Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Slosh Pipe

The very name evokes laughter...and laughter aplenty bursts out when you work with this utterly demented, unwieldy and ingenious training tool. I got the idea from my friend, Dan Johns, world-class track and field athlete and coach.

What is a slosh pipe? It's a 4-6" diameter, 9 1/2' long piece of PVC pipe which can be picked up for a few dollars at any Lowe's or Home Depot. You cap one end and on the other, place a fitting with a screw cap, so that you can adjust the resistance.

What is the resistance? It's simply...water. About 38 lbs. of it, to be more precise. The exercise comes from your attempts at walking a straight line across an open field (or in our case, my friend Joe Egan's backyard) while holding the pipe in the Zercher position (crook of the elbows).

It's incredibly difficult to walk a straight line because the water rushes from one end of the pipe to the other, creating horrendous centrifugal force, potentially spinning you into a circle, or one end of the pipe dropping to the ground. The most apt description is it's like trying to wrestle a giant snake.

I could feel every muscle in my core immediately light up as I tried to stabilize the pipe. My heart rate immediately rose with the effort. If you try to go too fast, the water rushes to one end of the pipe, making one end hit the ground, despite your best efforts, and throwing you off balance.

It was so much fun and you can't help laughing out loud at how very awkward the whole thing is. It's hilarious...and addictive. You just want to keep going and going.

After several laps back and forth across the yard, while getting a tremendous cardio, strength-endurance workout, I got the bright idea of pressing the mess overhead. Never in all my life have I pressed such a heavy scant 40 pounds! The effort required to stabilize the pipe is unbelievable. Every muscle, from my toes to my nose, was brought into play in keeping that pipe stable. Truly, an amazing total body workout.

The slosh pipe puts play back into the work. It proves you can have a lot of fun while working harder than you thought possible.

**This just in:


I measured and refilled the slosh log to the 2/3 level recommended. It was much easier to work with compared to what we experienced. The one we trained with was about half full or slightly more than that. I am going to reduce the water level back to what we did the other day because I found that the 2/3 level was much too easy. I figured I’d pass it along in the event you build one for yourself. The screw cap end leaks no matter how tightly it is screwed on so for a permanent water level it will require that plumber’s tape mentioned. I will apply the tape once I am sure the water level is very challenging yet workable. - Joe

Join us Saturday 12 July at Zach Even-Esh's Underground Gym in Edison NJ if you'd like to see a whole bunch of really cool workout ideas and have beastly fun while doing it. We want to spend the day with you! Click here for more info.


I have been looking for a workout I can do at home for the last couple of months. Between working 55-60 hours a week and going to school online full-time, I don't have enough time to get enough use out of a gym membership. I am looking for a workout I can do at home, with a minimal amount of equipment (I live with my wife in a 2-bedroom apartment). What program would you recommend and what equipment will I need?

A: Get the Spartan 300 DVD and do it three times a week on non-consecutive days.

You should get a doorway pull-up bar and a Lifeline Jungle Gym. If you can only get one, get the Jungle Gym.

You should do joint mobility every day since you spend so much time in a chair. You can do the Maxwell Daily Dozen program.

Consider my online personal training services. I can help you meet your fitness goals.
Yours in Strength & Health,


Tara said...

Creative idea.

Anonymous said...


Do you think using a shorter and/or narrower pipe would be good for newbies or people not quite as strong, or will the training effect be lost?


Steve Maxwell said...

Hi Steve,
I think the training effect would be lost. You can always put a little more water into the pipe to stabilize it until the person could handle it, while at the same time challenging themselves.

This isn't an exercise for newbs, it's not something I'd have them do. People who've done their requisite gym work, with other modalities, is who I'd have doing a slosh pipe; it can't replace regular strength training imo.

Sean Schniederjan said...


I went and bought one last night and brought it to my bjj gym. They were stoked!

I might be overzealous, but I'm think ing of doing some circuits with the "magic wand" and swings or something. You could make millions!

Thanks for the idea...