Home Fitness Equipment – The Best and Worst

I have been in the world of fitness and conditioning for the last 25 years and have seen numerous trends, fads, and gimmicks. Over the past year we have reviewed several fitness programs, diets, and equipment. Some of the feedback we’ve received has been to be more decisive rather than simply reviewing all of the various options and providing the upside and downside to each. So we wanted to make a call on what we think is the best machine to own if you can only choose one or are looking to start building your home gym, also one machine to stay away from.

concep 2 rowing machine homeFirstly, it’s important to know that even the worst machine provides benefits in some capacity, in some way, and are better than just sitting on the couch. Conversely, there also could be some potential harm if the machine or piece of gym equipment isn’t configured well. Results will vary from what you are looking to accomplish, what is your level of physical conditioning, do you have any physical limitations among other things. Now that we’re past the disclosure phase, in my opinion, if I could only select one piece of equipment, or if I was to “start my team” with one item it would be a rowing machine. It has a low impact on the body which can help save the knees or is easier on bad knees than some other machines, particularly if you are a little older and may not be looking to crate the South Beach Body but just get healthier.  It works the whole body making it a very efficient use of your gym or workout time.  You’ll find you get better results in regards to fat burning wise when you are engaging more muscles at the same time and rowing does that. And when you can strengthen muscles and work your cardio you have a win, win situation.

Now like so many types of fitness equipment there are many brands, some good, some not as good.  I only speak from my experience and I have not tried every machine on the market. concept 2 monitor But in my opinion, of the machines I have tried over the last number of years, the Concept2 Model D rowing machine is one of the best.  There are other very good machines.  But for the price the Concept2 Indoor Rowing Machine gives you a great quality machine.  Smooth rowing, sturdy machine, long lasting, easy to operate, gives you a performance monitor on par with your fit bit or fitness watch to track your workout. Now, it’s on the higher end, around $700 and if you want the floor stand it will run you an additional $180, so it’s not cheap but very well made and will be a piece of equipment you will have forever. It takes up minimal space and can be easily put away in a closet so you won’t need a home gym or even space designated for workout out, perfect for condo or apartment dwellers. Keep in mind you should also be able to find one if you subscribe to a local gym. One of the nice things about a rowing machine is you can use it no matter your level of physical condition (of course there are exceptions).  If you’re are a beginner or someone just starting to workout to get in shape it is good, low impact place to start.  If you have a high level of fitness and conditioning you can kick it up a notch and really challenge yourself. So, as always the key to working out and training is to just get started, and remember it’s about progress not perfection. With everything out there, it can be confusing; this is a good place to start.

Now to flip side, one piece of equipment you should stay away from is the Ab Glider Pro. abglider proThis is a perfect example of marketing at its worst/best. You’ve got the slender, sexy, blond in workout gear as the spokesperson (Elisabeth Hasselbeck, host from “The View”), and others. Whom all in amazing shape with sculptured abdominal muscles, which they obviously previously perfected and toned prior to using this machine and specifically shooting the crucnhworkoutcommercial. Then it’s the canned “use this and you can look this way too” dialog. To the point, we put it to the test for 60 days and found that, once again, is it better than nothing? Yes. But is it accomplishing what it is advertising to do? No. Your triceps get a better workout and if you have a sensitive back, it’s going to be hurting at the end of your session. Moreover to get any kind of meaningful results on your abs you’d have to be on this thing for at least an hour and at price point of $199 it’s very low return on investment and time. Simply put you would get a more effective and timely workout, putting a thick blanket on the floor and crunching abs using the “bicycle kick” method. I know, sounds primitive but you would get much better, AND VISIBLE, results for your valuable time.

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