advice.

I got these TRX bands from Sports Authority last year, the worked ok for last deployment but are pretty junky if you ask me. I also just stashed away an EZ Bar and some weights. I am looking to add a 5 foot olympic bar and use the EFS Bands for added tension on squats, dead lifts, and bench.

An interesting challenge that you probably wont find any where else is trying to bench when the boat is doing random 15 degree down and up angles for fun. Talk about a hairy situation lol.

Any more ideas guys? Again thanks for all the help so far.



The great thing about the bands is they don't carry much inertia at all, but can provide a hell of a lot of tension. So lifting when the boat's a-rockin shouldn't be a problem.

Of course, having that kind of a load without any mass to stabilize it has its downside, too. The bar is harder to keep in the groove and it can get moving very fast very quickly if your grip slips.


In addition to what's been said, you might want to check out these limited equipment-based articles for some general training ideas:
The One Dumbbell Workout:

The MacGyver Workout:

The Best Exercise You're Not Doing:
(Working up to an 85-pound Turkish Get-up would be a great all-around conditioner.)

Between the bands, dumbbells, sandbag, and bodyweight stuff, you should definitely have enough resources at your disposal to stay on track.