During the pandemic lockdowns people began to buy exercise equipment. People bought rowing and treadmill machines like hotcakes. But not everyone can afford fancy set-ups like that – and thankfully, the bottomless pit of junk that is ‘Amazon’ provides.
Amazon sellers offer a wide variety of small gadgets that will keep you in good shape. Do you want to exercise in your living room, or at a computer? This website seems to have everything that you need. These gadgets are very affordable and will be reduced with Prime Day 2021.
Where are your friends?
Column number 8
Date written: 15/06/21
Current location: St Robert, MO
Distance traveled: 439.57 miles
Distance left: 1,838.43 miles
Current tracker: Red Magic Watch
I am currently running through America and writing TechRadar columns each fortnight about the gadgets, tech, and technology that I use. This adventure has made it more important to me to think about my health and to see all the cool gadgets Amazon offers to help me stay fit.
Which gadgets are worth your attention? Are they affordable? Can they really help you become fit? Instead of reading testimonials from athletes, coaches, and experts, I decided to buy five gadgets and do my own research.
Each gadget I buy will be evaluated on the basis of three factors: it must have a simple use and be cost-effective. I didn’t spend more than £25 (roughly $35, AU$45) on any of these things – I generally chose the cheapest I could find, so brand and build quality wouldn’t be a factor in whether the kit was worthy or not. Or so I thought.
Grip strength trainer
Confession: I used a grip strength training tool, and it was this device that inspired me to create the Amazon gadget hoedown. It helped me improve my grip during bouldering and I love it.
All you need to do is squeeze the thing repeatedly in one hand, and you get stronger (in theory) – you can adjust the tension, to make it harder to squeeze, and apparently it’s also useful to release your grip slowly to train another type of strength.
The grip strength trainer is my favorite because it’s so easy to use while doing other things. My left hand will squeeze when I click around the web with my mouse in my right. If I eat cheese with my right hand, my right hand will get fitter.
It’s also a great piece of kit because it’s transportable – I bring mine into the office and use it there too.
The real question is if grip strength training actually improves grip. Well, this clearly isn’t a scientific article, but I think it does – I’ve found it far easier to grip on beams and hand-holds since I started using it. This kit will not make your body look like a muscle-bound model, or a Hollywood star. It is easy to use and can help you improve your fitness.
I kept returning to the powerball as the reason. “orb thing”in my notes during testing of the gear. The name “power ball”It’s as simple and unnoticeable as it is. The powerball was created because, while the pull-up bars strengthened my arms and the strength training boosted my hands, my wrists could become very weedy. This is where powerball comes in.
The powerball consists of two balls, one for each ball. To spin the ball, wind a piece string through one end. Then pull the other out. To keep the inner ball spinning you must turn your wrist in circles.
If this description sounds confusing and unclear and you don’t understand what’s happening, it’s probably a good representation of how the thing felt. The powerball felt like something I was supposed to throw at Pokemon to catch them. It wasn’t a tool to make my wrists stronger.
There’s a knack to the power ball – if you rotate your wrist at the right rhythm, you keep the ball inside spinning longer, and one time I managed to do it perfectly, so the ball never stopped rotating. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to duplicate this feat.
I’ve used power balls quite a bit now and I still don’t know what to do with them. I just rotate my wrist and hope for best. Is this a good exercise for you?
It takes some time to set it up. It takes approximately half an hour to wind the string. The ball rotates for 10 seconds. It isn’t very efficient. I found that I could use my wrist strength trainer instead of the power ball, since it didn’t require any setup and could be used repeatedly.
We’re now getting into the serious workout stuff. You can use resistance bands. These rubbery elastic bands can be pulled on in many ways to train different muscle groups. They can be used for squats, hooking them to your door frame, pulling them down, and also for sit-ups. You can make it more difficult by using different combinations.
I was amazed at the variety of door anchors and hand-holds in the parcel containing the bands. It was a puzzle to me. ‘this is the real deal’ – coming after the orb thing, it felt like some serious exercise kit. I was ready to get ripped (my bodies and not the bands).
I opened the instruction booklet and lost my mind trying to figure what I was supposed to do.
The graphic showed all the bands, along with the label. “100lbs”A second image with the label is then taken. “150lbs”The bands can be shown in a different order. This means that bands attached in a different order will have more resistance. This is logical. They can’t be kept in the same place if they’re attached to the hands-holds.
Notwithstanding this weird science, I flipped over the instruction manual to find a list of workouts that was longer than the entire Encyclopedia Brittania – there were countless pictures of different exercises, with names in font so small I could barely read them. Each illustration contained only two to three small graphics, each illustrating a different part of the exercise.
I will confess that, while I tried to follow the instructions, it was difficult for me to know if the exercise was correct. Sometimes I could feel it. ‘burning’It was hard to do a hard workout. Other times, it felt like my body was making mistakes. I was also unsure what activities I should combine in order to build the muscles I was trying.
I did find the resistance bands super easy to use though – they seemed sturdy, and the door anchors were effective in keeping the band attached to a door, for different types of workouts. Although I struggled to find the right exercise for me, I finally found one that worked well and was simple to use.
Would I recommend resistance bands? I’d give it a tentative yes – while I’m not sure I found them as effective as the grip strength trainer or pull-up bar, I actually had more fun with them, and they fit in my small flat pretty well. It’s a sure yes if you have a friend or personal trainer who can teach you how to use them correctly and which activities to link together.
You won’t be disappointed by the bands’ prices, so you don’t have to spend a lot. stretchToo much.
I recently purchased a pull-up bars. These are metal bars that attach to your home’s doorframes and allow you to do pull-ups.
For some, this is a red alert. Pull-ups must be done only if the structure of the house is sound. I nearly fell on the paintwork when I tried to secure mine. I hope my landlord won’t see this.
A doorframe should allow you enough height to be able to lift yourself up.
Depending on where the pull-up bars are placed in your home, they can either be an annoying little extra that you don’t use or the most important part of your home gym.
If you attach the thing directly on your doorframe, you will need to attach and unattach it each time you do pull ups. This can quickly become a hassle.
You will find a place in your house where you can keep the bar up. It’s easy to casually walk up to while you’re doing other things. I use mine while I’m cooking dinner, watching TV or on my iPad.
Since the day I started my own business ‘pull-ups-when-I-can-be-bothered’ fitness regime, my arm strength has noticeably improved – I’ve received comments pointing it out too. Result! Result!
Finally, we come to the ab roller – this is basically a fancy way of doing press-ups. Instead of moving your arm up and down, you can roll this thing up on the ground.
My ab roller arrived in a black box that looked luxurious with an insignia. It was classier than the plastic bags with resistance bands inside, or the plain-looking boxes that contained the powerball, grip strength trainer, power ball, and power ball.
I felt alarms ring in my head as I opened the box. The wheels were made of cheap plastic and couldn’t support me. The alarm bells only got louder when I constructed the thing, and found a gap between the wheels so that they wobbled when in use – and the mental bells reached a wailing crescendo when I looked for instructions on how to use the thing, only to find instructions absent, and a link to a WikiHow article for ‘how to use an ab roller’Instead, write on the back of each box.
Okay. Realize your expectations.
My first problem with using the ab roller wasn’t to do with the product, though, but my flat – it turns out you need lots of floor space to do a press up, and even more to use an ab roller, and my tiny central London flat didn’t have much of that. I had to use my narrow hallway in my flat to exercise.
Despite the wobbling wheels and plastic cheap feeling, I was still able to complete a few reps without injury. However I didn’t quite like I was doing it right – these are meant to be fantastic core exercises, but it only felt like I was working on my arms.
I was a bit clueless on how to use the ab roller properly, and WikiHow’s guide – well, it’s WikiHow, I don’t need to say more. Similar to my reaction with resistance bands, I found it fun to adapt my routines to ensure I was using the elasticworms in the most effective way. An Ab roller allows me less flexibility.
If you know your stuff, an ab roller is something worth considering. It was exhausting. It didn’t seem to improve my core, and I wasn’t sure if the stress and confusion it caused.
Which would your recommendation be?
There’s not a single piece of kit I bought that I straight-up regret – even the worse ones still seemed to work now and then, and given I barely paid anything for them, it was probably worth it.
If you are unable buy one, I will list them according to my preference. Remember that my three factors are value, ease-of use, and fitness improvement.
Amazon Prime Day 2021 will take place on June 21. It’s worth waiting to purchase the kit as there may be a discount. If you’re tired of all the cheap home gym equipment, you can get the real deal by reading this article.
- Grip strength trainer
- Pull-up bar
- Ab roller
- Power ball