Sliding scale of difficulty
Likes: Tough, challenging variety of static and dynamic push-up positions. You can set your hands in a wide range of unmoving positions or, to add difficulty, let them move from wide to narrow as you press up. The latter somewhat simulates the natural converging path of some seated chest-press gym machines but is much harder. At first, I could do only half of my normal number of push-ups.
Dislikes: A bit noisy as the handles move across the bar.
Price: $39.99. (800) 654-3955; http://www.altusathletic.com
CoreGlide: Stable, heavy-duty, 21/2- foot-by-6-inch wide, aluminum platform on polyurethane wheels that pushes back against your movement with as many as six rubber resistance bands. The device cannot roll across a room; movement is limited to several inches each way.
Likes: Beneficial for any age and ability. It allows fun, varied and challenging movements that work your flexibility, strength and heart rate all at once during a number of different exercises. Ski simulations (throwing your weight side-to-side to roll the board up to 1 foot in each direction before the resistance stops you) is a tremendous core/hip/leg/coordination/balance workout for even the toughest athlete. Those new to exercise will like the leg presses done with one foot or two, accomplished by laying on the device while on your back with feet pushing off a wall; do chest presses by sitting on your knees and pushing off the wall with your hands. The adjustable resistance accommodates many users; just add or subtract rubber bands from the axles in seconds without tools. Exercise chart included. Weighs 13 pounds.
Price: $229 ($189.95, sale price). (866) 207-6308; http://www.funfitpro.com
KoreFit: Invented for the Wounded Warrior rehab program, these two air-filled, 8-inch-tall, 18-by-12-inch chambers, with attached resistance tubing, add imbalance to a variety of exercises such as squats, burpees, sit-ups and push-ups.
Likes: A terrific balance trainer, it is similar in concept to a Bosu ball but more practical because it offers a platform for each foot, reducing ankle stress and forcing each side of the body to contribute equally.
There are six different attachment points for the pairs of light, medium and heavy tubing. DVD and foot pump are included. A knob in the middle controls how much air flows between the two chambers; vary the volume to change the instability. It folds up for transport. Weighs 28 pounds. Athletes would use it more for rotational and plyometric exercises.
Dislikes: Not cheap.
Price: $399. (773) 935-5348; http://www.korefit.com
Spheerz: A pair of free-rolling 4-pound, 5-inch-diameter balls with housings and hand straps that you roll on the carpet and/or lift.
Likes: An unusual combination of an exercise wheel, dumbbell and kettlebell, they allow for a variety of exercises and creativity. Newbie exercisers will get some flexibility and strength from simple on-your-knees arm extensions, as well as standing presses, curls and kettlebell swings. Hard-core types will find planks and push-ups quite challenging, requiring almost gymnast-style strength. Workout DVD includes beginner, advanced and Pilates-type 15-minute workouts. Workout mat included. Designed to be used on carpet, not hardwood floors.
Price: $69.95 plus delivery. (865) 230-1123; http://www.spheerzfitness.com
Wallack is co-author of "Bike for Life: How to Ride to 100." email@example.com