The Vagabond Method

Tom Furman
4 min readNov 10, 2021


Tom Furman

There is a strong case for training in a well equipped gym or box. There is an equally good argument for a superior garage gym. However there is a third choice. Being able to train anywhere. A park or playground for example. Your gear is in your pack and the training is in your head. All of these methods are good. All produce great outcomes.



noun — A person who wanders from place to place

The Vagabond Method is a starting place. The beginning framework of a method. Almost a lifestyle. You have enough knowledge of movements, methods and environment to maintain and build conditioning,… anywhere. But more than anything, you don’t like being enclosed. You want to get your exercise outside. If you listed it, the multiple activities would be numerous, but unfortunately the structure for progressive fitness would be too random. That means the activities would diminish as you age or get injured.

Let’s set some boundaries. The park or playground should have a track or empty field. They will also have an area to do pull ups. If there are just trees, a set of rings may work. You will also need a mid size kettlebell. For fit men, this would be a 24 K. For women a 12 or 16 K. These items can be placed in a padded and well constructed backpack. If you have some bands for stretching or to assist in pull ups, that would be a great addition.

There is a problem with so-called, “Street Workouts”.

“The thing about street fights. The street always wins.” ~ Dominic Toretto

This video by Dan John piqued my interest into solving the problems presented with a pure calisthenics programs.

So there you have it. Squats, possibly. Hinges and Loaded Carries, most certainly. The combination of hinging and carrying give you snap and work capacity. So cosmetically while you may look as jacked as a Marvel movie star, your performance may suffer. In the young athlete, this may mean diminished capacity on the courts, field or mats. In the older athlete in may mean less lean body mass and generally terrible movement.

Let’s set up the workouts of two types. One style to cover the basic movements and the other to challenge work capacity. The last exercise will involve dynamic work for the posterior chain done for time and volume.

A- Movement Based

  1. Pull Up To The Chest
  2. Planche Push Up
  3. Knee Raise
  4. Goblet Squat
  5. Alternating Dead Kettlebell Cleans.

B- Movement Based

  1. Commando Pull Up
  2. Feet Elevated Push Up
  3. Twisting Knee Raise
  4. Hack Squat
  5. Dead Stop Kettlebell Swings

There are THREE ways to approach these exercises.

  1. As a giant set. One after another with a brief rest after the last exercise. Then repeat. 3 to 8 cycles are recommended.
  2. As a singular set. The volume can be up to you.
  3. As a super set. 1 alternated with 2. 3 alternated with 4. Do the 5th for 6–10 minutes straight.
  4. Seek a higher volume due to using body weight exercise. Many lower rep sets may be the best so form remains constant.

Now for the next wave.

C- Work Capacity Based

  1. Kettlebell Suit Case Carry
  2. Bear Crawl

D- Work Capacity Based

  1. Kettlebell Racked Carry
  2. Crab Crawl

These exercises are for distance and total time. Remember you are building work capacity. It is like surviving that summer job of laying cement. The drills are to be alternated, UNTIL,… I’d strongly recommend gloves for the crawling and if you need them, wrist supports. Push yourself a bit.

This is a FOUR day per week program. Movement on Day 1, Work Capacity on Day 2. Recovery on Day 3. When I say recovery, I mean easy aerobics of the non impact type, as well as stretching. Day 4 is the second Movement workout. Day 5 is the second Work Capacity session. Day 6 recover and Day 7 do nothing.

If you are just starting, you may do the 3 day version of alternating Movement and Work with a rest day in between. This is perfectly fine. Don’t sweat starting from zero. It’s ALL good.

We are all Marko. We are all from Tropoja. ~ Taken

Every fourth week, drop back on total sets, duration and time. Coast a bit. It is hard to do mentally, but allowing adaptation is something you need to do and learn. The sheer volume of movement, frequency and duration of these workouts will make you feel different.

What a wicked game you play to make me feel this way. ~ Chris Isaak, Wicked Game

For more personalized training I am available for Online Fitness Coaching. Please contact me at

Tom Furman has been involved in martial arts and conditioning since 1972. With an early background in wrestling and a student of the methods of the York Barbell Club, Tom immediately separated fact from fiction growing up outside Pittsburgh. Eleven members of his family were combat veterans, the most famous one being “Uncle Charlie” (Charles Bronson) His down to earth training methods are derived from his decades long practice of martial arts and his study of exercise science. The application of force, improvement of movement and durability rank high on his list of priorities when training. He gives credit to hundreds of hours of seminars, training sessions, and ‘backyard’ workouts, including training time with many martial arts legends. He also credits his incredibly gifted training partners who came from varied backgrounds such as Exercise Physiologists, Airborne Rangers, Bounty Hunters, Boxing Trainers and Coast Guard Rescue Divers. His best selling ebook, “Seasons of Temper’’, is available at His guide to mobility, “Bamboo Gods, Iron Men and Rubber Bands’’, is available on Amazon.



Tom Furman

Tom Furman has been involved in martial arts and fitness most of his life. He’s currently a fitness coach and been blogging since 2005.