No, this isn't a useful product review of the best and worst fitness equipment out there. (There are plenty of those around and they all contradict each other). This is just a list of things I like and why. Chances are, you'll all have opinions of your own that are different—because of course
(Note: at some point soon we'll also do a “worst exercise equipment” list. After all, this blog is not called Cheerful Fitness is it?)
So here we go,
Crabby's Entirely Subjective List of Best Exercise Equipment Ever:
Big-Ass Weight Machines: And yes, I love the girly kind where you just move the little pins, not the macho kind where you lug big plates around and try to wrestle them onto each new machine like you're building the damn thing from scratch.
It’s very out-of-fashion to like these anymore. You're supposed to be doing free weights or having a personal trainer devise
Well, screw that. I like to sit down on a comfortable machine and only be miserable in one body part at a time. (And I only do one set apiece, at the heaviest weights possible, so it doesn't last long). Is using a bunch of big machines like this less efficient? Is it less functional for carrying groceries or hand-to-hand combat with invading aliens? I don't give a crap. I can still schlep groceries with the best of them; the aliens have not yet arrived; and I like my big-ass machines.
Elliptical Machine: This is another relatively wimpy choice, in some people's eyes, compared to the treadmill or the stairmaster. But getting on a treadmill to walk or run just makes it obvious that you're not outside, where such activities are much more entertaining. Even though I do use a treadmill, it is essentially a compromise machine. And a stair-stepper (especially the backwards escalator kind) is a torture device. Whereas an elliptical machine?
An elliptical machine is a RIDE! If used properly, (or actually, improperly) an elliptical machine is fun! Here's how to make it a piece of playground equipment and much less of a chore.
- Play awesome kick-ass music with exactly the right cadence so that each step is to the beat.
- Get a machine without the stupid handlebars, or if you can't find one, try to avoid getting smacked by them when you forget they're there.
- Pump your arms vigorously and cultivate the ability to balance, both going forward and backwards. (This must be good for some core muscle or other, don't you think?). Finally, the most important part:
- Launch yourself higher in the air than you need to on each upswing so that you feel like you're sproinging along like an antelope to the beat.
WARNING: Following these instructions puts more stress on your knees and may result in your looking like an ass. (Especially if you close your eyes, add some dance moves, and lip synch to the music. But that part is totally optional).
Big Bouncy Inflatable Ball. I know you’re supposed to do all sorts of challenging exercises on it and that it will get your core muscles in great shape, but I lost the little pamphlet that came with it. (And also the pump, so it’s kind of squishy now).
But what I love about the big goofy green ball in our basement is that it’s a great way to stretch out my back. I sit down on it, then lean back until my head dangles upside down, trying to keep my feet somewhat balanced on the ground so I don’t lose control and crash-land on my head and split my skull open. Once equilibrium is obtained, however, it's a great stretch--you can feel all the little vertebrae spreading out and relaxing and putting their feet up, happy to have a little personal space for once.
It’s also my impression (based on something I read somewhere long ago that probably isn’t even true), that using gravity to pull your spine apart will keep you from shrinking as you get older. If this is a totally preposterous theory, don't tell me, because part of the fun of the stretch is my belief that it's making me taller.
Well, duh. Gotta have tunes. (On the other hand, this device, or at least my old-fashioned version of it, has enough infuriating quirks that it will also be appearing on Crabby's Entirely Subjective List of The Worst Exercise Equipment Ever Invented.)
Heart Rate Monitor
Notice how I'm running out of steam here, and all of a sudden the sections are getting shorter? Sure, I started off with lots of energy, but now, wow, this is getting old. I'm tired. Am I putting out enough effort still or am I just going through the motions and secretly slacking?
Well, if you're exercising instead of blogging and the same questions come up, you'll have an answer--if you own a handy-dandy heart rate monitor!
(So was that the lamest segue ever??)
Actually, part of the reason for not saying much down here is that I already wrote a whole post on the awesomeness of heart rate monitors. The bottom line? They give you a concrete number to
Anyway, I've been opining for long enough--I want to hear about other people's favorites. That is, if you have any opinions about exercise equipment... or anything else for that matter. At Cranky Fitness, we love opinions!