Category Archives: Gym Talk

Top 5 Pieces of Strength Equipment you Can’t live Without

Picture this scenario: You have a few thousand dollars burning a hole in your pocket and you want to build yourself a home gym. Of course, a few thousand dollars in normal circumstances cannot outfit a complete commercial quality gym selection of equipment, but most definitely can purchase the bare essentials for a good workout. So let’s say this few thousand dollars can net you a total of FIVE pieces of strength equipment, what do you choose? Strength Militia staff did a private polling of over 1000 strength enthusiasts and asked them this exact question, with no restriction on price, but you could only choose your top 5 pieces. Below are the TOP FIVE responses we received from our poll. Enjoy!

1) Power Rack: This was an obvious no-brainer for most since the traditional power rack is capable of offering a wide variety of exercises in a single unit. And, depending on your choice of power rack, many of the ones available today come with band attachments, dip bars, pull up bars, and the like. But, what good is a power rack without one of the most important accessories to the rack, the barbell, which leads us to selection #2.

2) The Barbell: There are varying types of barbells to purchase but one thing remains the same with all, the barbell is a very useful piece of equipment. Paired with a nice power rack, the barbell is highly important for mainstay exercises like the squat (front, back, overhead, etc.), bench press (flat, incline, decline, etc.), floor press, standing press, deadlift rack pulls, and more. Outside of the rack, the barbell is great for various exercises like deadlifts (sumo, conventional, etc.), bent over row, Olympic weightlifting and other accessory lifts. But, what good is a 45lb barbell without more weight creating added resistance; hello selection #3!!

3) Bumper Plates: The problem with conventional steel plates is they don’t rebound well when dropped from above the shoulder, or even from six inches from the ground for that matter. This is why when polled, most chose to have a nice set of bumper plates as one of their necessary pieces of equipment. Not only are bumper plates fine to use in everyday strength training, they are also one of the most important items used when training in Olympic weightlifting.

4) Bench: What good is a power rack, barbell, and bumper plates if you don’t have a bench to bench press with? Not only that, a good bench can be used in other ways like step ups, box squats, jump box,hip bridges, bench dips, and other various accessory exercises. In the poll, people did not specify what type of bench they wanted, flat or adjustable, but lets just say for the sake of variety the adjustable one since it allows for more exercises than the purely flat bench.

5) Dumbells: I know what you are all thinking, why do we need a set of dumbells if we have a perfectly good barbell and bumper plates? The short and obvious answer is, because they said so. When we were outfitting my old gym we purchased a set of rubber hex dumbells (10lbs-100lbs) for a little over $1000. This to me was an invaluable purchase since dumbells add that many more exercises to your regimen, making your workouts much more successful.

Whatever equipment you find invaluable, whatever wets your whistle, as long as you can get the workout you desire it is the perfect choice, for you. Some of the notable runner ups for this poll were powerlifting chains, bands, Olympic rings, and lifting belts. Please comment below with your top five strength equipment choices. Thanks for reading!

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Workout Partners: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

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Working out is one of your favorite things to do and you want to propel your gains to a level you have never reached before. Your first thought is how many supplements and food can I eat to make #gainz; your second thought however is how to properly choose a workout partner that will help you progress, get stronger, and push those heavy weights. There are a lot of positives and also negatives to workout partners, and this is coming from personal experience with both sides of the coin. Below I will present you with not only the pros and cons of workout partners, but also HOW to choose a proper workout partner based on your specific needs. Enjoy!

Pros:

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Spotting – Want a built in spotter for bench that knows your preferences and is always there to help you hit max weights, this is when a training partner is essential. I personally dislike asking people I don’t know for spots, because most of the time, they aren’t very good at it.

Accountability – There are a lot of people out there who wouldn’t set foot in a gym if it wasn’t for a workout partner motivating them to come. If you are the type of person who needs just a little push from others, a workout partner is almost essential.

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Motivation  – There isn’t a person on earth who would say a good workout partner didn’t help them to make any serious gains. When I had a solid workout partner my bench was at around 320#, it hasn’t been at that weight since 2004, when I had my training partner. A good training partner gives you just enough push to hit weights you wouldn’t normally do on your own.

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Form Police – There is only one way to properly coach form and that is to see it from the outside looking in. You could video all of your lifts but even then a second pair of eyes could be beneficial. A good workout partner will keep his or her eyes on your form at all times and give and constructive criticism when necessary.

 Cons:

Consistency – Some people just don’t want to train as much as they say they do. Your success will suffer if you rely on a training partner who will actually only workout with you once or twice a week, if at all. If this is your training partner, ditch him or her, and train on your own or find a new buddy.

Flakiness – My last training partner would schedule days to go with me to the gym and then cancel the night of. I would then reschedule for another day HOPING he would actually commit. Ultimately, he continued to flake so I stopped reaching out and went to the gym alone.

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Slackers – You may have a training partner who shows up to the gym on-time, every time, and meets all your overall criteria in a gym buddy but there’s just one thing you don’t like, they don’t workout. Its one thing to show up to a gym, its another thing to actually get the training volume in you prefer. I see it all over, training buddies more interested in talking than working. If this is your training partner, try to convert them or give them the boot!! Your success cannot ride on the shoulders of a gym slacker.

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Goals – You and your training partner need to have similar goals. If your partner wants to do all cardio and you want to hit weights, its not going to work out. Find someone looking to get big like you because lets face it, you don’t do cardio.

So how does one choose the perfect workout partner, and frankly, how do you find them? Well, if you consider all the above criteria then it seems like it could be a difficult process. The answer is Yes and no. The first workout partner I had was a co-worker who had the exact same goals as I. He was training at a differnet gym so I said “come to my gym” and from there we started an awesome gym relationship. We pushed each other, had competitions for weight gain, weights pushed or pulled, and just had fun while getting much bigger. We would bounce supplement ideas off each other, what worked, what didn’t. He was always on time and showed up for every workout. He was one of the best training partners I have ever had. I have gone through about 3 others since then and only one other, another co-worker, had matched up perfectly (see above push up picture). My last one was flakey, didn’t work as hard, and was inconsistent. He was a bomb and I dropped him and started working out by myself again. So, pick someone with similar goals, is on time, works hard, and pushes you to make gains safely. When you find this person, and where you find this person is up to you, but they are out there but choose wisely. Make them #gainz!

Too Fit for Planet Fitness

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There is some more fun news circuiting the internet regarding a woman that was told to cover herself up at Planet Fitness for being “too toned”. I think Planet Fitness needs to really re-evaluate its “Judgment Free Zone” slogan plastered all over their walls as it seems to me that is ALL they do to gym goers. Surprisingly enough, people still join this worthless excuse for a gym which leaves me dumbfounded.

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