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Yet More New Home Gym Equipment
By Gary Zeolla
The two-part article New Home Gym Equipment describes several new items I got for my home gym a while back. The article Christmas Presents 2016 describes a couple of additional new items. Since then I have gotten yet more new home gym equipment that I will describe in this article. It is my hope that these articles will aid the reader who has or is thinking of setting up a home gym.
For pictures and videos of all of the items mentioned in this article, see Yet More New Gym Equipment – Pictures and Videos.
Super Curl Bar
I got a curl bar from a local sporting goods store for my home gym when I first set it up back in the fall of 2005. That curl bar is still in fine condition. But I happened to notice a “super curl bar” on Amazon. The two are not the same. The difference is the angles on the super curl bar are greater than on the regular curl bar, so it provides a different training effect. The picture page presents a picture of the two curl bars beside each other, so the reader can see the difference.
This is important as a basic principle of my training philosophy is to change my exercises routine to routine, even if the change is simply a minor one of a slightly different grip. Thus having two different curl bars with different angles will provide sufficient variation to make each a different exercise. And I grip both both with a close, medium, and wide grip, giving me many variations.
And it should be noted that I use a curl bar for not just curls but also for reverse curls and curl bar rows (done underhand, pulling the bar to the stomach). As such, I had my parents get me this super curl bar for my birthday, along with a few non-lifting related items (see My Birthday, 2017).
There are some complaints in the reviews on Amazon of this super curl bar for not being of that high of a quality, with some even claiming the sleeves do not rotate like is needed on a weightlifting bar. But the bar seems just fine to me, just as high of a quality as my regular curl bar, which has lasted over eleven years now. Also, the sleeves do rotate, though admittedly not very well.
There were also complaints about the collars that come with the bar not being very good. That is true, but I replaced them with an old pair of lockjaw collars, and those fit and work just fine. Lockjaw collars are also available at Amazon, as are less expensive spring clip collars.
Near the end of my last routine, I got a pair of hand grippers from Amazon. I did so as I was having problems with my grip on deadlifts. After a few weeks of using these hand grippers, that problem has been resolved.
The hand grippers are adjustable from 22 to 88 pounds. I have been using them after my deadlift workouts. My gripping muscles are already warmed up from deadlifting, so I can jump into them with little warmup. And it only takes about five minutes for a few sets.
I have been varying them by doing them one week in a reps fashion, doing one warmup set and then the same sets x rep plan as I do for calves of 3 x 11-12, 9-10, 7-8, increasing the tension and squeezing and holding each rep for one second. But then the second week, each set consists of just rep, but squeezing and holding it for 12 then 10 then 8 seconds, increasing the tension as needed. Both methods really pump up my forearms and have helped with my grip on deadlifts.
The hand grippers are working well in improving my grip on deadlifts, but I could only think of the two described variations for them. However, with my new training routine, I am alternating through three different training weeks, so I needed a third exercise for forearm/ grip work.
I remember back in the day having made a wrist roller and that it worked well for forearm/ grip work. But I figured I’d just buy one now, so I checked Amazon. And sure enough, Amazon carries several different wrist rollers, ranging in price from $15 to $50. But the reviews of the cheaper ones were not that good, and $50 was more than I wanted to spend for such a small gym item. Therefore, I figured I’d just make one again.
I thus went to my local hardware store and bought a wooden dowel, 5’ of chain, a clasp, and two sets of a bolt, nut, and lock washer. I wrapped the chain around the middle of the dowel and held it in place with one set of a bolt, nut, and lock washer. Then to be sure it wouldn’t move, I wrapped duct tape around that.
Then at the other end of the chain, I made a small loop in the chain, hooking it back onto itself with the other set of a blot, nut, and lock washer. I then put the clasp in that loop.
To use it, I put the chain through a weight plate and then attach the clasp back onto the chain around the plate. I then stand up, hold the wooden dowel with my arms bent and my hands a few inches from the center. I roll the chain up onto the dowel, pause, then roll it back down.
The exercise can be done overhand or underhand. I am doing it overhand this routine and will then do it underhand in my next. As for sets x reps, I am doing 3 x 5-6, 3-4, 1-2. And that really pumps up my forearms, and I think will work well for my gripping strength.
The picture page has a couple of pics of the finished product. I will post a video the next time I do the exercise.
When I first set up my home gym, I got a heavy duty flat bench from New York Barbells (NYB). I call it “heavy duty” as it has a 1000 pound rated capacity, far more than I would ever need. This is due to it having 2” x 3” tubing and a design that is studier than other benches I looked at back then.
I put the bench in my power rack and use the hooks on the rack for the uprights. The bench is listed on NYB’s website under the code of C-PRO 99990 for $199, plus shipping. The same bench for the same price is available from Amazon under the name of TDS Flat Bench.
After eleven years of use, the metal of the bench is still in fine shape, other than the paint being a bit nicked from banging it against the power rack when I move it in and out of the rack. However, the pad had gotten worn down and was tearing at the edges. But most of all, it had lost its tackiness, so I was slipping on the bench. Even with chalking the bench, I was still slipping on it, probably because the chalk wasn’t holding onto the bench very well.
As such, I first thought of getting a new bench, but to get the same bench from either NYB or Amazon would be over $200 with shipping, so I looked around at what else was available. The best bench otherwise on Amazon was a Rep 1000 lb Rated Flat Weight Bench for Weight Lifting. It has the same rated weight-capacity as the NYB bench, but from the looks of it, it doesn’t look near as study. It only has 2” x 2” and not near as sturdy of a design. But it only cost $150 with Amazon Prime, so shipping would be free.
I then check Rogue Fitness, where I got my deadlift bar from. They have several benches available, but the one I was mainly looking at was their Rogue Flat Utility Bench 2.0. It cost $179.50, plus shipping. It has 2” x 3” tubing like my NYB bench, and the design looks sturdy. It also is advertised of having he advantage of no assembly being required. This is because it is all one piece.
Any one of these three benches would probably work well for me, though what I already had still looked like the best. And it seemed a shame to buy a whole new bench when only the pad on the bench was worn. I then came up with the bright idea of calling NYB and seeing if I could order just a new pad for the bench. I was pleased when I was told that it was possible to do so, especially when I was told it would only cost $32, which included shipping.
I gave the person I was talking to the code number for the bench. But he told me they had changed the design a few times and would need the measurements for the bench. Most especially, he needed to know how many bolts were on the underside of the pad and how far apart they were. I took these measurements and called him back and gave them to him.
It took a couple of weeks, but I finally got the new pad. But I was very disappointed when I looked at the pad, and it wasn’t even close to what needed. It was too short, too thin, and only had two bolt holes, whereas my bench has four bolts for the pad.
I thus called NYB back and talked to the same guy. He apologized for the mix up. I asked him how to send the pad back and was surprised when he told me I could just keep it. But he said to ensure he sent the right pad, he told me to take pictures of my bench, especially of the underside with the bolts, and to send those to him. I did that and waited another week.
This time, the pad was just right! I took just a few minutes to take the old pad off and put the new pad on. Now all I have to do is paint the tubing, and it will look like I have a brand new bench.
When I benched on it, it worked just fine, but I did have to chalk it to keep from slipping. But at least the chalk held onto the pad very well, so with doing so, I no longer slip. I am thus very satisfied with this solution. One thing though; I was told this was the last pad they had that fit the design of my bench. But I figure I should be set for at least the next decade, so I will worry about that then.
The moral of the story, if only the pad of your bench is worn, rather than buying a whole new bench, call the company you got it from and see if you can order just a new pad. That would be a much less expensive option. That is of course assuming you can change the pad. I say that as thinking about the Rogue bench being just one piece might mean it would not be possible to replace the pad. Thus what they advertise as an advantage could actually be a disadvantage.
I think I finally got all of the equipment I will need for my home gym, at least for the foreseeable future. But it has taken over eleven years and over $4000 to get to this point. But even with spending over four grand, I have saved far more than that in gym expenses in the past eleven years as compared to if I had continued to work out at a commercial gym, and those commercial gym expenses would be ongoing, while my home gym expenses are done with. As such, I am very happy I set up a home gym eleven years ago and with the additions I have made to it since then. It has proven to be a very good investment, not just financially, but for my health and ability to continue to train and to compete. I say that as I may not have continued to train all of these years if I had to travel to a commercial gym and deal with the problems there four times a week, but the convenience of a home gym eliminates such excuses not to work out. Don’t forget to check out the pictures and videos page.
Yet More New Home Gym Equipment. Copyright © 2017 by Gary F. Zeolla.
The above article was posted on this site April 5, 2017.
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