For those who have found themselves in Australia for the past two years, the frustration of the global pandemic is one that hits close to home. Opening social media and scrolling through Instagram is like unlocking a portal into another world, one where friends overseas seem to go about their day in a separate reality from our own. Theirs is an existence in which masks have largely been scrapped, concerts and festivals are as they once were, and holidays to far off countries and coastal areas are purchased on a whim. The same can’t be said for life back home, which has largely seen us closed off to the world. But while some bemoan the situation, others look for what they can control and for YouTuber and former Australian Ninja Warrior champion, Ben Polson, that meant taking matters into his own hands.
He may have been stuck at home, but Polson still wanted to bring a sense of holiday and adventure to the mundane, leading him to create a buoyant fitness platform by way of a floating gym because who doesn’t love getting a workout in with some fresh air and wide open expanses?
As Polson explains, the floating gym is something of a work of art. It features enough space to do pushups and squats, and even has a full pull-up bar, too. “This will allow me to work out every muscle in my entire body,” he says, “all while floating on this incredibly dangerous river.”
To construct the floating gym, Polson started out with just a couple of inflatable paddle boards to form the base of the structure. He then replicates the design of his metal pull-up frame, only in this instance, his choice of materials are more lightweight so as to avoid the risk of collapse and sinking. In opting for wood, he has something that’s light enough to avoid such a risk, but still strong enough to withhold his body weight while performing the exercises. He also sources a motor to propel his DIY boat out from the shore, and has to make sure that anything he adds to the paddle boards (including his own bodyweight), falls under the maximum weight limit of 120kgs each.
It all sounds pretty exciting, but the construction process was no doubt a terrifying ordeal. One his pull-up structure was complete, Polson then took it all down to the river for assembly, where he attached the bar and motor to the boards. “This is fucking terrifying,” he says as he steps on board. “This could go very wrong very quickly.”
Unfortunately for Polson, the motor he attached to the paddle boards is no match for the current of the Brisbane River and in order to avoid being rescued from some raging rapid, he is forced to abandon the floating gym. “This has been a very, very stressful holiday,” he said.
Still, we wouldn’t put it past Polson to get back out there and try out the new equipment soon. For those taking a stroll along the river, keep your eyes peeled for a man doing some intense pull-ups out in the river.