Jake Boly – BarBend https://barbend.com The Online Home for Strength Sports Fri, 16 Feb 2018 03:34:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 Coach’s Corner: Perfect Your Wall Ball for the 2018 CrossFit® Open https://barbend.com/wall-ball-tutorial/ https://barbend.com/wall-ball-tutorial/#respond Thu, 15 Feb 2018 19:17:30 +0000 https://barbend.com/?p=26728 We’re only weeks away from this year’s CrossFit® Open, and there tends to be one consistent thought on everyone’s mind. What movements will be included in this Open’s string of workouts? Unfortunately, there’s no way of knowing until Dave Castro drops more hints and news, but we can do our best to prepare for popular […]

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We’re only weeks away from this year’s CrossFit® Open, and there tends to be one consistent thought on everyone’s mind. What movements will be included in this Open’s string of workouts? Unfortunately, there’s no way of knowing until Dave Castro drops more hints and news, but we can do our best to prepare for popular movements often used in workouts. One movement that makes a consistent appearance in workouts is the wall ball.

[Coach’s Corner is a strength sport focused Q & A that’s brought to our readership with Andre Crews, Head Coach and Owner of 150 Bay CrossFit in Jersey City, NJ.]

The wall ball is a high rep movement that’s often used to test an athlete’s strength endurance. To help us out with our wall ball form, provide us with useful tips, and to talk 2018 CrossFit Open wall ball movement standards, we reached out to Andre Crews at 150 Bay CrossFit in Jersey City, NJ.

Below we’ve elaborated on and included the three tips Crews referenced in the video!

1. Shake Out Your Shoulders

Don’t forget to shake out your shoulders Crews said, “Shake out shoulders between reps. Keeping your arms up the entire set is like holding chair pose in yoga for 30-60 seconds. It adds unnecessary fatigue to your shoulders so do a quick shake after each rep!”

[Want more help for the wall ball? Check out our ultimate wall ball guide!]

2. Use Your Stretch Reflex

Walls balls aren’t heavy squats, don’t treat them like it. Crews states, “Bounce out of the squat! Don’t try to control the squat on the way down like on a heavy squat. Wall balls are just a tiny fraction of what you can squat, so use your natural stretch reflex and bounce out of the hole as you stand to throw the ball!”

A post shared by Andre Crews (@andrecrews) on

3. Know Your Body

Listening to yourself is the ticket to success, “Stick to a sustainable rep scheme. Anyone can do 30-50 wall balls on their first set. But doing a max effort set at the beginning of a workout is likely to burn you out. If you have 3 rounds of 50 reps, think about doing 5 sets of 10 each round with 5-10 seconds of rest in between. This will help manage your heart rate and prevent you from redlining too early in the workout!”

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Vice Features Westside Barbell & “Westside Vs. The World” Premiere Announced https://barbend.com/vice-westside-barbell/ https://barbend.com/vice-westside-barbell/#respond Thu, 15 Feb 2018 17:30:37 +0000 https://barbend.com/?p=26870 Score another point for strength sports making an appearance in major news outlets. Vice Canada recently released a video that goes inside Westside Barbell to learn more about the gym’s infamous owner, Louie Simmons, and the training that goes on within. The 8-minute Vice feature interviews Simmons, along with two long-time Westside Barbell athletes Anthony […]

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Score another point for strength sports making an appearance in major news outlets. Vice Canada recently released a video that goes inside Westside Barbell to learn more about the gym’s infamous owner, Louie Simmons, and the training that goes on within.

The 8-minute Vice feature interviews Simmons, along with two long-time Westside Barbell athletes Anthony Oliveira and Jason Coker. Their interviews dive into how they found Westside Barbell, what it means to them, and how the outside world perceives the gym.

To kick off the video Vice asks Simmons, “How did you get started in powerlifting?” 

Simmons responds with, “I just wanted to be strong, and I had, well, you know, a low self-esteem problem. I didn’t have much growing up. And so I got into a lot of fights. But weights turned me around. It gave me self-confidence.” 

Check out the full video below.

Westside Vs. The World

On top of the feature above, there’s also been a release date and premiere details dropped for the documentary, “Westside Vs. The World”. Late last February, we wrote on the trailer for the documentary and it gained a lot of attention, although, there had been no official release dates dropped.

Now the good news, if you’re going to the Arnold Classic weekend and you love Westside Barbell, then you’re in luck. They plan to have three public premieres over the course of the 2018 Arnold Classic weekend, which will take place March 1-3rd. As of right now, the film will be shown at 7:30 PM at the Gateway Film Center in Columbus, Ohio. Similar to other movie premieres, you need tickets to attend the showings, check them out here.

As of right now, the trailer below has amassed over 207k views on YouTube, and the Kickstarter campaign capped with over $137,000 pledged to the film.

We’re excited for the first screenings of the documentary. And it’s always great seeing strength sports continue to claw their way into larger news outlets like Vice.

Disclaimer: Vice occasionally syndicates BarBend content, but the two organizations retain editorial independence from one another.

Feature image screenshot Vice Canada Facebook page. 

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The Hype Is Real In Jerry Pritchett’s 2018 Road to the Arnold Video https://barbend.com/jerry-pritchett-2018-arnold/ https://barbend.com/jerry-pritchett-2018-arnold/#respond Wed, 14 Feb 2018 17:28:53 +0000 https://barbend.com/?p=26831 “I want to sit on top of the podium that’s the ultimate goal, it’s to win the Arnold. It’s going to happen, whether it happens this year, or next year…it’s going to happen.” Let it begin. The series of 2018 Arnold Classic hype up videos are beginning to be released by Rogue Fitness. These are […]

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“I want to sit on top of the podium that’s the ultimate goal, it’s to win the Arnold. It’s going to happen, whether it happens this year, or next year…it’s going to happen.”

Let it begin. The series of 2018 Arnold Classic hype up videos are beginning to be released by Rogue Fitness. These are videos where Rogue Fitness follows different athletes through their day-to-day lives, training, and explore what the Arnold means to them.

This year’s first video is highlighting professional strongman Jerry Pritchett. Living in Arizona, Pritchett has been competing in the Arnold Classic since 2013, and took home third place last year behind Brian Shaw and Hafthor Bjornsson, along with an Elephant Bar 467kg (1,031 lb) World Record.

Check out the six minute Rogue Fitness video below; it’s worth the watch.

The video above follows Pritchett to his gym where he talks about his training, job, and equipment. Pritchett wakes up every day at 3:30 AM, leaves the house at 4 AM, gets to work at 5 AM, then puts in nine hours before hitting the gym at 3 PM.

Currently, he works at a public utility as a metal fabricator for their transportation department, which was cool to see because he also discusses how he’s built roughly 98% of his own equipment. From stones, to axles, and even a leg press, Pritchett has constructed it all on his own.

[Want more Pritchett? Check out our in-depth interview with him from 2016!]

“Sometimes it feels like you’re chasing a dream that only you can see, and nobody else understands, but I can see it, and I know if I put in more I’m going to get there. I’m driving harder than I ever have.” 

The Arnold is less than three weeks away, so we’re pumped to see what other athletes Rogue Fitness has chosen to feature. Last year’s lineup included some of strength sport’s top athletes, and you check out three videos we wrote about below.

These videos are always a nice reminder of how much strength sports continue to grow. I always think of them like pre-playoff hype up videos you’d see on ESPN, or other major TV networks. Hopefully one day we’ll see strength sports videos like this make it on major media outlets, but for now, we’re thankful Rogue Fitness is sharing them on YouTube.

Feature image screenshot from Rogue Fitness YouTube channel. 

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10 Commandments of the Bench Press https://barbend.com/commandments-bench-press/ https://barbend.com/commandments-bench-press/#respond Wed, 14 Feb 2018 05:45:34 +0000 https://barbend.com/?p=26801 Oh man, where do we begin. It’s chest day, also known as bench day, also known as that time of the week when you get to walk around the gym with your chest feeling swole. The pecs are poppin’ and your shirt is feeling tight, what a time to be alive. Did that honey just […]

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Oh man, where do we begin.

It’s chest day, also known as bench day, also known as that time of the week when you get to walk around the gym with your chest feeling swole. The pecs are poppin’ and your shirt is feeling tight, what a time to be alive. Did that honey just look at your pump? You can’t tell because it’s hard to see over all of this chest hypertrophy.

All jokes and bench satire aside, this article is intended to be a friendly reminder of little tips to remember on your next chest/bench day. We’ve written about the commandments for successful leg and deadlift days, but never for the chest. And while not every strength athlete has a bench focused day, it’s always to nice to keep these thoughts in mind.

A post shared by Kristen Dunsmore (@kriis_d) on

1. Thou Shalt Not Max Out Every Week

This is going to be a no brainer point for many athletes, but a tough point to swallow for beginners. I feel like it’s almost universal when starting out in the gym to continually push maxes on a routine basis, especially for the bench. When we begin lifting hitting 1-RMs aren’t weighted the same as being at an elite level, so it’s not the worst thing you can do for your lifting, but it’s definitely not the most productive.

Out of the big three, the bench is often the toughest to progress in. This being said, it’s increasingly important to nail down a solid foundation of strength before pushing true 1-RMs. Save yourself the time of spinning your wheels and feeling like your numbers never progress and pick a solid program with a well-constructed form of periodization. Beginners can easily use linear, while advanced and elite lifters could benefit with some forms of undulation.

2. Thou Shalt Take Weight Jumps Wisely

This is another somewhat self-explanatory point, but worth mentioning. Most likely, your bench max is lower than your squat and deadlift max, along with your working sets. Factor this into the concepts that there’s a lower personal ceiling for the bench, along with it being very technical, and you’re left with a smaller range of error. All that being said, your bench warm-up should be done using smaller jumps compared to lower body or back movements.

A post shared by Kimberly Walford (@trackfu) on

There’s no point to get anxious and tax your nervous system before even starting your working sets by taking too big of jumps. The body needs time to adjust and prepare itself for the stress [aka bench working sets] you’re about to put it under. Ben Pollack wrote a great article for us providing 4-steps for the perfect powerlifting warm-up, check it out here. Moral of the story: take smart jumps, stay consistent, and find what works for you.

3. Thou Shalt Not Ignore Accessories

Accessories on the bench are like milk in cereal. Sure, you could eat the cereal alone, but milk makes it taste so much better. Yes, you can improve on the bench with benching alone, but to truly progress past a certain point and to eliminate weak or sticking points there should be some accessories included.

In addition, accessories are great variations when you’re benching more frequently, which is one of the best ways to improve on the bench, but more on that below. Below are a few popular accessories for certain sticking/weak points on the bench.

  • Stuck At the Bottom: Wide-Grip Bench, Pause Bench, Dead Stop Bench, Incline Bench, Resistance Banded Bench
  • Mid-Range: Close Grip Bench, Dumbbell Bench, 1 1/4 Bench Press
  • Stuck At the Top: Floor Press, Incline Bench, Decline Bench

4. Thou Shalt Never Stop Perfecting Form

Whether you’re a powerlifter, other form of strength athlete, or fitness enthusiast, you should never stop breaking down your form. I’m not advising to be over-analytical every workout, but to keep a mindful eye on your form’s progress. The bench press is a very technical lift, and even simple things like not getting a hand off can make tiny changes in how you’re pressing.

[Need help dialing in your form? Check out our ultimate bench press guide!]

My advice, if you train alone ask a coach or knowledgeable athlete to work with you every so often on watching your form. Self video is awesome, but sometimes it can be hard to be objectively analytical of your own shortcomings. Also, if you’re a powerlifter, then you have to take it a step further and even pay closer attention to your form. After all, one small mishap can be the difference between a “good lift” and a “no lift”.

Additionally, a powerlifter should acknowledge different federation’s judging criteria for the bench. For example, some federations require the foot to be fully flat on the floor, while others only require it to be touching the ground throughout the full lift.

5. Thou Shalt Create Full Body Tension

Heavy weight over the head and neck with a loose upper or lower body is always worth a cringe. Beginners typically are the majority that don’t realize how important full body tension is in the bench press. Full body tension means that the upper body is packed and tight, the hips are slightly extended with the glutes flexed, and the feet are firmly planted under you. There’s no area on the body where a body part can move freely.

One cue that always helps me when achieving full body tightness is thinking about my body like a rubber band, which could be used for every lift in all honesty. You want to maintain full tension to equally displace the load before a forceful contraction. If your lower body is loose and moving while pressing, then you’re short changing your bench press potential. Think about it this way, you want more points of contact on the bench/ground to generate the most amount of force.

6. Thou Shalt Be Mindful of Bar Path

The biggest benches all have a few things in common, but possibly one of the biggest is bar path. A great bar path decreases the total amount of shoulder flexion and distributes weight in a means that creates a shorter movement arm. Will your bar path be a duplicate of someone else’s? Most likely not, and that’s okay. For example, your bar path may not hit directly on the lower chest like someone else’s and so forth.

Below are a few universal points to keep in mind when watching your bar path. First, watch where the weight is sitting in the un-racked position. Ideally, the weight will be directly over the shoulder joint [aka stacking the joints], as this will limit stress and energy expended when in the isometric hold. Second, keep an eye on your grip width. A majority of athletes will benefit with their forearm (radius & ulna) directly under the bar.

Lastly, be mindful of your bench style and arm length. This is where having a coach on hand, or someone to help analyze your bar path can be handy. At the end of the day, your goal should to press more weight and to distribute weight evenly through each phase of the concentric portion of the bench press, which includes shoulder flexion, shoulder horizontal flexion, and elbow extension, along with limiting excessive flexion that could cause failure at weak or sticking points.

Greg Nuckols makes a great point in his bar path article when he writes, “Remember, you don’t miss a lift because you are too weak through the full range of motion.  You miss a lift because you were too weak through the very weakest part of the lift.” Additionally, check out the video below from Alan Thrall discussing bar path for a visual explanation.

7. Thou Shalt Program Frequency Smartly

Believe it or not, the bench press can actually be trained more frequently than the squat and deadlift. I always find the frequency aspect ironic because it’s the toughest lift to progress in, but frequency tends to win with this movement. It’s less taxing on the body, so the recovery’s a bit quicker, which allows us to train it more often. And the trick isn’t to just bench more frequently to get stronger, it’s to find your ideal frequency.

A lot goes into programming a movement when frequency is being increased. There has to be adherence to volume, intensity, variation, and other factors because the last thing you want to experience is being fried and then stall in progress, or worse, undergo an injury. Ben Pollack’s article he wrote for us discussing bench frequency and choosing what’s best for you does a great job at explaining this.

8. Thou Shalt Not Ignore Back and Rear Delt Work

It’s no secret that the bench doesn’t only strengthen the anterior portion of our body, but the posterior as well. A stronger back and rear delts will help absorb force in the eccentric and create a large surface area to press from. Strengthening these two areas can be beneficial for the bench press for three reasons.

A post shared by Kevin Oak (@oakstrong) on

One, as stated above, it helps displace weight and force in the eccentric portion of the bench. The stronger these areas of the body are, the better you’ll be able to load yourself before concentrically contracting. Two, it creates a bigger base to press from, which can benefit many strength athletes. Three, it can be preventative and keep the shoulders and chest healthy by preventing excessive internal rotation (aka the hunched over posture).

9. Thou Shalt Check Thy Ego At the Door

This point is in every commandment list I’ve written thus far, and it’s here to stay. It’s the perfect way to sum up points two and four above. Some days it can be tough to leave your ego at the door when you’re in a competitive mood, or even being critiqued by someone, but try your best to separate emotion from rational thought. Big jumps and lack of care for form are asking for a ticket to Injury Town, which no one can afford.

10. Thou Shalt Use The Brethren When Maxing

Not to be a Debbie Downer here, but use a spotter when working at 1-RM or high intensities. In the last few months alone, there have been two reported deaths from bench press related injuries, which resulted in the lifter getting trapped under the bar.

Most likely, if you’re a weathered strength athlete, you know what to do if stuck in that scenario, yet why not be better safe than sorry. After all, sh*t happens, and if we account for Murphy’s Law, then no one is safe in lifting-related situations.

Happy Benching! 

Feature image from @kriis_d Instagram page. 

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Best Treadmills — Top Reviewed Brands for Home, Runners and More https://barbend.com/best-treadmill-reviews/ https://barbend.com/best-treadmill-reviews/#respond Tue, 13 Feb 2018 19:07:45 +0000 https://barbend.com/?p=26515 Treadmills are useful for a variety of populations and can be useful in a variety of settings. For the general population and recreational exerciser, they’re a great way to achieve daily additional activity and exercise. In terms of strength athletes, they can be useful to have around for dieting purposes (cutting for competitions) and doing […]

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Treadmills are useful for a variety of populations and can be useful in a variety of settings. For the general population and recreational exerciser, they’re a great way to achieve daily additional activity and exercise. In terms of strength athletes, they can be useful to have around for dieting purposes (cutting for competitions) and doing cardiovascular training.

The only problem that comes along with choosing a treadmill isn’t always the price tag, but the endless options out there. If you’re reading this best treadmill round-up, then chances are you’re interested in finding the best treadmill for your goals and needs. When going over the treadmills below we scoured through multiple levels of criteria. Some of these criteria included the ability to absorb shock, price, technology, warranty, max speed, max incline, and much more.

Best Treadmill

Our pick for the best treadmill is the Sole Fitness F80 Treadmill. In our opinion, this specific treadmill earned the top pick for two standout reasons.

Sole Fitness F80

Photo courtesy soletreadmills.com. 

Our first reason for choosing this treadmill as the best overall is the Cushion Flex Whisper Deck . As you can see in the picture above, this treadmill has some give to the track, which is great for saving one’s joints. In addition, this treadmill comes with six preset workout programs and facilitates a maximal speed of 12 mph and up 15 levels of incline. These are all great accommodations for what this treadmill offers, and the price range that comes along with it.

The Bowflex BXT216 Treadmill earns the number two spot on our best treadmill list. This treadmill has a couple solid features that ensure a durable and high performing piece of equipment. The construction of this treadmill is solid with a heavier base and a 3-ply 2.5mm belt. In addition, the console is easy to use and learn, and provides bluetooth connectivity for your music and entertainment. Lastly, the deck folds down, which is a great feature for anyone trying to maximize space in a room, or save from an eye sore.

The last pick in our best treadmill list is the Cybex R Series Treadmill. Similar to our number one pick, this treadmill comes with the IS4 Intelligent Suspension System. This is a system that allows for “softer” landings, which is a perk for anyone running, walking, or with achy joints. In addition to the suspension system, this treadmill also comes equipped with Interval Training Zone tools. These tools allow for quick changes in speed with just a touch of button.

Best Treadmill for Your Home

The Pro-Form Pro 2000 Treadmill earns our top spot for the best treadmill for your home. We liked this as the top home pick for a few reasons.

Pro-Form Pro 2000 Treadmill

Photo courtesy proform.com. 

As mentioned above, we liked this treadmill for the home for a couple reasons. We like that this treadmill can be folded up to be easily stored in a variety of home settings. In terms of performance, it offers both incline and decline surfaces, so it can mimic any form of outside surface. Another perk that we like about this treadmill is that it comes with free shipping and financing options. It lessens the financial headache some treadmills can come with.

Our second best treadmill for the home pick is the Sole F63 Treadmill. We like the performance specs that come with this treadmill, along with the folding deck feature. It’s a good treadmill for saving space and keeping an idea on your wallet, too. Whether you’re running or walking, the 60″ surface will be great for both. It’s not the most technologically advanced, but it has Bluetooth, a decent console, and six preset workout programs.

The Nordic Track C 1650 is our final pick for the best treadmill for the home. This treadmill has a couple great features. In terms of entertainment, it has Bluetooth, a 10″ HD touchscreen, an auxiliary port, and two amplified speakers. We like these features for a home-based treadmill because it can keep one entertained for a long duration of time. Additionally, we like this treadmill’s FlexSelect™ Cushioning, which is designed to provide comfortable and soft landings when making foot strikes.

Best Treadmill for Running

The TrueForm Performance Treadmill was our favorite pick for running. Similar to the WOODWAY Curve (below), the True Form Performance Treadmill is non-motorized, so you have to walk or run to make it move. One cool feature of this treadmill is the posterior arm that you can clip bands on, so you can accommodate resistance. It’s not the cheapest treadmill option out there, but it’s a great treadmill when performance is the goal.

Image courtesy www.trueformrunner.com

The WOODWAY Curve is another great pick for running that has some similarities to the TrueForm (above). This treadmill is unique in design and earned our top pick for its ability to match our performance asks.

This treadmill also has a curved designed, which WOODWAY states is to increase caloric burn and improve one’s form when in full stride. To generate speed you have to walk or run, so there’s no top speed. This allows someone to run at the pace they please without the worry of pushing buttons, or setting workouts. This treadmill is a good option for those with high performance in mind.

Our final pick for the best treadmill for running is Assault AirRunner TreadmillThis treadmill is similar to the other models above, as it doesn’t require electricity to operate either. These are common treadmills to see around functional fitness gyms because they’re constructed by the same company that makes Assault Bikes. Two positives about this treadmill is the lighter weight construction and the wheels on the bottom, which make it easy to move.

Best Treadmill for Walking

Our best treadmill for walking is the Horizon Fitness T101 Treadmill. This is a simple and reliable treadmill that earned our vote for three reasons.

Horizon Fitness T101 Treadmill

Photo courtesy horizonfitness.com. 

The first reason this treadmill earns our top spot is the lifetime warranty it comes with. Walking is a low impact activity, so chances are you want this treadmill to last, and a lifetime warranty ensures that. Second, there are no frills to this piece of equipment, which is nice for someone needing it for the simple purpose of walking and doesn’t care about entertainment features. Lastly, it’s pretty affordable at a price of $649, so it won’t break the bank.

The Bowflex BXT116 Treadmill takes home the second spot for best for walking. In our list, this is the most expensive treadmill, but we felt it earned a spot for two standout reasons. First, it comes with Boxflex’s Comfort Tech™ deck support, which is a nice feature for the folks walking long distances. This deck will provide additional support for a long duration and decrease foot strike force. Second, the console has a calorie burn focus, and that’s usually a big deal for anyone searching for a walking oriented treadmill.

Our final pick for walking is the Weslo Cadence G 5.9 Treadmill. This treadmill is pretty simple in design, but fits the bill when walking is the goal. It’s a bare bones model and has a price around $300, which is extremely affordable for many treadmill consumers. Keep in mind, this won’t be your best bet for running, or performing hard workouts, but if you need a treadmill for walking alone, then it could be a decent pick.

Best Treadmill for Apartments

The best treadmill for apartments is the Horizon Fitness Adventure 3 Treadmill. 

Horizon Fitness Adventure 3 Treadmill

Photo courtesy horizonfitness.com.

The standout apartment feature is the Horizon Fitness’ signature FeatherLight folding system for easy storage. We like this because anyone living in an apartment could always use more space, so a fold up treadmill is often a must. In addition to the fold up nature of this treadmill, it comes equipped with Horizon Fitness’ Johnson Digital Drive Motor, which is said to be quieter than other options on the market.

The Bowflex BXT116 Treadmill earns our second pick as best for the apartment. We chose this treadmill for its ability to minimize sound, which could be a concern for those living in major cities. It’s a bit more expensive at a price of $1499, but Bowflex does offer finance options. We like the Comfort Tech™ deck support that comes with this treadmill because it will limit foot strike force and actively decrease noise from runs. In addition, we like that this treadmill folds up to save someone space.

The Weslo Cadence R 5.2 Treadmill earns our last spot for apartment dwelling populations. This is a pretty bare bones treadmill and comes with fewer performance options that the ones above, but we think it’s a good option for anyone living in a possibly more condensed space. It has a fold up design, six pre-installed workout apps, a max speed of 10 mph, and two grades of incline. It’s affordable and comes with decent options for the price.

Best Treadmill for the Money

The Nordic Track C990 is our top treadmill pick for the money. We chose this treadmill for a variety of reasons.

Nordic Track C990 Treadmill

Photo courtesy nordictrack.com.

The first reason we picked this treadmill is for the versatility it comes with. There’s the signature Nordic Track FlexSelect™ Cushioning on the belt, and it caps at 12 mph and 12 levels of incline. All of these features provide multiple workout settings for the serious or recreational exerciser. For this treadmill you can expect to pay $999, which isn’t the cheapest, but it does have solid warranty options, so longevity shouldn’t be a huge concern.

Our second pick for the money is the Pro-Form Performance 600i TreadmillThis treadmill is also a solid option if joint support is your concern, and comes with Pro-Form’s ProShox™ Cushioning. In terms of versatility, this treadmill has an included 22 workouts apps and a 12% incline grade. For this treadmill, you can expect to pay $799, which is a pretty solid deal for the features it comes with.

The Horizon Fitness T101 is our last pick for the money. This treadmill comes with a lifetime warranty on the frame and motor for a price of $649, which is pretty great to have in the treadmill world. In addition to the solid warranty and price, this treadmill includes Horizon Fitness’ Variable Response™ Cushioning, so you’ll be able to use this treadmill for a long duration with moderate comfort. Lastly, the max speed is 10 mph and incline 10%.

Best Treadmill Under $500

The Weslo Cadence G 5.9 Treadmill earns our top spot for a treadmill under $500. 

Weslo Cadence G 5.9 Treadmill

Photo courtesy weslo.com.

At the end of the day, this treadmill is by no means the best option out there, but for the price it’s pretty solid. With a price that sit around $300, we feel that it could be a good option for many users. In addition, you can shop around and find models for less from various online retailers. It has your standard 10-mph speed adjustment and incline option, so it can meet multiple asks for the dollar amount.

The XTERRA TR150 Folding Treadmill is our second pick for under $500. For this treadmill, you can expect to pay around $287.00, and with that, you get what you pay for. This treadmill is pretty standard in terms of features and specs. It caps at 10 mph and has three incline settings. In addition, the console is pretty basic, but has nine preset workouts, which is a decent feature for the money. 

The last treadmill on our under $500 list is the Goplus Folding TreadmillThe price of this treadmill comes in at $389.99, which is okay for the features it offers. In terms of speed, it comes in at a max of 7.5 mph, which really isn’t that much compared to other models out there. There are 12 preset workout programs, and there’s a 5″ blue ray console. Possibly the biggest perk that comes with this treadmill is its ability to fold up and store easily. 

Best Treadmill Under $1000

The Sole Fitness F63 Treadmill earns out top pick for the best treadmill under $1000. 

Sole F63 Treadmill

Photo courtesy soletreadmills.com.

This treadmill doesn’t eclipse the $1000 dollar mark by much, as it’s priced at $999, but it still earned our number one pick. If you look around at other reviews, then you’ll notice this treadmill is consistently ranked well. In addition to being under $1000, this treadmill come free of tax and shipping. This treadmill tops out at 12 mph and has 15 incline levels, which tends to be the most you’ll find on a treadmill. Lastly, there’s Bluetooth compatibility, which is a small, yet nice touch.

The Nordic Track C 700 is our second pick for treadmills under $1000. We like this treadmill for three reasons. First, the price comes in at $749, which is well under the $1000 price point. Second, it comes with a lifetime frame warranty, a 5-year motor warranty, and 1-year parts & labor warranty. This is solid for a treadmill that’s priced slightly lower than other models. Lastly, it comes with Nordic Track’s FlexSelect™ Cushioning, so it will be comfortable to use for prolonged bouts of exercise.

Our last pick for treadmill under $1000 is the Horizon Fitness T101 Treadmill. This treadmill comes in at a price of $649 and offers a solid spec resume. This treadmill comes with three features we like for the money. First, the Variable Response™ Cushioning of the belt, which is designed to decrease foot strike force. Second, we like the FeatherLight™ Folding, so you can easily store this machine to the side in a room. Third, there’s a lifetime warranty on the motor and frame.

Best Commercial Treadmill

Our number one pick for best commercial treadmill is the Cybex 625T treadmill. This treadmill offers solid features a gym owner may desire.

Cybex 625T Treadmill

Photo courtesy cybex.com. 

Cybex boasts that this treadmill is designed to last, and that’s one of the biggest concerns for a treadmill in the commercial setting. This model comes with Cybex’s Intelligent Suspension System and 5 horsepower motor. Both of these features provide this treadmill with solid construction features that would match a commercial gym-goer’s desires. The last feature we like was the nine pre-programmed workouts.

The Nordic Track Commercial 1750 is our second pick for this category. We thought this was a good fit in the commercial setting for a few reasons. First we like that it comes with Nordic Track’s Runner’s Flex™, which is a feature that can match multiple gym member’s needs. Second, it comes with dual fans, and that’s a big deal for gym-goers and gym owners alike for cleanliness purposes. Lastly, the entertainment options on this model are also pretty good with a 7″ HD screen, and adjustable tablet holder.

The last pick in our commercial is the Pro-Form Power 995i. For commercial use, this treadmill is one our tops for three distinct reasons. To start, it comes with multiple preset workouts and can provide a user with their power output at any given time. That’s a cool feature to motivate others to workout. Another feature is the 30 workout apps it includes, so there’s endless options for achieving the workout you desire. Lastly, it has 15 incline levels and max speed of 12 mph, which is solid for most users.  

Wrapping Up

Choosing the perfect treadmill can be tough because in many cases multiple treadmills can meet your asking criteria. Our advice, rank your top three asks from a treadmill, then search within those lists for your best fit. Chances are, you’ll be able to find the perfect fit once you’ve narrowed down exactly what you want from the treadmill.

Another important factor to consider is finding the best option that suits your financial asks, and to do research before pulling the trigger.

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Natalie Hanson (84kg) Squats a Massive 275kg (606 lbs) https://barbend.com/natalie-hanson-squats-275kg/ https://barbend.com/natalie-hanson-squats-275kg/#respond Tue, 13 Feb 2018 16:17:45 +0000 https://barbend.com/?p=26763 84kg Powerlifter and Beefpuff Barbell Co-Founder Natalie Hanson is crushing her training cycle in lead up to the 2018 Arnold Classic. In her latest squat video, Hanson surpassed two huge training milestones. She not only passed her best personal all-time PR by 1.5kg (3 lbs), but also her IPF equipped squat world record that she […]

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84kg Powerlifter and Beefpuff Barbell Co-Founder Natalie Hanson is crushing her training cycle in lead up to the 2018 Arnold Classic. In her latest squat video, Hanson surpassed two huge training milestones. She not only passed her best personal all-time PR by 1.5kg (3 lbs), but also her IPF equipped squat world record that she set in November 2017.

In her Instagram video’s description Hanson writes, “Hi whoa I just squatted 275kg (606lbs)@7.5-8. This is 1.5kg (3lbs) above my all time PR and the IPF World Record from Worlds 3 months ago. Feeling pretty close to ready for the Arnold meow.”

A post shared by Natalie Hanson (@natalie.907) on

Hanson will be taking the platform at the 2018 Arnold Classic in the next three weeks, and with this latest equipped squat, we could very well see her break the current IPF world record. What’s possibly the most crazy part of the lift is how easy Hanson made it look.

She has an insane ability to make all-time personal PRs, or world records for that matter, look incredibly effortless. For example, rewind to a months ago to the video when she broke the IPF world record at the World Championships.

A post shared by Natalie Hanson (@natalie.907) on

This isn’t the first time we’ve written about Hanson and her epic squats. In fact, we first wrote about her back in February 2017 when she broke the American equipped record with a 262.5kg (578 lb) squat at the USA Powerlifting Wisconsin State Open.

Fast forward to May 2017 and Hanson found herself breaking another American record and setting an unofficial world record at the same time. She performed this feat when she competed at the 35th Annual USA Powerlifting Open National Championships in Orlando and hit a 270kg equipped squat.

A post shared by Natalie Hanson (@natalie.907) on

It’s been awesome watching Hanson’s squat progress over the last year. We’re pumped to see what she’s able to put together come meet day and if she’ll push her world record even further.

Feature image screenshot from @natalie.907 Instagram page. 

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84kg Powerlifter Daniella Melo Deadlifts a 225kg (495 lb) PR https://barbend.com/daniella-melo-deadlifts-225kg/ https://barbend.com/daniella-melo-deadlifts-225kg/#respond Tue, 13 Feb 2018 15:26:21 +0000 https://barbend.com/?p=26759 When we wrote about -84kg powerlifter Daniella Melo’s strong squat set back in mid-January, we didn’t think it would be the last time writing about her in lead up to her next meet. We’re less than three weeks out from the 2018 Arnold Classic and Melo is dialing in her final weeks of prep. She’ll […]

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When we wrote about -84kg powerlifter Daniella Melo’s strong squat set back in mid-January, we didn’t think it would be the last time writing about her in lead up to her next meet. We’re less than three weeks out from the 2018 Arnold Classic and Melo is dialing in her final weeks of prep. She’ll be competing in the Arnold USA Powerlifting Championships taking place over the course of the weekend.

Yesterday, Melo surpassed a major deadlift milestone that she’s been chasing for quite some time. She has officially entered and joined the five-plate deadlift club in a relentless fashion after her latest 225kg (495 lb) pull, which looked crazy easy. Check it out below.

In her Instagram video’s description she writes, “495LBS DEADLIFT PR!!!!! I cry. Deadlifts have been a struggle for me forever and this is such a confidence booster going into the Arnold. I am SO HYPED. 3 weeks out!! #ROADTO500 #ASF2018 @girlswhopowerlift”

A post shared by Dani Melo 🦁 (@daniellamelo) on

The hashtag #roadto500 has been no stranger to Melo’s deadlift videos, and we’re optimistic after this latest pull that she’ll surpass this feat on the platform. For a long-time PR, Melo made this weight look easy.

Currently, Melo holds the IPF -84kg women’s squat world record with 206.5kg (454 lbs). We referenced her strong mid-January squat set above, but wanted to highlight it again for context around her world record. In this set, Melo hit 205kg (451 lbs) for five reps, aka only 1.5kg shy of her current world record.

A post shared by Dani Melo 🦁 (@daniellamelo) on

Outside of the squat world record, the current IPF -84kg total record sits at 537.5kg, which judging from her latest prep videos isn’t unattainable for Melo. It’s going to be interesting come meet day to see what Melo is able to dial on the platform.

We could very well see her take down more than one world record, one of which she already owns.

Feature image @daniellamelo Instagram page. 

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Powerlifter Joe Sullivan Uses Quick Thinking to Avoid Injury After Equipment Failure https://barbend.com/joe-sullivan-equipment-failure/ https://barbend.com/joe-sullivan-equipment-failure/#respond Mon, 12 Feb 2018 15:28:13 +0000 https://barbend.com/?p=26695 Powerlifter Joe Sullivan escaped a sticky situation a couple days ago when he experienced equipment failure during a back squat. His quick thinking and composure under the bar saved him from what could have been a seriously bad injury. If you’re plugged in to the strength athlete Instagram community, then there’s a good chance you’ve […]

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Powerlifter Joe Sullivan escaped a sticky situation a couple days ago when he experienced equipment failure during a back squat. His quick thinking and composure under the bar saved him from what could have been a seriously bad injury. If you’re plugged in to the strength athlete Instagram community, then there’s a good chance you’ve already seen the video below shared from Sullivan.

In the Instagram video’s description Sullivan writes, “I was not anticipating equipment failure of this magnitude when I was expected to work up to a heavy triple today. This barbells maximum load was apparently 675lbs.

Coming up it felt horrible as the weight was not actually moving – just morphing along my back. My left knee cap is aggravated extremely right now but I think I managed to avoid disastrous injury. Skipping today and tomorrow’s sessions as I need to make it back to Columbus in one piece. I guess everyone is due a viral fail now and again.”

Warning: The video below contains strong language.

We’ve seen equipment failure before, but we’ve never seen a barbell fail the way it did in the video. This article isn’t intended to only highlight the equipment failure, but to shed light on what to do if you may have ever find yourself in a sticky lifting related situation.

[Equipment testing at its finest, check out these 9 lifting equipment drop tests!]

Sullivan’s quick thinking and composure saved him from serious injury, and it’s something to take note of for other strength athletes who may find themselves in similar situations.  While you may never experience a barbell warping around your back like Sullivan did, you could experience an occasion where composure under the bar could save you from injury. Also, it’s always a good idea to use spotters, especially for rare occasions like this and the example below.

For instance, on the bench, you could run into a situation like the one below where powerlifter Foster Parnell had to remain composed in a bench press miss-rack.

A post shared by Foster Parnell (@fosterparnell) on

It goes without saying, that hopefully you never experience any of the above situations, yet if you do, the best thing to do is to remain calm and composed. These two factors could be the difference between injury and coming out of a tough situation unscathed.

Feature image screenshot from @joesullivanpowerlifter Instagram page. 

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Hafthor Bjornsson Deadlifts 455kg (1,003 lbs) With Ease https://barbend.com/hafthor-bjornsson-deadlifts-455kg/ https://barbend.com/hafthor-bjornsson-deadlifts-455kg/#respond Mon, 12 Feb 2018 15:04:09 +0000 https://barbend.com/?p=26691 Yesterday, Hafthor Bjornsson pulled a massive 455kg (1,003 lb) deadlift and managed to make it look easy. Granted, easy in this scenario is completely relative for the 6′ 9″ professional strongman. Outside of this video, he’s been crushing huge feats on his Instagram page for the last few months, and as we quickly approach the […]

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Yesterday, Hafthor Bjornsson pulled a massive 455kg (1,003 lb) deadlift and managed to make it look easy. Granted, easy in this scenario is completely relative for the 6′ 9″ professional strongman. Outside of this video, he’s been crushing huge feats on his Instagram page for the last few months, and as we quickly approach the 2018 Arnold Classic, this may be one of Bjornsson’s best 2018 foreshadowing videos to date.

Two days ago, Bjornsson teased the deadlift in an Instagram post saying, “455kg/1002lb deadlift tomorrow. I’m excited. Do you want me to stream my session live on my Instagram? If so, tag a friend that you would like to see it with!!”

We say foreshadowing above because this deadlift was performed on an Elephant Bar, which is set to be an event on Saturday, March 3rd at the Arnold Classic. Last year, Bjornsson finished second overall at the 2017 Arnold Classic, and ended with a 438kg (961 lb) deadlift in the Elephant Bar event that earned him third.

With this 455kg (1,003 lb) pull, could we be seeing Bjornsson tackle a 1k+ deadlift come Arnold Classic time? After all, he’s already stated that he wants to attempt the deadlift world record for 2018, so why not take down the Elephant Bar world record, too?

Also, let’s not forget that Bjornsson pulled a 425kg (937 lb) double less than a month ago and wrote “425KG / 937LBS DEADLIFT X 2 REPS. I’M NOT STOPPING UNTIL THIS IS MINE. I HOPE YOU’RE PAYING ATTENTION. PB BABY, AND MORE IN THE TANK” in his Instagram description.

[Want to see where the Elephant Bar event falls in the competition lineup? Check out this article highlighting the 2018 Arnold Classic roster and schedule!]

Last year, Jerry Pritchett took a fourth attempt on the Elephant Bar event to set a new world record of 467kg (1,031 lbs). And let’s not forget about Brian Shaw, aka the winner of last year’s Arnold Classic, who’s pulled 467kg (1,031 lbs) on the Elephant Bar as well.

There’s less than three weeks until the 2018 Arnold Classic kicks off, and we’re anxiously waiting to see what the strongman competitors are able to do come competition day.

Feature image screenshot from @thorbjornsson Instagram page. 

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Reebok CrossFit® Nano 8 Flexweave Review https://barbend.com/reebok-crossfit-nano-8-flexweave-review/ https://barbend.com/reebok-crossfit-nano-8-flexweave-review/#respond Fri, 09 Feb 2018 19:37:32 +0000 https://barbend.com/?p=26634 Cross training shoes are becoming increasingly more common in strength sports. These are shoes designed to feel like flexible tennis shoes, but with a strength athlete in mind. This being said, they’re constructed slightly different than your standard sneaker. A few of these features include stiffer soles, additional heel support, and flexible/durable construction. Reebok is […]

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Cross training shoes are becoming increasingly more common in strength sports. These are shoes designed to feel like flexible tennis shoes, but with a strength athlete in mind. This being said, they’re constructed slightly different than your standard sneaker. A few of these features include stiffer soles, additional heel support, and flexible/durable construction.

Reebok is now in their eighth iteration of the Reebok CrossFit® Nano. In this article, we’re going to take a deep dive look at the Reebok CrossFit Nano 8 Flexweave, and assess how they performed in the gym. We’ll break down the Nano 8’s construction, functionality, shoe material, stability, and price.

Shop on Reebok.com HERE.

Reebok CrossFit Nano 8 Flexweave

Construction

To kick off the review, the Reebok CrossFit Nano 8 Flexweave has a couple standout features that make it different from previous models. The first difference is the new bootie construction this shoe offers. Unlike past models, this shoe has a separate bootie, which is completely independent of the outer shoe material. This was an interesting change, and I’m not going to lie, I was skeptical at first.

Things I liked about the bootie was its flexibility and comfort. These shoes never feel limiting in movements, and you can even wear them barefoot with comfort. The only potential issue I could see with this separate bootie is possible instances where it comes loose. There’s a connective piece between the booties and the shoe’s heel, and if that ever snapped, then you may run into a problem.

Reebok CrossFit Nano 8 Flexweave Construction

Shop the Reebok CrossFit Nano 8 Flexweave and browse colors HERE.

Another feature this shoe offers is the flexweave material. This material feels a bit rougher than previous models and has a cross-weave design to it. I was a fan of this material for three reasons. First, it’s very breathable. Second, it has a fair amount of flexibility to it. Lastly, it feels durable and was pretty resilient to rope climbs that can sometimes cause shoes to fray. Conversely, I could see someone not liking how the material sits independent of the bootie and may feel it to be too loose.

The final features worth mentioning on this shoe are the toe box, heel cup, sole, bottom design. This Nano’s toe box is slightly wider than previous models, and I liked that for specific reasons, which I’ll explain in more depth below. There’s the plastic heel cup that is similar to what the Nano 7 offered. The sole is pretty hard and provided a solid base in multiple movements. Lastly, the bottom of sole has a wave-like material and that provided grip on multiple surfaces.

Reebok CrossFit Nano 8 Flexweave Construction

Functionality

For functionality, I performed five calculated tests with these shoes to assess how they performed. These movements included a back squats, power cleans, rope climbs, box jumps, and wall balls. Granted, I wore them in my day-to-day activities, these five tests were my scalable exercises.

I liked how the shoe felt in the back squat and power clean for two main reasons. First, the sole was hard and didn’t have any give to it. I felt confident sitting back in cleans and coming out of the hole in the squat. Also, I felt like the heel cup provided a little extra support, which is a nice add on.

ReebokReebok CrossFit Nano 8 Flexweave Functionality

The second reason I liked these shoes in the back squat and power clean is for the wider toe box. Personally, I splay my toes pretty wide in both movements (aka spread them to grip the floor), so having a wider toe box is always a positive in my eyes. I’m not a fan of narrow shoes because I feel off balanced in them at times. For rope climbs, I liked how the Flexweave accepted the rope and showed no early signs of wear and tear. 

My final two tests were the box jump and wall ball. I tested the box jump to assess the sole’s comfort on impact, then the wall ball for mid-foot flexibility. As mentioned above, the sole is pretty hard, so it wasn’t the comfiest cross training shoe I’ve used for repetitive impact movements, but that probably won’t bother most people.

ReebokReebok CrossFit Nano 8 Flexweave Functionality

For wall balls, I liked this shoe’s ability to easily flex when hitting ankle extension. It didn’t feel stiff whatsoever, so flexibility was never a concern, even during the “breaking in” period.

Shoe Material

We talked about it above, but the Nano 8 is composed of Reebok’s Flexweave material. This material is said to be composed with Reebok’s open figure-8 construction. They state Flexweave can interlock unlimited amounts of fiber that interlock to create a durable material. The material itself doesn’t have much stretch to it, which I thought was good sign for the shoe’s long-term longevity.

ReebokReebok CrossFit Nano 8 Flexweave Material

In addition, the material is really breathable and you can even see there’s some room for air in-between the Flexweave and the bootie itself. If you’re prone to stinky feet, then I’d feel confident saying this shoe’s material will do a pretty good job at helping you out. Also, the Flexweave felt durable on things like rope climbs, which can cause early wear and tear due to friction.

Stability

I can see this shoe’s stability being a total hit for most, but a miss for some. In regards to being a hit, this shoe has a few stability aspects going for it. First, the sole is hard and doesn’t give under weight. In fact, I thought it was almost uncomfortable to perform cardio-based movements in. I took my dog for a few jogs in these shoes and found my feet making pretty heavy foot strikes. Although, you have to keep in mind, these shoes aren’t designed for running, and this was just an observation.

Second, the additional heel cup was a nice touch for stability. It provided a slight feeling of being “locked in” when sitting back during certain movements, or performing lateral work. Third, the shoelace eyelets are subtle benefit to this shoe’s stability. There are seven eyelets, so you can lace the shoe up pretty high. For some athletes, this can provide a bit more stability towards the top of the ankle.

Reebok CrossFit Nano 8 Flexweave Stability

Now for the potential miss. If you’re an athlete who wants a shoe that feels incredibly stiff and tight, then you may have issue with this Nano. I could see the slightly wider toe box and flexible construction causing issues for someone with exceptionally skinny feet wanting a shoe that feels narrow. But like I said, for many, this won’t be an issue, yet it’s definitely something to consider when purchasing.

Price

For the Reebok CrossFit Nano 8 Flexweave you can expect to pay $130.00. This price is pretty standard for newer versions of cross training shoes, so it shouldn’t catch many by surprise, especially those who’ve bought Nanos before. Of course, you could find cheaper older models, but if you’re interested in the new features of this model, then I think the price is pretty fair.

Reebok CrossFit Nano 8 Flexweave

Final Word

All in all, I was a fan of this Nano model. For context, I was not a big fan of the Reebok CrossFit Nano 7, but this model has restored my faith in the Nano line-up. I enjoyed the newly constructed separate bootie and wider toe box. Personally, I found both of these features to enhance my performance, as opposed to just acting as another cross training shoe. The only issue I could see athletes having with this model is how flexible it is, but that’s going to come down to personal shoe preference.

If you’re looking for a comfortable and flexible cross training shoe, then I think the Reebok CrossFit Nano 8 Flexweave could be good option for you.

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