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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.

Fringe Sport Bomba 20kg Oly Bar Review

First off, before I start this review, I want to commend Peter and the team over at Fringe Sport for being such a great company to work with.  They pretty much bent over backwards to get me the right bar.  Super friendly customer service, not to mention fast and FREE shipping on their products with competitive prices; you just can’t go wrong doing business with such a company.  One thing that I will always bring up about Crossfit, is the community being an amazing group of people – this remains the same with the people who distribute and manufacture the gear we use (including Again Faster and Rogue!).

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Pretty cool endcap.

Now that I got that off my chest, let’s get to what we’re here for.

Barbell shopping is interestingly enough, a very painstakingly complicated procedure.  There are so many different sizes, shapes and variations out there and no real resources or in-depth reviews on them.  Probably due to the fact that everyone is also going to have a personal preference towards a certain type.  Personally, I needed a barbell that could handle Crossfit movements: power and Olympic lifting.  Also, since this was just a bar that I was buying for my home gym set-up, it had to be on the inexpensive side of things.  After doing some sleuthing on the Crossfit forums, I was contacted by Peter at Fringe Sport to try out their Bomba (Boh-m-ba) bar. To be 100% honest, I had just purchased a bar from Again Faster, but I couldn’t resist the deal that Peter gave me.  One more thing that Fringe Sport didn’t have to do for me, but they did anyways.

The first bar I bought, was a Rogue Ohio bar.  I’m not going into direct comparisons of the two bars, as the Rogue costs at least a full $100 more, so you can’t say that they’re in the same league.  What I can tell you though, is that the Bomba bar, performs up to 90% of the Ohio bar’s performance and is $100 cheaper.  I’m not saying the Rogue Ohio bar isn’t worth every penny, it’s an amazingly crafted piece of steel, but if you’re looking to just get your lifting done, the Bomba bar is all about the business end of things.

Let’s take a look at the specifications (copied from Fringesport.com):

  • Weight: 20kg/44lb; Material: 165,000 psi steel, black zinc plated shaft, bright zinc plated collars
  • Origin: USA(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
  • Length: 86in
  • Oil-lite bushings
  • 28.5mm shaft diameter
  • 1200lb static test weight limit
  • Snap ring collar construction
  • One year warranty

I’ve used a TON of different bars in my Crossfit career; anything from crappy 31mm economy bars that hardly spin to the Rogue Ohio bar (duh!) and Pendlay Nexgen HD bar.  The Bomba bar fits somewhere towards the top end of what I’ve used.  The 28.5mm diameter of the shaft is pretty common for what you’re going to find on bars that are geared towards Crossfit since it’s right there in between 28mm Oly bars and 29mm power bars.  In my experience, steer clear from anything that’s above 29mm.  They’re usually a thicker diameter to compensate for the bar’s weaker PSI rating (and still bend), and they just feel crappy in the hands.  The Oil-lite bushing provides a very smooth and reliable spin, without being overly fast when you need to do slow power lifts.  I had absolutely no problems getting my elbows around the bar doing semi-heavy clean & jerks in my Oly lifting session.  I noticed no performance decline switching to the Bomba at my heaviest lift (I warmed up to that lift using a Pendlay HD).  The collars held well doing overhead squats (ugh) even as I was moving quickly though the WOD.

Silver bushings.

We’ve got some bars that are similar to the Bomba bar at my box, except I have no clue where they’re from and their black zinc finish is of the glossy kind.  The coating on the Bomba is a more “matte” feeling black zinc and just feels more sturdy in the hand, even without having to chalk the bar up.  I’m personally a big fan of the knurling here.  My Ohio bar (black oxide) and the Pendlay’s at my box pretty much rip my hands to pieces.  The Bomba just feels right in the hands, not aggressive and not too weak.  With some chalk on it, it’s perfect.  Combined with the finish, you’ll have no problems with slippage here.  It also comes in a full bright zinc flavor if you’re not down for the two toned look.

At 165k PSI, you probably shouldn’t have to worry about bending this bar under normal use, dropping it on an edge is a different story as that can bend pretty much any bar that has weight on it.  Snap ring construction is nice so that if the collars ever get gunked up and stop spinning, you could get in there and add some lithium grease to rehab it; though that probably will void the warranty.  Speaking of which, the Bomba comes with two options:  1- Year for $219 shipped(!) and lifetime for $269 shipped.  The 1 year option is backed by their satisfaction guarantee.  Don’t like the bar?  Return it on their dime!  You probably will like the bar though.

IPF & IWF Markings, though not the cleanest start and stop points.

Gripes?  Yes, there are some.  First off, I like a very fast bar, mainly because my elbows are somewhat slow.  The Bomba spins well, but I prefer the fast spin of the AF bar to it.  Let me add this in, the Ohio bar spins the slowest out of the three.  I haven’t had the Bomba for too long, and theoretically since the bushings are self-lubricating, it should spin better over time, right?  The knurl start and stop points aren’t the most well defined?  That’s COMPLETELY superficial and I’m probably just nit-picking.  Paying more for a lifetime warranty, not so keen on that either.  Then again, chances of me ever needing that warranty are probably slim to none.

I don’t know what more I can say about the Bomba bar.  It’s an awesome choice when it comes to barbells for any purpose and I have no qualms recommending it to anyone looking for a bar that’s going to perform well and last for a lifetime.  Add on top that Fringe Sport is a stellar company to deal with and you’ve got a winning combination.  Even though I have multiple barbells at my house and at the box, I probably won’t ever be getting rid of my Bomba bar.