Jocko Willink is a true American Hero.
You see, we in America often idolize those men and women who make tabloids, score incredible points, and are popularized by news agencies.
The problem with this idea is that although these people may certainly be talented, they haven't really done a whole lot of significance.
I certainly don't want to downplay the accomplishments of others, but men like Jocko Willink who have put their body on the line to sacrifice for the freedom of myself as well as the “American Idols” mentioned previously, are true heroes and worthy of respect.
Which is why I'm glad to see that Jocko with the release of his book “Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win” has begun gaining some popularity.
Jocko for those unaware served 20 years as a Navy SEAL. He was in combat in Iraq during the Battle of Ramadi, a conflict that resulted in numerous medals for his efforts. After his tours, Willink served as a Navy SEAL instructor before forming Echelon Front with Leif Babin, a leadership training group that uses the lessons and expertise the pair learned as SEALs to train leaders beyond the military.
In other words, Jocko has had to perform at the top of mental and physical performance for quite a while.
With that said, it can be assumed that the guy knows a thing or two about developing mental and physical strength. AND, it just so happens he does it in his garage gym and documents his efforts on Instagram for all to see (a guy after my own heart.)
Although I've followed him for some time, I know not everyone does and he as well as his gym should be shown for all to see.
So, without any more introduction, I present to you…
Jocko Willink's Garage Gym
There are a few caveats that must be made before I go into more detail on Jocko's Garage Gym.
First off, all of these photos were taken from his Instagram that you can find here. If you're looking for motivation and enjoy grungy black and white photos, he's a great account to follow.
It must also be said that I have yet to see a photo of his entire garage gym. He likes to post bits and pieces of the gym, usually relating to the movement he did that day, but you still get a great sense of what he has and how he uses it.
I'm going to detail the equipment he has, at least according to his Instagram as well as some movements he seems to do most often.
The centerpiece of his gym and just about everybody's gym is the almighty power rack.
Seriously, what can't you do in a power rack?
From Jocko's pictures, it seems pretty obvious that he uses this bad boy quite a bit. Which, is probably because he understands that when you're trying to get stronger, the answer is pretty much just to squat more.
The Rogue RML-390F is a flat foot power rack meaning that it doesn't have to be bolted to the ground. They're pretty stable and if you have some heavy dumbbells like Jocko does, you can use them to hold down the rack while doing pull-ups, muscle-ups, and other bar work. (And yes, Jocko does do kipping pull-ups.)
As with anything from Rogue Fitness, the RML-390F is heavily powder coated and offered in the only color that should be offered, black. It's made to take a beating and
It's made to take any beating that either you or a 200+ lb Navy Seal can throw at it.
The Rogue Abram GHD 2.0 is, in my opinion, the best GHD for the money available today.
In fact, I like it so much it's actually the one I have and use in my garage gym.
Utilizing the same 2×3 steel used on their power racks along with heavy-duty padding and easy adjustments, you can't go wrong. This GHD is so overbuilt it weighs just under 250 lbs.
Many people scoff at the idea of having a GHD in a small space, but outside of the power rack, the GHD is about as versatile of a piece of equipment as they come.
You can use it for:
- GHD Situps
- Glute Ham Raises
- Back Extensions
- Leg Extensions
- Reverse Hypers
And a whole lot of other goodness.
Don't neglect the GHD, Jocko doesn't.
Kettlebells and Steel Clubs
Being able to hinge in the hips and explode with power is one of the most transferrable movements a human can make.
One way to increase your power in this area is using kettlebells.
I once offered my Instagram followers a question on what three pieces of training equipment they would want if they were stuck on an island. One of my three was a 53 lb. kettlebell.
There's just so much you can do with them.
The other item that shows up quite a bit on Jocko's Instagram is the steel club from Onnit.
Although I have only a little bit of experience in using steel clubs, there are many who swear by their effectiveness. Rather than traditional lifting in which you train in a straight line, think the bench press or squat. With steel clubs, you move dynamically allowing you to transfer power in all directions.
“Devils Tricycle” is the name I've given my air bikes.
They are without a doubt the most hellacious piece of conditioning equipment I've ever used and one of the main reasons is because there is no break.
Whichever way you go, no matter the brand, if you put the effort into the bike, it will in return give you lots and lots of fitness. Also, it will make your mind stronger, and that's just as important in training as making your muscles stronger.
For me, I like to do Tabata's on the bike as well as 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off intervals. No matter which way you slice it, though, if you're using it for anything other than hanging clothes on, you're going to be in pain.
Stall bars have started to become more and more popular as bodyweight training comes into the spotlight that it should be in.
I've built stall bars and find them to be a very useful training tool. You can use them for both strength as well as flexibility training.
The Stall Bars Jocko uses are made by Rogue and if you'd rather not build your own, they're definitely the ones I would suggest.
They're essentially the 3×3 Monster Lite uprights used in their squat stands with places for wooden dowels to be held.
The majority of training I would imagine Jocko uses them for is pull-ups, situps, leg raises, and flexibility training.
Bodyweight Training Equipment
Jocko does a lot of bodyweight training.
As talked about in his podcast, Jocko prioritizes pull up and dip bars above every other piece of training equipment. Pull-ups and dips can build a strong upper-body, and you don't really need much else.
As with most likely any Navy Seal, going into the pain cave is probably his specialty. Bodyweight training allows you to push for a very long time without having to worry about the technicalities of lifts like the clean and jerk or snatch. It's one of the reasons I throw in so many bodyweight movements for metcons into my training.
I like to feel pain, and I'm pretty sure Jocko does too.
If you really want to make things painful, throw on a weight vest and do the movements as if you weigh 20 lbs heavier.
A good barbell and plates are essential to any garage gym.
You don't want to choose just any barbell, and with a number of options, it can be pretty daunting when trying to decide which bar to purchase.
The Rogue Ohio Bar is a bar I personally use and overall is one of my favorites. Not only can it perform in all movements, but it also comes with a lifetime warranty.
Jocko uses crumb rubber bumpers which are most likely Hi-Temps or made by Hi-Temp and rebranded. They take a lot of space up on the bar, BUT they will last just about as long as you will.
Dumbbells not only take up a lot of space, but they're also expensive.
They're a necessary evil, however. Thankfully, Powerblock Dumbbells (which I've reviewed here) are neither overly expensive or take up a lot of space.
They can be easily adjusted and are surprisingly very durable.
The final piece of equipment that I've noticed Jocko uses is the Concept 2 Rower.
The Concept 2 Rower is synonymous with garage gyms because they take up little space and can give you one of the best full body conditioning workouts available.
Jocko has stated in his podcast that he's had a rower for a long time and sees it as one of the best conditioning tools available.
I agree wholeheartedly.
Essential Gym Equipment According to Jocko in order:
- Gymnastic Rings
- Squat Rack
- Barbell & Plates
- Concept 2 Rower
- Air Bike
- Jump Rope
Then it comes down to what other equipment that you'd like to use that could vary your training.
How does Jocko Train:
Although I haven't seen any exact workouts other than Murph that Jocko has partaken in, I can imagine it's quite the mix.
Although I haven't heard him say he does CrossFit, I do know he does kipping pullups, functional movements, and lifts heavy weight.
So, if I had to guess, Jocko's training probably looks a lot like CrossFit.
He's also given some advice to beginners on how to train that I was pumped to see.
Starting Strength as I've said many times is the best training book for beginners, and many advanced trainees would do good by going back to the basics introduced in Rippetoe's book.
Here's some advice that I'll give in relation to training that I believe Jocko would agree with.
Keep it Simple. Train Hard. Train Often. Lift Heavy. Lift Fast. Run Hard. Eat Steak. Pain is Good.
“Discipline =Freedom.” – Jocko Willink
Stay Strong, Live Long,