Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
30 Oct

Build Your Own Slosh Tube

2698490701 0d75e4b3beBut not with alcohol (save that for after the workout). Nope, I’m talking about working out with a slosh tube.

A slosh tube is a large PVC pipe filled with water and capped on the ends. It’s a surprisingly effective workout tool. Best of all, you can build one yourself for less than twenty bucks.

How to Do It

  1. Go to your local hardware store and buy a PVC pipe. You’ll want one at least 4 inches in diameter and 9-10 feet long. Buy caps for both ends. Make sure at least one of the caps is removable and rubber.
  2. Fill your pipe at least 1/2 full of water. It’s advised that you have one of the caps on at this point, unless you’re looking for the toughest exercise possible: one in futility.
  3. Cap it and get sloshed!

Building the thing is the easy part. Actually working out with it is deceptively difficult. You see, although the slosh tube only weighs about 40 pounds, those 40 pounds of water will be sloshing around inside the 10 foot long tube. Watch this video:

Note how easy the woman carries the tube upright when gravity’s keeping the water resting at the bottom. But when she tries to hold it horizontally she needs help just getting it to her shoulders. And therein lies the beauty of the slosh tube – the slightest imbalance sends the water sloshing to the opposite end of the tube. Weight isn’t just mass/poundage; it’s also based on momentum. Correcting that imbalance, fighting that momentum, is incredibly taxing on your core.

To look at the slosh tube from a Primal perspective, imagine you’ve just slain a huge anaconda. Dinner for a week. As you sling it over your shoulder for the trek back home, the thing starts going into death spasms. You’re trying to hold it while this huge muscular tube is whipping around. The weight’s being transferred back and forth. The thing finally dies, but you’ve just done a number on your abs. That’s (however inconceivable and unrealistic the scenario might be) what the slosh tube is trying to emulate.

Try just pressing it overhead and holding it. Inevitably, you’ll sway a bit and the water will start to slosh around. It sounds easy, but try holding it steady. Bet you can’t (on your first try).

Or, try a Zercher walk:

It sounds simple enough. Hold the pipe up to your chest and walk. Walk as far as you possibly can. And if you want added (unnecessary) challenge, walk on an uneven surface or up a hill. Try to make it at least twenty paces.

Use the slosh tube as a barbell. Try the bench press, deadlifts, squats, or even bicep curls. I guarantee exasperated sighs, furrowed brows, and the sorest muscles you’ve ever felt as you battle the laws of physics.

The slosh tube makes simple movements difficult. It makes you work hard for motions that you take for granted as a Primal fitness head. Even better, using a slosh tube doesn’t quite feel like a traditional workout. It’s fun and different. And isn’t that what effective workouts are all about? Tricking your body into performing hard work, and enjoying it?

Try experimenting with different sized slosh tubes. Maybe fill it 2/3 full of water, or make two 4 foot one-handed slosh tubes instead of one big one. Let’s hear from you guys. Any good slosh tube ideas? Any new workouts you’ve discovered using a slosh tube?

prizepony Flickr Photo (CC)

Further Reading:

The Prison Workout

Kettlebellin’ for Strength

Clubbells

The Sandbag Workout

Medicine Ball Workout

Hat Tip to Caveman Power

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Interesting. Seems like you need a lot of room for that, though. Can’t imagine anyone in a city being able to do anything with it. Smaller ones would probably be the way to go there.

    kurt wrote on October 30th, 2008
  2. That’s pretty funny. I agree on using the smaller ones. I don’t know where I’d keep a 10 foot long tube. I could use the smaller ones and walk around the neighborhood and not look too weird…

    Erin wrote on October 30th, 2008
  3. I know a swimmer who use to train with a smaller version of one of these (about 6 feet long). He would tread water while holding it above his head. I think I’ll try just picking it up for now though…

    Holly wrote on October 30th, 2008
  4. For those of us who live in colder climates, perhaps filling it with a 50-50 mix of anti-freeze and water would be a good idea for the winter months. Other wise it would be pretty simple to train with all winter, or really hard if it froze upright…

    Nick wrote on October 30th, 2008
    • A little late on this idea, but I think adding a lot of salt to the water is a little more environmentally friendly. …and maybe a bit more primal. ;)

      Roland wrote on July 22nd, 2009
  5. Another good tool for stabilizing unbalanced weight is a sandbag. Let’s see a post on a sandbag workout!

    Kat wrote on October 30th, 2008
  6. You got it, Kat!

    Aaron wrote on October 30th, 2008
  7. haha what a badass peice of workout equipment. Ive never seen those before

    Kelly Turner
    http://www.groundedfitness.com

    Grounded Fitness wrote on October 30th, 2008
  8. Simple, inexpensive, effective, awesome. My project for Saturday afternoon.

    MikeB wrote on October 30th, 2008
  9. Hey Mark,

    Interesting post. I’d be interested to hear you opinion on the following article: http://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/reu/reu_search.cfm .

    After reading the article, I might be eating quite a bit less red meat!

    Andy

    Andy wrote on October 31st, 2008
  10. Whoops, wrong link. Here’s the correct one:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/322/5902/659

    Andy wrote on October 31st, 2008
  11. I can personally attest to the effectiveness of the slosh tube. I like to couple a hard bout of sprints with some Zecher slosh tube lunges. I also like to do “see-saws” from an isolated lunge position. With the tube held as in the Zercher lunge,tilt (the tube) either right or left, then, just before the end of the tube hits the ground reverse direction EXPLOSIVELY. Repeat as many times as possible — don’t worry, it won’t be many! You can’t imagine how hard this is to do, especially from a lunge position. Enjoy!

    Keith Norris wrote on October 31st, 2008
  12. AWESOME!!
    I have never seen that.
    Thank you for my weekend project MDA.
    I can’t wait to try this thing.

    Marc
    Feel Good Eating

    Marc wrote on October 31st, 2008
  13. This sounds like a fun project. I will have to look into the options for leaving one end removable for convenience. For those of you worried about freezing, how about adding a few pounds of salt to lower the freezing point and add a little weight? It would be cheaper and less toxic (think leaks and pets)if you could add enough salt to make a meaningful difference in the freezing point. Any chemists out there care to figure this one out? How much salt to add to =/- four gallons of water?

    Rodney wrote on October 31st, 2008
  14. I’d like to see a better credit to Crossfit for the first video in this article. Great workout methodology and a great piece of equipment. http://WWW.CROSSFIT.COM

    Goonstar wrote on December 15th, 2008
  15. We got a couple of “mini” slosh-tubes for Christmas and I posted videos on my blog. They are fun, if a little painful!

    Sara wrote on December 27th, 2008
  16. I got the components to build one today! I can’t wait, it will help me train for the Derby Mini Marathon this year in Louisville, KY.

    John wrote on January 3rd, 2009
  17. I made mine last weekend. 4″ PVC and I went for a 8′ long finished product. I used a flush fit screw in end cap on a female adapter.

    I did a short workout after filling it about two thirds with water. It is awesome. I will be using it to help with my martial art stances among other things!

    ALG wrote on February 23rd, 2009
  18. Cue the mass theft of lengths of PVC tubing from work-yards worldwide.

    r10t3r wrote on March 6th, 2009
  19. This is a great tool.

    Thanks!

    DKF wrote on May 15th, 2009
  20. traditional slosh tube with large residuals at either end, so if water does go to one end, it stays, and the act of correcting the imbalance causes water to gather at the other end.

    10 times the work out, even with just a 5 or 6 foot tube.

    kevin wrote on July 23rd, 2009
  21. Congratulations to Edi Edson plastic on the excellent work and is very creative and striking for their strength, while mild by its simplicity. Check out the official site of Artist on the link … Congratulations, is a very good Brazilian.

    www.ediedson.com wrote on July 29th, 2009
  22. Hey im interested in trying this, but i have a question if anyone has used this. I am an experienced weight lifter but am trying to cut down on my fat and gain so more functional strength and definition. I would imagine a 10 foot tube would be enough, but i want to make sure before i get set up? does anybody know?

    keith hagan wrote on December 16th, 2009
  23. Not only does this look like a great workout,it meets the requirements for looking like it is fun!

    Lizzie wrote on August 25th, 2010
  24. My wrestling coach brought some of these water filled PVC pipes to practice.. I cant wait to use them!

    CarlosStephenPR wrote on October 28th, 2010
  25. An anaconda is dinner for a week? In the bush? I suppose if you don’t mind eating maggot-y snake meat. Although, I suppose you might have toted along a 10KW gasoline generator, 1000 gallons of gasoline and a several cubic feet reefer to keep the meat in. That’s what makes primal living so hard. You have to hunt just about every day, although, you may be lucky to be in an arid climate where meats and other perishables can be dried. Not sure that climate exists where the anacondas prowl about.

    johnson wrote on March 21st, 2011
  26. Built one yesterday. 4″ diameter pipe, 9 feet long. Finished product weighs 37.3 pounds.

    Haven’t experimented much with it yet but I can attest how viciously simple it is. Basically, the challenge is do anything with it.

    One bonus: the water makes a cool noise as it cascades from one end to the other.

    JR wrote on June 20th, 2011
  27. You’ve posted some great stuff on the topic, are you preparing to do a FAQ facing this problem inside the future, as i have some much more questions that may possibly be common to other readers.

    Crotchless Pantyhose wrote on September 10th, 2011
  28. I know I am a little late to post on this great article but noticed one of my favorite DIY training tools was missing – The Bulgarian Training Bag. Here is a link showing how to make one out of a tractor tire inner tube and rubber mulch. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=il8rU0H-9ps

    Erik wrote on November 18th, 2011
  29. Intriguing. Also, PVC is easy to shape and cheap, so more complex designs would be easy.

    Evan S. wrote on March 24th, 2014

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