T Nation

Log Clean-N-Press

Hi guys,

I don’t post much in these parts. Brief background, I’ve dabbled in assorted strength sports over the years (primarily PL and Oly lifting from age 13-22 as a football player), a bout as an endurance athlete for about five years after that, returned to strength training early 2014. I do most of my work at home with kettlebells, and I’m contemplating a kettlebell sport competition for fun later this year.

Now, why I’m here. My favorite exercise has always been the clean and press, first the barbell version in my early years, and of late the one-hand version with a kettlebell.

I am seriously contemplating the purchase of a log. I think adding some heavy log clean and presses to my routine would add a dimension to my training that I would really enjoy. I have been able to push myself reasonably well with my heaviest KB but think I would enjoy adding a heavy bilateral pressing exercise. I realize that the log clean is rather different from a barbell; it’s something I would still like to learn and pursue, not for competition’s sake, just for fun. The power to lift something heavy from the ground overhead…it’s just a great feeling.

For the time being, my space is limited, as I live in an apartment and have fairly little space (part of the reason I have been so enthused about kettlebell training of late is that it requires little space and all my KB’s can be stashed under my bed when I am not using them). I would probably take the log and a set of bumper plates outside (there is a nice flat driveway next to my building where I could use it - I already take a few KB’s out there when the weather is nice enough to lift outside).

I realize this seems like a bit of an odd/luxury purchase as I could potentially get more bang for my buck from some other purchases. While it’s a lot of money, I always view stuff like this as a lifetime purchase (same with buying my KB’s; for a few hundred bucks I have a more-or-less indestructible collection of exercise equipment I will use for decades).

So: with all of that preamble out of the way, I am curious to hear experienced from guys that have bought their own logs, axels, etc. What places delivered really good stuff? Do you feel that you’ve really gotten bang for your buck? Would you buy it again? Is it worth a couple hundred bucks for a log (or a somewhat more modest purchase price for an axel) that I’ll have to haul outside every time I want to use it for the best few years until I’m ready to buy a house?

Thanks for any input. I’m not planning to rush into this, and I might wait a year or two until I’ve got my own place and can get more of a setup. Just curious to gather some information.

I feel that, for everything you described, a keg would be a better fit. Much smaller physical footprint, cheaper, fewer parts (no bumper plates needed), and the mechanics of a keg clean are similar to a log (for your purposes, both are much more about brutality than finesse). Very cheap to load/vary the weight as well, and can get plenty heavy.

As for your actual topic, my log at home is a Christian’s Fitness Factory dual handled 9" 32kg log. Wife got it for me as a birthday present 2 years ago, and I recently made a topic on increasing it’s diameter. It’s probably the cheapest log on the market, and it does the most basic job necessary. The dual handles are a terrible idea, because if you need to bail on a log your wrist can get caught and bad stuff can happen, and the handles have zero knurling so I had to cover them in athletic tape. The smaller diameter means it’s very hard to clean but easy to press compared to a larger log. I am glad I have it, because I have a log to train with, but if I had to do it all over again I’d get the pitbull 12" log.

You also mentioned if the modest price of an axle is worth it, and I say a milliontimes yes. The axle is one of the cheapest and most effective strongman tools out there. Get a 7.5’ length of 1.5" pipe and use some duct tape to make collars and you’re set.

Thanks very much for your reply.

I have to admit, obvious though it might be, a keg did not even cross my mind. That’s a very good suggestion, given the parameters I outlined (and thanks for taking the time to read it all).

As for the log description, I’ve seen your log in your…log, which is part of the reason I started considering this. Funny you should mention the dual handles, because in my perusal online, I’d seen some and thought “I really don’t think I’m a fan of those dual handles” to myself.

I do admit that either a log or axel still holds a lot of interest. The log because I like the idea of a neutral grip pressing implement, and the axel because it’s a cheap implement that would have a lot of utility (and again, is virtually indestructible; I like equipment that’s effectively a lifetime guarantee). But I will also mull over a keg purchase. One day, with more space, I may end up with all three, but that’s a little bit off as yet…I don’t exactly see myself taking up competitive strongman, but even doing my own “lite” version of strongman training would be an enjoyable compliment to my kettlebell work.

Again, Punisher, thanks a lot for the reply. Much obliged.

No worries, always happy to post. A keg is something I wish I got years ago, probably my favorite training toy at the moment. Along with cleaning and pressing, also a great tool for loaded carries. A sandbag is another incredibly versatile, low cost training tool. Ironmind has a “complete sandbag training course” that covers just about everything one can do with it. Cleaning and pressing it is terrible, but in a good way, haha.

One other note of caution on the log route. Apparently, the Rogue 10" log is terrible. Biggest complaints being that the handles are too far apart and too thick. It is incredibly well built and sturdy, but absolutely terrible to train with. Rogue apparently is fixing this with their 12" log, but just something to watch out for if you happen to find the 10" model cheap somewhere.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
One other note of caution on the log route. Apparently, the Rogue 10" log is terrible. Biggest complaints being that the handles are too far apart and too thick. It is incredibly well built and sturdy, but absolutely terrible to train with. Rogue apparently is fixing this with their 12" log, but just something to watch out for if you happen to find the 10" model cheap somewhere. [/quote]

Ah, thank you very much for the tip on this. I have purchased my kettlebells from Rogue and been very pleased with the products as well as their customer service, so I was tooling around on their site and, given enough time to my own devices, I might have ended up making impulse purchase. So I am glad that I have asked, and that you have relayed this to me about the Rogue log.

I’ll mull the keg and sandbag ideas. Another that’s slowly gaining favor inside my mind is the Rogue Stubby Axle (5’ long instead of 7’). The short length appeals to me for ease of storage and transportation, and the limited loading capacity (due to the short length, it has 8" loadable areas, which is probably enough to fit two big bumper plates plus a collar) is unlikely to be a factor in the short term, as I can’t imagine needing to load it with more than that for the time being.

I know that some clever DIY types would probably just buy a length of pipe, cut it to the length they wanted, and rig their own collars, but I’m a soft office worker with no real “tools” to my name except a simple hammer and a few wrenches, haha. And the cost of the Stubby Axle and accompanying collars is still much less than the log. I can obtain some bumpers from my dad on a trip home at some point (he still trains, but he’s got more bumpers than he needs in his advancing age; he might be persuaded to give me a set of 20kgs and 10kgs plus a few smaller plates), so that’s probably not a cost I’ll have to worry about.

Anyways, I’ve resolved to wait until I’ve saved a few bucks (mentioned in my training log, I would like to buy a ring for my fiance-in-waiting before I spend more money on fitness toys). But I really appreciate the input here, just a way to air out some ideas and see what other guys have felt about their strongman-equipment purchases.

I’ve never needed to cut my own length of pipe. Usually, someone at the hardware store has that job. Something to consider at least, but no harm in buying a well made axle. Best of luck in your purchases.

Yeah, I’m with him on the keg. They’re so primitive and versatile.

Did you guys just get your keg from a beer distributor? Or buy it elsewhere?

[quote]ActivitiesGuy wrote:
Did you guys just get your keg from a beer distributor? Or buy it elsewhere?[/quote]

I bought my keg from beveragefactory (they have a website, easy to figure out).

Keg ownership is tricky otherwise. You can “buy” a keg off someone on craigslist, but basically, unless that guy has a bill of ownership, he doesn’t own the keg. He bought beer, and the company sold him the beer and leased him the keg as a transport for the liquid. He paid a deposit on it and didn’t return it, which means the brewery still technically owns the keg.

The above happens a lot, so a lot of breweries are unwilling to sell you just a keg, because they are getting harder and harder to obtain. Some may be willing to see you a damaged/dented keg, which will work just fine.

All that said, it’s not like it’s the biggest crime in the world, but it explains WHY it’s so hard to just buy a keg. It took me like a month to find a website that would sell me a keg.

Regarding an axle.

As a general statement, since it varies a bit regionally, Home Depot and Lowes sell 1-1/2" pipe in 10’ sections. You can buy it there, and have it cut down there for free. You have to pay for the whole pipe even if it’s cut down. Somewhere in the $30-40 range for black pipe, a bit more for galvanized.

If you want a 5’ “stubby” axle, I’d just go ahead and get a 10’ piece cut in half. Eventually you can adapt it to a pair of farmers handles, if you’re so inclined.

As far as inside collars you can take a pair of cheap screw style collars, and just use a bolt with it. Or you can just roll on a bunch of tape and make a collar out of that. Typically you’ll want 12" for the plates.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

[quote]ActivitiesGuy wrote:
Did you guys just get your keg from a beer distributor? Or buy it elsewhere?[/quote]

I bought my keg from beveragefactory (they have a website, easy to figure out). [/quote]

Which size did you buy? I looked on that site and see they come in: 5, 7.75, 13.2 and 15.5 gallon sizes. Based purely on the pictures, the 15.5 gallon size is what I normally think of as a keg at a bar.

15.5 is a full keg, 7.5 is a half/pony keg. The halfs are used for keg toss, while the fulls are traditionally what is used for clean and press/carries.

Wanted to add that craigslist is probably the easiest way to go about getting a keg, especially depending on where you live.

Sorry this topic took such a weird turn ActivitiesGuy, haha.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Sorry this topic took such a weird turn ActivitiesGuy, haha.[/quote]

No apologies necessary. I started it with the title “log clean and press” but it really was kind of a way to banter “what training toys are useful for a kettlebell enthusiast with a passing interest in adding some Strongman stuff” and it honestly has been extremely useful.

I’ve resolved to hit a certain savings goal in my bank account before purchasing any of these toys, then reevaluate. I am leaning most strongly towards a Stubby Axle. And yes, LoRez, I will consider the cutting-a-length-of-pipe solution that you have mentioned!

I have the Rogue 10" Log and I like it a lot. As for my Axel, I gave a local welder the dimensions of my Texas power Bar and had him manufacture it to those specs (length, plate placement, etc.) For collars I use the Rogue, Red HG Steel Collars and they work great on all undersized bars (1.9" OD) best 50 bucks I could have spent. You cannot go wrong by having both to work with.