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The best $10 you’ll ever spend on home exercise equipment

T-HandleThis simple device is a T-Handle. Dan John calls this bad boy a Hungarian Core Blaster, a name that obviously has a lot more panache than “t-handle.” Legend has it this device was the secret of the Hungarian hammer throwers’ success years ago. I like that name, but it is so flashy I think it may give people unrealistic expectations. They may be let down when they see the simple device to the left. It just can’t compete with the dozens of core gadgets on late night infomercials for flash and glitz, and to date lacks bikini clad miracle makeover endorsements.

But for results, I’ll stack the T-handle against anything you can make in five minutes for ten bucks. Nobody is let down by the effects of the swing, the exercise for which this tool is ideally suited.

If you are considering buying kettlebells, by all means make a t-handle and swing away. The swing is one of the most basic kettlebell movements. With a t-handle, you can decide what weight kettlebell will suit you.

Even if you aren’t interested in kettlebells, just about anyone can benefit from some swings. You can do swings Tabata style – eight sets of eight with ten seconds rest between sets – for a four minute, minimum cost, minimum footprint interval workout. You can do light swings as part of your warmup.
Directions for making a T-handle (for those of you who use directions) can be found in the IOL Wiki.

18 Responses to 'The best $10 you’ll ever spend on home exercise equipment'

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  1. ldraper said,

    on December 27th, 2006 at 6:40 pm


    Cool stuff, B. We likes.

  2. peter bulch said,

    on December 28th, 2006 at 3:10 am

    Thanks Byron. You really are the man. :@)

  3. Bill Peel said,

    on December 28th, 2006 at 8:35 pm

    Thanks, Byron. This can also be used for a squat lift type movement…and if you make the handles a little longer, a straddle lift.

  4. Byron said,

    on December 29th, 2006 at 6:08 am

    Glad you liked it Laree, thanks!

    Peter, let us know how it works out for you.

    Bill, that is a good idea, I never thought of using it for any kind of squat. It also serves as a passable loading pin.

  5. John "jmac" said,

    on December 30th, 2006 at 1:41 pm

    Byron, sweet setup, I put one together today while IOL was getting moved….


  6. jeffa said,

    on January 4th, 2007 at 5:32 am

    Here’s what I’ve been using mine for:
    hack squats
    front squats
    biceps curls
    overhead triceps extensions
    suitcase dead lifts
    Every time I pick it up I find a new use for it. A great portable gym. Will make an awesome traveling companion!

  7. fred said,

    on January 4th, 2007 at 10:39 am

    This is not a comment but a question. When doing crunches I was not sure if I should hold my breath on the upside or let it out. I checked 4 books and they were evenly divided.What are your thoughts? Thanks.

  8. ldraper said,

    on January 4th, 2007 at 5:24 pm

    Fred, I exhale on the way up, sometimes sharply and hold. Maybe that’s causing some of the confusion.

    To get a better response to your question, you could post it in the forum here. That’s the best place for a good discussion.

  9. Pete Costanzo aka PeteLV said,

    on January 6th, 2007 at 7:23 am

    Thanx for the HCB parts list and instructions BC, very straightforward but valuable info. Put parts list in wallet for next foray. Next stop outdoor pullup bar made of same material!

  10. John Rutnik said,

    on January 10th, 2007 at 2:12 pm

    I built one yesterday. I tried doing swings but I felt most of the work was done by the swing motion. Do I need to load more weight, slow down, or what? I’ve seen this thing before but it was called a “Man-maker”. Now that’s a name that gets me wanting to use it! :-)

  11. Nick Sheuerman said,

    on February 6th, 2007 at 3:05 pm

    Could someone explain how to use it? specific exercises?

  12. Nick Sheuerman said,

    on February 6th, 2007 at 3:05 pm


  13. Kyle Estle said,

    on May 22nd, 2008 at 10:52 am

    Mine cost $11.00.

  14. nate said,

    on May 7th, 2010 at 11:38 am

    mine was just under $ but now i need to find a way to use oly plates

  15. Joanne Froggattfan said,

    on August 29th, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Mine costs $15, I’m using it for to make chest exercises for men.

  16. Dan said,

    on November 28th, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    Awesome!! Batter up!

  17. Lat Machine said,

    on December 6th, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    Looks easy enough to make and cheap too. If the Hungarian hammer throwers benefited from it so shall you. Its simple yet it packs a punch in performance.

  18. Jdh said,

    on March 27th, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    I made mine with 1.5″ pipe and use Olympic plates. Parts on loan from the parts dept. 1.5″ for the handles really works the grip.

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