Build Your Own Slosh Tube

But 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


The Sandbag Workout

Medicine Ball Workout

Hat Tip to Caveman Power


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64 thoughts on “Build Your Own Slosh Tube”

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  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.

  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…

  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…

  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…

    1. 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. 😉

  5. Another good tool for stabilizing unbalanced weight is a sandbag. Let’s see a post on a sandbag workout!

  6. 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!

  7. AWESOME!!
    I have never seen that.
    Thank you for my weekend project MDA.
    I can’t wait to try this thing.

    Feel Good Eating

  8. 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?

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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?

  15. Not only does this look like a great workout,it meets the requirements for looking like it is fun!

  16. My wrestling coach brought some of these water filled PVC pipes to practice.. I cant wait to use them!

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. Intriguing. Also, PVC is easy to shape and cheap, so more complex designs would be easy.