Unheated Garage Gym

JeffC

Level 7 Valued Member
I have had my gym in a single attached garage for about a year, but last winter I was lifting at a YMCA.

Lifting in -20C or lower adds another level of discomfort. How much do you want it or need it? We had a few weeks of lower than -40C which was particularly challenging.

Any strategies for training in cold weather?

I have a small electric space heater. It breaks the bone chilling cold, but not enough to get close to positive temperatures.

If I can put my heater on for a while before I lift it is more bearable, but not always the case. I will aim the heater at my barbell, hanging on the wall, but as soon as I put it in my rack it starts to freeze again. The choice is sit in front of the heater between sets or heat my bar between sets.

I have been using Russian Bear and ladder style training to keep things moving and get a good amount of volume in a relatively short period. Between sets I breath, shake out , and jump around a bit.

I wear a sweater or hoodie during a quick warmup and between sets, but I prefer to lift in a t shirt.

What else?
 
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Blake Nelson

Level 5 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
I've never lifted in such cold conditions, but I might have some other relevant experience.
1) I played hockey from age 2-18 in all sorts of conditions. Many of the older ice rinks in Minnesota were just as cold as the outdoors and frost on the walls was not uncommon. One strategy I learned was to get nice and warm with a lot of easy skating and dynamic stretching. This might look like light goblet squats and swings mixed with fast and loose drills for a good ten minutes before you pick up anything heavy. It might also mean warming up inside the house, not going into the garage until you've worked up a nice lather.
2) I shoveled snow for a living for many winters through my early twenties. The problem was overheating, not being cold. Steady, explosive, full-body movements won't let you down.

Blake Nelson
 

offwidth

Level 9 Valued Member
I have had my gym in a single attached garage for about a year, but last winter I was lifting at a YMCA.

Lifting in -20C or lower adds another level of discomfort. How much do you want it or need it? We had a few weeks of lower than -40C which was particularly challenging.

Any strategies for training in cold weather?

I have a small electric space heater. It breaks the bone chilling cold, but not enough to get close to positive temperatures.

If I can put my heater on for a while before I lift it is more bearable, but not always the case. I will aim the heater at my barbell, hanging on the wall, but as soon as I put it in my rack it starts to freeze again. The choice is sit in front of the heater between sets or heat my bar between sets.

I have been using Russian Bear and ladder style training to keep things moving and get a good amount of volume in a relatively short period. Between sets I breath, shake out , and jump around a bit.

I wear a sweater or hoodie during a quick warmup and between sets, but I prefer to lift in a t shirt.

What else?
What happened to your sweet basement set-up?
 

Maine-ah KB

Level 6 Valued Member
I can't believe I'm about to suggest this and I may be band from the forum after this but, maybe were some kind of gloves? so you don't freeze your fingers? I used to train out side in the chilly weather of Maine and wore really thin gloves (they may have officially been riding gloves or baseball gloves) it does make gripping things really hard.

Warming up as much as you can inside also helps.
 

Deleted member 5559

Guest
Propane sunflower heater always worked well in the fish house. You probably wouldn't use it long enough to worry about CO but I'd still get a sensor close to where you sit/stand/rest.

If the space is big enough, one of the torpedo style propane heaters is what we used in the garage to work on snowmobiles and such.
 
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kurt perham

Level 4 Valued Member
i have a garage gym in Maine. small heater gets it to ~35F and then i wear a hoodie and beanie to warm up. KEY for me is to keep implements warm. so I keep bells and barbells inside until i use them.
 

Jeff Roark

Level 3 Valued Member
I trained for years in a barn with no heat. One of my strategies during this time was to get all my warming up done in the house before I went to the barn. Sometimes I'd soak 10-15 minutes in a epsom salt bath and put my sweats on and then grab the 20lbs dumbbells that I had in the house and run through a few complexes. I too would wear gloves when needed. I also found a neck gaiter to be handy at times. Loads of heat is lost in the neck also. Another thing I discovered while trying to stay warm for hunting is as long as I kept my kidneys warm the rest of my body stayed pretty warm without a lot of garb.


 

Antti

Level 8 Valued Member
I have trained with kettlebells outside in winter whatever the weather, and it gets quite cold. I kept things simple and did the sets without any fuss and went back in for the rest periods. But it may be impractical for some, especially with shorter breaks.

If I had to train outside for the whole session I would make sure my head, neck and torso was warm. I would try to avoid gloves but warm my hands during the rest breaks.
 

JeffC

Level 7 Valued Member
My concern with a natural gas or propane heater in a small enclosed space is using up the oxygen in the room as well as CO.

Good suggestions though.

Hot coffee is also a strategy I use. Lots of coffee:
 

JeffC

Level 7 Valued Member
Yesterday was -10C. It felt so nice, and training early afternoon, I had the door opened a bit and trained Farmers.

I need to insulate the garage door somehow. It’s a large aluminum heat sink. There is a foil back bubble wrap style insulation I am considering trying. It is usually used on piping, duct work, water heater, etc. It has a low R value and may or may not make enough of a difference that justify the cost.

I do believe in building mental fortitude though mild to moderate suffering, but sometimes my reserves are low. Everyone only has so much will power.
 
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