Pimp out your home gym: 11 gadgets we’d love to own right now


Even if you’re a dedicated gym rat, having a few trusty go-to workout devices at home comes in handy.

“Whether it’s an entire home gym set-up or a few body-weight exercise routines, a go-to home workout is the most important thing for maintaining a fitness regimen — so you don’t have an excuse when you’re out of time,” says Andy Petranek, cofounder of Santa Monica-based and CrossFitLA. From a Pilates trampoline to a machine that allows you to row uphill, here’s a sampling of some of the most innovative new home fitness gear we saw at the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Assn. fitness expo held in Los Angeles earlier this year:

1. Full-tilt rowing


Total Gym’s unique Elevate rower is the first to use a slanted slide board and your own body weight as resistance instead of a fan-flywheel or magnetic friction. The steeper you set the tilt, the harder the effort. Unlike traditional row machines, this rower loads up the “eccentric” phase of the movement — the return — adding a strength element to the workout. $1,495.

2. Bouncing Pilates

Take a Pilates reformer, add a mini-trampoline and you get an intense jumping workout that is still gentle on your joints. (DVDs walk you through it.) Adding cardio to Pilates’ traditional posture and strength benefits, Merrithew’s SPX reformer lets you do non-impact, non-gravity explosive jumping movements that are quite challenging in 30-second and one-minute bursts, and are a boon for older, heavier people with hip and knee limitations. The combo starts around $3,089.

3. Aquapunch


North Shore Fight’s new torso-shaped Aqua Bruiser Bag fills with tap water, making this punching bag more forgiving on hands, wrists and elbows. $200.

4. On a roll

Low-tech and highly effective, these hand-size plastic pads embedded with three roller balls provide challenging omni-directional dynamic stability. Translation: CoreFlyte Sliders let you move every which way across a flat surface while doing plank rollouts, in-motion push-ups and a variety of core-blasting exercises, intensifying the workout. And in a pinch, they’ll help you move heavy boxes. $99.95 for a pair, carry bag, exercise sheet and on-line videos.

5. All-body bike

The classic all-body Schwinn Airdyne, a stationary bike with push-pull arm action and fan-blade air-resistance that gets harder as you go faster, gets even better this year with two new models. The Airdyne Pro has 9 workout and HIIT programs and large LCH screen, vertical and horizontal grips, a quiet belt drive and the ability to use your own bike seat. The Airdyne AD6 lacks the programs but displays watts, time, calories burned, distance and more. AD6 starts at $539 and the Pro starts at $1,299.

6. Good vibrations

Vibration machines are the red-hot workout devices of the moment but have been too large and expensive for the home — until now. The new Personal PowerPlate provides the same enhanced effort and recovery benefits in a compact platform that can be slipped under a bed. A 30/60-second timer and remote control are included. $1,499.

7. Swiss Army Knife of ab rollers

Combining an ab-rollout device with stretch bands and snap-on 10- and 5-pound weight-rings, the ingenious Spyder 360 adds resistance for upper and lower body workouts and core work. Rings additionally morph into two 17.5-pound hand weights. (Go to the website and watch the variety of exercises you can do. They actually look kind of fun.) $99.

8. Smart ball

There’s no simpler fitness product than the inflatable exercise ball, but it’s worthless if you don’t know how to use it. That’s not a problem with the 18-inch Smart Ball, which is imprinted with renderings of 13 exercises. Its cousin, the adjustable-height Smart Cube, used for step-ups and box jumps, displays nine exercises. Ball, $29.25; cube $498.95.

9. TRX Duo Trainer

If one strap was good, two is better, says TRX. Its new Duo Trainer lets you do hanging exercises like pull-ups, dips, and muscle-ups in addition to the many others you can do with its standard one-strap/double-handled models. $199.95.

10. Two-way rowing

This rower rows back. The harder you pull the VersaRower, designed with a unique inertial-weight flywheel, the more it pulls back on the return portion of the stroke, which means you struggle to stay in control. This “eccentric loading” dramatically increases your effort, so you get a harder workout in less time. $3,800.

11. Pool gym

The Boga Fitmat is an 8-by-3-foot floating workout mat with built-in stretch cord handles. Used in your backyard pool (or even in your den), it provides a stable-but-unstable base from which to do yoga and a variety of strengthening exercises, intensifying the workout. $795.


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