Nike Metcon vs Reebok Nano Shoes Review

Nike Metcon vs. Reebok Nano

Can you hear that? That’s the sound of Reebok crying, because their once held monopoly on the CrossFit shoe market has now been seized by the largest footwear manufacturer in the entire world… NIKE!

The Nike Metcon has had a ton of hype, more than any other product release I’ve seen since being around training equipment, and for good reason. A company that nearly every person has owned a pair of their shoes, is now creating a shoe specifically for the CrossFit community and other’s who are part of the functional training scene.

But, is the Nike Metcon all glitz and glam and simply a good looking shoe, or an actual contender to the almighty Reebok Nano series?

Let’s find out.

Looks:

Looks are very subjective. There are some shoes that I find absolutely hideous while others I can’t understand why anybody wouldn’t like them (for example, Chuck’s. I love throwing on a pair of Converse Chuck Taylor’s and ripping the bar off the floor.) However, through the use of the interwebs it’s pretty easy to gain a collective understanding of what people like–and don’t like. And people LIKE, dare I say LOVE the Nike Metcon.

In fact, CrossFitter’s are clamoring so hard for the Nike Metcon that it’s constantly sold out. There’s many conspiracy theories behind this (cue Jesse Ventura,) but the main reason the shoe has sold out is because Nike wants to keep people clamoring for more. Nike and it’s subisidiary the almighty Jordan brand were the first shoes to ever have collectors. The reason is because Nike would create a shoe, or a colorway and not release it again, and that is exactly the tendency they’re trying to get CrossFitters to buy into.

And it’s working.

I recently saw a photo of a guy with every color of Nike Metcon available. To each his own, but you must really like a shoe to have every color.

Nike Metcons

That’s a lot of colors. Available at Rogue Fitness

Then you have the camp that loves their Nano’s. In fact, I’m in that camp. I’ve used every single iteration and love them all. However, the Nano 4 is my personal favorite. But, in retaliation to the Nike Metcon, Reebok has upped it’s fight and now has the following that are all currently for sale:

  • Reebok Nano U-Form
  • Reebok Nano 2.0
  • Reebok Nano 3.0
  • Reebok Nano 3.0 Mid
  • Reebok Nano 4.0
  • Reebok CrossFit Compete 6:14 (The Rich Froning Nano, which by the way is no longer listed on Reebok’s website.)
  • Reebok Nano 5.0
  • Reebok Nano Pump (Yes, you read that right. This baby will PUMP YOU UP!)

With all the Nano-ness how does one decide which shoe to buy?

Well Reebok tried to make a mad dash with CrossFitter’s money trying to follow the Apple iPhone model (the even use 1.0. 2.0, etc.) and in my opinion has over-saturated the market.

However, I still love the Reebok Nano’s and still use the 4.0 as my daily driver.

The looks of the Reebok Nano 5.0 on the other hand don’t do a whole lot for me. I like the use of Kevlar, as I think it’s a great material, but to me they are simply U-G-L-Y.

Froning Metcon shoe

Even Froning likes the Metcon, JK JK

Performance:

We’re CrossFitter’s right?! We don’t care how we look, or if our gear has bells and whistles, we just want it to perform!

WRONG! There’s a reason people are eating up the skittles pack of Nike Metcon’s.

But, what really matters in a shoe is that it performs and both the Nike Metcon and Reebok Nano perform admirably.

The Nano is time-tested. It’s been through the brutal CrossFit Games. It’s taken down the myriad of events that are thrown out each year and there’s a reason the CrossFit community has adopted it as their own. But does it perform better than the Nike Metcon? Ehh.

In my opinion, both the Metcon and Nano perform as a shoe should. They don’t slide around, they have a low heel drop, feel secure on many different surfaces and don’t rip when used on rope climbs.

So based upon pure performance, which one wins?

It’s a tie. But I hate ties, so the Reebok Nano wins by default because it’s been around longer.

Nike Metcon Durabilitymetcon 1

Toe Rippp

Durability:

This is the main difference I see thus far between the Reebok Nano’s and the Nike Metcon’s.

I have put my Nano’s through everything. Trail runs in the rain, burpee’s on concrete, left them outside on a 100 degree day and they still perform like the day I got them. I haven’t seen a ton of issues with the Nike Metcon’s, but I have seen multiple cases of the rubber attached to the toe ripping some.

Also, Nano’s have been used a ton, by a whole lot of people and many hold up for a long time, especially based on the conditions they were put through.

So, as far as durability, I say the Reebok Nano wins.

metcon and nano

Final Thoughts:

Can you really go wrong with either Reebok Nano’s or the Nike Metcon’s?

No. Both are shoes that perform well and should for an extended period of time. Really, it comes down to which feel the best to you personally, and which ones you like the look of the best.

Where to Purchase:

Nike Metcons: Rogue Fitness

Reebok Nano’s: Rogue Fitness

Train On,

Coop

Kabuki Warrior ShouldeRök Review

ShouldeRok Review GGRThe ShouldeRok is one of the most unique pieces of training equipment I have ever used, and I have used a lot of equipment. It combines a complete upper body workout with an emphasis on mobility and core stability. Not to mention the mad scientist behind the ShouldeRok is none other than Chris Duffin. If you don’t know who he is, this video of him breaking the 220 lb. Raw Squat World Record with 881 lbs should be enough to convince you Chris is a man worth knowing:

Now, let’s get’s into the ShouldeRok and see if it’s just another piece of equipment touting benefits beyond it’s abilities, or if it’s the real deal.

How it was acquired:

I saw a video of Chris giving a demonstration of the ShouldeRok to Raw World Record Holder in the Benchpress Eric Spoto which you can find here. Being a bench specialist you could imagine Eric having mobility issues, and although Eric has one of the strongest upper-body’s of all time, the ShouldeRok was a challeng for him. So, I began to do some research on the so called “ancient” art of Gada swinging.

I actually find quite a bit of information on the Gada swing but the video I enjoyed most is this about Indian Clubs:

So, I decided to contact Chris and offer an honest review in exchange for the product. Chris kindly obliged and sent me the ShouldeRok, what I didn’t expect was a bombproof piece of equipment that I now use ever training session.

Down the handle - ShouldeRok

Down the Barrel

Benefits of the ShouldeRok:

The main benefits I found to the ShouldeRok from a training perspective were it’s total body warming up properties, mobility enhancement, lat engagement, and most of all it’s benefit to spinal stabilization and core involvement.

Starting out the ShouldeRok can be difficult to use. It takes a fair amount of coordination and strength even when starting light. Chris has great instructional videos he sends when you purchase the ShouldeRok, but it still takes some work to get used to the movement.

I have now owned the ShouldeRok for about a month and have noticed my shoulder mobility increased on any overhead or handstand movement and also much more engagement of my core during deadlifts and squats (speaking of which check out Chris Duffin’s squat instructional video here, it’s one of my favorites on YouTube.)

Build of the ShouldeRok:

The ShouldeRok is built like a tank. at the base you’ll find a machined screw piece that is the diameter of the barbell and securely holds weights 2″ plates. The screw piece is welded (very clean welds, actually) to a 30 mm pipe and is 47″ long in total. The beautiful thing about the ShouldeRok’s construction is it is obviously made by somebody who uses it. At the top of the handle there is knurling much like your favorite barbell that is very grippy, and has the feel of a Texas Power Bar to be honest. It built up some calluses on my thumbs actually.

At the end of the pipe there is a nice lip that allows for good handling and keeps the ShouldeRok from slipping from your hands. The entire unit weighs I would say around 8 lbs, and is made to last.

I always say, when you buy something, buy it once, and that’s the case with the ShouldeRok.

ShouldeRok Parts

ShouldeRok Parts: Basic, Yet Effective

The ShouldeRok vs. It’s Competition:

In all reality, there isn’t another loadable mace like the ShouldeRok. However there are some things that are close and I’d like to speak to the differences. The maces I’m mainly familiar with are made by Onnit. If you’ve listened to the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast or Tim Ferris’s Podcast you’re likely aware of the company. (If you don’t listen to those podcasts I recommend perusing them.)

Onnit makes maces ranging from 7 lb’s to 25 lbs. It’s cool and all, but in my mind, having the ability to have one piece of equipment that is loadable and is the construction of the ShouldeRok is irreplaceable.

Tips for using the ShouldeRok:

I’m not kidding when I saw the ShouldeRok can take some time to learn. I would urge you to first try it in a very open space and follow the progressions.

A few basic tips I’ve found are when the ShouldeRok is behind you, stretch your triceps and lats while keeping your core tucked/engaged and then when you bring the ShouldeRok up, engage the lat as if you were going to be chopping wood.

Workout Examples:

I like using my ShouldeRok as a warm up. I get in the gym (it’s in my garage but it’s still a gym) and start jump roping to get my heart rate up, do some general mobility work, and then begin using the ShouldeRok.

Outside of a warm up try these out.

Superset Deadlifts with the sets of 5 with the ShouldeRok. I found these two movements to be a beautiful combination.

3 sets of 10 same weight.

EMOM sets of 5 each side.

Final Thoughts:

The ShouldeRok is a great tool and is far from gimmicky. Typically when a new training tool is introduced they can catch a crowd but fall short with results. This however does not hold true with the ShouldeRok. If you’re a strength athlete looking to increase your mobility (this should be everyone), improve coordination, as well as increase core engagement the ShouldeRok is for you. Give it a shot and you won’t be disappointed.

Price:

$189.99

Where to Buy:

Kabuki Warrior

Train On,

Coop

Portable Revolution Pull Up Bar Review

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One of the best exercises in all of the fitness world is the pull-up. Very people can dispute that. There’s a million and one things to do pullups on, however I have yet to see a pull up product that works your back and forearms like the Revolution Pull-up Bar. You’re probably asking, what separates this bar from any other pull up bar? Well, this bad boy spins.

How it was Acquired:

I’m always on the lookout for something new and fresh in the fitness equipment industry. Whenever I find something I’ll offer a review in exchange for the product, and that’s how this happened. That being said, my reviews are completely honest, you’ll see in some of my past reviews I’ve mentioned that even though I was given a product, I didn’t really like it. I try to be open and honest about how I like the product and whether it’s something I would recommend to others. The Revolution Pull Up Bar I would without a doubt recommend to those trying to improve overall strength, grip strength, or pull up power.

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It attaches to your existing pull-up bar easily

Function:

The Revolution Pull Up Bar is essentially a powder-coated steel pullup bar connected to two industrial bearings. The portable version I received also has two straps and carabiners that attach to the ends of the bar so you can add it to your pull-up bar or a tree, or anything else you want to pull from. When I initially saw the pull-up bar I was a little bit skeptical to whether it would spin enough to really feel a difference, and it does. There’s a certain amount of grip fatigue you get from doing any variation of pullups, but when you throw in a bar that is trying to spin you off, it’s a whole different feeling. The burn you get in your forearms is intense, and over time your grip gets stronger and stronger. Every time I went from this bar, back to a static pull-up bar suddenly pullups and bar muscle-ups were much easier than before.

Looks:

I’m somewhat biased because orange is my favorite color, but the combo of orange and stealth gray looks awesome! It stands out in the gym, but isn’t overpowering. People will certainly ask what it is and where they can get one.

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Close-up of the powder-coating

Feel of the Bar:

I’ve used quite a few different pullup bars, with equal as many coatings. My favorite bars are those that are powder-coated. The bars tend to hold chalk much better and allow you to get a good grip, without it being too aggressive. Also, powder-coating steel will extend its longevity for longer than I plan to be alive. The bar on the Revolution Pull-Up Bar is very similar, if not the exact same as that on a Rogue Pull Up Bar. It’s what many of you are used to, and if you’re looking to compete in CrossFit, it’s important in my opinion that you use the feeling of the bar that you’ll use in competition.

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The bearing assembly. One word: Solid

Spin:

When you talk spin in the strength world, it’s typically referring to the spin of a barbell. Similar to the way you want a smooth consistent spin with a barbell, you want the same with this pullup bar. The reason is the goal of this bar is to force you to use your forearms to resist against the bar slipping you off. If it was rough and inconsistent you would notice it immediately.

Final Thoughts:

The price of this bar surprises me a little bit. In my mind, I think it’s priced low because they’re a new company, so if I were you I would jump on and buy one now before they get more popular and experience a price increase in the future. This bar isn’t meant to replace your existing pullup bar, but used in addition. You can attach this to your pullup bar you have now, or tree limbs, jungle gym you name it. When compared to other portable pull-up bars in the industry, this is right around the same price, and causes a much better workout. Hit the link, buy the bar, and grow your back and forearms like never before.

Price:

$98.00 (I’m not joking. Take a look at the competitions static portable bars, this is in line with all of them, yet it spins.)

Where to Buy:

Revolution Bar Fitness

Train On,

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Powerblock Adjustable Dumbbells Review

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When it comes to dumbbells you really only have a few options. You can get fixed dumbbells that take up more space than any other piece of equipment, or if you have a garage gym and space is at a premium, you can do like I did a buy adjustable dumbbells. Through my research I decided upon the Powerblock Adjustable dumbbells and what made them better than the alternatives, like Ironmaster Quick-Lock Dumbbells or Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbells, or just your everyday fixed dumbbell.

Why I decided on Adjustable Dumbbells:

When I first decided to buy dumbbells I really wanted the fixed standard dumbbells because I figured you wouldn’t be able to do as much with an adjustable dumbbell. Sure, if you’re just doing a bro-sesh and pumpin’ weight bra’ any dumbbell will do. But even though I do like to throw in the occasional arm curl, I wanted to be able to do dumbbell snatches, man makers, and anything else that one might find in a CrossFit workout. That led me to forums where I found every opinion one could think of, however, the most resounding comment was, “I can do anything with my adjustable dumbbells that you can with your fixed dumbbells.” So with that, I began searching for adjustable dumbbells and landed on the Power block for its reputation, quality, durability, and function.

Dumbbell side.jpeg

Dumbbell Side View

Functionality:

You would think having a dumbbell that you change would lead to discrepancies in durability. However, I’ve found I can do anything and everything with my Powerblock Dumbbells that I could with a regular dumbbell other than slam them on the ground, and lets be honest, you really shouldn’t do that with any dumbbells. The Powerblock dumbbells uses a selector pin to change the weight in 5 lb increments. What makes them even more adjustable is if you need to only go up by 2.5 lb’s, you can do that by opening up the handle and placing an included silver cylinder (say that ten times fast) in the handle. I rarely use them because I don’t ever feel the need to only dial my weights in that close, but for you anal retentive people out there this is a great feature.

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Dumbbell Handle. Each weigh ~ 5 lbs.

Durability:

These bad boys are made to last. I’ve used them in mud, on concrete, in the rain, on dirt, and nearly every surface you can think of and they just keep on chucking. Sure, it’s a dumbbell so there isn’t a ton that can go wrong, but for something that is interchangeable these things rock! I’ve had them now since 2013, so about 2 years as of this writing and aside from some minor battle scars they still look pristine and ready for another sweat session. Also included in the dumbbells are a 10-year home warranty, that’s pretty hard to beat in this industry.

Looks:

The Powerblock Dumbbells don’t look like a traditional dumbbell. In fact, when people go to pick them up they don’t always know what they are. They’re a rectangular boxy shape that isn’t like the hexagon seen on most dumbbells. I personally like the shape and haven’t really felt like the function would have been improved through a different shape.I also grabbed the stand because one, it looks awesome and two, it just makes it easier to set them down and put them away.

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Interchangeable Cylinder Handle Weights

Extra Features:

Because dumbbells are so expensive, generally people only purchase them in five pound increments. The Powerblock Dumbbells come with interchangeable cylinder weights that each weigh 2.5 pounds. That allows you to increase in smaller increments which although I’m not a huge fan of, I know many others are.

Final Thoughts:

I cannot see any reason why people would buy a dumbbell set now that interchangeable dumbbells are not only durable, but an go up as high in weight as you want to go. If you’re doing a lot of dumbbell snatches and love to throw your dumbbells down, buy just a few fixed handled dumbbells in the weights you see in competitions and use those for snatches and the Powerblock’s for other things. Also, if you’re a CrossFitter and don’t feel like dumbbells are useful then I feel sorry for you.

Where to Purchase:

Powerblock.com

Amazon

Train On,

566048497324214061114

Cyclone Speed Rope Review

Cyclone Speed Rope Packaging

The Jump Rope. The piece of equipment most CrossFitters have too many of, yet use so little. So far I’ve reviewed the RPM Fitness Speed Rope 2.0 and have many other ropes I’ll be reviewing in the future. Today though, the focus is on the Cyclone Speed Rope.

Price:

$42.95

Packaging

I don’t usually mention the packaging on products because most are uninteresting and bland. However, the packaging of the Cyclone Speed Rope must be mentioned. It is the best packaging I’ve seen to date on a fitness related product, and although it doesn’t add much to the rope itself, it’s a nice gesture and shoes Cyclone has put in a lot of effort in creating a premier product.

Custom Name Plate Rope.jpeg

Looks:

The Cyclone Speed Rope is dashing. The only rope I like the look of more is the RPM Fitness Speed Rope 2.0. The Cyclone Speed Rope combines a twisted grip that reminds me of hockey stick knobs, metal hardware and a rubber coated steel cable. The Cyclone Rope even includes a metal stamped name plate that gives it a really personal look and feel. I could see the stamping to be great in a few situations, first, for gym owners who have a bunch of different ropes with different heights, the stamp could be used as a label for length. The stamp could also be useful if you go to a gym and are afraid somebody might try to run off with your rope.

Function:

The real meat and potatoes of a product. Sure it can look pretty, and have great presentation in the packaging, but how does it perform. Well, this is a bold statement, but the Cyclone Speed Rope has my title as the Best Jump Rope for CrossFit and the Best Jump Rope for Double Unders. In fact, their slogan is “The Best Jump Rope for Double Unders” and for good reason. This bad boy is smooth, has heavy, yet light enough handles for you to feel where the rotation of the rope is, and the thickness of the rope is perfect in my opinion. Not so light that you can’t feel it, but just heavy enough where it doesn’t cause a burden on your forearms.

Cyclone Speed Rope Parts.jpeg

Durability:

I’ve had this rope for about three months now and I do quite a bit of jump roping. I use it for every warm up and often use it for workouts. I’ve used the rope on rubber gym mats, wood plywood, concrete, and even once on grass. The rope has shown hardly any wear and that’s saying quite a bit. Granted it’s not made to be used on surfaces other than gym flooring, but I’m not the typical consumer and as a garage gym owner, you shouldn’t be either.

 

Final Thoughts:

There are a lot of options for you when it comes to buying a rope. There’s also new companies popping up every year who claims they’ve made a better rope. In reality, will purchasing a $50 jump rope make you any better than a $10 jump rope? I’d argue most likely not, but it’s nice to have the best and know that your equipment is not the cause for your failure.

Where to Buy:

Cyclone Speed Rope

Train On,

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KnotOut Mobility Roller Review

KnotOut Roller Crossfit Foam Roller

Ever since CrossFit began and Kelly Starrett took over with his MobilityWod blog there has been an influx of mobility tools flooding the market. One of the product categories that has expanded quickly is the Self Myofascial release tools and especially rollers. Because there’s so many different types of rollers it has become increasingly more difficult to decide which one(s) to purchase. Although the KnotOut roller is not a foam roller in the traditional sense, it can certainly take the place of one and could be a great addition to your mobility toolbox.

Which Models Am I Reviewing?

There are a lot of different options provided by KnotOut for rollers. The two I’m reviewing are the Large KnotOut Firm and the Medium KnotOut Firm. I chose the firm because I’ve always found that personally, anything soft doesn’t do much for me in the area of myofascial release.

KnotOut Roller Large FirmThe Large KnotOut Roller is the size of a softball

Construction:

The size of the large can be compared to a Softball, while the Medium is the size of a lacrosse Ball. The balls are put together and then wrapped in a large, hard rubber band. When I was researching them I just figured the medium would be two lacrosse balls wrapped in a rubber band, but the balls are slightly softer than lacrosse balls, and the band is hard, not allowing for any movement of the balls within the band. The rollers are made to last and are constructed of materials that can’t be found just anywhere.

KnotOut Small Lacrosse Ball

What I originally used vs. the Medium KnotOut Roller

Do they Work?!?!

I have many rollers and have used many more. Usually foam rollers are either too soft to even feel, or too hard that I feel like a masochist. The KnotOut Firm is in between the two, and in my opinion is the perfect blend. I now find myself replacing my Trigger Point Grid Roller with the KnotOut rollers because they dig so much deeper. The different sizes are great as well because they can be used interchangeably depending on what body part you’re trying to mash into oblivion.

Rolling Examples:

KnotOut Calf Roller

Calf Rollout

Scott Panchik KnotOut Roller

Glute Rollout

Knot Out Lat

Lat Rollout

Final Thoughts:

There’s a lot of options when it comes to rolling around on cylinder shaped objects. This one happens to take the typical cylindrical shape and makes it wavy with the addition of balls. It works really well and just like most mobility tools it really comes down to implementation. If you want something to work, you need to continuously put effort into it. This roller will stretch your fascia and break up adhesion’s, but in the long run it comes down to the effort you put in to see the results you want.

Where to Purchase:

The KnotOut Shop

Train On,

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Proper Hanging of the American Flag in A Gym

A reader of Garage Gym Reviews recently commented on an Instagram photo that he was glad to see I hung the American Flag properly. This is something I haven’t thought much about simply because I’ve always known the flag must be handled and hung in a respectful manner. Well, after examining garage gym photos on Instagram, I now see how few other people are aware of the proper way to hang a flag. But no fear, Garage Gym Reviews is here!flag field

If only my garage was large enough for this flag to fit.

Why is it Important to Hang the Flag Properly?

First let’s talk about why it’s important to hang the American Flag properly. The American Flag may appear to be a simple piece of cloth with a design often worn by frat boys on the Fourth of July or seen on flag poles outside of your local courthouse, but it has more meaning than it’s stars and bars design. The American Flag is a symbol of freedom to the rest of the world, it’s a signifier of all of the blood that was shed by men and women to uphold freedom, and it is a display of what the United States of America is. The 50 stars on the flag represent the 50 states of America, and the 13 stripes represent the thirteen original colonies that ultimately became the first states in the Union. When there is meaning behind something it’s guidelines are more likely to be followed, which is why you should know the meaning behind the flag.

Finally, this is something that was recently pointed out to me that I was unaware of:

“The ONLY time that the flag is ever displayed in this manner (the union in the upper right) is when draped over the casket of a fallen service member. When draped over the casket with the union to the right, the union falls over the service members heart.”

I was completely unaware of this, and it makes even more sense why you should properly hang your flag.

How to Properly Hang the U.S. Flag

Proper hanging of the American Flag is really quite simple. I’ll let UsHistory.org do the explaining:

When the flag is displayed in a manner other than by being flown from a staff, it should be displayed flat, whether indoors or out. When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag’s own right, that is, to the observer’s left. When displayed in a window it should be displayed in the same way, that is with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street.”

That’s about it. There’s no reason to over complicate a simple manner of hanging the flag properly to show respect for those who fought so you can hang your flag freely.

Improper Examples:

These are examples of gyms who have hung the flag improperly:

Gym 2

gym 1


Properly Hung Examples:


Old garage gym

Flag gym

CrossFit Games Athlete Josh Bridges Agrees:

Final Thoughts:

An American Flag is an awesome addition to any gym. It shows your patriotism and is also just a cool thing to have on your wall while you squat with 500 lbs on your back, or do Naked Fran, because you know, its your garage. Hang the flag properly, and lift heavy weight.

Train on,

566048497324214061114

Coop