Rogue Fitness Ohio Bar Review

The Rogue Fitness Ohio bar:  The Cadillac of crossfit bars.

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The rundown:

  • 20kg Black Oxide
  • 28.5mm Shaft diameter
  • “Multi” Knurl w/ IPF & IWF markings
  • Snap ring construction
  • Bushing
  • 155k-165k Tensile strength
  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • $289

Let’s talk about how sick this bar looks.  The black oxide on black oxide “murdered” out look, paired with the red end caps just looks downright mean.  The black oxide treatment given to the bar gives it a black, but seemingly un-coated look to the steel. Throw in some gold bushings for a little bit of class, and you’ve got yourself the coolest looking barbell on the market.   Still, all that show wouldn’t mean too much if the bar didn’t perform well.
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Everything about the Rogue Ohio bar, exudes quality.  From the moment you grasp the bar, you can feel how much thought/effort was put into designing and manufacturing such a great piece of equipment.  The steel, fit and finish on the bar have a rock-solid feel to it, not hollow and loose like other cheaper bars.  It even feels light years better than the normal Rogue bar; the tolerances just seem much tighter here between the two bars.  I was used to a really clangy metallic rattling noise when a barbell hits the ground after being dropped.  That is not the case here.  When the Ohio bar hits the  ground (w/bumpers), all you hear is the bumpers thudding against the ground.  No metallic rattling to speak of.

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If you’ve been following my reviews, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of bars that turn over quick.  The faster the sleeves spin, the better for me, since my elbows lag.  There are downsides to this; using the bar for powerlifting movements, you don’t really want the sleeves to be spinning while you’re on the bench.  Of course, since the Ohio bar is still a bushing bar, it doesn’t have the fastest turn over.  I would say that the Ohio bar’s sleeves spin reliably, not the fastest, but definitely smooth and fast enough for your Olympic lifts, but not so much that it’s going to annoy you for the slower lifts.

If you watched Rogue’s video on the Ohio bar, you’ll know the knurling was a big selling point, as it should be.  You could have all the best specs in the world, but if the bar doesn’t feel great in the hand, no one’s going to want to use it.  Let me go ahead and confirm that this is probably the best knurl on the market, in my experience.  It’s a pretty fine knurl, you can feel a lot of little diamonds biting into your hands, giving you a surefire grip when you pick it up.  I’m not going to lie, at first, I wasn’t too sure I liked it.  It tore my soft-as-a-baby’s-butt hands up.  After a few months of use, or just getting used to it, I now love it and am constantly reminded why, whenever I pick the bar up.  YMMV with the zinc/chrome plated versions.
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So, now what’s not to like about the Ohio bar?  Well, like I mentioned earlier, it’s definitely not the quickest bar on the market.  I guess there’s a bit of personal preference that goes with that one, but even my Bomba and Again Faster bar’s spin faster than this does.  The black oxide finish tends to scratch up pretty easily.  I made the mistake of putting the bar bar on a rack that didn’t have any lining for the J-cups and it took some of the finish off the bar.  The sleeves are pretty worn down from sliding plates on and off as well.  Not to mention, the bar is already showing some oxidation, even with pretty regular cleaning and oiling. I’m not so sure I can comment on the 155k-165k tensile strength, I doubt that I can bend the bar, but there are other options out there for around the same price that have much higher steel strength.

I hear a lot of people say that when you buy Rogue, you’re just paying for the name.  Well, that’s pretty much true.  You’re paying for a brand that stands behind it’s products and gives great customer service.  I had a pair of wrist wraps that went bad on me earlier and they replaced them for me. no questions asked.  Those were $20 wrist wraps, but I’m sure the same kind of standards would still apply to a $300 bar.  The fact that the bar is manufactured in the U.S. of A. is always a big selling point to me.  Knowing that my money is funding American workers makes me feel better about spending it.

In the $300 barbell range, there are a lot of great choices out there.  If you’re looking to buy a Rogue bar, spend the extra $20 bucks and just get the Ohio bar.  It’s just better, at least $20 better.

Please use my links to make your purchases!

Shop Now Rogue Fitness
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Review: Rep Fitness Rep “Iron Bull” Kettlebell (24kg)

It’s a kettlebell: you swing it, snatch it, goblet it, row it…you get the deal. Sounds like a pretty general object, right? Like how could you even mess this one up? You’d be surprised.

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There’s nothing out there that rips up my hands more than kettlebells. To be completely honest, I haven’t actually used many different kinds outside the ones we have at my affiliate; which range from super thick handled enamel coated ones that crack and chip, to matte cast iron ones and glossy cast iron ones. All of which either slippery, rip my hands up, or both. I haven’t used one of those steel competition kettlebells, but I’ve heard those ones are pretty crappy on the hands as well. Granted, they all get the job done and to be completely honest, they’re not all that bad (besides the enamel coated POS’). None however, can hold a candle, as far as feeling goes, to the Rep Fitness Iron Bull kettlebell.

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From the moment you lay your hands on the Iron Bull, you’ll feel sheer quality. The matte black hammertone finish begs on the kettlebell begs for it to be snatched. A light dusting of chalk and you’re good to go. Since the finish is matte, it holds chalk very well and doesn’t ever feel like it’s going to slip out of your hands. The handle is the perfect diameter for me; I’ve got pretty small hands and I don’t have any issues with being able to wrap my fingers around the horns. The handle also has no trace of a seam, so you won’t have to worry about that ripping your hands up. The bottom of the bell is ground flat and is nice and wide so the kettlebell doesn’t rock around when you put it down. This should be good for man-makers and renegade rows, though I’ve only got one kettlebell so I can’t really test those movements. The kettlebells we use at my affiliate in 24kg’s have a rubber pad secured to the bottom of the bell with a large screw that sometimes gets un-done. The rubber would be great for protection if that screw didn’t always come out. I’ve had it come out during a farmers carry and dig into my shoulder; not a pleasant experience. As far as weight goes, it feels just like the other 24kg/53lb kettlebells I’ve used, so I’ll take their word for it that it’s an accurate number.

I don’t know if you’ve done much kettlebell shopping, but if you have, you’ll know that shipping these things costs a fortune. You might be able to find a better price on the kettlebell alone out there, but with shipping combined, most come out to over $100 for a 24kg! Probably the best part about the Rep Fitness Iron Bull is that they offer $13 flat rate shipping for 24kg and below. The grand total for one shipped was $77 dollars! If only they offered that on the 32kg kettlebell! The overall deal for the Iron Bull is probably the best you’ll find out there.

 

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A kettlebell is a great piece of equipment to have. It’s versatile and can be used for pretty much a full body workout. It’s one of the more invaluable things to have for your home gym, but why pay more when you have something like the Rep Fitness Iron Bull? This is the best deal in kettlebells. It might even be one of the best kettlebells out there regardless of price.

Get it here: http://www.repfitness.com/conditioning/kettlebells/rep-kettlebells

Review: Kill Cliff – The Recovery Drink

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Come get your Kill Cliff on at CFRS.

I have a love/hate relationship with Kill Cliff.  I hate it because I can’t resist buying the stuff.  It’s not exactly cheap and/or plentiful (12 fl oz?!).  I’m pretty sure it doesn’t give you super powers; at least it doesn’t give me any.  Who knows if all they’re claiming it does actually works.  Liquid ibuprofen?  I know how 800mg of ibuprofen makes me feel.  Not many things replicate that.  But hell, who really drinks things for their nutritional value anyways?  We want taste!  And that’s exactly what I’m in love with.

“The Recovery Drink”?

I don’t know if Kill Cliff actually works.

I don’t really care if Kill Cliff actually works.

Why?

Because It tastes so damned good.

For those of you who aren’t so familiar with the drink (somehow must have stumbled upon my blog by accident…), Kill Cliff is a drink aimed at recovery, sporting natural ingredients with very little of the 3 c’s (just made that up): carbohydrates. caffeine and calories.  While Kill Cliff may have the appearance of an energy drink, it’s not.  You see a lot of the ingredients in KC in a lot of energy drinks nowadays, but they usually come with a ton of caffeine.  Tons of caffeine leads to an eventual crash, which is pretty hampering to athletic performance.  This is not so with Kill Cliff.  Like I said, before, I don’t really know if my body actually recovers any better after I have a Kill Cliff, but I do know that I feel generally better.  The stuff just tastes so good that it puts you into a better mood.
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Speaking of taste, there are two flavors of Kill Cliff:  Tasty and Double Awesomeness.  Whoever came up with these names should get a gold star on their desk.  What better choice of words could convey what the drinks actually taste like? “Tasty” is citrus-y, some have gone as far to say that it tastes a bit like blood orange.  I would agree, but with a bit of tangerine tartness.  “Double Awesomeness”, is the new flava on the block.  Honestly, I don’t even know what the hell it tastes like.  I had one today, for the sole purpose of trying to distinguish a flavor profile…and I was stumped.  All I can tell you is that it tastes of awesomeness.  If I had to choose a favorite, it would be “Tasty”.  That citrus-y carbonated goodness just can’t be beat.  The only times I’ll spring for “Double Awesomeness” is when I need the carbs for a workout.  Don’t fret, there aren’t THAT many more carbs.

My box sell each can for $3; I think that’s pretty in line with what most do as well.  Cases directly from Kill Cliff range anywhere from $15-$54 with free shipping.  My box (CrossFit RepScheme, if you haven’t figured it out yet.) sells everything for the same price as well.   At the time of this writing (9/10), it seems like the Kill Cliff website is out of “Double Awesomeness”, so if you’re looking for some, we have them in-stock.  Not exactly the cheapest drink on the market.  $3 dollars, every day for a month adds up.  That’s almost a months worth of dues.  It’s really easy to spend that on Kill Cliff’s if you’re not careful.

I can’t really say any other negative stuff about Kill Cliff other than the price.  This stuff is like cocaine in a can.  If “Red Balls” was real, this is it.  The company itself seems like it’s run by some pretty cool people too.  At least what I see from the Crossfit side of things.  Good people, good product…can’t really complain about much here.

If you’ve never tried Kill Cliff, I urge you to stay as far away as possible.  Just kidding.  Go get your drank on.  It’s probably going to make you go broke, but at least your thirst will be satisfied at the end of it all.

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Kill Cliff, the lifeblood of Team RepScheme.

Weightlifting shoes for crossfitters.

This isn’t supposed to be a review; more like, a guide.

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There are probably (correct me if I’m wrong) a ton of reviews up on the two primary weightlifting shoes in question in this post.

The Nike Romaleos 2 and the Adidas Adipower weightlifting shoes. Both of which, are incredible shoes. Both of which are probably the most dominant shoes in weightlifting at the moment. Both of which have been widely adopted by people who do Crossfit.

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The question is: Do you really need them (weightlifting shoes)?

No, but if you can, why not?

On one hand, one can argue that using weightlifting shoes isn’t exactly practical or a part of “general physical preparedness”. In the real world, you’re not going to get the chance to switch into your weightlifting shoes whenever there’s something heavy to be lifted. On the other hand, you’re going to use them for the sport, building technique and hitting PR’s, so more power to you! Just don’t get too reliant on them.

In my Crossfit and weightlifting careers, I’ve gone through many a shoe. I’ve hit PR’s in pretty much all of them, including shoes that weren’t even designed to be meant for weightlifting. This include Vibrams, Nike’s, Reeboks, Converse’s…just about everything. One thing that I’ve learned is that shoes DON’T make you any stronger. Perfect practice and good programming get you there. If you practice in shoes that aren’t necessarily designed for a sole purpose, wouldn’t that make you better overall?

Then again, certain shoes do promote better form; such as weightlifting shoes. The shoes probably aren’t going to make you any stronger, but they’re probably not making you any weaker either. The added heel height, width and density aid in keeping the torso upright, provide more lateral stability and help keep power delivery at it’s max. This is all why you’re probably not lifting to your full potential wearing those Nike Free’s.

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Coming from someone who coaches and is primarily a crossfitter? If a client came up to me and asked me what shoes they should buy for Crossfit, meaning they don’t have any kind of minimalist shoe…I would tell them to probably just get Reebok Crossfit Nano’s. I believe those shoes are competent for everything that a Crossfit workout will throw at you. Don’t believe me? If Rich Froning can hit a 300# snatch and 370# clean and jerk in them, they’re definitely enough shoe for you.

If you’re dead set on getting weightlifting shoes though, like I said, more power to you. They’re a great tool to have and promote better form; but weightlifting shoes don’t come cheap and are more luxury than necessity. Now that we’ve come to that decision, which weightlifting shoes are right for you? With the explosion of Crossfit, there are a gang of options out there. What would you like to focus more on: weightlifting or WOD’s?

Let’s go over some of the more popular choices:

Nike Romaleos 2 ($190):

The king of weightlifting shoes, IMO. I’ve never felt so “stuck” to the ground with these shoes on. They provide the greatest amount of stability out of any shoe I’ve ever tried out. They’re also the stiffest and most heavy shoe that I’ve used, you’ll feel this during split jerks. Do count on hitting lifting PR’s, don’t count on getting the fastest WOD times. I wouldn’t WOD in these unless all it was pure heavy Oly lifts. Size them half size down from you Nike running shoes (Mine are 9). Heel height = .75″ Weight 17.1oz

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Adidas AdiPower ($200):

A “pure” weightlifting shoe that’s also WOD-able in. A bit more narrow than the Romaleos in both fit and lateral stability. Power delivery is pretty much the same as that heel definitely not going to compress on you. Also they’re a bit lighter that the Romaleos, and yes, you can feel it. I’ve seen people WOD in these with pretty good success (200 DU’s unbroken? I can’t even do that with sneakers on.); though I probably wouldn’t WOD in these unless it was just a pure heavy lifting WOD with little metcon movements. Size them half size down from your Adidas running shoes (9). Heel height = .75″ Weight = 16.2oz

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Reebok (Oly) Lifters ($150):

Ah my first “weightlifting” (I refer to them as “hybrids”) shoe. Solid, dependable, light, and great for climbing the rope. These are designed as a shoe that you can do both WOD’s and weightlifting in. If your emphasis is to do a Crossfit class a day, these are probably the shoe for you. They’re versatile in the way that you don’t have to remove them to do double unders or run (pose), since the forefoot is considerably more flexible than the previous two shoes. Back to climbing the rope, the grooves on the sides of the heel do a REALLY good job “biting” the rope down. As expected, these aren’t the most stable for weightlifting, but they’re good enough for most people. Definitely WOD-able in, but I’d stick to my Nano’s. Size as you would your Reebok shoes (9). *Didn’t feel too much of a difference between these and the Lifter Plus. Heel height = .75″ Weight 13.4oz

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Inov-8 Fastlift 335 ($150):

The new kid on the block, aimed to take king of “hybrid” shoes title. The lightest of the bunch, also with the lowest heel height of the bunch. These guys are comfortable and feel the most like running shoes. Also the least stable shoe with a heel that I can compress with my fingers (the outsides at least). If you’re looking for the most WOD-able shoe, this is it. The downside is that while they’re still pretty good for powerlifting (make that just squatting), they’re just okay for Oly lifting. I noticed myself rocking forward a lot with these on. Probably partly due to my technique, but the other shoes save me more there. Size half a size up from your normal Inov-8 shoe (Those following this shoe from before, I ended up sizing up to the 9.5. They fit much better!). Heel height = .65″ Weight 12oz(!)

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I know someones going to say, “…but what about Chuck Taylors?”. Chucks are cool if all you’re going to do is squat and deadlift. I’ve blown out ALL of my Chuck, not from lifting anything, but from DANCING. I love ’em, but they just don’t hold up. Sorry, old school foo’s.

Back to where I stand with weightlifting shoes. If you’ve got the money to burn, go ahead…pick some up in ADDITION to your normal Crossfit shoes. If you’re still running around the box with Nike Free’s on (lord help you), go pick up some Reebok Nano’s, Inov-8’s (195, 230, 240, 210) or Minimus’ first.

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Bar Shootout: Again Faster Team Barbell v.s. Fringe Sport Bomba Bar

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Again Faster Team Barbell v.s. Fringe Sport Bomba Bar.
Both pwned by UPS during shipping!
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Just IWF on the Team Barbell vs Dual Markings on the Bomba.
Note, sloppier end knurling ends on the Bomba, but kind of like the 2nd AF bar I got.
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Sexy gold bushing/bright zinc finish v.s. low key Silver bushing/black zinc. To each their own.
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Once again, the first AF Team Barbell I got is longer than the two other barbells I have.
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