Sunday, January 27, 2008

I’m not going to sell out by saying that you need equipment in order to exercise. The truth is, and always will be, that you don’t. Still, I use some equipment occasionally. It adds different angles and challenges to my workout that I don’t normally get from other exercises. It’s called variety. So, in no particular order, here are some of the tools that I use to exercise.

I like the ab wheel quite a bit. It adds quite a bit of difficulty to working out my abdominal muscles. This is one great way to add some high intensity to the repertoire. It’s also a very complete abdominal exercise, oblique muscles included. It can be a very difficult exercise though and progression shouldn’t be rushed. Frankly, you don’t need to rush it. Even in its easiest, knees on the ground flavor, it’s still tough.

I find new uses for rings all of time. I initially made them for pullups but then I decided to add a length of rope down to the ground and started doing pushups off of them. They are ridiculously tough. When you put your weight on them, they just want to swing away from you. So, you have to contract your pectoral muscles far more than you normally would. These make for a brutally intense pushup. While you’ve got the rope on the rings, you can do rows off of them. Dips are also possible, although quite difficult as well.

The pushup bars have some great utility too. For those who have trouble with sore wrists can benefit from using pushup bars. The bars straighten the wrists out as well as adding more range of motion, making the pushup more intense on the serratus and rhomboid muscles. They could be used on handstand pushups as well.

I've even messed around with balance and bosu balls. These both challenge your balance and force you to use a lot of stabilizer muscles. I've just barely gotten into using these on a regular basis. I'll keep you posted on any experiments in the future. I can say that pushups on the balance ball while using the perfect pushup are brutal.

If you've got some money in your wallet and feel like splurging a bit, give a few of these a whirl. Just remember, these are nice but not necessary. Not by a long shot.

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