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I got some new toys. Here are the mini-reviews.


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So I had saved up a mountain of cash for a real estate auction and came home empty handed, and to feed my dismay I figured it was time to buy some stuff I had been eye balling for a couple months.

 

EliteFTS Pro Bands in mini, monster mini, and light: I had bought a few of the cheap round bands from Wally World for doing some mobility work and helping with getting off the floor when I couldn't do a raw chin-up. They worked, but being round and linear they were a pain to set up on my rack and they loved jumping off my foot for chins. EliteFTS was running a sale a couple weeks ago so I thought it was time to pick up some real bands. They are 40% off right now, which is an even better deal (ugh). The mini band is awesome for pull-aparts, the monster is about right for banded push-ups and for a burnout set of chins. I did some snatch-grip speed pulls against a light band and it felt really cool. I think in my next cycle I'm going to add them in on squat day for some help with RFP. They feel really good, their stretch seems really consistent, and they are about the perfect length for the things I would use them for. Three pairs ran me $76 and I'm pretty certain they will last a very long time. One caveat, they are made of latex.

 

WOSS Equalizer Suspension Trainer (TRX knock-off): My wife is having a hard time getting herself up to a real chin-up. Inverted rows off a bar in the squat rack are a pain and give a really short range of motion. I also don't have a dip station and laying a pair of barbells across horses is a pain to set up for an assistance lift. I was looking at a pair of EliteFTS blast straps or a real TRX but the prices are pretty stupid for some nylon strap and handles. Looking on Amazon I found WOSS's knockoff of a TRX for $32 and thought it was worth the risk. I am loving it for suspended push-ups and suspension rows. I get a much better pump on my triceps doing the pushups and better ROM and scapular contraction with suspension rows. The cam buckles do appear to dig into the strapping so at some point I might have to replace it. That'll be a $10 eBay proposition for much higher quality strap. Definitely a worthwhile buy.

 

Wei-Rui Fury weightlifting shoes: Be forewarned, I just received them today and it was bench day not squat or overhead press day. That said, as soon as they showed up I strapped them on and walked out to the rack to do some lightweight playing around with them. Wow... These are my only experience with shoes so I have no idea what a "good" pair of shoes feels like, but these feel pretty damn special. The amount of feedback you get from your feet on a deep back squat is really amazing, allowing you to adjust your balance unlike when I squatted barefoot or in chucks. I felt a lot more stable and much more upright on a deep squat. Front squats are effortless in keeping good t-spine extension and a vertical posture. Overhead pressing felt much more stable with no rocking up onto the balls of my feet at lockout like I sometimes experience. I pulled yesterday and I'm really not in any shape to give them any kind of try-out deadlifting. Next Wednesday I'll see how they work pulling sumo. I paid $55 for them through Maxbarbell.com. They only have a few sizes of the Fury left, but the other prices on their shoes don't look bad. Luckily they had 9.5s for me. They look and feel cheap, but they'll only spend a couple hours a week being work in my home gym. If you are a Crossfitter they are probably a bad idea due to the cheapness of the upper construction and the stiffness of the entire sole. Split jerking might also be problematic, but I have never tried it in training so take that for what it's worth.

 

Homemade Squat Box: My wife is having a hellish time learning to sit back into her squat better and hitting depth if she does. I had a few hours to myself yesterday so a trip to Lowes was in order. I made the framework out of 2x3s and topped it with 11/32" plywood with a 2x3 support running under the center. It flexes a very little with me jumping on it so I doubt it'll fail from just sitting on it. It's nice and light, 18" square and 13 3/4" tall so she hits about an inch below parallel. After she tried it out for box squats I piled 170lbs of plates on top and used it to do some natty GHRs. I could only do slow negatives but I definitely understand why Wenning, Simmons, Wendler et al all talk so highly of it for building hamstrings. I also used it with a mat draped over it for doing hip thrusts and it felt really good.

 

There you have it. Some reviews on some things I got that if you train at home you should think about picking up or building.

 

On the shoes, time will tell. For now they are something I can definitely agree with the others who lift in proper footwear. You really don't know what you're missing if you're squatting in running shoes, Chucks, or barefoot.

My training log

Spoiler

 

2016

Hudson Valley Strongman presents Lift for Autism (USS), April 16th Contest report

2015

Hudson Valley Strongman presents Lift for Autism (NAS), April 18th Contest report

Eighth Annual Vis Vires Outdoor Strongman Competition (Unsanctioned), August 1st Contest report

 

"What's the difference between an injury that you train around and an injury that you train through?"

"A trip to the hospital"

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