If you head to Amazon and search “CrossFit Grips”, you’ll be bombarded with a TON of brands that are usually just all the same ones with different branding on them. The problem about the sport of fitness growing is that everyone wants a piece of pie and it just over saturates the market. Another problem is that it confuses the shopper and leaves you with a sub-par item.
Vulcan Strength’s supplier for gymnastics grips is a company that specializes in gymnastics equipment, Bailie. Their grips are also made in the United States, so you can rest assured they’re not a cheap import rebrand and they’ve been used in serious gymnastics competitions (read: Olympics). Vulcan is a company I’ve worked with for a long time and if there’s anything I know about them, it’s that they don’t stock junk.
Right out of the box, you’re going to notice that the leather on these grips is extremely stiff while thickness is pretty much on par with any other gymnastics grips. The break in process is not for the faint of heart, the edges of the grips are pretty sharp initially and it takes a few workouts for that to go away. Instructions per Vulcan’s website say that you should roll the grips around before you use them, which I did and made the grips much more pliable.
Another difference between the Vulcan grips is that they taper in the middle of the grip, which is actually pretty nice as it sheds some of the bulkiness away of having grips on, though I think the top of the grip could be slightly narrower. I still would not use these grips for any kind of barbell movement because they’re just a bit stiff. Fortunately it’s really easy to just take them off and flip them over when you head to the barbell. The velcro strap isn’t too out of the ordinary and has enough to go over a set of wrist wraps.
Once you get past the strenuous break-in process, the Vulcan grips provide some of the best holding power to be found on any set of grips. Put a light dusting of chalk on your hands and these things keep you locked down to the bar, coated, bare steel or even wood gymnastics rings. I usually have issues with too much leather bunching up in the middle of my palm with grips for ring muscle ups, but since these taper, that isn’t an issue I’ve had with the Vulcan grips.
The best thing about the Vulcan grips is that they’re also one of the best deals when it comes to grips. You don’t have to sacrifice performance for price because a pair of grips will only set you back a cool $20 shipped; which is pretty much in line with the junk you’re going to find on Amazon. They’re a bitch and a half to break in, but the performance for the price is unbeatable and based on that alone, I recommend the Vulcan grips.
The quest to find the best gymnastics grips might be over! Though I liked the Bear Komplex grips, I was never 100% satisfied with them. My awesome followers put me on to the Victory Grips, and so far I love them. Like most grips, they’re not perfect, but so far they’re the best performing as far as grip and comfort go. Durability has yet to be seen, but I doubt these are going to have any issue there. If you have issues with normal grips, check out the Victory Grips.
I want to give full disclosure of something before I write this review. Everything here, for the first time, was given to me complementary to write a review. I’d like to thank Annie for finding my blog and getting in contact with me to make this all possible. The fact that I didn’t have to pay for any of this product will not affect what I have to say, nor will it ever for any review I write. That being said, free stuff is awesome! There are some things that I don’t have a need for after reviewing, and will be passing on to YOU, the reader. Harbinger really went out of their way for me, so I just want to pass on the generosity to people who really need this stuff.
HumanX seems to be Harbinger’s line catering towards the crosstraining (i.e. Crossfit) market. Most of their products look like evolutions of a Crossfitter’s mainstays. Jump ropes to weight vests, it looks like Harbinger is going full out into the crossfit market.
The products we’ll be going over today include the…
(Yes, they sent me all of that.)
X2 Speed Rope
Honestly, I tried an earlier version of this rope out and it didn’t impress me much. I thought the design was kind of cool, but the wire they had originally supplied with the handles was just too flimsy and thin. Unless you were amazing at double unders, this could be problematic. This new wire is now red instead of black and quite a bit heftier than it was previously. Not hefty to the point where it would make the rope hard to turn, but hefty enough so that you can get a beat on where the rope is. Before, there was a little ball holding the wire in place to the handles reminiscent of the ones they use in the handles for the RPM Rope. That little ball has been replaced with bigger plastic ball that is actually pretty easy to grab a hold of and adjust with the provided allen wrench (just don’t lose it, it comes incognito taped to the back of the cardboard packaging).
The handles themselves are actually pretty light, while still feeling indestructible and comfortable to hold and turn. They don’t spin as freely as other sub-$15 speed ropes on the market, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get them turning quickly. I was able to bang out double unders with absolutely no problem. There’s a “click” that the handles make as you turn them; I don’t know if this was done purposely or not, but it helps to stay in rhythm while you jump; albeit a little rougher (and squeaky) feeling than an experienced double underer would like.
The design is thoughtful, handles comfortable and it’s probably faster than most people could even get going. Something about the way that the handles rotate make the X2 Speed Rope generally miss the mark. It just doesn’t do anything vastly better than your average $8 speed rope, for double the price. Not saying it’s a bad product, you could do a lot worse for $15 (Amazon). I have high hopes for the upcoming X4 Speed Rope!
X3 Competition Gloves
Let’s face it. Using gloves at the box is generally frowned down upon. Myself, included.
I haven’t really put on gloves for a workout since I left globo gym. Then you rip and well, you just have to suck it up and risk ripping more or put on some gloves and protect your hands. Hand maintenance only goes so far and anyone knows that any high rep kettlebell, rope climbs or bar work will leave your hands ripped up and bloody. I usually only use gloves after I rip, because I can never get tape to stay on, and I think it feels more uncomfortable than using gloves does.
I think the X3 gloves actually look pretty cool. I really like the fact that there are no seams in the (leather) palms. I would use batting gloves before, and they would always have seams that felt annoying when you held things. The leather actually holds chalk pretty well from what I tested. Kettlebell swings felt fine and I would definitely throw the gloves on if I had to do 100+. I’m not really a big fan of using gloves on the bar or barbell, it just bunches up and makes things hard to hold on to for my little hands. Nothing too different to report here, gloves are gloves and they will bunch up. Speaking of little, I think I have actually pretty small hands and I have medium sized gloves. The gloves fit a little snug, so maybe you’d want to size up on them.
If you’re looking for gloves, the X3 Competition gloves are actually a pretty good pick. They seem durable enough, they’re a lot cheaper than the official Reebok crossfit gloves, which I heard get destroyed pretty easily, and they look pretty cool. If you don’t like using gloves, they’re probably not going to change your mind, but if you need something to cover up those rips, you might want to look here.
Don’t like gloves for barbell work but need protection for your hands for those pull-ups and toes 2 bar? You’ll probably want to look into the Palm Grips.
The palm grips are made from the same leather that dons the palm of the X3 gloves, but with an open back design so that when you switch over to barbell work, you can just flip the leather down and keep working without too much fuss. Made to be able to be trimmed down based on the athletes hands to avoid bunching up. They’re held on to your wrists using a velcro-loop enclosure that’s easy and fast enough to adjust or take off on the fly. False grip + muscle-ups = ripped up wrist. The palm grips are actually made to go over the area of your palm/wrists that seats the false grip!
Honestly, I’d probably go with the Palm Grips over the gloves (at half the price) if I needed hand protection. I like the fact that I could just fold down the leather if I needed to do barbell work in transitioning from bar work. The leather doesn’t really bunch up, and I haven’t even sized them for my hands yet. As far as grip is concerned, it’s fine for doing pull-ups, bar muscle-ups and toes 2 bar, but doesn’t really perform well on the rings for false grip. I’d usually fall out of my false grip after a couple muscle-ups. Non-false grip works as a bar muscle-up does and is recommended for using these grips on the rings.
Red Line Wrist Wraps
Saving this for my upcoming “Wrist Wrap Shootout”.
For now, all you need to know is that they’re a great, durable, easy to adjust and cost effective solution for wrist stability.
20lb Weight Vest
The best weight vest that I’ve used. Why? Because it FITS.
All the other weight vests that I’ve used prior to this were always too clunky and cumbersome to wear for me to even want to bother with them. The HumanX weight vest just never feels like it’s in the way while its on. Adjustable in 1lb increments up to 20lbs using sand cartridges fitted into pockets in the inner lining of the vest. Weighted muscle-ups (see my IG for video) and pull-ups are as easy as weighted muscle-ups and pull-ups could be, with 20 extra pounds on. The HumanX vest contours to your body and fits snugly without being uncomfortable to wear. Honestly, I could walk around with this thing on all day, if I wanted to walk around with 20 extra pounds on me, that is (I really should). I really dig the look of the vest too. Take notes manufacturers, a little style to go with that utility never hurt anyone.
While the weight is somewhat limited, I haven’t found any workout needing anything heavier than 20lbs. The HumanX vest should be your number 1 choice when it comes to weight vests for crossfit or whatever activities you do that require you to be somewhat agile. A weight vest is a pretty simple thing, right? They should just FIT, like the HumanX one does.
Overall, a solid effort made by Harbinger to crack the crossfit market. I can see the thoughtfulness that they had while coming up with the designs of their products. Ultimately some work, and others don’t. Everything deserves a look, gloves are subjective and the speed rope is better than any PVC corded rope I’ve used! Check ’em out!