Vulcan Standard 28mm Training Barbell 20kg

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Quite some time ago now, I blindly picked up a barbell from a company I didn’t know a whole lot about named Vulcan Strength. I admit, at the time I was much more of a noob about equipment than I am now. Honestly, I don’t even remember how I came about finding out about Vulcan in the first place, but I remember being dazzled by their “Standard” barbell. It was and still is, one of the few U.S. made barbells that isn’t Rogue, American Barbell or Diamond Pro. That alone gave it a certain allure, but the performance quickly made it one of my favorite and most recommended barbells.

If there was anything “wrong” with the Vulcan Standard; it was that the shaft was 28.5mm in diameter making it more of a “CrossFit” bar (I’m a crossfitter), and less of a training barbell. Which could be fine for you purposes depending on what you’re looking for.  I also think it’s kind of weird when 28.5mm bars only have a WL marking, but Vulcan must have read my review and not too long after the PL marking was added in; I guess the same could be said about 28mm bars with PL markings! The original 28.5mm Standard is still available, but you now also have the option to go with a true 28mm Training Bar under the same moniker.

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  • 28mm diameter shaft with nickel chrome coating and a single IWF marking.
  • 196k PSI tensile strength.
  • Medium depth knurling.
  • Oil impregnated bronze bushings with bright zinc sleeves.
  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • $345 with Free Shipping
  • Lifetime Warranty

Many of the specifications of the original Standard carry over to the training bar other than a very slight jump in tensile strength. This is not a bad thing as the original Standard was a great barbell due to many of these attributes. The same good ol’ American made build quality still stands as well; the Training bar is one of the most sturdy sounding bars when dropped. A more significant change is the difference in price, but more on that later on.

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As with the original Standard, rotation is aided by a set of bronze bushings per sleeve. Spinning the sleeve freely without weight surprisingly doesn’t produce as many rotations as the original Standard did. We all know by now that spinning the sleeves like that doesn’t mean much to the actual performance of the bar. On the contrary, the bronze bushings found in the Standard Training bar allow for buttery smooth rotations under any kind of load. Since the bushings are sintered, rotation should actually get better with use and last you quite some time before having to re-lubricate. If you wanted “wow” factor, you could opt for the bearing variant!

Out of the box, Vulcan uses a much thicker grease lubricant to protect the bar from it’s own tight tolerances. This reduces metal to metal contact, resulting in less wear over time and a “looser” barbell. Other manufacturers will use a thinner type lubricant to make the bar spin better out of the box, but not necessarily to safeguard the barbell.

Tensile strength has changed from the 194k psi tensile to a 196k psi tensile, which does mean that the metallurgy of the steel has been altered. It’s interesting to see that the thinner shaft has the higher strength between the two, but the hike in tensile strength doesn’t do anything to the dynamic properties of the barbell. Most barbells in this range usually have an adequate amount of whip for most people but should increase as the weights go up.  I found that the Training bar feels a lot like the Standard I remembered in this area. You start to feel the bar move around 100kg, but not enough to make a difference. YMMV if you’re a big boy/girl lifter!


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Vulcan’s nickel chrome coating is blingin’. Aesthetically, the Training bar is beautiful, but that’s probably not the reason you’re buying it. Chrome is great against chipping and scratching but remember, oxidation can still happen. Though I haven’t experienced any issues with this being from SoCal, you can expect this to happen in the most humid of environments. You can count on the shaft looking great for years to come if taken care of properly. I always recommend keeping a nylon brush near by to knock the chalk out of your knurling. The polished shaft is without center knurling but you shouldn’t have any issues with it slipping off your chest, as I felt it actually caught my sticky skin instead.

Vulcan is one of the only manufacturers to actually tout they have a medium depth knurling; I think companies stray away from this because they’re afraid that it might cost them some bar sales, but over the years I’ve notice a trend of people that actually want a more aggressive knurl pattern. I remember the original Standard not having a very aggressive knurl, which I personally liked, but the Training bar’s knurl is much more aggressive than it what it once was. Knurling is the most subjective thing when it comes to choosing a barbell; what I like, you might not, and vice versa. However, I actually find the Training bar’s knurling to be quite comfortable, even for reps. The pattern is a bit more fine, but also deeper and provides excellent grip even without having to chalk up. Fans of more aggressive knurling will revel at the touch of the Training bar’s knurling.

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The Standard Training bar will set you back a cool $66 more than the OG ($345 vs $279), which is a considerable amount more. If you’re a dedicated weightlifter, this is a no-brainer, you need that 28mm shaft! From a Crossfitter’s point of view, you might be just fine saving a little bit and going for the original Standard. You can sure as hell perform Oly movements just fine with the OG just as well as you can do WOD’s with the Training bar. They’re still both excellent and it mainly depends on your budget, but I would always opt for the 28mm barbell.

For the price, there are other great barbells, so I think it mainly comes down to what your preferences are with knurling.  There are no wrong answers in this range of barbells, but if you’re looking for a good ol’ American made 28mm training bar with a real medium depth knurling, is built like a tank and should last you for years to come, look no further than the Vulcan Standard. If theres anything I know about Vulcan, it’s that they have an insatiable need to put out the the best quality gear out there; you can shop with confidence.

Get your Vulcan Standard Training bar here!

Rogue Fitness Training Bar Review

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This review has been a long time coming. I’ve always wanted one ever since I saw this bar at the Games in 2014, but I never wanted to shell out the money they were charging for it. Why you ask? I just thought it was overpriced compared to other import bearing barbells that I thought would be better barbells. Comparably speaking, at the time the Pendlay HD could be had for much less and was a very similarly spec’d barbell. So why did I even want this bar? The amount of free spin in the sleeves was incredible; I couldn’t believe it was a bushing barbell. A part of me concluded that since it was the display model at the games, they had just pumped the sleeves up with oil, so it was kind of a risky buy since just about every Rogue bar doesn’t have the greatest rotation. Luckily, that’s not the case, and the Rogue Fitness Training bar is one of the greatest bars that they make, if not the greatest.

From a specification standpoint, the Training bar doesn’t really stand out; it’s pretty much like every other Rogue barbell, or like most popular barbells for that matter. With the Training bar, you get a 190k psi tensile strength 28mm shaft, bronze bushings, light knurling with a single IWF marking and the choice between either bright or black zinc coating. So on paper, it looks like that premium over a typical Rogue bar just nabs you a 28mm shaft. It’s very easy for the Training bar to get lost in the crowd this way, but the specs are only half the story. I wish there was a place that you could go to try these bars before you purchased them! If that were the case, you’d see more people with this bar. (Any SoCal natives are welcome to come to my gym, CrossFit 805 and check some of my collection out.)

Unlike the 190k 28.5mm shaft thats used on the Ohio bar (Rogue bar, operator, Castro…), the training bar uses the exact same shaft as the NA weightlifting bar. Since that’s the case, the whip is much more substantial than you’ll find on a typical multi-purpose Rogue bar. The Ohio bar, while still an awesome bar, feels like a powerlifting bar compared to the Training bar. You’ll notice things start to get going around 200lbs, but from there it only picks up and gets better.  It’s true that at these weights, whip isn’t necessarily going to have the same impact that it does at advanced weights, but you can definitely feel the bar oscillate during cleans and jerks.

Another thing reminiscent of Rogue’s higher end weightlifting barbell is the knurling pattern. Once again, the same exact style you’ll find on both of the bearing barbells. In my opinion, one of the best patterns on any barbell, but those who prefer aggressive knurling might not be thrilled at it because it falls into the shallow category. I’ve never found it to not have enough grip, so I wouldn’t worry about it too much, sweaty folk.

By far the most intriguing aspect of the Training bar is how well the bar rotates while using bronze bushings, much like you’d find in most of Rogue’s bars. Anyone that has ever owned a Rogue bar will tell you that though they’re fairly smooth, there’s always something left to be desired with how fast the sleeves spin. The Training bar is the exception – these sleeves spin like mad. When put up against my higher end Rogue WL bars, the Training bar out-spun my EU bar and was just slightly behind the NA bar. The only question this leaves me with is: “Why the hell don’t all Rogue bar’s spin like this?!”
I get it, spinning a sleeve and pulling under a clean are two very different things, but the real world performance is just as stunning as watching the sleeves spin. Having a bar that spins this smooth and fast really makes you doubt just how important bearing bars are for beginner to intermediate weights. The necessity to have bearings becomes more apparent when you’re trying to get under 400lbs, but for sub-300lb lifts, any smooth bushings that don’t get stuck should be fine.

Just FYI, I scored this bar from Rogue Fitness’ boneyard bar section for $245 before shipping and tax. One of the reasons I pulled the trigger on this bar is because it had center knurling on it, which I highly recommend if you’re in the market for a brand new barbell; they only offer it on the Chan, WL and EU bars. The Training bar came to me in new condition, with very, very minimal blemishes. This barbell for that price is an outstanding value and a no brainer if it pops up again. Most people will be paying the full $330 MSRP, and like previously mentioned, it looks like  you’re not getting much more than a standard Ohio bar. You’re just going to have to take my word for it when I say that for the money, the Training bar is probably the best bar that Rogue Fitness sells at the moment. Unless you’re not training the Olympic lifts, this bar is the one to get for weightlifting and even WOD’s.

I’m happy that I didn’t pull the trigger sooner on this bar because it was such a great deal, but I probably wouldn’t regret it if I had spent the full price on this bar either. For this price, you can either get a cheap-ish feeling import bearing bar or a high quality U.S. made Training bar. Personally, I would choose the latter.

You can get your Rogue Fitness Training Bar here!

American Barbell Performance Training Bar Review

 

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About a month ago, I had the opportunity to tour the American Barbell facility in San Diego, CA. I felt like a kid in a candy shop, everything you could want for your home gym, right there within arms reach. The workers there take a lot of pride in the equipment they produce, especially the ones that specialize in putting together the barbells. Let me be the first to tell you that American Barbell is looking to change the game with some of the bars they’re coming out with, and I can’t wait for everyone to see. I don’t think this is kind of thing is open to the public, but I know they do have warehouse sales, so you might want to take advantage of those if you can; you can score some insane deals on b-stock product.

I want to thank American Barbell for having me over, and best of all, I didn’t walk away empty handed!

If there was anything I took away from that visit, it’s that American Barbell products are some of the most refined in the industry. Everything is manufactured to high standards and the ones that aren’t, don’t get sold to the general public, no matter how small the defect. I managed to pick up a new, but B-stock Performance Training Bar where the only defect on it was a slight, and I mean slight error to the knurl. Most people wouldn’t even notice it, I had to look really hard to find it. Even still, there is no way that this could affect the performance of the bar or this review.

The Performance Training Bar is the same one they used at the last OC Throwdown. It fits into their Olympic weightlifting category, but should still do fine for multipurpose use nonetheless.  Like all current American Barbell bars, it uses a 28mm diameter, 190k PSI tensile strength shaft that is made in the USA. The Performance Training Bar uses composite bushings, but are much thicker than their more basic bars. It also has upgrades like recessed precision welded sleeves and a full coat of hard chrome throughout the bar. In their line-up, this would fall somewhere in the top-mid tier and would probably match up best with Rogue’s WL Training Bar or Vulcan’s Elite Bushing model.

Like all American Barbell bars, the performance is outstanding. Though the bar uses bushings for it’s rotation, they’re some of the smoothest I’ve ever used, with very light resistance that rivals bearing bars. You won’t get much free rotation out of them if you just spin the sleeve, but under load, you won’t ever have worry about a slow turn over – and that’s when it actually matters. The sleeves have very little play as well, leaving you with a very satisfying noise when dropped with weight.

All American Barbell bars seem to use the same light, but extremely fine cut knurl pattern. Be it weightlifting singles or high rep CrossFit WOD’s, it’s very comfortable to use and provides excellent grip for all but the sweatiest of hands. The hard chrome coating doesn’t provide as good a feel as the stainless models do, but a bit easier to hold on to than their zinc coated models, such as the California Bar. Chalk is going to be the easiest solution for your grip woes, but honestly, if you’re a fan of shark tooth knurling, you might not like American Barbell’s. How many people actually like getting their hands torn up though?

Where the Performance Training Bar absolutely shines is the amount of whip it has under moderate loads; most 190k, mid-range bars struggle in this area. It is true that it’s hard to use any oscillation, or even feel it, at beginner to intermediate weights, but it’s definitely still a factor. Stiff bars tend to hurt when you receive them, or even when they make contact. The Performance Training Bar feels very similar to it’s bigger brother, the SS Comp bar in this area. Movements feel very smooth, giving you one of the most fluid lifting experiences you could get with a mid-range training bar. You can really start to feel the bar react more dynamically around 100kg, and should only get better the heavier you lift. It even rivals some of my much more expensive bars, which I don’t even miss since getting the Performance Training Bar.

At $345, the Performance Training Bar’s closest competition comes in the form of the Rogue Training bar and the Vulcan Elite. I own the Rogue as well and it too is a fine training barbell; the spin is excellent, the whip is just slightly behind the American Barbell. The knurling is subjective, but personally I like the finer American Barbell knurl. Build quality is slightly in American Barbell’s favor, but both are great American made products. You can’t go wrong either way, but for me, I’d take the Performance Training Bar for it’s whip and knurl – but it’s really too close to call.

Most bearing bars in this price range are going to be pretty generic import ones. They might have sleeves that spin for days, but under real world lifting, you won’t even notice the difference between them and the smooth spinning American Barbell bushings. Not to mention most import barbell’s have sub-par build quality and uneven knurling.

For the money, the American Barbell Performance Training bar might be one of the best performance for dollar barbells. If you want a high performing barbell but don’t quite have the change to splurge on the SS Competition bar and don’t want to go the import route, the PT barbell offers up more than half it’s performance at less than half the cost.

Get your American Barbell Performance Training bar here!

2016 CrossFit & Gym Equipment Black Friday Deal Guide

My favorite time of the year is here, not because I like Thanksgiving, but because I love shopping.  I’ve decided to compile a list of the best deals so that you don’t have to. This post will be updated regularly throughout Cyber Monday, so make sure you bookmark this page!

As always, please make sure you click through my links to make your purchases.  It doesn’t cost you any more, but it helps me out a ton!

Crossfit/Fitness Equipment:

Rogue Fitness

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Once again, Rogue is having their matte black Friday deals. Every year they have deals on popular stuff, but also release specialty or brand new items (which are also on sale) for MBF. Hundo pricing means the more you buy, the more you save. And the $5 for 5 shipping means ANYTHING you get, as long as you buy 5 things total, ship for $5!

Click here to shop Rogue Fitness

American Barbell

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American Barbell is offering up to 30% off their bars and bumper plates. Notable deals include the Performance Training Bar for $275 and their brand new Mammoth Power Bar with Cerakote for $450!

Shop at American Barbell

FringeSport

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  • Lightning Deals (limited quantities) starting Monday, 11/21 @ 12pm CT through Cyber Monday, 11/28. 
  • Black Friday Savings start Friday 11/25 @ 12am CT
  • Cyber Monday Lightning Hourly Deals start Monday 11/28 @ 9am CT
  • Here are some of the items that will be on our Black Friday / Cyber Monday sale. We are not releasing the Lightning Deals until they actually start on Monday11/21, but we’re making them appetizing (Thanksgiving pun intended) and there will be limited quantities of them.

In-Store Promotion: Local pickup will receive an additional 10% off these prices (excluding rowers). We’ll also have Doorbusters that are in-store only.

They’ll’ll also have special hours in-store. More details will be available here: https://www.fringesport.com/pages/black-friday-cyber-monday-deals

Shop at FringeSport

Vulcan Strength

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Vulcan Strength are going to have some extraordinary deals this year, but they’re top secret until the 23rd! Luckily, you can sign up for their mailer to get first dibs on what’s ahead! Make sure you go check out their website to sign up for the list! Everything Vulcan carries is high quality, and they have insane standards for their products. You’ll definitely want to know what goes on sale here!

Deals are live! Vulcan Standard for $238 and push pull sled for $188!

Shop at Vulcan Strength

LYNX Barbell

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Lynx Barbell has some huge discounts on barbells and other equipment. Their excellent Hybrid Bearing Bar 3.0 on sale for 20kg-$199, Oly bar for 20kg-$259/15kg-$229, and much more after the jump!

Shop at LYNX Barbell

Get Rxd

GetRxd is having up to 50% off items! The deals are currently live, deals you might want to take advantage of are the Xebex Air Bike for $600 and the 8 bearing Texas bar for $217!

Shop at GetRxd

Onyx Straps

The very best lifting straps in the game are going to be on sale for 35% off their normal price. This is the cheapest I’ve ever seen them, so make sure you grab a pair! These are highly regarded in the lifting community! Promo Code is: BLACKONYX

Shop Onyx Straps!

Bear Komplex

-Hand Grips -$24.98
-Knee Sleeves – $39.98/pair

-FREE BKX sunglasses with any purchase

-FREE SHIPPING over $50

More deals coming Monday…

Shop Bear Komplex

Again Faster

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Again Faster’s extended black friday sale has already begun. Up to $100 off crumb bumper plates and Klokov bars for $250!

Shop at Again Faster

XTraining Equipment

Shop at XTraining Equipment

RX Smart Gear

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RX Smart Gear is offering their ropes, cables and accessories for 25% off with code: SHOP25OFF

Shop at Rx Smart Gear

Wright Equipment

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Wright has free shipping on their bars for black friday.

Shop at Wright Equipment

Eleiko

Shop at Eleiko

RepFitness

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RepFitness’ Black Friday sales have begun and last through Cyber Monday! You can now get the EXCELLENT Gladiator barbell at $195 for both 20kg or 15kg models. They’ve also got a pretty sweet looking stainless steel power bar on sale, but it’s only rated to 405. Most box goers probably aren’t going to be touching that for a squat or bench so $140 is a great deal! Bumper plate packages are stellar for people able to pick them up, but shipping to CA really kills those deals.

Shop at RepFitness

Victory Grips

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Victory Grips are offering free shipping for the continental US, and $15 shipping international though Monday! No coupon code needed!

Shop Victory Grips!

Mike’s Fitness Equipment

Shop at Mike’s Fitness

The Fitness Armory

I’ve ordered a few Assault bikes from these guys before and dealing with them is a breeze. The deals are YMMV since they only have locations in California. Los Angeles customers can pick up from their sister store, Extreme Training Equipment.

  • San Diego
  • NorCal (SF Bay Area)

DOORBUSTER ITEMS: 

  • Assault Bike – $749 vs $999
  • Concept 2 Rower – $900 vs $920
  • Freestanding Landmine – $149 vs $249
  • 2×2 Independent Squat Stands – $189 vs $249
  • 4×6′ 3/4″ Rubber Flooring 100lb – $44.99 vs $59.00
  • OP-2 Standard Half Rack – $399 vs $599 (Save $200)
  • OP-3 Deluxe Half Rack  w/ weight/bar storage- $549 vs $799 (Save $250)
  • Power Rack Standard w/ Safeties & Multigrip bar – $799 vs $1099 (Save $300)
  • Pro GHD – $499 vs $699 (Save $200)
  • Rubber Hex Dumbbells – $0.89/lbs vs $1.30/lb (Save more with package sets)
  • Rubber Grip Plates – $0.95/lb vs $1.30/lb
  • Standard Bumper Plates – $0.99/lb vs $1.50/lb
  • Recycled Rubber Bumper Plates – $1.10/lb vs $1.60/lb
  • Recycled Rubber Bumper Plates (Color Speck) -$1.20/lb vs $1.75./lb
  • Premium Kettlebells – $0.99/lb vs $1.39/lb
  • 3 in 1 Safety Foam Plyo Box 20 24 30″ – $149 vs $219 ($300+ elsewhere!)
  • 3 in 1 20″ 24″ 30″ Wood Plyo Box – $89 vs $135
  • 3 in 1 16″ 18″ 20″ Wood Plyo Box – $69 vs $99
  • Economy Men’s Bar – $99 vs $149
  • Men’s Bar Pro 20kg 28mm- $189 vs $249
  • Women’s Bar Pro 15kg 25mm – $159 vs $209
  • Flat Bench Pro- $99 vs $150
  • Flat Bench Standard- $119 vs $150
  • 3 in 1 Bench Commercial – $199 vs $299
  • Sled – Economy Prowler – $129 vs $199
  • Sled – T-Style Hercules – $189 vs $279
  • PACKAGES:
    • Deluxe Home Package w/ Pro Bar – $1099
    • Deluxe Home Package w/ Econ Bar – $999
    • Econ Home Package w/ Pro Bar – $899
    • Econ Home Package w/ Econ Bar – $799
    • Rubber Hex 5-50 Set (550lb) (20 Dumbbells) Package – $449
    • Rubber Hex 5-100 Set (2100lb) (40 Dumbbells) Package – $1649
  • VOLUME DISCOUNT:
    • Additional 2% off over $5,000
    • Additional 3% off over $10,000
    • Additional 5% off over $20,000
    • (Concept 2 rowers excluded from this promotion)
  • + ALL INVENTORY ON SALE, check back for additional deals!
  • *Subject to availability, all items may be ordered

Mike’s Fitness Equipment

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Mike’s is a great place to go if you’re SoCal based. 10% off the entire store including Xebex bikes means they’re selling for under $600 a piece! Comp plates and KB’s for 99c a lb are also excellent deals.

Pure Strength

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Pure Strength is offering their 20kg barbell for $250 and free shipping site wide for black friday! Use code: BLACKFRIDAY

Shop at Pure-Strength

Fitness Clothing:

The WOD Life/ TWL Gear

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Click the picture above or the link below to shop The WOD Life/TWL Gear’s Black Friday sale! Looks like their sale is live, so go head on over and check it out! Flex shorts for only $30!. On top of all this, you can use code: “AMRAP” to save and additional 10% your order!

Shop The WOD Life!

2Pood:

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Just the fact that 2Pood is even having a sale is insane! Their stuff never goes on sale and is regularly sold out! They’re offering 20%  SITE WIDE with code: BLACKFRIDAY.

Get your mind made up, because things are going to go quick on Friday!

Shop 2Pood’s Store!

Reebok

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Reebok is having their 50% black friday items and 40% off for cyber monday! Code is: “BF50” for black friday and “CYBER” for cyber monday!

Shop at Reebok

King Kong Apparel

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I Am Beastmode – IAB MFG


I Am Beastmode is running 40% their whole line-up for black friday. Check out their hybrid training shorts which are currently on sale while you’re at it!

Shop I AM BEASTMODE

Bar v.s. Beast

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Bar v.s. Beast is having a site wide 40% for black Friday! Make sure you go check them out, they have some of the cooler t-shirt designs out there!

Discount code for 40% is: “BEASTFRIDAY”.  It’ll be good from Friday to Sunday at Midnight off ALL items including Sales Items.

Shop Bar v.s. Beast!

Fierce Edge

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Gaming inspired compression gear! All gear is made specific for them with and emphasis for quality. You can get the Bounty Hunter, Pixel Paladin, and Bar-belle for 25% off with code: BLACKFRIDAY16

Shop Fierce Edge!

Rhone Apparel

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Shop at Rhone Apparel

Myles Apparel

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Shop at Myles Apparel

WOD Gear Clothing

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Shop at WOD Gear

Strike-Movement

Shop at Strike-Movement

NoBull

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They probably won’t have any sales since at normal price they already have trouble keeping things in stock, but they will be releasing a limited edition all black version of the Surplus Trainers.  They will sell out.

Shop at NoBull

WORKT

Shop at WORKT

Strength Wraps

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Shop at Strength Wraps