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New Garage Gym Toys for Olympic WL, CrossFit, etc

New Garage Gym Gear 2014

We’re only three full months into 2015, but there has already been a lot of really cool new releases in the strength training, Olympic weightlifting, and CrossFit world; especially in terms of bumpers and weights. Whenever a good 6-10 cool new pieces of equipment pile up, I like to do a quick post that highlights them just in case anyone missed their release. Most of this stuff is serious equipment, but I tend to add fun things too.

BTW, I’m not on a Rogue kick or anything, but they have released soooo much cool stuff recently and everyone else seems to be trailing behind a little. So if this article seems Rogue-heavy, you now know why. Enjoy!

Nike MetCon 1 Men’s Cross Training Shoes

The new Nike MetCon 1 Cross Training Shoes

It’s no secret that shoes are a hot topic in the CrossFit and Weightlifting world, but the amount of discussion and speculation around the MetCons even before their release was incredible. I’ve never seen so much male chatter about a shoe before.

The MetCon 1 is an all-purpose men’s cross-training shoe. These shoes have a flat firm heel and a grooved forefoot design. MetCons are built to provide stability on heavy lifts, flexibility on sprints and climbs, and optimal comfort for distance runs and day-to-day activities. They provide traction on just about any surface, have a rubber padding on the midsole that reduces friction during rope climbs, and is lined in a breathable mesh.

Some of the colors available - Nike MetCon 1

I don’t have a pair yet, but the word is that these are probably a better shoe than most of the Nano models, not to mention that they are certainly a better value than some of the Reeboks at only $120. The downside? Due to their instant popularity, they are a pain in the ass to find in stock anywhere. Between getting the colors you want and the right size, you’ll need to be both persistent and patient.

Take a look at this review of the MetCons by Joel at AMRAP if you’re interested in these.

R3-W Fold Back Wall Mounted Rack

Rogue Infinity R-3W Wall Mounted Rack

Prior to the release of the Rogue R3-W, there was only one real option for a serious space-saving rack like this; the PRx Profile Rack. Unfortunately, the price of the Profile didn’t make it a very appealing rack. ($1300!!!). I guess PRx figured that since they were the only ones making a retractable rack that they could charge whatever the hell they wanted. Well, for those of you who passed on that Profile due to the high price but still dream of a garage that can be both a gym and a place to park your car, this new Rogue rack may be the affordable answer.

The Infinity R3-W mounts to your wall much the same as the W-4 Power Rack, but the R3-W is fully retractable when it’s time to pull the car in. When stored away, this rack sits flush against the wall, sticking out only about 5″. When you’re ready to use it again, set-up takes mere seconds. This thing is pretty damn cool. I mean, for about the same price as any decent squat stand, you get a full size rack, pull-up bar, Infinity compatibility, and even Westside hole spacing. It also comes in two different depths.

Pricing starts at $475 before any upgrades or accessories, and you’ll probably need to hang a stringer like in the picture, but the benefits of this rack for someone with limited space far outweighs the cost of some lumber and a couple hours of assembly time. There is also a 3″x3″ Monster Lite version of this rack that starts at $495.

OSO Barbell Collars

OSO Aluminum Barbell Collars

The fanciest collars around for anywhere near $50 are these OSO collars. I hear nothing but great things about these both in terms of how they look, and how they perform. OSO collars are made of aluminum, they hold tight, they are lined with rubber so they won’t scratch your bar, and they come in eight different colors.

Sadly, they don’t weigh anything significant, but then again neither do Lock-Jaws, Muscle Clamps, or those crappy spring collars. Get ’em direct, or get ’em from Rogue.

Reebok ZPump Fusion

Reebok ZPump Running Shoes

Any of you old enough to remember the pump shoes? They’re back. I mean, everything else gets reinvented, so I guess it should come as no surprise that someone would eventually bring these back, right?

Reebok says that their ZPump Fusion running shoes conform perfectly to your foot and are ideal for shorter, faster runs. Sprints? They’re not very expensive for running shoes at barely over $100, and they sure are ugly, but reviews average around four stars so they obviously don’t completely suck. Maybe someone will think your shoe says “Puma” rather than “Pump”.

Spud Inc Economy Tricep/Lat Pulley

Spud Inc Econo Tricep and Lat Pulley

This is actually a pretty cool idea. I know a lot of people DIY pulley/pulldown systems for their garage gym since owning a pin-select station is not only expensive, but takes up a whole lot of space. I’m pretty sure the rest of us make the best out of resistance bands when it comes to mimicking movements like lat pulldowns, tricep pushdowns, and so forth. I know I do.

Well who knew that for less than $100 you could have a genuine pulley system in your garage, and one that takes up no space whatsoever when not in use even. Using the pull-up bar or crossmember of your power rack and the weights you already own, you can get up to 550 pounds of weight (overkill?) safely loaded. Start busting out lat pulldowns again.

New Plates From Rogue?

Rogue has been pretty busy with weight plates lately. They have added more than a few new models to their already massive plate line-up. Let’s look at some of those now!

-Rubber Coated Kilogram & Pound Change Plates

Rogue new Kilogram Change Plates

Rogue Pound Change Plate Set

Well it’s about time, right? I know that many people have been waiting for these to drop for a long time, and here they are.

Both the kilogram and pound change plates have the standard 50.4 mm Olympic opening, a hard rubber coating, and a matte color finish. The rubber is a nice touch; it allows the plates to fit very snugly on the bar so that you can use them outside the collars (basically friction plates.)

The kilogram change plates are color-coded to IWF specifications and come in six increments from 0.5 kg to 5 kg. They can be purchased in individual pairs or as a a 25 kg set. The pound change plates are also colored and come in three increments of 2.5 lb, 5 lb, and 10 lb. Again, they can be ordered in pairs or as a set. I have some of these in kilograms and they fit wonderfully. I’m extremely happy with them.

-New Training 2.0 Bumper Plates

Rogue Training Bumper Plates 2.0

Rogue has updated their training bumpers to version 2.0, and both pounds and kilogram discs are available. I actually own a full set of these in kilos and they are beautiful plates. The colors are vibrant, they fit the bar snugly, have a low, controllable bounce, and the price is extremely reasonable (especially now as they are on sale.) I also like the shape of these much more than the previous version. I guess you could say they look more squared off at the edge and more refined.

When I was shopping for new training plates, the one thing that sealed the deal for me when I bought these (besides the low sale price) is the fact that they are a free shipping item. Not just for sets, but for pairs as well. Paying shipping on bumper plates is the worst, but getting beautiful plates on the cheap and then getting free shipping is the best.

-More Rogue Training Bumpers, in Black!

Rogue Training Bumper Plates 2.0 in black

These are pretty much the same plate as the IWF colored training plates that I just talked about above, with the obvious difference being that they are black with colored text. Of course, the color of the text corresponds to the weight.

So far the black version of the 2.0 discs are only available in pounds, but I would expect kilos to be right behind these. The original version of the black kilogram training bumpers are still up on the Rogue site, but I personally like the 2.0 plates better so if it were me, I’d wait.

-Rogue Wagon Wheel

The Rogue Wagon Wheel for Deadlifting

Well this is certainly an interesting plate. The Wagon Wheel is intended to let you do block pulls (deadlifts) without needing the blocks. Each wheel weighs 45 pounds just like a standard steel plate, but has a diameter of 26″ which raises the bar off the ground by about 3″. Wagon Wheels are made with 3/8″ steel, are 2″ thick, and are sold in pairs for a hefty $425. Very cool looking, but probably not very practical.

-Rogue Colored Echo Plates

Rogue Echo Bumper Plates in IWF Colors

The normal black Echo bumpers are probably the most competitively priced basic bumpers out there, and now you can have them in color as well. Sure, the colored Echos cost more than the blacks, but when compared to other colored basic bumpers, they are still priced competitively. Not only that, but you can score free shipping as well.

These are in pounds, but Rogue still matched the colors to IWF specifications (25 pound plates are green, 35 pound plates are yellow, and so forth.) Set sizes vary from 210 pounds to 350 pounds, and prices start at $383. Only sets ship free, not pairs.

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • M April 3, 2015, 1:53 pm

    Thanks for the updates – I’ll be following several of those.

    I wonder if you compared the Vulcan V-lock urethane change plates to the Rogue. It seems to me there might be advantages to the Vulcan in quietude and possibly durability – it seems like the joint between metal and rubber on the Rogue might make that spot more likely to split, particularly due to there being less rubber thickness than the Vulcan due to the metal in the Rogue.

    I’m hoping the Vulcan stainless bar might be using hard chrome over stainless on the sleeves. Hard chrome, as I read it, has very little corrosion resistance so unless you can really baby the bar you may eventually end with rusty sleeves with hard chrome over mild steel. There are various opinions on how expensive it would be to build a hard stainless sleeve with no chrome – the cheaper, softer stainless as these manufacturers are apparently using on the shafts apparently tends to gall when dropped if used alone on sleeves. So hope Vulcan might be a step forward in that way – it’d be nice if they’d add a bushing version too. The open question is whether all-stainless (possibly with hard chrome over stainless on the sleeves although I’d rather not have shiny myself) would really force a high price.

    The Nikes look worth following. Some toe-peeling is reported on the link you gave.

    I have the Spud pulley set. It’s worth having two for arm isolation, and one might consider buying the parts oneself to save money and get a custom fit to one’s hanging setup. The cables and nylon loops they provide are simply the lengths they picked which is fine if they fit your setup.

    I know Pendlay had some bumper plate loose-center complaints in the past but as far as I can see so far they are currently using the same plates as Rogue and in the sales I’ve seen the Pendlays come out cheaper. Rogue wins on the free shipping for non-sets.

    For the right garage those fold-out setups could indeed save space but I’m not completely convinced on their safety for solo lifting. I guess large cantilevered safety bars might be fine – I seem to remember that you shifted in that direction out in front of a rack? That may also work with cantilevered platforms – a potentially space-saving substitute for boxes – I’ve seen those offered by at least one rack maker but don’t know who all has them in which hole pattern. My own garage seems to be calling for a different design detailed in the next paragraph but these commercial ones may be a great setup for some people. I think I have only seen the platforms at Power-Lift so far and iirc they use some odd accessory mounting arrangement that wouldn’t play well with other racks.

    Due to my garage layout I’m thinking of getting some uprights, mounting them in drop-in recesses in a platform on the bottom, and clamping the uprights to my horizontal loft braces on the top — possibly additionally bracing front to back with wood or metal. This would give me about a 7′-deep rack in the best place to squeeze an Olympic platform, and if I do the mounts well it could all come apart pretty easily to get a car in the space. I could cantilever as above (also looking into monolifts) but Sorinex and Rogue have strap arrangements that run front to back like safety bars — seems like this would allow for soft drop and a well-controlled bar although putting the starting position where you want it might be tricky. What I was thinking was that I could have a set of these straps made to connect my very distant front and rear bars — no supplier for this so far: I read Rogue can’t do custom lengths (guessing these are shipped finished from China) and haven’t asked Sorinex yet. I’m thinking possibly Spud would make me a set of straps because they work with heavy nylon and seem to make their stuff up on site.

    Another space-saver: saw a swiss army knife bench that appears to be well-built; unfortunately a crash has lost that at least until I’ve recovered my tabs but there was a recent bodybuilding.com gear section thread devoted to it. They have a GHD attachment for it that looks pretty good, among many others.

    Hope you might consider reviewing Windows workout log software at some point. Hard to come by anything but bogus reviews.

    Thanks for the news and great reviews!

    • jburgeson April 3, 2015, 2:58 pm

      I’m going to assume (though I don’t know for sure) that the sleeves on the Vulcan SS will be hard chrome covering a normal, steel sleeve. The AB SS Bar is like that, but the chrome on the sleeves is super thick and takes some serious dedication to scratch. It would be nice if Vulcan followed suit on that move, but we’ll see. I do doubt the sleeve will be cut from stainless though. The stainless is all about the raw feel without the corrosion, not so much that it’s like a better metal for the application.

      I’m hoping Rogue has fixed what was wrong with the Pendlay change plates. I actually haven’t weighed mine yet; maybe I should do that! I heard the Pendlays fall apart like crazy, and are about as accurate as a CAP product. Having said that, if they were the exact same plate I’d still buy the Rogues over Pendlay (or neither!). I have never been more unhappy with a company than I have been with MDUSA. I’d send someone to Academy before I sent them to MDUSA. I’ll look into those Vulcans though, maybe do a comparison down the road. I have some Vulcan Comp plates and they seem solid; not really any different than the new Rogues.

      I’ve never read reviews for log software. You’re saying it’s all like BS reviews? Like probably written by the developers, or at least funded by them?

  • M April 3, 2015, 10:22 pm

    They do look too much like BS reviews for my taste — tables using numeric scoring with criteria chosen to highlight the favored software, subtle bias in the text, etc. I looked quite a lot and there aren’t many worthwhile reviews.

    I’ll probably get some of those collars for my Olympic bar. The “steel” color is OK, the rest are pretty gaudy — I read somewhere the maker plans to introduce some more muted colors. Think I read they don’t work well with the pipe bars — that could be a good next model for him…well and one with a chain loop.

    • jburgeson April 3, 2015, 10:56 pm

      I’ll look into that software after the reviews I have going. Are there any dominant titles?

      Yeah nothing works well on specialty bars unless they are designed for it. I mean, some hold ok… good enough for a Swiss or trap bar, but I wouldn’t try on something like a farmers handle or anything where the bar has a good chance of tilting to one side.

  • M April 3, 2015, 11:07 pm

    Two of the big titles are Crosstrainer (currently in version 8, I think…a search might go better with the version number in there somehow) and WeightMania Pro.

  • Dylan April 5, 2015, 8:52 am

    I just picked up those OSO collars! Love them so far.

  • Steven Thunander May 8, 2015, 10:46 pm

    I am still waiting for the new Rogue training bar to drop. From what I saw in the video, it will have bearings in it (or a bushing system similar to the Vaughn and Vulcan Elite training bar), but be the same price as the current training bar.

    • jburgeson May 8, 2015, 10:50 pm

      I check on that every once in a while. They seem to be having bar supply issues so maybe it’s on the back burner, who knows. Remember they were dropping new bars left and right, now nothing in the bar department for some time now. /shrug

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