Feats of Strength

In order to prepare for the Mud Run this year, we are running and doing some upper body stuff.  When you run and don’t exercise your upper half, you notice that your body says “Hey, I’m not carrying around all this extra weight that you are not using”  and promptly begins to slough it off.  Great for fat.  For muscle, not so much.

Calisthenics have worked well for the military and PE classes since time began, but I know push ups really hurt my wrists or knuckles depending on how they are done.  Enter the Iron Gym.  This TV-tastic infomercial explains it all in a much more extreme adrenaline-packed way that I am capable (unless Chuck Norris or Hulk Hogan got my back).

We chose The Iron Gym Extreme which includes the wide grip pull up bar (the exercise I wanted the most anyway).  I know what you’re thinking.  How stupid to fall for the latest Abulator 9000 but I’m here to tell you this thing works and it is good.  You can do great push-ups, chin-ups and pull-ups with it.  It advertises dips.  I call them diplettes because of the limited range of motion (they still work your triceps though).  I’ve never used it for sit-ups.  That seems goofy and unnecessary.

Overall, I think it was $40 very well spent and I recommend this product.  I am seeing results as my t-shirts fit tighter in the right places and I can do more reps.  It is extremely easy to assemble and place in a doorway.  It is compact enough and light enough to store easily.  You don’t have to permanently attach anything or make holes in anything to use it.  I did screw a piece of plywood and stop blocks on our doorway just to make set up a one second instead of two second operation.  Of course ours is in our garage so I don’t mind.

I don’t highly recommend the product because the dips could work better and the center/main bar of the system is actually two parts.  I know this is done to keep the shipping cube down but it does allow a small amount of flex in the system.  They rate it with a 225 lb max and I’m sure this is one of the big reasons.  I weigh 195 lbs and have no problems.

I also wanted more padding for push-ups so I duct-taped on some of our close cell exercise mat foam to those handles.

The biggest issue that could easily be fixed is putting some hard plastic pads on the part of the IG that touches the floor.  As is, the painted steel tube touches the floor and the paint is scraped off if the floor is a hard surface.  I fixed this with more mat foam and duct tape.

If you decide to purchase one, you should definitely check the doorway you plan to use first.  The foam padded part of the system that rests against the door molding is 33.5″ on center.  You’ll want to make sure this hits the molding.  I believe the manufacturer gives a wide range of door sizes you can use but I would recommend finding a 32″ opening like the one we use to make sure you get good contact.  Also, if you have extremely wide door molding, this system probably will not attach properly.  Of course, if there is any doubt you can buy the thing locally like we did and return it if it doesn’t fit.  Assembly is a piece of cake so just keep the box in good shape until you try it out.

You can find all of my other mud run articles here.

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