Perfecting My Home Gym: Top 5 Equipment Additions of the Year
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My home gym has been “done” for a couple of years now in terms of necessities, yet I keep adding to the gym. If you’re reading this article on this obscure home gym website, you’re probably in the same boat. I didn’t go into this year with the intention of adding any specific pieces, so everything here either made its way to my gym with the stars aligning, or because the pieces were so cool, I couldn’t resist. The list is in no particular order, just listed in the order that they popped into my head when I was creating the list.
The first product on the list is the Mutant Metals Ultimate Dip Attachment (UDA). Before the UDA, the last dip attachment I had was the Rep Fitness PR-4000 Dip Station attachment. Even after selling my PR-4000 power rack and upgrading to a PR-5000 power rack, I kept the PR-4000 dip attachment. Overall, I was happy with the Rep dip attachment since it served its primary function of allowing me to easily do dips off of my rack. My issue with it, however, was storing it away when not in use. The Rep attachment, along with almost all others on the market, are big pieces that require a dedicated spot for storage because of how heavy-duty and bulky they are. What I love about the UDA is how easy it is to store. Since the handles are removable, you can store the body anywhere on your rack, and the same goes for the handles. Aside from storage, the UDA is obviously much more premium with knurled handles and offers additional functionality with adjustable handle widths. I’m not planning a full-blown review, but if you’re interested in one, let me know.
Next on the list is another premium version of a common product, spotter arms. Enter the Surplus Strength Stealth Spotter Arms. These are spotter arms that use a unique bracketing system to attach to your rack while only covering a minimal number of holes. The Stealth Spotters only utilize three holes on your rack, while other spotter arms use close to seven. This matters because it allows you to place them much lower for uses like rack pulls or, in my case, leg rollers when using my rack-attached lat pulldown. The j-cup style spotter arms rotate when force is applied from the bottom, making them useless as leg holders. This wasn’t their designed function, so I can’t really fault the spotter arms for this, but this added versatility is why I love my Stealth Spotters. I did a collab video with Garage Gym Life on rack spotter systems if you want to check out other options on the market.
The third product on this list is the Xebex XT3+ sled. Long story short, I had a Torque M4, sold it because it took up too much space when not in use, picked up a Torque M1, and wasn’t crazy about it, which led me to the XT3+. Shortly after, I found another M4 on the marketplace at an absolute steal, but that’s not relevant here. My point is sled pulls, pushes, etc., have been a godsend for my knees. Earlier this year, when I started focusing on Olympic lifting, my knees were wrecked and in a constant state of low to mild pain until I started incorporating sled work into my training. I’m working on a full comparison between these three sleds but [spoiler alert] the XT3+ is my pick of the bunch.
As I mentioned previously, my main training focus right now is Olympic weightlifting, with my first competition done this past August. As they say, practice makes perfect, and practicing with competition-like equipment is why I picked up KG bumper plates. I’m not an elite lifter by any means, but this was a welcomed change since I feel I usually lift more with LB plates, so training with KG plates is helping the mental hurdle. The Vulcan Absolute Fleck KG Training Bumper Plates are hands down the best-looking training KG bumpers on the market and, to make them even better, they’re the best priced. As for performance, they work as bumper plates should, and I have no complaints whatsoever. To anyone looking for KG training bumpers, these are 100% my recommendation.
I’m going to cheat a little bit for this last pick and choose a product category with two specific items. The category is Belt Squat Machines, and my picks are the SquatMax-MD Belt Squat and the Rogue Fitness Rhino Belt Squat. I found both of these on the Marketplace throughout the year at around half price, so I couldn’t resist picking up either of them and ended up with both. I’m planning a comparison of the two, but as of right now, I love both of these for different reasons and am having trouble deciding which one to keep since they both have different strengths and training applications.
– The Prime Fitness Super Squat Bar and Darko Anchor both were added to my gym around October of last year, so I didn’t have much time with them to include in last year’s list, and I guess technically, they didn’t qualify to be on this year’s list, but we can consider them entries 6 and 7 on this year’s list.
– The Rogue Fitness 28mm Training Bars were a Black Friday purchase where Rogue offered two Stainless Steel (shaft) bars for the price of one. I had been using a Pyrros (grab bag) bar that is great, but the center knurling started to wear on my neck & chest, so the 28mm bar was a nice change of pace. It’s probably my most used piece in the gym aside from my rack and plates at the moment.
So there you have it, my favorite additions to my gym for the year. I don’t really plan on adding much, if anything, at all next year, but then again, I didn’t have any plans for these items either, so we’ll see. Products that I’m interested in, however, are the Xebex Sledtrac treadmills, Freak Athlete Nordic Hyper, and the clear coat Rep AB-5200 2.0 bench, but I have no immediate plans to purchase, but who knows, things change.