Why Train Rough Strength Style?

Rough Ring Strength Training at HomeIt happens that today is second Rough Strength birthday. So I decided to come up with something special and fundamental at the same time. I have written lots of articles on training and nutrition but I never wrote a whole piece on why I think Rough Strength method is superior to others for my goal, as well as for any strength-related striving.  I can speak about this whole day but I won’t bore you to death with long intros and will get straight to the point.

What Is Rough Strength?

I want people to have clear understanding of what Rough Strength is. Word ‘rough’ is used here meaning not only ‘hardcore’ but first and foremost ‘acquired without any luxuries’, ‘with minimal equipment’. It’s type of strength training you can use at home with anything you have at hand.

I don’t want it to be confused with trendy street workout or crossfit, or gymnastics, or powerlifting etc. Rough Strength is obviously not a sport (at least yet). It has some competitive edge but it’s not the main point. Why? Because it has no rules except for training for strength and progressive resistance and minimal effective equipment. You can use any implement you have access to. Do you have nothing? Well, then there are calisthenics and gymnastic skills that will build strength just with your bodyweight. Want to add difficulty and challenge? No big deal, get a pair of rings. Want some variety but don’t want to spend money on equipment? Make a sandbag. I wrote a lot on why and how to implement it. Want some versatile, interesting and fun strength training implement? Get a kettlebell. Or better pair of them. Do you have access to barbell, dumbbells, tire, sledgehammer, gripper etc? Awesome. Use them if you want. The rules are the same. But in the end you don’t need any fancy equipment to get results. And aren’t results all that matter? You can get superstrong with as little equipment as bodyweight and sandbag. So what’s your excuse?

In addition, Rough Strength is more of a personal struggle to get stronger, leaner, better. It’s about getting in tune with your own body. It cultivates right attitude and discipline. It improves you as human and person. It’s all about self-development. You and only you are the main piece of puzzle, not some unimportant things.

I will use term ‘Rough Strength Method’ later in this article. While there are no hard boundaries on what equipment to use, Rough Strength Method here means using calisthenics, kettlebells and sandbags separately or together like complete strength training system. These are the tools that I found the most versatile and inexpensive. Anybody can have a full home gym even with these 3 tools.

Rough Strength Mission

What’s the mission of my blog? Simple. Take a look around. What do you see? You see people that believe they need to pay for gym memberships to get in shape. You see people that believe they need fancy equipment to get lean and/or muscular. You see people that concentrate too much on external aspects instead of internal. This is wrong. Rough Strength mission lies in helping people. We live in whole new age. It’s the age of information. I want to show you that you don’t need gym memberships anymore. All tools are almost free. The thing you need to concentrate on is education in physical training and nutrition and/or getting help from professional. That is what makes HUGE difference. Never stop educating yourself.

If you are interested, I have 3 fundamental rules:

  1. Never teach what you haven’t done or have little expertise at.
  2. Practice what you preach.
  3. Share the knowledge.

So what you read on my blog is the result of following these rules. I’m not one of those “fitness gurus” that claim that they know everything (but in reality they just full of crap and know only how to make testosterone shots in their ass). I’m just an ordinary guy with average metabolism and genetics sharing his knowledge and experience with the world. I think, honesty is the thing that makes difference. That’s who I am.

And HUGE thanks to all of you who shared my work, who subscribed to my newsletterfacebook pagetwitterRSS. You all are awesome. You all took part in spreading the knowledge and helping Rough Strength mission. We all are family.

Why the F do you need to use this RS method? I’ll give you 10 reasons.

10 Reasons Why You Should Be Using Rough Strength Method

  1. It’s almost free. I train now only with rings and sandbag (I don’t have kettlebells here in Kiev, and I occasionally touch barbell and dumbbells). I got my recent sandbag for under $5. If it’s expensive for you then training is not your thing, go cry in pillow.
  2. It’s sustainable. When you have education, you can sustain your training (and nutrition) for a lifetime. Who cares whether it’s crisis or all gyms are closed? Or you are at the uninhabited island? Whatever. Knowledge gives you freedom and sustainability. No matter what, you will always find how to train and progress further in your quest for strength.
  3. It’s based on facts and reasonable progressions. I really don’t like when people make unsupported claims. All of the information I share was tested by me and my clients. I filter useless crap and put out only what works. In addition, I don’t like just-do-it approach (used, for example, in street workout). If you do something, you do it on purpose. Proper programming is one of the most underrated things by regular gym rats. That’s why they are so weak and girly. And that’s why we are strong. Besides, I like to improve my knowledge every day, so Rough Strength Method is never outdated.
  4. It builds real-world strength. Machines and bosu ball won’t give you these awesome results in strength that you can use anywhere: from helping your friend moving furniture to bar-fight toughness.
  5. It builds mental toughness. That’s one of the most important aspects of strength training. Rough Strength Method takes it to the whole new level. You’ll find out that coping with stress will be much easier. Work, family etc. If I wasn’t training I would have jumped off the cliff already (living here in Ukraine is pretty tough, you know; 95% of people can’t earn money for decent food and living).
  6. It teaches you how to achieve “impossible” things. As well as any proper strength training method. Progressive resistance and practice are keys to achieving any goal or skill. Handstand, Planche, the One-Arm Chin-Up, Big Bench Press, Huge Squat, playing guitar, riding a bike, being a good entrepreneur etc. Make one step at a time and practice more.
  7. It will help you with aesthetic goals. Who said that only barbell and dumbbells are good for getting ripped and muscular? It’s all possible to achieve with calisthenics, sandbags and kettlebells but it will take longer time. Who cares in the end?
  8. It can be used to supplement any sport-specific training. If you are participating in some sort of sport then you will definitely benefit from this method. Read the reasons above. You will be stronger, leaner, more muscular etc. Isn’t sport about being all that and playing sport?
  9. It’s simple. But not easy. You concentrate only on important things. That’s how you will not waste your time on useless crap. Doing only important things is simple but never easy. Train, eat right, rest, repeat. How it can be simpler?
  10. It’s just awesome. Nothing to explain.

How to Use Rough Strength Method?

Firstly, who is RS method for? It is for serious and dedicated trainees only. Regular estrogen men and gym chicks will probably find it too difficult and demanding. If you are one of them stop reading right now. You won’t get all the sophistication of the method, anyway. For all the others (I mean, hardcore dudes and dudettes) – read on.

So how to use this method? Well, it all depends on your level of dedication to it. Basically, there are 3 ways:

  • Incorporate exercises you like into your current routine;
  • Incorporate unconventional (or home) training days;
  • Use Rough Strength method solely.

There’s no best way. It all depends on individual. Everybody will find different use for the method. There is one important principle you need to understand: any exercise you perform in commercial gym can be performed at home with bodyweight, sandbag or kettlebells. When you understand this principle, you can find substitution for any exercise. This is how you achieve freedom from commercial equipment. This is how you use RS method. Bench Press can be replaced with Planche Push-Up or One-Arm Push-Up, Barbell Rows can be replaced with Front Lever Rows, Barbell Squats with Pistols or Sandbag Squats etc. Of course, these exercises will feel different but who cares. Again, the only thing that matters is result.

To understand this more deeply let’s breakdown an example. There are basically several movement patterns of your body. For example, Bench Press is Horizontal Push movement. Just imagine how your hands travel during the exercise. Why “horizontal”? Because of the position of your body to the floor and gravity. It’s horizontal to the ground. “Push” because you press weight away from the body. Now when you understand what type of movement Bench Press is you can find a substitute for it, keeping in mind that it is horizontal push. It can be Planche Push-Up, One-Arm Push-Up, Weighted Push-Up, Kettlebell Floor Press, Sandbag Floor Press etc. Read this article for more.

Important VS Unimportant

Another skill you need to develop is separating important from unimportant. Not to bore you completely, here are two random lists.


  • Progressive resistance;
  • Protein;
  • Discipline;
  • Dedication;
  • Patience;
  • Consistency;
  • Basic Exercises;
  • Calories and Macros;
  • Education etc.


  • Supplements;
  • Equipment;
  • Pump;
  • Programs of Champions;
  • What exercises do I (or any other guy except you) use;
  • Fancy gym clothes;
  • Socialization;
  • Ab and biceps training etc.

Closing Thoughts

That’s it. Is my method the only right thing to do? No. If you are doing something and it works for you then do it by all means. But if what you are doing now doesn’t work, you can use Rough Strength for help. If you are open-minded and ready to challenge yourself with something new then you are welcome. Thanks for reading. Do me a HUGE favor by sharing this with as many friends as possible.

Play rough!


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I’m always ready to help you.

P.S. What are your thoughts?

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12 thoughts on “Why Train Rough Strength Style?

  1. mr zuffa

    rough is the new wise….a extraordinary… article….from a ordinary…guy ..like you and me .. keep up the good work Alex…….iam a rough strength ..guy my self ..work out at home .with kettle bells …see me on you tube .kb5x5………………

  2. Phillip Tyner in Fayetteville, NC, USA

    Go cry in your pillow… That is so true in the context of this above. People are too fucking lazy, fucking cowards. People need to hear it rough, brutally honest. This is why I follow your blog, Alex. Keep up the good work.

    1. Alex Zinchenko Post author

      Thanks, Phil. Honesty is one of the most important and fragile things in our life. In the world of bullshit we must keep it alive by any means.

      – Alex

  3. Steven Schreier

    Great post but I disagree about one thing, supplements are not unimportant. I think anyone that exercise regularly should take a multivitamin and mineral supplement.

    1. Alex Zinchenko Post author

      Steven, look at it from another point. Will you gain strength and muscle, and lose fat from multivitamin and mineral (or any) supplements alone? No. Will you gain strength and muscle, and lose fat from strength training and diet alone? Yes. You got my point.

      – Alex

  4. Eileen

    This is by far the most hardcore and result oriented workout i’ve ever known. Thanks for the great post with such in depth info.

  5. Johnny

    It’s funny to know that some dudes still go to the gym for socialization purposes. ok. i know its fun meeting guys with same interests. But come on.. go to the coffee houses or something..

    1. Alex Zinchenko Post author

      That’s what I’m talking about. If you come to gym to train then train. If you come there to socialize – better find more suitable place.

      – Alex


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