Gym Equipment

Bumper plates, rings, weight vests, wall balls…

Assault Air Bike & Xebex Fitness Air Bike Comparison

In this (lengthy) video, I go over the similarities and differences between the games standard Assault Air Bike vs the carbon copy Xebex Fitness Air Bike. You might be surprised by some things! Both are great training tools and it just comes down to what fits your agenda the best.

Note: The reason the Schwinn AD Pro wasn’t included, other than the fact that I don’t have one, is that it counts calories much different. Not that it’s a bad bike, it just doesn’t fit the CrossFit “standard”.

Check out my review on the Xebex Bike here 

Purchase a Xebex Fitness Air Bike here!

or

Purchase an Assault Air Bike here!

FringeSport Bomba Wood Gymnastics Rings Review

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Bomba Rings – Made in the USA

Muscle-ups are tough.

They’re the holy grail of CrossFit but once you get a taste, you can’t help but to want to do them more often.  Lots of things are require when it comes to getting your muscle-ups. At my gym, I have a standard progression of must “have” things to train in order for the athlete to get their muscle up. There’s a ton of questions during this phase, a lot of “What if…” this and that, but something that isn’t really spoken of is what you’re actually doing the movement on.  I know when I first got my muscle-up, it was on some really thin, slippery wood rings. When I finally got to try out nicer, beefier rings, my whole world changed; never again would I look at rings the same.

 

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Rogue v.s. Bomba

 

The Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG) standard ring size is 1.1″ OD, while this may prove better for female athletes with smaller hands, holding these with a false grip as a male hurts like a mother. Typical “CrossFit” ring size is 1.25″ OD, this what you’re going to see used in the CrossFit games, as the equipment is supplied by Rogue Fitness; more comfortable for bigger hands, tougher for smaller hands. If you don’t think that amount of size would make a difference, grab a 15kg bar compared to a 20kg bar. Huge difference, and that’s only 3-3.5mm.

So, what is the standard for how to size your rings? Whatever you can do muscle-ups on, comfortably.  Personally, I don’t have big hands, but I don’t have small hands either. That’s why FringeSport created their Bomba rings in a size that accessible to most people, 1.15″ OD. Falling right between FIG and CrossFit standards, the diameter of the Bomba rings is going to be perfect for most people; not to thin or thick. I’ve got all three sizes of rings loaded up at my gym, but the one I find myself going for the most are the Bomba rings.

 

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Difference looks slight, but feels substantial.

 

Texture is another big thing when it comes to a quality set of rings.  The rings I learned muscle-ups on were awful, shiny and slippery. Let’s not even get started on plastic rings that you’d never get a good grip on; you shouldn’t have to tape your rings up. If your grip is constantly slipping out of the rings, it not only makes your muscle-ups harder to do, it’s also a lot more dangerous. Before I even knew the difference, my coach at the time was telling me about how certain rings felt “softer”. Sounds like a crazy way to describe them, but it actually works when you get your hands on wood this smooth (lol). The artisans that make the Bomba rings use Baltic birch with a triple sanding process that makes the rings texturally perfect. Good ol’ American wood working. No rough edges or divots in the wood to tear up your hands, but “soft” enough to provide ample grip even without much chalk. I could do muscle-ups for days on the Bomba rings, if I could do muscle-ups for days that is.

Hanging your Bomba rings up comes with ease with the included straps. 15′ is plenty long to hang rings from just about anything, and feeding them through the cam buckle system is easy as could be. The straps are a beefy 1.5″ in width so you can count on them not failing on you any time soon. Not to mention the actual cam itself is hefty and is one solid piece of metal.

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Smooth, real smooth.

Will getting a quality set of rings help you get your muscle-ups? Possibly, it definitely couldn’t hurt your chances. Practice and consistency is really the only thing that will definitely get you them, so owning a pair of rings wouldn’t be such a bad idea either. Muscle-ups aren’t the only thing you can do on rings either. Pull-ups, dips, toes to ring, push-ups, rows, skin the cat and the list goes on! If you’re on the go, you can just pack up your rings and go to a park for a workout with such versatile pieces of equipment.

As Allen Iverson once said: “Practice”. That’s the only thing that’s going to really help you get muscle-ups, but you should be practicing on FringeSport’s Bomba rings.

Xebex Fitness Air Bike Review

**Xebex Fitness Air Bike & Assault Air Bike Comparison CLICK HERE**

Air bikes, they’re a love to hate kind of thing. If you’ve never ridden one,  the best way to explain the feeling of going full out for a minute or so, probably resembles something like getting kicked in the legs by a bunch of Muay Thai boxers for about as long. After the lactic acid starts building up, (and it will, fast) it will be soon be followed by a “F this machine.” and a strange desire to want to do this to yourself more often.

It just hurts so good.

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As a training tool, air bikes fit all types of purposes from anaerobic to recovery use. It’s no wonder why Dave Castro decided to start adding them into CrossFit™ workouts, all the way up to the Games level. Now, air bikes have been around for years, they’re definitely not a new thing according to my Schwinn™ Airdyne from the 70’s, but there just hasn’t been any that would take the abuse affiliates (no commercial warranty either) up until recently with the release of the Assault Air Bike a couple years ago. Since then, you would have thought a ton of companies would have tried to steal a piece of the market share by now, but there hasn’t been much change in this segment up until about a year ago now when GetRxd started selling the Xebex Fitness Air Bike. Xebex Fitness, who? Not a household name, so getting the word out there about this bike hasn’t been easy, but it’s definitely a hidden gem.

I remember when Assault Air Bike got that reaction too.

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If you look at the two bikes side by side, you’re going to notice the differences way before you see the similarities, but there are actually more of the latter. The biggest change is the curved shape of the handle bars as opposed to the more straight ones on the Assault. I prefer this because I remember the Assault’s handles coming close to my knees when I pedaled. On top of that, the Xebex includes some thoughtful additions to the way that the bars link up to the rest of the unit in the way of a ball joint so that when the bars shift around side to side from hard pedaling, there won’t be as much stress at that area.  It sounds like something minor, but considering the abuse that the bike will see in the a busy affiliate, you’ll want as much durability as you can get. You also have the option to adjust the range of motion of the bars, mainly so you can dial in exactly to where the Assault is.

Build quality otherwise is excellent, not saying the Assault’s was bad in the first place because I can’t speak to that. The steel is very heavy gauge, it’s got reinforced pieces almost all around the bike; even the liveliest pedaling doesn’t really move the bike much at all.

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Another major difference between the two bikes is the monitor. Personally I wasn’t thrilled about the monitor found on the Assault, but it worked so it was never a big deal to me. I thought it could be laid out a little better and just look a bit more polished. As for the Xebex bike, size wise it’s almost double the width of the Assaults, but that leads to a more easy to read and better laid out display. I think the main reason people will continue to purchase the Assault bike over the Xebex is because they’re worried, I was too, about how the Xebex computes it’s calories and distance. GetRxd assures me that it uses the exact algorithm to measure as the Assault bike does. It’s been about a year since I’ve used an Assault bike, but to me it feels the same. It takes me about 45 seconds to gun out 15 calories, and that’s accurate cross referencing it to a friend with an Assault bike. While you won’t be able to use these for actual CrossFit™ events, you can still train for them without worrying about statistics not adding up the same.

UPDATE: I’ve been informed that you can actually plug and play the Xebex’s monitor to the Assault Air Bike and vice versa.  According to this year’s CrossFit Open for workout 16.4, it states “Rower that counts calories, similar in type and calibration to a Concept 2”. This is extremely important because if CrossFit ever decides to use an air bike in the Open setting using these same stipulations, the Xebex Air Bike would most definitely be allowed to be used. In this case, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t purchase the Xebex bike over the Assault unless you really liked the handlebars or monitor.

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The finish on the Xebex bike is a shinier black compared to the matte powder coating you’ll find on the Assault.  This is something the Assault wins out on by far, to me. I personally hate anything of the shiny black flavor, especially something that’s going to see many hands. Where the Xebex loses there, it wins HUGE in the mobility department. One thing I absolutely detested about the Assault is the size of the wheels. You only had a teeny tiny sweet area to tip the Assault bike to move around, where on the Xebex bike you can tip it forward almost as much as you want. Do that on the Assault and the fan will drag into the ground, abruptly stopping any plans of you catching a tan outside while working on your fitness.

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Visibly, those are going to be the main things you’re going to notice between the two bikes. Now for the similarities: The frame, for the most part, looks exactly the same. Honestly, it almost looks like you could pull parts off the Assault bike and put them directly on to the Xebex, and vice versa. The most similar thing, and what matters the most is the performance of bike. From the way it pedals, all the way to the seat itself, the Xebex feels exactly the same, which leads to exactly the same pain. The emotional gamut ranges from “F***, F***, F***…” to visions of a nice leisurely ride through the park. The real devil here is that when you start to push harder, the air resistance increases; pretty much automatically scaling the workout for the individual. It’s like riding on a fixie, without the need to wear a flannel and a mustache. Pair this with just about any functional fitness movement or by itself, and you’re going to get a hell of a workout.

In my experience the Schwinn AD6 (haven’t tried the ADPro yet) does not feel anything like the Assault bike, but the Xebex through and through feels the same. One might even argue that it’s the same bike, re-branded. They’re both made in Taiwan, and from my experience with barbells, that happens more often than you’d realize.

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It’s been about a year since I had access to an air bike, but I when I did, I remember that it was pretty often. The versatility of the bike is perfect in both the garage gym or affiliate setting. Not many other things produce the same soul crushing feeling that going max effort on an air bike will. This is a piece that I regret not picking up sooner, but better late than never. The Xebex Air Bike retails for a little bit less than the Assault, at $850. If you contact GetRxd, you can get special affiliate deals and you possibly a lower price; if you’ve never shopped with them before, you’re in a for a hassle free experience. Of all the companies I’ve dealt with, GetRxd stands among the top of them as far as products and customer service go.

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If you’re looking to pick up bikes for the first time, the Xebex air bike will suffice anyone’s fitness needs. Low impact training, post WOD recovery, anaerobic training, it does it all. If you’re an affiliate or athlete wanting an Assault bike, but not wanting to pay the price of an Assault bike ($999), you can rest assured you’ll get the same exact performance out of the Xebex Air Bike; all while getting 5 Xebex bikes for just about the price of 4 Assault bikes. My problem now isn’t the workout the Xebex bike is going to give me, but figuring out how many more I have to buy because my athletes love using them so much.

You can get your Xebex Air Bike here!

 

Review: Crossover Symmetry Box Rack Pack

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First off, I want to state that I am not a physical therapist, nor am I any sort of medical or healthcare professional at all. I’m not trying to write this review from that perspective, because then I’d be lying.  I’m just a CrossFit coach, that’s spent the majority of his life doing some kind of physical activity. Well enough so that people will listen to what I have to say; I’ve seen enough people to diagnose whats wrong with the way they move, if any. I’m very much content with leaving the doctoring, to real doctors.

That being said, I think I know my body well enough to know when I’m hurt. I just had a spell of some kind of shoulder injury where I would get a shooting pain down the front deltoid to my bicep area. Me being the Crossfitter that I am, decided to not bother getting it checked out, but luckily I have a PT at my gym that I can talk to when shit hits the fan. My shoulder was not getting better, shit was starting to hit the fan, I couldn’t even hold a front rack without pain in my shoulder. He said that I might have a tear in my supraspinatus/rotator cuff, possibly just bicep tendonits. Once again, being the Crossfitter that I am, I didn’t go get an MRI done or anything (I highly recommend that you do if there’s something wrong though).

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I’ve known about Crossover Symmetry for a long time; I remember first seeing it back at the games in 2013 and not thinking much of it. “Get scap jacked”, I didn’t really know what it was used for besides some kind of shoulder mobility. A friend who just dislocated his shoulder pointed it out to me, because that’s what he was using for his rehab. I decided to give it a shot seeing as how I didn’t want to see a doctor; worst comes to worst I could just use it at the gym for warm-ups. Crossover Symmetry comes in all sorts of different flavors, from wall mounted solutions, to affiliate use packages that you attach to  your rig, to portable ones that you can just attach to any doorway.  Whatever your discipline, there’s a set-up with your name on it.  Of course mine being CrossFit, the Box Rack pack was the way to go for me.  Included in this package are: 4 pairs of color coded bands varying in resistance (7lb, 10lb, 15lb, and 25lb), 4 nylon attachments to loop onto your rig posts (any 4′ section will do), carabiners, a handy “cheat sheet” that you can hang from the rig to reference when you’re going through the program, and an instructional DVD.  Setup is pretty much straight forward, loop the attachments at eye and knee level, connect the cords to the master carabiner, and read the cheat sheet.  The best part about the Crossover Symmetry system is that it’s basically fool-proof, anyone can do it without screwing it up.

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The basic premise of the Crossover Symmetry system is injury rehabilitation and prevention.  You have an activation phase done before workouts, a recovery phase for after, a plyometric phase for rehab and “Iron Scap” for strengthening your scapular stabilizers.  Each phase is clearly laid out to  you on the cheat sheet so you know exactly what you should be doing, how long, and what bands to use.  After just one use, I could not believe how incredibly warmed up my shoulders felt; it’s like I had been warming up wrong my whole life. Just doing PVC pass through’s and banded pull-apart’s will never be the same.  I now include the activation phase in my warm-ups, overhead movements or not.  Even better is how I feel the next day after doing the recovery phase post workout. It’s basically the same thing as the activation phase but focuses on eccentric movements. I’ll pay the next day if I don’t do this, but when I’m good and remember to hit the Crossover Symmetry before I go home, I’ll wake up the next day without any kind of shoulder pain.  The pain isn’t gone, but I’ve gone from not being able to do PVC pass through’s to now being able to. Strict pressing causes little to no pain and holding a front rack is just fine for me.

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As I get older, recovery just isn’t what it was, even from just a few years ago. There’s a huge difference from being in your late twenties to early thirties; still young by most standards but the age is creeping up on me.  We all train to be a better version of ourselves, injury prehab should be at the top of the list.  There’s no point in training if you’re hurting yourself all the time, which keeps you from doing what you love.  I see people always rolling out, stretching their legs, but no ones ever doing anything for their shoulders. The CS Box Rack pack isn’t cheap, a single station runs for $330, but your shoulder health is worth the price.  Remember, injuries aren’t cheap either.  There’s a discount if you purchase multiple stations as well.  If you’re an athlete that does repetitive overhead movements, you need one of these.  Needless to say, if you’re an affiliate owner, you owe it to your members to have a few of these at your gym. Remember, injured members won’t be paying you, so it pays off to keep them injury free.  Sometimes  you can’t control when it happens, but you can at least do a little more to protect your athletes from it.