Getting Fit on the Cheap: The Insolvent Sledgehammer Slam

Close your eyes and think back to your childhood.

Ignore the bullies and unrequited love, the humiliation of schoolyard sports and vindictive actions of frustrated teachers. Just think back to the songs you sang. One song in particular merits our attention here: “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.”

In the days of our youth, we are trained to focus on the railroad worker in relation to his relationship with Dinah the train: He hears Dinah blow, then descends into incomprehensible and vaguely-vulgar talk of “someone” having sex with the train.

But as crazy as this narrator is, it is he that we are focusing on.

The railroad worker, in all of his myth and imagery, exists perpetually in a single compound motion. With both hands clutching a sledgehammer, he lifts, swings, and strikes. The ensuing clang of steel impacting steel is the sound of power, and though the railroad worker never seems to finish working, there is a certain mastery to his work. The broke-ass might also appreciate the no-doubt similarly broke nature of the railroad worker’s lifestyle. We are brothers in poverty.

The strength (and pennilessness) of the railroad worker is encapsulated in what we’d like to call the Insolvent Sledgehammer Slam.

Similar to the the Broke-ass Burpee, which we wrote about previously, the Insolvent Sledgehammer Slam, offers a healthful mix of simple motions and glorious affordability. However, unlike the Broke-ass Brupee, the  Insolvent Sledgehammer Slam requires materials – but not a prohibitively-large number of them, certainly.

Disclaimer: Though we love you immensely, we assume no responsibility for any damage you do while performing this exercise. That said, let’s get it on.

The Hammer

Sledgehammers come in all shapes, weights, and flavors. For our purposes, we will focus on a simple 6-8 pound version like this one. First impulses might suggest to go heavier, but that’s running before we’ve taken a single step – so, for now, stick to a nice, light weight. (If you haven’t read this, its likely because you are still slack-jawed from the price point of the aforementioned product. While thirty bucks ain’t all that cheap for some, its the only thing you are buying here – so quit bitchin’).

The Tire

The tire, which is what you are hitting, works well for two reasons. One, it will absorb the impact of your strike, which is important, and, two, it won’t shatter. Acquiring a tire is really as simple as inquiring for a tire. Any auto-body shop is bound to have some sitting around and would be pretty glad usually to have to take them off their hands. Keep in mind that you aren’t looking for any simple old tire – but one from a large semi or tractor. These last longer.

The Motion

The Insolvent Sledgehammer Slam is essentially a full-body workout, and the motion (and ensuring soreness) will reflect that. First, choose a side. One of your hands will remain static while the other will act as the slide hand. If you are swinging right-handed, your right hand will be static, and your left hand will slide. Facing the tire, and without moving your feet (but keeping your non-swinging sided foot ahead of the other), swing at the tire, focusing so that the hammer strikes the tire’s tough outer rim. (Here is a video, woman included.)

The Routine

This part will vary depending on your level of fitness, but to begin, start by getting the motion right, slowly building up to the point where you can do it consistently for two-four minutes. Getting the motion right is more important than increasing the weight, which you won’t need to do for quite a while.

The Risks

The risks to the Insolvent Sledgehammer Slam should be pretty clear – and they involve damage to yourself, your property and others. The safest place to perform the exercise is outside and out of the range of other people and breakable objects. Treat the hammer like the murderous object that it is.

The Rewards

The tire is a symbol of capitalism; your hammer is your manifested desire to destroy the system that has rendered you unable to eat, drink and indugle in debauchery.  With every swing you are one step closer to feeling better about the reality of your situation: Poverty may be able to keep you down sometimes, but it will never suppress your bulging biceps. As our loving Founder has said, you are young, broke, and beautiful – and pretty soon, you’ll be strong as hell.

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About the author

Ricardo Bilton - Penniless Pundit

Ricardo Bilton was born in small hamlet called New York City, where he continues to live a compact, amicable life. He likes taking pictures and walking around.