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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.
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.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Steaks. Squats.</p>— Jocko Willink (@jockowillink) <a href="https://twitter.com/jockowillink/status/949051700899229696?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 4, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
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.)
The fully updated Flat Foot Monster Rack is built for athletes, coaches, and gym owners who want the benefits of Rogue's heavy-duty RM-3 without having to bolt the unit to the floor. The RM-390F 2.0 features the same 3x3" 11-Gauge Steel uprights and over-sized 1" hardware as the standard model, but utilizes our Monster Squat Stand's triangle-plate base design to create a large, self-stabilizing foundation. With Version 2.0, the uprights also now include laser-cut pin position numbers on the front and back, and a keyhole pattern on the sides–creating compatibility with more add-ons and attachments. A set of 3x3" rubber feet help protect your flooring and prevent any movement of the unit during use.The Flat Foot Monster Rack stands 93" tall with a 24" (depth) inside depth and a 54" x 50" overall footprint. A Monster Single Skinny Pull-Up Bar and pin/pipe safety system are included standard, and the crossmembers at the top of the rack are now gusseted for extra strength and rigidity. Customers can choose between our standard Monster J-Cups or a pair of Sandwich J-Cups with a UHMW plastic core. The full rack–aside from the J-cups, safeties, and front pull-up bar–is powder coated in a new Satin Black finish.
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
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.
The Rogue Abram GHD 2.0 combines consistent performance and stability with smooth, precision adjustments and unique portability. This compact machine is a comprehensive tool for midline stabilization and the strengthening of hamstrings and glutes–all in a way that's functionally transferable to an athlete's sport.Version 2.0 keeps the core elements of the original Abram GHD and adds design innovations from Rogue's own heavy-duty Monster Swing-Arm GHD, including an advanced 10-slot roller assembly. The unit is manufactured in the USA from 2x3" 11-gauge steel, with a bolt-together, triangular-base design and rubber feet for maximum sturdiness through peak power output.Along with strengthening muscles within the posterior chain, GHD training allows one of the only safe ways to actively train your spinal erectors. GHD sit-ups also result in one of the most powerful abdominal contractions of any movement in the gym. The midline stabilization gained acts like an intrinsic weight belt protecting the spine and improving sport performance.
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.
ASSAULT AIRBIKE Finally, a heavy-duty exercise bike designed directly from the feedback of athletes and coaches. The Assault AirBike reinvents and retools nearly every component of the traditional fan bike, from the frame construction to the crank, pedals, monitor and more. The series is designed and tested in the USA by the experienced team at LifeCORE Fitness in Carlsbad, California. Using air resistance, the Assault AirBike scales automatically to how hard you want to work. The harder you pedal, the greater the resistance. It's simple physics with big benefits. The great thing about the Assault AirBike is that it can work for a beginner, a rehabbing athlete, or a seasoned pro training at the highest levels of competition—no matter their sport, body type, or ambition. While fanbikes have existed for nearly half a century, modern advances in their design and function have made them increasingly in-demand among military personnel, pro and college sports teams, competitive cyclists and sprinters, and high performance athletes from the cross-training ranks. The key: you set your own pace. The resistance adapts to your own output, and the bike’s multiple, custom seat adjustments make for a more comfortable, customized ride. In the age of smartphones and tablets, an old-fashioned, clunky fitness bike monitor simply doesn’t cut it. The Assault AirBike’s state-of-the-art LCD display console is still easy to navigate at the push of a button, but your customization options—from on-board programs to instant, multi-faceted monitor feedback—is almost limitless. Athletes can simultaneously track their heart rate, speed, RPM, time, calories burned, and more. Even watts can be monitored with precision accuracy, thanks to the AirBike’s 20-horsepower electric motor and carefully calibrated torque measurement meter. You won’t just feel the effects of a good workout, you’ll be able to see the science behind it in real time. LifeCORE threw out many of the old stationary bike manufacturing methods and focused on a powerful new 21st century bike that could handle daily abuse at the best gyms in the world. Each bike is equipped with a thick-gauge chro-moly steel frame, with at least 1-2 sealed cartridge bearings in EVERY single pivot—from the flywheels and pedals to the bottom bracket and linkage arms. There are over 20 bearings in all, unmatched by most fitness bikes in the industry. The goal isn’t just reliability—it’s zero wobble and zero maintenance required over thousands of hours of use. Specifications: LCD screen outputs: Watts – RPM -- Calories – Heart Rate -- Distance – Time – Odometer – Interval Training (Tabata and custom) Heavy Duty Steel Frame eliminates side-to-side movement 25" diameter steel fan Hybrid seat with multi-adjustment options Industrial powder coating for durability Reinforced pedals and crank 20 sealed cartridge bearings, utilized in every pivot
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 pushfor 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.
Each Rogue Ohio Bar is machined and assembled in Columbus, Ohio, and includes a lifetime guarantee against bending. The bushing sleeves on the Ohio Bar promise a reliable spin, and their snap ring design maintains optimal stability throughout any type of weightlifting regimen-- from basic high school or collegiate strength training programs to intense Crossfit workouts. This steel is manufactured in the US and has proven to be one of the best steel variants for a multi-purpose barbell. Each barbell shaft is ground and polished prior to machining which allows the bar to have a very smooth finish post any black oxide, zinc or chrome finish. Every bar shaft is machined in Columbus, Ohio. A great deal of pride is built into each bar as the knurling process is an art. We spent months working on the knurl we believe to be the best for the Ohio Bar. To test the knurl it is more a beer tasting process than exact measurement. There is a look and feel that go into testing every bar. The Ohio Bar is available with 4 different finishes. Each finish offers a different level of oxidization protection and has a direct effect on the feel of the knurl. Black Oxide is a mild oxidization protectant process. This type of steel treatment will still require some maintenance but will give the best knurl feel, more like a naked bar. Zinc is a medium oxidization protectant process. This type of steel treatment requires minimal maintenance and is used on The Rogue and Bella Bars. The Ohio Bar is also available in Stainless Steel & an advanced ceramic-based coating called Cerakote. The Ohio Bar is assembled with bronze bushings which act as bearing surfaces between the bar sleeve and bar shaft. This is a very robust way of building a barbell. Each bar will come with an Ohio Bar card that has the initials of the Rogue team member that built the bar. This bar will have normal “whip” during Olympic weightlifting and enough stiffness to hold for heavy powerlifting. The steel in this bar is proven as an excellent choice for weightlifters.
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 are neither overly expensive or take up a lot of space.
They can be easily adjusted and are surprisingly very durable.
Check out my in-depth Powerblock Adjustable Dumbbells review here.
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.
Features an advanced PM5 Performance Monitor, improved ergonomically designed handles, adjustable foot-rests, and a flywheel designed for smooth movement with minimal noise. The Model D has a comfortable 14" (seat) height with an aluminum I-beam monorail and stainless steel track for a consistent back-and-forth slide. When done training, you can quickly break down the rower into two segments for storage or use the included caster wheels for easy transport. Rogue offers an optional space saving wall hanger. The Concept 2 Rower provides one of the more comprehensive, full-body workouts of any fitness machine. Engineered to last a lifetime, it's low impact enough for use in physical rehabilitation centers, and intensive enough to be used by the world's fittest athletes. The Concept 2 uses air resistance generated by the fanned flywheel. To adjust how much air enters the flywheel housing on each stroke, the Model D Rower includes a unique spiral damper adjustable from a setting of 1 to 10. This functions much like the gears on a bike, affecting how much energy will be needed to accelerate from one stroke to the next. 10 allows in the most air for more wind resistance. For most people the recommended settings is from 3-5. The PM5 is another leap forward in what a performance monitor can do. Track distance, speed, pace, calories burned, and watts—all presented on a clear, backlit display. Connects to wireless heart rate monitors and via bluetooth to the optional ErgData app to track detailed workout data. The monitor itself can be custom positioned using the adjustable monitor arm. USB flash drive compatible and built for machine-to-machine racing. Designed to last, the Concept 2 rowing machines offer a comprehensive fully transferable warranty. From home gyms, to Olympic training centers, to major professional sports teams, Concept 2 has been put to the test time and again. The Concept 2 Rower includes everything you need for a quick set-up. The front legs are installed using 8 screws, and clear, concise instructions are included. Your machine will be up and ready to use within 20-30 minutes of opening the box. Includes PM5 Performance Monitor** Flywheel design for smooth feel, minimal noise Spiral Damper with adjustable 1-10 settings Ergonomic handle promotes natural arm and hand position. 14" (seat) moves smoothly on aluminum rail / stainless steel track Adjustable monitor arm and simple two-part separation for compact storage Flexfoot footrests adjust for quick and easy sizing Easy assembly with tools and illustrated instructions included Caster wheels for mobility
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 Workout
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.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">If you are serious try Starting Strength. <a href="https://t.co/JuZ9MFkMsH">https://t.co/JuZ9MFkMsH</a></p>— Jocko Willink (@jockowillink) <a href="https://twitter.com/jockowillink/status/770448342765690880?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">August 30, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
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.
I actually did a full review of Starting Strength and gained over 100 LB on my lifts.
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
As you could imagine, Jocko is still, "getting after it."
There are a few staples in just about every photo that Jocko posts of his workouts.
One is his squat rack, the Rogue RML-390F. This is one of Rogue's best selling squat racks, and for good reason. It utilizes 3"x3" uprights made of 11-gauge steel right here in the US and is compatible with all of the Monster Lite accessories. It can hold many pull-up bars, and best of all for most garage gym owners, has flat feet so it doesn't have to be bolted to the floor.
Here's a recent photo of his rack:
If you notice, he has quite a few different accessories, but what sticks out to me is the climbing chalk bag strung on the left upright. Every home gym worth its salt should have chalk. It's nice to know Jocko also uses it and it's not surprising with the amount of pull-up bar pictures he posts.
Speaking of pull-up bars, one newer piece of equipment that Jocko has added since we originally featured his garage gym is the Rogue Jammer Pull-Up Bar.
Jocko's Pull-Up Bar
Designed to mount above a doorway frame on a standard wood stud wall*, the Rogue Jammer Pull-Up Bar is an everyday game-changer—enabling athletes to transport their fitness lifestyle, without compromise, into any room of their home or workplace. The system, which includes a 43” long stringer, 0.375" thick laser-cut steel brackets, and a custom-finished 1.125" diameter bar, is on par with the equipment you’re already using at the local gym or in the garage. Only now, you can integrate part of that experience into your "between workout" hours—do a few pull-ups anytime you walk through that door; challenge family members or co-workers to do the same. Set the bar and stick to it. The pull-up bar itself is available in your choice of a knurled or smooth finish, and can be further custom selected in Rogue textured black powder coat, stainless steel, or any one of ten exclusive Cerakote color finishes—with Rogue logo branding in the center of the bar. The stringer and brackets are available in two powder coat finishes, as well (Medium Gloss Black or Textured Black), so it’s easy to customize the whole system to match your preferences and/or the existing color scheme of a room. *Each order comes standard with a set of (6) 0.375" x 2.5" wood lags for mounting the stringer. If you plan to mount to something other than wood studs, we recommend contacting a general contractor to assist in planning an alternative install process. Specifications: Made in the USA Patent Pending In-Home Wall-Mounted Pull-Up System Total Weight: 33LB (Includes Stringer & Brackets) Length: 43" (Stringer) Height: 8.875" (Stringer) Depth from mounting surface - 7" to center of bar, 8.25" overall Pull-Up Bar Diameter: 1.125" (6) 0.375" x 2.5" wood lags included
The Jammer Pull-Up Bar from Rogue is by far the most stable doorway pull-up bar on the market. I have one in my garage and regardless of who's doing pull-ups on it, how heavy they are, what style they're doing them, the bar remains rock solid. You can add knurled handles, Cerakoted, powder-coated or stainless steel. Fully custom and works great.
Jocko's Jammer Pull-Up Bar is just the basic black powder coat that's been tried and tested for years. Many CrossFit gyms have used the exact same bars for years now without any issues, although they can eventually chip and develop rust.
One other new and unique piece of equipment is a Suples Bulgarian Bag.
These are made of a genuine leather shell with a weighted inside ranging from 11 LB all the weight up to around 80 LB. Many wrestlers swear by them as they're great for rotational work similar to throwing someone on the ground. I'm sure many guys who train for BJJ also like the bag, which is something Jocko trains for.
All in all, it's cool to see Jocko still training hard in his garage gym. I hope it inspires you as much as it does me.