Tag Archives: fringesport

Strencor American Lifter Barbell Review

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Strencor is a new fitness brand trying to make their name with a signature barbell made for Jared Fleming called the American Lifter barbell. The marketplace over the past few years has gotten saturated with tons of generic barbells, and not just limited to imports. Even USA made barbells typically come from the same places. Nowadays, I can usually tell when I look at the specifications, knurl, or even sleeves, but every so often a bar comes along that makes me second guess myself.

Not that the specs for the American Lifter Bar were bad, the product page was just a little all over the place. From experience with certain manufacturers, I know that there aren’t many USA made 28mm barbells with needle bearings because of sourcing the bearings; seeing those two things together was a little odd. The specs on this bar are a jumbled mess when you compare it to what their advertising on Instagram says. Maybe that’s what they were going for, because it piqued my interest and made me want to try out the bar for myself.

Construction/Build Quality:

Seeing “made in the USA” to me, means that there has to be a certain level of craftsmanship that must be upheld for whatever product it is. While not quite at the same level of polish as a Rogue barbell (not many things are), the American Lifter bar almost holds its own. The first thing I did upon receiving the AL bar was measure the diameter of the shaft and sure enough it was actually 28.5mm in diameter. I was really hoping that I was going to be wrong, but experience proved me right. The bar is also advertised at a 185k PSI yield strength; when asked why they went with a yield number over tensile, the response was: it’s a more relevant measure for the actual use of the bar. Honestly, in my experience, tensile strength doesn’t mean a thing in the real world.

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The sleeves on this bar resemble a bar made in 2012; the shoulders are still really wide compared to what you’ll currently find out there. Aesthetically it’s weird to look at since I’m used to seeing thinner shoulders, I don’t need to put rubber bands on them but it does decrease the loadable area of the sleeve. On a positive note, there isn’t much play side to side so there isn’t a ton of noise when you drop the bar. On the flipside, the sleeves are held on using a coiled clip as opposed to normal C-clips, making it much more difficult to maintain the bar.

For the most part, the knurling is well cut and uniform until you get to the areas around the IPF/IWF markings, where it protrudes a little bit. It never really bugged me and overall, I thought the knurling was great. I would rate it as a medium/light knurling thats comfortable to hold for reps and deep enough for weightlifting singles.

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Performance:

Numbers don’t mean jack, if the bar isn’t fun to use, but I think the American Lifter bar has a ton of character to it and is currently my daily driver! Even though it’s not a 28.5mm shaft, I can still perform oly lifts just fine with it. I’m mainly doing CrossFit anyways and the AL bar makes for an excellent WOD bar. Strencor went with the bigger diameter for this limited run because currently Jared is doing more CrossFit type training this year as he recovers from his ACL surgery. Compared to other 28.5mm bars out there, the AL bar blows them away in terms of “whip”/oscillation, which totally took me by surprise and is what makes the bar a lot of fun to use. It’s hard to put “whip” into words, but the best way I can describe this bar is that it’s “springy”.

When I first got the bar, I thought I had been lied to about the needle bearings. I couldn’t rest until Scott from Strencor showed me pictures of the actual bearings they use, which are larger than normal and are designed for durability rather than overall spin. Forewarning: the sleeves on the AL bar hardly rotate right out of the box and need a lot of breaking in. You can however, speed up the process by spraying some kind of lubricant into the sleeves. Even after doing that, the sleeves never really got going a ton, but they spin just fine for the weights most people are going to be lifting. I never noticed any kind of stickiness or slow turn over when working out with the AL bar. Still, the sleeves rotate about the same as an average bushing barbell, not something you’d expect from needle bearing.

For future bars: keep the whip, maybe add some light lubricant or more bearings to the sleeves, and hopefully get it down to 28mm and you’ll have a winner on your hands.

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Value/Conclusion:

While the barbell isn’t really all that expensive at $274, shipping can be; to get this bar to California, it costs a whopping $45. When you compare that to most people’s free shipping, the price overall isn’t quite comparable. You can use code “Fleming” for 10% off your order, but even after the coupon, it costed me a little under $300. If you live on the east coast, shipping is only $15, making the AL barbell a pretty good deal after the coupon.

I think the American Lifter bar is in an odd spot. Most people interested in this bar are going to be because of Jared Fleming’s name and Olympic Lifting legacy; I know I was. As a Crossfitter, it’s not the end of the world that the bar is 28.5mm in diameter, but that’s a deal breaker for all Olympic weightlifters, at least the ones I know. If this bar was “insert well known CrossFit athlete’s name here” bar, we wouldn’t even be talking about the fact that it’s 28.5mm. Another point is the price, which gives the bar a ton of stiff competition, especially when you can get the “big” name’s barbells at the same price or cheaper. Even 28mm import bearing bars for much less would entice the weightlifting crowd. “Made in the USA” is a big deal for me, but it’s not a deal breaker either.

I really do like the American Lifter bar, it really is a ton of fun to use as a general use WOD bar, but that’s pretty much what it is. Don’t expect true Oly bar performance out of it (like I did), or you’re going to be disappointed. Strencor is still a new brand and I’m sure they have a bright future ahead of them. Be on the look out for some competition ready stuff coming soon!

www.strencor.com

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American Barbell Cerakote California Bar Review

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Over the years, I’ve used a plethora of barbells. Some have been “cheap” to mid-range, but lately I’ve been getting into more expensive top end barbells. You come to expect a certain quality from bars that are costing you over $500 and you never ever need to worry about them not being great in performance. Obviously this isn’t the case with lower end bars, but you learn to really appreciate the ones that are exceptional and don’t cost an arm and a leg.

The original American Barbell California Bar was one of the best deals in fitness, originally retailing for a mere $250. At that time though, I hadn’t had much experience with higher end barbells, but I still knew the California Bar was one of the best bars I’d ever used. I don’t usually hold on to bars much longer after I review them, but it’s two years later and I just recently unloaded my precious California bar. Only because I got the new, upgraded Cerakote California Bar, otherwise it would have been in my collection forever. Honestly, the new one is pretty much the same in performance as the old one, it just looks a hell of a lot more bad ass.

Build Quality/Materials:

I got to see magic in the making when I toured American Barbell’s facility in San Diego. Crates of sleeves, shafts, bushings just waiting to be assembled into fully functioning barbells, but the thing that impressed me the most were the people behind the barbells. I forgot his name, but the guy I talked to knew the ins and outs of everything and most importantly, actually gave a crap about what he was assembling.

American Barbell always has some of the most solid feeling barbells on the market. Every single one that I’ve used from them have been exceptional, rivaling the best in the business. When dropped, you don’t get the same kind of rattles you’d find on import bars and even some domestically made bars. There’s little to no play in the way the sleeve fits on the shaft and the end caps actually fit.

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Like I said, this is pretty much the same barbell overall, but there are some new enhancements to it, along with the coating. The shaft is still the 28mm diameter, 190k psi tensile strength one that you’ll find on just about every American Barbell bar. Unlike the earlier model, the updated has sleeves with a recessed weld to ensure plates sit flush with the shoulder and also looks awesome. Unlike the shaft, the sleeves remain hard chrome and will chip if you use metal plates. The California bar still comes with composite bushings, as with all of American Barbell’s bushing barbells, but they’re now quite thicker than before and more so than others on the market. Though light in depth, the knurling is perfectly cut with definite start and stop points with both IPF and IWF markings. Since it’s so fine, I had trouble spotting where the markings were without my glasses on!

The real star of the show here is what American Barbell decided they wanted to coating to be on their new barbells: Cerakote. For those of you not familiar, Cerakote is a ceramic coating usually applied to firearms as a protective finish. It’s chalky in feel and supposed to last 70 times longer than stainless steel or chrome, obviously this is not something that I’ve tested myself, but check out how Cerakote performs in this video. What I can tell you, is that in the month that I used the barbell as my go-to bar for everything, I never once wiped it down. When I finally took just a nylon bristle brush to it, there were no signs of surface rust and and the chalk completely came off without any difficulty.

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Performance: 

Even without the fancy make-up, the character of the California bar makes it a real winner. What other barbells in the mid-range usually fail in getting right is the oscillation of the bar, or whip. Not saying that they aren’t adequate for most usage, they just never feel as good as American Barbell’s bars. When the California Bar comes off your hips, it feels smooth and fluid, not jarring like other mid-range 190k psi bars. I don’t “bang the bar” but I try to make as solid contact as possible with every lift, still no bruises on my legs or hips.

Spin isn’t hyper speed like some of the cheaper bearing barbells, but it’s butter smooth and you’ll never have to worry about it hitching up on you. This is probably the most misconceived areas of a barbell so trust me when I say, spin doesn’t matter, as long as the shaft isn’t completely stuck. Even with it’s “slow” sleeves, I managed to set a new snatch PR at 225 (two wheels!) and clean to my maxes with relative ease. Something that I couldn’t do before with my more expensive bars like my Eleiko Training or AB SS competition bearing bar

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The real subjective area is the depth of the knurl. Pattern-wise, it’s the same as all of the other American Barbell bars, but feels even lighter due to the Cerakote finish. Those of you that have extremely sweaty hands or like shark tooth knurling might want to look the other way because the California Bar is on the light side. On the other hand, the Cerakote finish is chalky by nature and I have personally never had any kind of issue with grip, with or without chalking up for weightlifting singles or WOD’s alike.

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Value:

At $335, the Cerakote California Bar is priced in line with other brand’s, durable, multi-function barbells. The edge that it has is that it’s 28mm in diameter, so it will function much better in the way of weightlifting or even deadlifts. The price cements it firmly into the mid-range barbell line, but I think all of the features it comes with justifies the price tag. Most garage-gym folks aren’t going to buy a ton of barbells, and most importantly want one that’s going to survive the elements, so you’re better off buying something with a durable finish and a lifetime warranty.

All things considered, the American Barbell Cerakote California bar is probably my favorite barbell right now. Sure, it’s not my Uesaka, but it costs less than half of what that bar costs and to me, performs just as good. More mid-range barbells should be this good, but again then I’d be a hell of a lot more broke.

Get your American Barbell California Bar here!

**If you enjoyed this review, please use my links when shopping for your new barbell. It helps me out a ton in getting new equipment to review and doesn’t cost you a thing!**

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

$300 CrossFit Barbell Buyer’s Guide

In this not so short video, I go over a few barbells that you should look into when shopping for your first barbell. All of these are under $300 (not including shipping/tax), which is a great price range to get a nice barbell, and perform excellent in their own rights. Some are better for weightlifting, some are mixed use, but all are great barbells that you could use for CrossFit in either the garage gym or affiliate atmosphere.

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.