When it comes to staying in shape, diet and exercise are the key factors you should be paying attention to. However, going to the gym every day, without looking like you’ve just rolled out of your bed, can be a bit tricky.
Even though you know you have to go because you paid for the membership, wouldn’t it be great if you could just stay home and workout the way you want to? Well, now you can. You can achieve this sort of “exercise bliss” by purchasing a high-quality power rack.
But, there are many options currently on the market, and it is difficult to determine which power rack is the best one for you. Therefore, we are here to help you reach the right decision.
Some of these suggestions are user-friendly power racks that you can place almost anywhere in your home. However, a few of our top-rated squat cages are going to make your home gym dreams come true if you are already serious about weightlifting.
Here are our top picks for the Best Power Racks of 2018 list.
|Model Name||Weight Capacity|
|Fitness Reality 810XLT Power Cage||800 lbs.|
|Marcy Platinum Multi-Functional Power Rack||600 lbs.|
|Merax Athletics Fitness Power Rack||800 lbs.|
|Valor Fitness BD-7 Power Rack||800 lbs.|
|Fitness Reality X-Class Light Commercial High Capacity Olympic Power Cage||1500 lbs.|
|Body Power Deluxe Rack Cage||500 lbs.|
|Titan T-2 Series Short Power Rack||700 lbs.|
|Body Champ PBC530 Power Rack||300 lbs.|
When it comes to the best value for money ratio, it is quite tricky to beat the Fitness Reality 810XLT power cage.
You can buy it with or without the bench, but we do recommend getting the kit. You will save some money, and these two products go perfectly together.
When adding a power cage to your home gym, it’s vital to check the width and the height. So, bear in mind that this rack is about 84 inches tall. You will also need about 60 inches of floor space, and about 50 inches in depth.
This Fitness Reality power cage is no laughing matter – this rack can support up to 800 pounds. So, even if you are just getting into fitness and exercise, you don’t have to worry about it not being strong enough. Unless you’re an elite powerlifter at the highest level, then this rack should suffice and will be able to accommodate your workouts nicely.
The rack has two exceptionally sturdy chrome safety bars, which are as durable as they sound. You can adjust the bars however you want – the height adjustment has 19 options.
If you get the bench as well, then you should know that you can adjust it to fit your back. Also, if you want to store it away when you are not using it, you can fold it and place it in a closet or under the bed.
Lastly, we have to mention the chin-up bars. You can adjust them however you prefer and arrange them in a variety of positions. And, don’t forget – you can also use these bars for pull-ups as well.
The design of this model is as innovative as it can get. The 12-gauge steel frame is thick enough to support even the most vigorous weightlifting. Furthermore, the rack itself comes with a fantastic quad-linkage system. That will allow you to position the seat however you like.
You can use this rack for almost all types of strength training exercises. There are dip bars for arm toning, and you can also do anything from squats to military presses as well. The manufacturer even states that the top bar is more useful than it seems – there are 30 exercise variations you can use it for.
The design of this power rack is aesthetically-pleasing – if that’s something that matters to you. It has chrome-plated accents on the handles, the catches and other parts of the rack. However, these accents are not just there to be pretty – they are providing durability as well as dust and rust protection.
Unlike some more expensive power racks, this one comes in a set that includes a workout bench as well. The bench is standard, but it’s high-quality and durable. The padding is thick and contoured, so you can bet it will be comfortable during the workout. Also, it’s resilient, and it won’t wear out too fast.
The back of the bench and the seat pads are adjustable, and you can always adapt the position to your current exercise routine.
This squat cage is made of steel, which means that it will support a ton of weight without too much trouble. In addition, the weight bar supports are high-quality and adjustable. The frame itself is made of 2” x 2” bars.
When it comes to different positions, you can adjust the bar supports to fit all your needs. There are 17 positions in total, and they can cater to all types of fitness enthusiasts – no matter the experience they have.
This power rack also has an extensive walk-in space, perfect for side-to-side movement. And, to make it all even better, the set also comes with safety pegs, and the utility bar is covered with foam. There’s also a fantastic bonus – the rack comes with a lat pull and a low row attachment as well.
You can use this rack to train your whole body in the comfort of your own home – and the price is reasonable too.
However, there’s one thing you should be aware of. The weight capacity will depend on what you’re using. So, if you are, for example, using the safety bars, the rack will support up to 800 lbs.
But, the inside and the outside bar catchers can support 650 and 500 lbs respectively.
This classic power rack is easy to assemble, given the fact that the manufacturer sends you a detailed manual with it. Therefore, once you set it up, you can immediately start working out and building those muscles away from the gym. You will need about an hour to assemble it.
The frame bars are 2″ x 2 ” thick, which is a standard when it comes to power racks.
When looking over its features, we came to a conclusion that this rack is packed with add-ons. If you buy it, you will get some rather useful workout stations.
So, if you want to tone your back and build shoulder and arm muscles, you can use the lat pulldown station that comes with a plate loading carriage.
However, if you are more interested in pull-ups, you will love the bar it comes with. It’s of superior quality and quite sturdy at the same time. Furthermore, it has knurled grips, so there is little chance your hands will slip away. There’s also a low pulley station if upright and seated rows are your thing.
The weight storage pegs are also a fantastic feature, and they come with the rack. There’s four of them, and they are 8” long.
When buying a power rack, most users are worried about the shakiness. Nobody wants to end up on the floor, so the power rack has to be heavy enough to support you without adding weights to it.
Luckily, you will not encounter those issues while using this power rack. You don’t even have to bolt it to the floor (although that’s always a good idea). However, if you go over the weight limit, then the stand can start shaking.
The weight capacity is exceptionally high – the rack can support up to 1500 lbs. And, if you are wondering if the construction can actually handle that without shaking – the answer is “Yes.”
The 2″ x 3″ tubular steel frame is perfect for high-impact exercises. In addition, the rack also comes with two adjustable dip handles (2″ x 20″). They have rubber grips, and they can also handle quite a lot of weight – up to 600 lbs.
The Fitness Reality X-Class power rack comes with four safety bars. One pair is 11.5″, while the other one is 35.5″. The second pair of safety bars is dual mounted, and if you have some 7′ Olympic weight sets lying around, you can use them with this rack without any difficulty at all.
The pull-up bars are high-quality, and they have multi-grip areas. You can also adjust them to maximize the space and build muscles efficiently. The rack also has a 44″ lat bar, as well as a 20″ low row bar.
This power rack is one of the most popular ones on the market, and we can see why. If you buy the whole kit, you will get the cable attachment as well as some J-Hooks.
The Fitness Reality bench is optional, and if you already have a bench at home, you don’t have to get it. However, it goes well with this rack, and you can adjust it into various positions.
When using a rack for high-impact workouts, it’s vital to have enough space for lateral movements. Luckily, this power rack has a wide walk-in area, and the design itself allows you to move freely inside of the cage.
You can use the Body Power Deluxe power rack for just about any exercise routine you have in mind. Squats will be a breeze, and doing pull-ups on it will feel like you are in a gym. That’s how much quality this rack brings.
The height level has 15 positions, so you can adjust it to fit anyone. In addition, you also get two dip bars when you buy this rack, and the manufacturer throws in a couple of pull-up bars as well.
The thing that makes the Body Power Deluxe rack stand out is the safety you get when you’re using it. The safety features are abundant, and they include J-hooks, full-length safety rods, and safety catches you can quickly adjust. Moreover, if you want to secure the cage to the floor, there are four floor anchors in the package as well.
However, the weight capacity of this model is a bit low when compared to other power racks we have already mentioned. It can support up to 800 pounds.
Finally, there are also weight storage posts – six of them, to be exact. So, if you need storage space, or you want to make the rack more stable, you can place the weights on the posts.
You can use this rack for just about any workout you feel like doing – bench and military presses, curls, squats, and dips. The cage itself can support a ton of weight because the tubes are made of steel. In addition, they are also thick enough to endure hours of workouts – their precise dimensions are 2″ x 2″.
What’s great about this specific rack is the fact that you can place it in a room with a low ceiling. Most squat cages we’ve already reviewed are tall, so you would have to think thoroughly about the perfect spot for them. However, if you get the Titan T-2 Series rack, you will avoid a potential headache. It’s specifically designed for users who don’t have a high ceiling in their home.
Nevertheless, what it lacks in height, this rack makes up for in width. The walk-in design is spacious enough to let you exercise freely without worrying whether you’re going to hit something. In addition, the width is also perfect for total body exercises, which you cannot do inside the cage if it’s too narrow.
When it comes to positions, we have some great news. You can adjust this rack into 21 positions, which is more than fair when compared to other, subpar squat cages on the market. It’s also vital to mention that this rack won’t cost you an arm and a leg, so the price-quality ratio is brilliant.
The official weight capacity for this model is 700 pounds, but the rack itself is not too heavy – it weighs only 132 pounds. And, the official height is about 71.5 inches.
Lastly, even though this rack doesn’t come with a ton of add-ons, you do get a pair of round Titan J-Hooks and a chin-up bar.
In order to install it in your home (or garage), you will need a bit more floor space. You have to consider the height and the width as well, so remember to check if you can accommodate it before you buy it.
The maximum weight capacity is 300 lbs, which is not much when compared to other power racks on this list. However, for a beginner, that’s enough to get you started, though you have to weigh less than 300 pounds so that you can use the upper workout bar.
What’s great about this squat cage is that you can use it with the bigger weight set bars (6’ and 7’ fit great in it). But, you will have to see for yourself if you can combine it with other accessories.
Most power racks have about 20 possible position adjustments. However, this rack has only 12, which might put off some potential buyers. Nevertheless, it’s enough for a beginner who hasn’t yet reached the required fitness level for more advanced power racks.
When it comes to add-ons, there’s not much to talk about. The Body Champ power rack comes with standard pieces, like the peg-hook catches and the built-in weight holders. In addition to that, it also has two anti-slip pegs and four rubberized feet.
The rubberized feet will keep it in place, but if you go over the weight limit, you are risking too much. Therefore, it might be a good idea to secure it to the floor so that it doesn’t wobble.
It is a lightweight power rack, and you cannot expect it to be as stable as the heavier ones. But, when compared to other subpar alternatives, this rack is the perfect addition to your new home gym.
Weight lifting and high-impact workout routines are not for the faint-hearted. You need to have the stamina and enough discipline to make it through those first painful stages.
But, all that is much easier if you use proper equipment. Yes, power racks are bulky, and most of us don’t have enough space in our homes for them. However, once you buy a power rack, a whole new world of possibilities opens its gates to you.
Most of these racks are great for everyday use, and even those with a basic design can come in handy if you just want to de-stress a bit.
If you are already an expert when it comes to weightlifting and similar exercises, those simple exercise stands will not do. You will have to make an investment and purchase a heavy-duty power rack, like the Fitness Reality X-Class or Merax Athletics Fitness Power Rack.
Nevertheless, if you are just a beginner and you are still trying to figure out whether weightlifting is for you, a cheaper alternative will do just fine.
Finally, we should mention a thing or two about safety. No matter which power rack you pick, it’s vital to make sure it’s stable enough. If you feel that your preferred rack is a bit wobbly, mounting it to the floor will solve all your problems.
We hope these reviews have helped you find out a thing or two about the best power racks currently on the market. With this article as a reference, you too can now find the perfect power rack for your home gym, happy lifting!
Want to get some help with your core lifts? Check out this article to equip you with the knowledge you need to put your power rack (and your body) to good use!
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We tend to speak about ab exercises from a strictly aesthetic point of view. Sure, who wouldn’t prefer having a shredded six-pack? But there is more to it than that. Strengthening your core, which includes the abdominal muscles, is one of the first steps you can take towards a healthier physique. A six-pack only comes as a nice cherry on top.
What are the best ways for you to improve your core strength and tone those abdominal muscles? There’s no simple answer to it. Your physical condition, as you know, depends on many factors. Diet, exercise, genetic preconditions – these are just some of them. So, in our pursuit of fitness and core strength, which also implies stronger and toned abs, there is certainly more than one way to achieve the goal.
And, sure, you could also work on your abs with regular exercises: roll-ups, planks, crunches and the likes. Doing so, you could accomplish considerable results. But, if you use devices that will help you focus on a specific muscle group, you are far more likely to be successful.
That is where our list comes in. Namely, we have come to the conclusion that today’s market is oversaturated with various workout units. That means that, unfortunately, with every good piece of equipment comes at least a few that are just there to grab a quick buck by companies that could care less about the consumer’s results. That is why we have gone through the whole bunch and made our selection of the best ab machines for 2018. As you will see, we have included items from very different categories. Benches, chairs, wheels – you name it. The main criteria we used were their quality and effectiveness.
|XMark Adjustable Ab Bench|
|Ab Coaster Max|
|Perfect Fitness Ab Carver Pro|
|Cap Barbell Ab Trainer|
|Powerline Roman Chair and Back Hyperextension|
|Body Champ Multi Function Power Tower|
|GoPlus Ab Power Abdominal Trainer|
|Rodeo Core Fitness Trainer|
|Ab Circle Pro Home Fitness Machine|
|Stamina Pro Ab and Hyperextension Bench|
We’ll start simple – sort of. In terms of home exercise equipment, a bench is usually where you should start – especially if you are a beginner. However, as any professional will tell you, the results you can squeeze out of a “simple” bench are practically limitless.
We’ve tried out more than a few models before opting for this one for various reasons.
Its structural characteristics were among the most important. Namely, when shopping for a bench, one of the key features that you should look for is stability. This model weighs 40 lbs, with dimensions of 61″ (L) x 20″ (W) x 47″ (H). Impressively, its weight capacity is up to 400 lbs. That comes courtesy of its sturdy, 14-gauge, 2 x 3″ steel construction, with the scratch-resistant powder coat finish. We cannot overstress the clever, ergonomic and comfortable design of this unit. For a device as simple as this, it provides great versatility and results.
Since our main target is the transformation of abdominal muscles, we’ve selected a decline ab bench. As its name suggests, it offers 12 vertical height adjustments. You can change these easily, with a simple pop pin locking system. Such a design makes it the perfect tool for a variety of exercises. All types of sit-ups, crunches, leg raises, oblique twists, decline presses – and more. The 12 positions enable you to focus on your abdominal area from numerous angles and truly attack the task at hand.
In terms of everyday use, even if you’re a novice in this area, you surely know the importance of comfort and ergonomic design. The last thing you would want is to hurt your back while working on your abs. That is why we have carefully considered the comfort/support aspect.
The back pad is 2.5″ thick, high-density and double stitched vinyl. We have found it to be just the right thickness for an ab bench. The four leg rollers are well-positioned to reduce any unwanted stress to your back region. In addition, this unit comes with a support handle which will make it easier to mount even when using the steepest of angles in your workout routine.
Last but not least, judging by our experience, you will have no problem whatsoever in assembling this bench.
Key Points at a Glance:
After breaking the ice with some old-school equipment, let’s move on to some exciting new developments in the fitness world. The concept behind this unit is somewhat of a reversal of what we’ve come to expect. Still, it delivers the results to back it.
Namely, this machine introduces the so-called bottom-up motion. When you kneel on it, you pull the weight of your body upward by means of the grips and your abdominal muscles. Sounds easy, right? Well, it is. But trust us, after a few minutes on the machine, your abs will be on fire, in a good way. Naturally, due to this motion of your body, your shoulders and arms will carry a part of the load and thus gain strength and mass. But at the same time, it will go easy on your back – the rest of your body will not have to suffer for getting stronger abs.
By targeting your muscles this way, you will be able to activate all desired muscle groups – upper, middle and lower abs as well as obliques.
The machine features a robust steel frame which supports up to 300 lbs. It has the so-called “free-style seat.” It means that its shape allows you to easily switch positions and twist both your body as well as the seat itself. That way, you focus on a different muscle group. For example, if you kneel in a way that your backside is all the way down, you will target your upper abs.
An additional cool feature is the fact that you can load weights on this unit. Namely, underneath the seat, you’ll find weight plate posts which can carry up to 20 lbs. These will surely come in handy once you move on to advanced exercise levels.
As for the ease of use, the grip handles are comfortable and suitable for long workout sessions and repetitions. Speaking of those, this unit comes with a digital workout counter. It’s a neat feature that you can use to set your daily repetition goals.
Extra features come in the shape of a DVD with workout routines for this unit as well as a fast track meal plan by the manufacturer.
Key Points at a Glance:
Ab roller wheels have been increasingly popular in the sporting equipment market for some time now, and deservedly so. However, there sure seems to be plenty of different models out there. So much so that it is hard to distinguish between them.
We have selected this model for several reasons – its design, weight capacity (300 lbs), structural properties and, primarily, the punishing workout it provides for the core muscles. With that in mind, let us underline this right away: this is probably not a good choice for beginners. However, once you get to a more advanced fitness level, this machine will propel your core strength and your abs in particular.
So, what exactly distinguishes this model from other ab wheels? Mainly, its ultra-wide roller which gives you more stability. You can carve in all directions, thus covering all abdominal muscle groups, with much more balance.
Secondly, the kinetic engine in this unit, with its carbon steel spring, generates more resistance than the other models. That way, you get a more comprehensive workout for your abs and arms as well as your chest. The rubber hand grips are ergonomic and provide sufficient comfort. At the same time, they are angled in a way to keep your body in a position that will focus on your abs. You can also remove the handles when transporting the unit.
This roller comes with a foam knee pad which will provide additional comfort, especially for the users with fragile knees.
Finally, a purchase of this machine comes with a free 21-day workout plan.
Key Points at a Glance:
In comparison with some of the other machines on our list, this is a rather straightforward unit. We do aim to present you with a number of options, and perhaps simplicity is the right path for you.
This trainer features a compact design. It weighs around 6.5 lbs, and its dimensions are 25″ (W) x 28.5″ (H) x 27″ (D). The steel construction is durable and reliable, yet with an ergonomic feel so important for a daily exercise routine. As we’ve all experienced at some point, crunches sometimes come with annoying neck and back strains. The comfortable headrest on this model provides the very support that prevents such problems. That way, you can focus your energy on strengthening your abdominal muscles.
In conclusion, if a simple design is what you’re after at this point, and crunches are the main exercise you wish to pursue, we suggest you give this model a try.
Key Points at a Glance:
With regards to building a strong core, a roman chair has long been a standard in the fitness world. In terms of versatility, we would be hard-pressed to name another tool that can help you focus on so many different muscle groups.
There are experts who don’t believe the roman chair to be a good solution for the ab workout. They claim that the machine, by design, does not allow you to concentrate on abs as much as you would like to. That may be true to a certain extent. However, as our list is all about versatility and different options, we decided to include our pick of a quality roman chair as well.
Who is the main target group we have in mind for this product? The answer is simple: fitness enthusiasts who seek to work their abs as part of an overall regimen to increase core strength. That way, and with the other options it offers in terms of back, chest, arms and glutes training, the roman chair can be an excellent overall solution. You could even combine it with some of the other tools that center on abs alone for more comprehensive core results.
So, why did we select this model out of the bunch? The thing is, a good roman chair relies on its stability. If there’s even the slightest wobbling, you can forget about it fulfilling its purpose. This model weighs 42 lbs and has a 250 lbs weight capacity. Its dimensions: 36″ (H) x 46″ (L) x 25″ (W). Also, it rests upon a stable 2″ x 3″ heavy-gauge steel construction with a powder coat finish for extra durability. The wide base further prevents any instability whatsoever.
These are indeed the features you look for in this type of product. After all, the steel frame comes with a 10-year warranty.
At the same time, it is very easy to assemble, and also very mobile and compact in comparison with other models.
You can perform various types of exercises, confident that the chair will support and carry your body weight without problems: ab crunches, side crunches, hanging crunches, back extensions, etc.
Key Points at a Glance:
This is another machine that does much more than just help build abdominal muscles. Having said that, it does a truly great job in the ab department. But if it’s multi-functionality you are looking for, be sure to give it a try.
Generally speaking, a power tower is a machine for exercises that use your body weight. In a lot of ways, it means going back to basics. This particular model is also known as a four-station fitness tool. What do the four stations entail? Specific features of the machine allow you to use them in order to focus on a specific muscle group. For instance, the vertical leg and knee raise station serves the purpose of working your obliques and abs.
Other stations are no less effective, and together they create an all-around machine that’s effective for dips, chin-ups, pull-ups, and push-ups – basically any type of exercise in which you carry your own body weight.
Apart from the knee raise, the design features that achieve such versatility include push-up bars for arms and chest, dip station for general upper body workout and a pull-up bar for back, arms and shoulders.
For a machine like this, the key feature to look for is stability. It weighs 88 lbs. Its dimensions are 58.5″ (L) x 46.5″ (W) x 83″ (H) and it features a high-quality, reliable steel frame. In addition, a D-frame base and two stability bars further support its construction.
Furthermore, with the thick and durable seam-stitched cushioning, you will be getting an overall quality product built to last.
Finally, the bottom of the construction has protective features that will make sure your home’s floors remain intact despite having a gym-style piece of hardware around.
Key Points at a Glance:
Our previous item was ‘old-school,’ in terms of the exercises it supports and the general setup. Keeping things fresh, we will follow that with another modern machine. This one will specifically deal with your abs, as its name shows, too.
We’ll start off with the technical aspects and the general quality of structure since we were quite impressed with both. The machine has a rugged steel frame, with dimensions of 51″ x 21″ x 26″. The maximum weight capacity is 250 lbs.
The typical abdominal workout that this model enables begins with placing your knees between the knee rollers. Then, by using the handles, you pull your body weight up and down along the machine. This motion will especially engage your lower abs, which is something that does not always happen with regular crunches. When exercising, you can choose one of the four resistance levels, and in time progress towards the more difficult ones. Apart from working your abs, this type of exercise will also engage your glutes, arms, and chest.
The modern concept behind this machine is best illustrated by the addition of an LCD, a training computer of sorts. It serves to deliver you necessary information during your workout. The time you spend on the machine, calories you burn and repetitions per minute – all clearly visible at any time.
In addition, we have found this unit to be very user-friendly with regard to the initial setup. The instructions were clear and precise, and it took us just a few minutes to assemble it. Also, when you are not using it, you can easily fold the machine so that it doesn’t take up much space.
The manufacturer claims that all you need to do is spend 5 minutes a day with this machine. In our experience, that might be a bit too optimistic. However, marketing claims aside, we found this to be a product definitely worthy of your time and attention.
Key Points at a Glance:
This is another interesting machine from a manufacturer trying to shake things up a little bit. Essentially, it is a trainer that helps you strengthen and tone your core muscles, by simulating the motion of horseback riding.
The unit itself is rather lightweight – 32 lbs, and it can support up to 250 lbs. It works off of your own power – no batteries are necessary. The exercise motion works in a rather straightforward way. You sit on the saddle and put your feet on the machine’s pedal. As you lean and place your body weight back and forth, the motion helps activate your abs, glutes, back and thigh muscles. In the process, you will also be getting quite the cardio workout which is a welcome bonus on top of your core exercises.
As for comfort and ease of use, the trainer enables three height adjustments for different body sizes and types. Also, it includes a cushioned seat as well as an ergonomic handle.
As with other products using new approaches, this trainer’s manufacturer also claims that 5-10 minutes per day with this product will make all the difference. While we take this with a grain of salt, we do acknowledge the product’s interesting new concept and advise you to check it out.
Key Points at a Glance:
Some people see this machine as an attempt to get strong abs without the necessary work invested. However, you can look at it differently. Namely, there are many people who have trouble doing many crunches, sit-ups or similar types of exercises. That is mainly due to back or knee issues or other injuries or conditions. In those cases, using this unit might be a good solution to avoid the strain.
The circular, 360-degree approach helps you focus on your lower, middle and upper abdominal muscles as well as your obliques. During the workout, you can select one of three resistance levels on the machine, depending on your fitness level.
The machine itself features quality steel construction, weighing around 31 lbs, with a 275 lbs capacity. The dimensions are 28.2″ x 8″ x 26.5″. You can also fold it which is highly convenient for storage and transportation.
Lastly, if you decide that this is the right piece of equipment for you, there are free perks that accompany the purchase. Along with the machine, you’ll get a 10-day nutrition guide as well as a workout DVD.
Key Points at a Glance:
This is another machine mainly dedicated to helping you transform your abs. Concretely, it targets your lower, middle and upper abs as well as your core and obliques. It is designed in the form of a padded chair, with a very light, 12 lbs construction. The unit offers three resistance levels, and you use it by moving your body or twisting and turning while in the seat. During the exercises, your head and neck receive ample support from the padded seat. As with the previous model, concerns were voiced with regard to the effectiveness of this machine. However, we decided to add them to our list as another option for fitness enthusiasts with limited possibilities when it comes to straining their neck, shoulder or head.
Nearing the end of our list, we decided to include another bench for your consideration. Since this is a basic piece of equipment, one that belongs in every home gym, it is only right to present you with at least two options.
This model will assist you in a wide range of exercise routines. Both your abdominal muscle workout as well as your core strength and back will benefit. Split squats, bent-over rows, dips, sit-ups, and pushups – these are just some of the routines that you can do with it. As for specific abdominal exercises, this bench offers four positions for crunches, which range from a flat position to a 30-degree decline.
You can adjust and switch between different angles easily, with a quick pull of the pin.
The unit comes with a high-quality 2-inch steel frame, which is a type of construction perfectly adequate to support this type of workout. It weighs around 42 lbs and the dimensions are 36″ x 17″ x 7″.
The design of the bench highlights several features that are very user-friendly. Most importantly, it has excellent padding in the form of stitched vinyl. That way, it provides comfort and durability. The thigh support will suit users of different heights and sizes as it also features durable vinyl. Hand grips are extended and provide just the right support. Also, the bench features the customary foam rollers that will keep your legs and feet firmly in place during various routines. Finally, neat touches such as the non-slip footrests and the non-slip rubber caps further underline a detail-oriented product.
Last but not least, you can fold this bench in no time. That way, it uses up very little space as you can store it underneath a bed or behind a closet whenever you’re not using it.
We have come to the end of our list of best ab machines for 2018. As you have seen, they come in various shapes and sizes. These include ab wheels, benches, roman chairs, and products that focus on very specific routines and muscle groups. With some of them, you can work primarily on your abs, but also engage other muscle groups such as your arms, chest or back.
There is also a distinction with regard to one’s level of fitness. Some machines are just as adequate for a beginner and a seasoned pro, while others are not. Apart from quality and effectiveness, our main two measuring sticks, we have taken other criteria into account, too. Thinking from the consumer’s point of view, we considered the machines’ size, transportability, durability and basically any factor we thought might play a role in your selection.
As for the prices, we’ve tried to keep things on the affordable side. But we encourage you to double-check with your local reseller and find the best deal available.
Also, bear in mind that we decided to stick with ab machines. For that reason, we have omitted products such as exercise balls, for example. Mind you, these have also proven to be an effective core training tool – very useful for ab crunches. Still, they can hardly qualify as machines, and thus we didn’t consider them.
Finally, whatever your ultimate choice may be, make no mistake – these are machines, but they will not work instead of you. But, if you’re willing to put in some time, effort and sweat, they will help you get to a body type you aim for.
We hope that our list has provided you with a good starting point for choosing the right ab machine for you.
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Following the rapid expansion of the fitness industry, it has become easier and cheaper than ever for people to undergo serious and convenient workouts right in the comfort of their own home. To that end, many different home exercise machines have sprung up, ranging from the ridiculous to the ingenious. One can scarcely turn on the TV without encountering a telemarketing campaign designed to sell some sort of device billed as life changing and revolutionary.
With that in mind, it is important to be able to distinguish between the machines which have a legitimate claim to help their users get fit and lose weight, and those that are just a gimmick endorsed by paid actors. The best way to make this distinction is to take a look at what the machine actually does, and how many different muscle groups it can exercise at once (as that gives you the most bang for your buck).
Considering all this, it is obvious that the best investment for someone with limited space in their home would be a machine with a proven track record of great results, and one that can offer a comprehensive and convenient workout which encapsulates the greatest number of muscle groups possible.
That is where vertical climbers come in, and these machines will be the focus of this guide. We will be taking a look at what vertical climbers are, how they work, which muscle groups they target, in addition to providing some advice on structuring your workout routine. We will also go over and review some of the most popular models of vertical climbers, providing a list of benefits and drawbacks for each. With that in mind, let us take a look at what exactly vertical climbers are first.
Vertical climbers are home exercise machines that were designed to mimic the process and physical experience of climbing a mountain. This was considered a great fit for the home exercise market due to the fact that mountain climbing is a really demanding sport, one which engages pretty much all of the muscle groups in the human body at once.
The main selling point used by most of the companies which produce this sort of exercise machine is that by using vertical climbers, people can burn twice the number of calories per hour of exercise as compared to running on a treadmill. This is backed up by certain scientific studies, and it is generally not called into question.
There are now several companies that produce these machines, but the first vertical climber was invented and put on the market by Innovations International LLC, but it wasn’t long before competitors turned up.
The most popular of these machines is the Maxi Climber, which has almost become a synonym for vertical climbers in general, but there are other vertical climbers out there as well, such as the VersaClimber and the Sunny Folding Climber Stepper. We will be going over all of these in a bit more detail later.
Though various models of vertical climbers produced by various companies all work in slightly different ways, the basic mechanism is always the same. Let us briefly go over the exact way these workout machines are constructed, so that we can have a better understanding of the effect they have on our body going forward.
Vertical Climbers fall under the category of workout machines which rely on your own body weight to give you a hard time when exercising, as opposed to using weights. That is exactly what makes these climbers convenient for home use.
When you see a vertical climber for the first time, you may be under the impression that it is just a strange looking bicycle. That is because it has two pedals at the bottom, as well as two handles on the top. However, the mechanism is vastly different, and so is the set of motions used to operate it.
Basically, a vertical climber consists of two poles, one for each of your legs, which are supposed to be moved up and down alternately. In order to start exercising on your vertical climber, there are several steps you have to take (see what we did there?).
Firstly, before you even try to get on it, make sure that one pedal is raised up while the other is at the bottom, near the floor. Put your foot on the lower pedal, and your hands on the handles above. The handles are there to make sure you can keep your balance while exercising, as well as to take some of the load while you are just mounting the machine.
While holding the handles firmly, and with your leg firmly on the lower pedal, mount the upper pedal as well, and push yourself up using the handles. Once you are in an upright position on the machine, you can actually start exercising. This is done by pushing the upper pedal down, while the mechanism automatically pushes the lower pedal up, so that the process can be repeated.
It is very important to point out that the majority of first time users get the motions they are supposed to be making with their vertical climber completely wrong. People tend to make short and rapid movements up and down, as though they were riding a bicycle, or walking on one of those stepping machines.
In fact, the machine is designed to facilitate precisely the opposite movement. You should make big steps, as far up and as far down as you can go. That way, you are working all of your muscles more intensely, and in a more beneficial way. Slow but challenging movements are better for muscle health overall than short and rapid movements, especially with large muscles such as the quads.
Getting off these machines has been known to cause headaches for some users, as the machine is designed to keep running continuously, and it takes a bit of practice to make it stop on command. However, once you have stopped the machine, make sure to keep your balance while dismounting, and this is done by keeping your hands on the handles as you remove one foot at a time from the pedals below.
Though we have tried to provide the clearest possible description of how working out on a vertical climber looks, perhaps it would be beneficial to take a look at a video of a vertical climber in operation online, in order to get a better picture. In essence, a vertical climber is like a mountaineering treadmill, wherein you practice all of the motions of climbing, without actually going anywhere!
Naturally enough, if you are considering buying a product, you want to know how you stand to benefit from owning it. In this section we will be taking a look at some of the most important benefits of owning a vertical climber machine, ranging from the health benefits, to the more material benefits of a vertical climber as opposed to some of the other home exercise machines that are available on the market nowadays.
Let us take a look at some of the health benefits offered by vertical climbers first, as that is arguably the most important aspect of the entire machine.
As previously mentioned, vertical climbers are particularly useful because they can exercise your whole body at once. By pushing the pedals up, you are activating your quads, glutes, calves, and other leg and thigh muscles. However, the legs are not the only area that is getting exercised. Your abs are a crucial stabilizing factor in the operation of a vertical climber, and they are worked with every repetition.
Furthermore, the arms and shoulders are also being worked, since some of the weight is transferred to them during the process of stepping up and down. People think that these machines are only designed to work out the legs, but we can tell you from personal experience that the shoulder muscles will be just as sore as the quads after a vigorous workout with a vertical climber.
This is a fact touted by all of the companies which produce vertical climbers, and it has been tested several times, with the same results. When you think about it, this result isn’t surprising at all, especially when we consider the facts from the previous point.
The quads are the largest and strongest muscles in the human body, which also means that they require the greatest amount of calories to function. By exercising these muscles vigorously, more calories are spent than by simply running, since the motions you have to make on a vertical climber are much more difficult to pull off than the ones you need in order to run.
On top of that, as we have already seen, the whole body gets exercised, including the arms, shoulders, and abs, whereas with running, only the quads, calves and glutes are worked continuously.
Vertical climbers are known to be among a group of so-called low-impact workout machines, since they offer a great cardio session, without the associated pressure on the joints and ligaments.
In fact, it is precisely this sort of pressure that is the most serious risk posed by other popular home exercise machines. If we look at stationary bikes, for example, we see that many users have experienced a phenomenon referred to as the ‘biker’s knee’.
After a prolonged period of turning the pedals (and without doing a proper warm up routine beforehand), the knee and the ligaments around it can become sprained, and this effect lasts for a few weeks. It impedes walking, and especially going down stairs, for instance. Even worse, the knee pain will recur when you least expect it, even if you hadn’t ridden a bike in a while.
With vertical climbers, the risk of similar injuries is greatly decreased, due to the very nature of the movement required to work the machine. That is why we were sure to advise any prospective user not to make short rapid movements on it, but long and slow ones, because that prevents these issues from popping up.
In addition to the obvious health benefits of vertical climbers, there are also other benefits in terms of the mechanical structure and ease of use offered by these machines, as opposed to some of the others you may choose to buy. Let us take a look at some of these advantages.
Vertical climbers are a great choice of exercise machine for people who want a great cardio workout, but don’t have a lot of space to put cumbersome equipment like a treadmill or a stationary bicycle.
These machines take up pace mostly in on the vertical axis, which means they don’t take up a lot of floor surface area, instead making use of the space already left unoccupied in most households.
All you need in order to make full use of a vertical climber is a relatively high ceiling, especially if you yourself are tall. However, if floor space is your primary concern, as is the case with most people on the market for an exercise machine, a vertical climber takes care of the problem of space pretty handily.
People often complain about home exercise equipment as being too cumbersome, as well as too difficult to assemble. These usually come in boxes delivered to your doorstep, and you are required to put them together, like a particularly complex piece of IKEA furniture.
With vertical climbers, this is not an issue, since they come partially assembled in the box. All assembly you have to do is quite simple, as the machine itself uses a simple mechanism. There are no small parts to keep track of, no fitting, and no schematics to follow.
Naturally, the fact that vertical climbers are easy to assemble also means they are easy to disassemble as well, which complements the previous point well. Namely, this is not a machine you have to keep assembled in a fixed place at all times. While you will likely be using it every day, it is very easy to take apart and store in a more compact configuration when necessary.
Up until this point, we have purposefully been using the neutral term ‘vertical climbers’, as opposed to the name of the most common and famous exponent of this sort of exercise machine, the MaxiClimber.
That is because this section will showcase the trailblazing MaxiClimber, as well as some of its lesser known competitors, which we mentioned in passing previously. These all function in roughly the same way, but there are a few differences, as we will see in this section.
We will go over the basic characteristics of each, including the materials used, the various secondary options available on each of these models, as well as the pros and cons for each. Keeping this basic overview in mind, let us take a look at the famous MaxiClimber first.
The MaxiClimber is the original vertical climber made by Innovations International LLC, and it has remained the most popular model of vertical climber on the market, even as machines with more features have been introduced by competitors. There are several good reasons for this, as we will see.
The main differences between all of these models of vertical climbers is in the construction, and not in the movements the user performs, or the relative difficulty of the routine. With that in mind, let us take a look at the way in which the MaxiClimber is constructed.
The construction can be subdivided into three different categories: the stand, the frame, and the poles. The stand consists of two C-shaped metal pieces, which get attached to the bottom of the frame with a couple of screws. These provide stability to the whole machine, so they are also fitted with rubber ends, to provide more friction
The frame is made of two metal rods in an A-shape, and it holds up the the poles as well as the user. These are designed to shift the weight evenly onto the stand, so that the whole machine is stable while you are using it.
Finally, the poles are affixed to the frame, and these are the only moving parts of the whole machine, and the primary component. The poles are fitted with pedals for your feet, as well as handles for hour hands. There is also another pair of handles attached to the frame, so these are stationary.
All of these components are made of a cold-rolled steel, which provides a great degree of strength to the machine, while also keeping it light enough to be assembled and disassembled easily.
For those who consider the classic MaxiClimber too simple, and perhaps not luxurious enough, the VersaClimber is arguably the machine of choice. Though it is much more expensive than the MaxiClimber, it has certain benefits that can explain away the price difference, as we will see in this section.
As soon as you see the VersaClimber, you get the impression that this is a professional machine that would be more at home in an expensive gym than in the confines of a common living room. That impression is not without merit, since the VersaClimber is built in a slightly different way than the MaxiClimber.
Firstly, it has adjustable stability options on the stand, which is coated entirely in a rubber material designed to increase friction. The A frame used as support is also reduced and streamlined, consisting of a single pole which connects the upright part of the machine with the stand. The poles are concealed for the most part by an outer casing, and the handles peak through special openings on the sides.
It is important to point out at this stage that the VersaClimber is made of aircraft grade aluminum, which gives it extreme strength and durability while keeping the entire machine as light as possible. For the sake of comparison, the MaxiClimber is built out of rolled steel, which is great, but not nearly as impressive (or expensive).
Being a more high-end version of a vertical climber, the VersaClimber features a full color display on the case, right at eye level, so you can keep an eye on it during your entire workout. It features a wide variety of data you can visualize, and you can customize which data sets you want it to display.
The Sunny Folding Climber Stepper may be a mouthful to pronounce, but the concept behind it is pretty simple, This is actually the only vertical climber we’ve covered which makes drastic design changes to the mechanism used to operate it, as well as the movement the user must make in order to do so.
That is exactly the reason for its strange sounding name, since it is not only a vertical climber, but also incorporates elements of a stepping machine as well. In order to understand this concept better, let us briefly take a look at how this machine is constructed, as well as the mechanism which enables it to work.
The primary difference between the Sunny Folding Climber Stepper and the other vertical climbers we’ve already gone through is the fact that the Sunny (for short) uses pneumatic pistons to achieve the movement required to exercise on the machine, as opposed to the MaxiClimber and VersaClimber which both use cables.
This gives the movements an extra smooth feel, and it also means that the user can decide for themselves how hard they want their exercise to be. Simply put, the more you push the piston, the more it pushes back, so the more energy you will need to push down the pedals each time.
However, the differences don’t stop there. Since this is a hybrid climber/stepper, the movement employed by the user is somewhat different as well. The direction the user’s legs are moving is not as vertical as with the other two climbers, but also has a horizontal component as well.
This difference also means that the muscle groups that are impacted the most by a workout on the Sunny Folding Stepper Climber are also different. Namely, working out on this machine places particular strain on the glutes, due to the horizontal component, while it works the quads a bit less intensely. The impact on the abs and shoulders is indistinguishable from the other two climbers.
Now that we have taken a look at some of the details related to the most popular models of vertical climbers out there, let us also provide some brief advice as to how to go about using whichever model you settle on.
Naturally, your training regimen will depend on your fitness level, as well as your age, and your height. For beginners, it is a good idea to start off with periods of around 1-2 minutes of climbing consistently, before taking a 30 second rest. This should be repeated a few times, but don’t push yourself too much at this stage.
Once you have made some progress climbing the fitness mountain, you can increase the climbing duration to 2-4 minutes at a time, with at least 30 seconds of rest in between.
Finally, when you feel you are ready, you can feel free to push yourself for longer continuous periods, and longer cumulative periods of climbing, to the extent you feel comfortable with. These numbers should only serve as a baseline for the uninitiated to get a sense for the intensity of the training involved.
We hope that this comprehensive guide to vertical climbers has inspired you to set off on an expedition to conquer the Everest of fitness from the comfort of your own home!
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In this review, we will present you with a detailed buyer’s guide of the best BCAA powder supplements in 2018.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) are among the most efficient ways of gaining muscle and strength and losing fat quickly. Studies have shown that BCAA metabolites represent one of the key indicators of lean mass, especially for the young and middle aged population group.
But, for starters, what are BCAAs? Well, the term itself refers to the three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. The word “essential” in this case is denoting the fact that the human body cannot produce them by itself. While a muscle cell is composed of around 20 types of amino acids, only one-third of those rank among BCAAs.
If you would like to get the maximum results from your workout regime, let us take you on a tour of the top BCAA supplements on the market today. Mind you, these products are not just there to “build muscle and lose fat”. Of course, that is one of their important jobs. But you should also grasp these supplements’ preventive significance, as they help prevent muscle damage.
Before you read on – and in case you were wondering – branched chain amino acids have been subject of extensive research and studies. They represent a perfectly safe supplement, with no known side effects to using them as part of your workout routine.
Our list of products compiled for 2018 does not contain strict recommendations regarding daily dosage. This will depend on the manufacturer’s instructions, your workout routine, and what you’re trying to accomplish with it, whether you are also trying to lose weight, etc. There are many factors involved, but we do urge you to follow the instructions closely. Also, if necessary, consult your personal trainer and/or medical professional.
Finally, be advised that your supplements should be stored in a dark, cool and dry area.
This list will contain some of the products we deemed the most worthy of your attention when it comes to BCAA supplements in 2018.
|BPI Sports Best BCAA Powder|
|BulkSupplements BCAA Powder|
|Scivation Xtend BCAAs|
|Transparent Labs BCAA Glutamine|
|ON BCAA Powder|
|Betancourt Plus Series BCAA|
|BCAA Energy Evlution Nutrition|
|Dymatize Nutrition BCAA Complex 5050|
|MP BCAA 3:1:2|
Best BCAA is considered a highly effective supplement for everyone aiming to develop muscle mass. It is an amino acid supplement using the Oligopeptide-Enzymatic Technology. This formula is designed to provide a more adequate transport for quick absorption. What this practically means is that you will reduce recovery time after a workout session, as well as boost your performance itself.
It supports muscle and strength-building, by relying on leucine, isoleucine, and valine, an amino acid combo that helps decrease protein catabolism. These come in a 2:1:1 ratio, with one scoop of the supplement containing 5 grams of amino acids. The supplement also contains the CLA matrix (conjugated linolenic acid), consisting of safflower, avocado and coconut oil (powdered) which, according to some studies, can account for fat loss. It also contains 250 mg of agmatine sulfate, namely a metabolite of L-Arginine which can be linked to boosting performance during a workout.
The Oligopeptide-Enzymatic formula practically helps concentrate and combine the three amino acids in a way that ups the recovery of your muscles and increases lean muscle building. This specific combination of amino acids is not produced in our body naturally. Hence, to increase the synthesis of protein and muscle growth, we need to supplement them.
As for flavors, this product comes in more than a dozen sugar-free flavors that will help you hydrate adequately pre, during and post-workout. The manufacturer recommends taking one scoop before, during, or after training. Furthermore, they recommend up to 3 daily servings.
This product comes from a reputable sports nutrition enterprise, BPI Sports, located in Florida. They have built a steady reputation for an accessible range of products including protein powders and bars. However, they have also branched out in the field of supplements and now boast a rather diverse product line.
This product from BulkSupplements impresses with its simplicity and straightforward nature. No wonder that it ranks rather high on most online best seller items’ lists.
In terms of ingredients, it consists of the building blocks of what BCAA represents. Amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine, in a 2:1:1 ratio. This ratio, as we’ve come to learn, is the foundation of creating a supplement that will truly build your muscle with the optimal nutrition. It will also help you achieve faster and easier recovery. Lab tests have shown that BulkSupplements BCAA Powder contains up to 96% amino acids. Bear in mind that some manufacturers will gladly go the route of decreasing the content of the main product for the sake of profit. They will compensate the lack of, say, amino acids with some filler materials or heavy metals. Again, with that in mind, the 96% of amino acids contained in this supplement is indeed impressive. With each serving of BulkSupplements BCAA Powder, you will get 1.4 g of BCAA. This is another major benefit you will be getting if using this manufacturer.
Furthermore, this product also does not contain any GMO or any the following: soy, dairy, sugar, gluten, yeast, additives. It does, however, contain a small amount of lecithin which has the purpose of an emulsifier. But, generally speaking, it contains no unnecessary ingredients, which is what you should be looking for in a BCAA supplement.
As for usage, the manufacturer advises you to take this product half an hour prior to your workout. Alternatively, you can also take it half an hour thereafter, preferably with a meal.
In addition, this supplement is lab tested and certified as a filler-less pure BCAA powder. It will provide you with reliable supplementation of the three basic amino acids not produced by our body, reduce soreness and improve recovery time.
Last but not least, it is rather inexpensive, making it a true best-buy option.
This product comes from a reputable manufacturer from North Carolina.
As a company, Scivation dedicates much of its efforts to low-calorie products and supplements. However, their main products are indeed BCAAs. Xtend comes in the form of fluid, capsules and the regular supplement powder.
The Xtend supplement consists of the leucine, isoleucine and valine combo, with the standard 2:1:1 ratio. Apart from that, it contains 2.5 g of L-glutamine which is also an amino acid. This addition was not welcomed by all experts. Namely, since this amino acid is already well-represented in the human body, some do not consider it a powerful muscle builder. Still, given its positive effects on gastrointestinal health, we cannot object to its inclusion.
Also, there is 1 gram of citrulline malate which is said to benefit your circulatory system, as well as a 1.17 g electrolyte blend containing potassium chloride, trisodium citrate dihydrate, and sodium chloride. In addition to this, it contains 220 mg of sodium and 170 mg of potassium, along with 32% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin B6.
Also important: the supplement has been marked as containing zero calories. It has no sugar, or carbs whatsoever.
This product also ranks among the inexpensive BCAAs. With the Xtend, you will get 7 g per one scoop. When compared to many of the other BCAAs, this comes as one of the best gram-price ratios by far.
As for the ingredients’ purpose: the added vitamin B6, loads of electrolytes, and citrulline malate may boost circulation and muscle retention. The abundance of electrolytes will also help you keep hydrated before, during and after your workout.
And another benefit, depending on your workout routine: it does not contain any stimulants or caffeine, so you can use this supplement at any time.
Scivation Xtend BCAAs comes in a variety of flavors. Most are artificially sweetened, however, there is also a naturally flavored one.
Overall, this manufacturer’s products are focused on two main goals: recovery and repair. In that regard, this specific supplement does not disappoint.
The “transparent” part of this brand’s name is a major selling point. The market is saturated with certain products where you’re never sure what you will be getting. Namely, there are many products which aim to make profits by simply increasing the number of servings in order for you to get the desired and necessary amino acid dosage. With that in mind, it is highly rewarding to pick a product from a manufacturer who delivers on its promise, and then some.
Transparent Labs, with its BCAA Glutamine supplement, provides 8 grams of branched chain amino acids as the main ingredient. Since the average in similar products hovers around 3-5 grams, this is an exceptional result. Some tests have indicated that a dose of 7 g and above significantly reduces the possibility of muscle damage. Therefore, with its 8 g dosage, Transparent Labs have obviously taken this into account. They have also considered the fact that such a ratio boosts the capacity of carrying oxygen.
All the ingredients rely on relevant research, as does their dosage. The five main active ingredients are put together so as to increase synthesis of protein. Apart from that, they decrease muscle fatigue and help muscle growth after the workout, while also boosting your performance in the process.
The five main ingredients include leucine, isoleucine, valine, glutamine and coconut water extract. Together, they bring forth an effective mix designed to accelerate fat loss and reduce muscle damage, among other things.
Glutamine, being the most represented amino acid in our body, has its major significance among the ingredients. Despite its abundance, studies have shown that workout sessions can result in a decrease of glutamine levels. Hence, supplementing this amino acid was found to have a positive effect. That way, you can reduce fatigue and improve recovery.
As for the 1 g addition of coconut water powder, the idea behind it is to replenish all the electrolytes you lose during a strenuous workout.
Regarding its price, this supplement by Transparent Labs is very much in accord with other similar products and its competitors. All said, it comes highly recommended.
Another straight-up BCAA supplement with no unnecessary ingredients comes from Optimum Nutrition. This company, of course, is a household name on the supplement market, best known for their best-selling protein powder Gold Standard Whey.
Optimum Nutrition has announced its BCAA powder as its very first Instantized Formula, available in its flavored or unflavored variety.
As with most of the BCAA supplements manufacturers, this brand also comes with the 2:1:1 ratio (leucine, isoleucine, and valine). This blend brings you a 5 g combo of the three essential Branched Chain Amino Acids. What clearly sets it apart from some of the competition is the high content of amino acids in this product. It amounts to more than 98% of the product’s weight. Thus, they provide the desired anabolic and anticatabolic effects for the daily gym user.
Apart from the three main ingredients, the supplement contains a mixture of lecithin, soybean oil, and some silicon dioxide. These serve the purpose of building an emulsion as the product is being blended into a protein shake, for example. The silicone dioxide helps avoid clumps of powder to form. The added ingredients, for all their practicality, may be a barrier to overcome for a supplement purist. Especially those who tend to avoid any kind of soy ingredients in their diets.
Finally, as a side note, the Optimum Nutrition BCAA also comes in the form of capsules, via its Optimum Nutrition 1000 BCAA Capsules package. For consumers seeking to rid themselves of any additional ingredients, flavorings, and colors, this might be the way to go. Namely, the capsule contains pretty much just 1 gram of BCAAs, in the common 2:1:1 ratio, and nothing else. And not to mention the fact that going with capsules will result in a much lower price.
Still, other users might have an issue with getting their dosage right, if grown accustomed to BCAA powder.
This Florida-based company has a broad spectrum of products, ranging from fat-burners to testosterone-boosters. In this case, however, we will focus on their amino acid supplement – the Plus Series. Betancourt takes pride in being a company founded by athletes, making products for athletes. With this supplement, they intend to help athletes with protein synthesis, muscle retention, muscle soreness and recovery, and hydration. In a nutshell: with the post-workout process as a whole.
Unlike most BCAA supplements, Betancourt has chosen a slightly different path with this product. Namely, the BCAA mixture is designed according to a 4:1:1 ratio of leucine, isoleucine, and valine. With this approach, they put more emphasis on leucine, arguing that with this ratio, it gains in absorption ability, and overall enhancing protein synthesis. In total, one serving of this supplement will provide you with 6 g of amino acids, organized as described above.
Apart from the essentials, other ingredients include: Vitamin B6 (100% of recommended daily value), Vitamin B12 (500%), as well as zinc (147%). Also, the product contains potassium and sodium (1 percent of daily value). Vitamin B6 has been added in particular for the purpose of muscle retention, while B12 has shown to act as an energy booster. Zinc is rarely found in these kinds of supplements. However, it is a welcome addition, as research has shown that it corresponds with increased production of testosterone.
Finally, this supplement boasts the so-called “Hydration +Plus Blend” which consists of taurine and Sustamine (1.5 g). It is also a very welcome addition. On the other hand, it contains no caffeine. This makes it perhaps not as suitable for pre-exercise use. Still, this will mainly depend on your routine and habits.
On the downside, this supplement is a bit pricey and the packaging provides no information about the calorie contents. Still, the Betancourt Plus Series BCAA does bring a lot to the table. You are just well-advised to make sure that the ingredients and their design suit your specific needs.
Ingredients for this product are simple, transparently laid out, with no proprietary blends or fillers, which is always great. As for specifics, the BCAA Energy offers the standard 2:1:1 BCAA Matrix (L-Leucine, L-isoleucine, and L-Valine).
As per the manufacturer’s instructions, you can use this product before, during or after a workout. Its main goal is to provide you with endurance, muscle recovery, enhance your performance and help you build muscle more effectively.
Apart from the main ingredients, it also contains beta-alanine (to boost endurance), caffeine, vitamins, taurine, which can decrease muscle cramps, etc. The product contains no calories and no carbs.
The vitamins included will provide 150% of your recommended daily dosage of vitamin C and 500 % for vitamins B12 and B6. Also, studies have shown the latter to be an energy booster.
This supplement offers 5 g of BCAA in one serving – this is worth noting and considering in advance. You will eventually have to decide for yourself, i.e., whether this dosage suits your workout routine and habits. However, we cannot deny the neat and transparent labeling. Every single ingredient is accounted for, by the gram – something that is sorely missed in the case of some other manufacturers.
Whether the added caffeine (110 mg extracted from green tea and coffee bean) suits you, will depend on your workout habits. As the amount corresponds to an average serving of coffee, we see it as a welcome addition. Still, it probably renders this product more convenient for daily usage.
Lastly, the price of this product is also very reasonable, as it compares very well with other similar supplements.
This product is another simple, quality made BCAA supplement. It consists of an industry-standard 2:1:1 mixture of leucine, isoleucine, and valine. This makes for just over 5 grams of BCAAs which serve the strict purpose of building muscle and enhancing recovery.
Other than that, ingredients include the anti-clumping agent silicon dioxide which makes sure the powder is dissolvable and makes it easy to mix pre-workout.
Generally speaking, unlike some other products, this supplement does keep things simple. Therefore, the manufacturer did not include additions such as glutamine, electrolytes or vitamins.
The supplement is suitable for pre- or post-workout use, although some athletes prefer using it during their sessions. As it mixes very well with water (or any beverage, for that matter), this product makes for an ideal companion during your workouts.
The Dymatize Nutrition BCAA Complex 5050 is gluten-free and comes in a variety of flavors, i.e., as a flavored and unflavored version. If using the unflavored version, we might suggest mixing it with a sports drink for better taste. Also, if you are after the additional electrolytes that this supplement lacks, this could be an alternative.
If you are looking for a simple solution concentrating just on essential BCAA’s, and skipping on additional ingredients, this very well might be your product. Lastly, and on top of everything, this supplement is also very cost-effective.
The supplement manufacturer is MusclePharm and is based in Colorado. It is a rather reputable company, well-respected among the bodybuilding community, best known for products from their “Combat” line, such as the Combat Crunch protein bars. However, with this BCAA supplement, they have made a strong case on this side of the market, too.
With regard to the ingredients, other than the BCAAs, it’s pretty much a simple affair.
The MusclePharm BCAA 3:1:2, as its name suggests, relies on a different ratio of its main ingredients. So, leucine, isoleucine, and valine come in a 3:1:2 ratio. As we’ve learned, these are the key amino acids that our bodies cannot produce. The ratio was thus designed to provide additional amino acids for your body so that it can build muscle. Practical usage has shown this supplement to be the most effective when used after a workout.
Other than the BCAAs, the supplement contains malic acid and other flavoring ingredients, sucralose (sweetener), silicon dioxide (anti-caking ingredient) and fruit and vegetable juice as coloring agents.
As for its overall effectiveness, this supplement has scored some respectable results. It can help build lean body mass, as well as decrease catabolic muscle breakdown. Additionally, it might provide a helping hand in workout regimes which target weight loss.
Concerning its different flavors, the supplement can be bought in the form of powder or capsule. Flavors include blue raspberry, watermelon, as well as an unflavored variety.
And, on another positive note, this product ranks among the relatively inexpensive ones, while still delivering the goods.
The BSN acronym denotes “bio-engineered supplements and nutrition”. The company itself hails from Illinois. It is known for sponsorship deals with numerous athletes and bodybuilders, such as UFC champ Connor McGregor.
Leucine, valine, and isoleucine, the three main amino acids are included in AMINOx’s rather large serving (14.5 g!). The manufacturer also claims that you will be getting 10 g of BCAAs per serving. We’ll come back to that later.
First of all, we should note that the main BCAAs are also followed by l-alanine, taurine, and l-citrulline, among others. The inclusion of l-alanine, for instance, aims to increase nitric oxide, while taurine was added to boost recovery time and lessen muscle cramps. Finally, the addition of l-citrulline is for enhanced circulation. Experts agree that these are welcome additions, substantiated by scientific research rather than just throwing ingredients in for the sake of profits as has been apparent in some cases.
AMINOx contains no caffeine, but it does hold a considerable measure of vitamin D. Also, it comes in five different flavors.
Although the product ingredients’ list suggests a rather scientific approach, there are downsides as well. Namely, the packaging does not specify the exact amount of each of the BCAAs. This might be a deal-breaker, especially for the athlete or bodybuilder seeking a very precise dosage when taking their supplements.
If you do not mind this, nor the fact that it includes artificial sweeteners and soy, this product might be interesting for you. Especially since it comes at a very competitive price.
Here we will address a couple of products that did not make our list but certainly deserve to be part of the conversation:
Do Vitamins BCAA arrive in the form of capsules. Therefore we excluded them from our main list that covered BCAA powder supplements. However, this product is worthy of inclusion in this discussion. Namely, its ingredients include the usual suspects for an effective BCAA supplement: L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine, and L-Valine (2:1:1 ratio). This supplement is being branded as the “purest natural BCAA”, containing no animal product whatsoever. Thus, it is suitable for vegetarians and vegans who might not be getting enough protein via their regular diet. Also, you can use it pre- or post-workout.
This product aims to prevent muscle breakdown, provide faster recovery periods and, of course, enhance protein synthesis. In addition, this supplement is GMO- and gluten-free, containing no additives or fillers.
This supplement comes from a company mainly dedicating its products to women’s fitness programs, which includes BCAAs.
Overall, it will provide you with a supplement of leucine, isoleucine, and valine in the standard ratio (2:1:1), with 5 g of BCAAs per serving. As the manufacturer claims, IdealLean BCAAs for Women features several targeted ingredients that help burn fat and act as a metabolism booster. Also, it comes free of calories. Interesting additions include vitamins B12, B9 and B6, as well as magnesium and coconut water powder. The product also contains the so-called IdealLean Fat Loss Blend – aimed to improve circulation and fat loss.
This product certainly has a lot to offer. Nevertheless, some experts find the ingredients’ list to be too crowded and lacking the focus necessary to create the desired effect. Still, if viewed purely as a BCAA supplement, this is certainly a solid product.
The biggest sources of amino acids are, generally speaking, milk, dairy, soy and red meat. But after we take those into our system, their “first stop” is our liver which uses them to produce energy if it lacks another source. Hence, they cannot be used for the purpose of muscle-building every time. However, Branched-Chain Amino Acids are an exception, since our liver sends them directly into our muscles. Unlike other amino acids, they can be used directly.
As a result, BCAAs secure muscle energy and performance during a workout, while building muscle cells in the post-workout period. Thus, the most common period for using BCAA supplements is before and after a workout.
As for the specific properties of the essential amino acids, studies have shown leucine to be the most effective out of the three. It directly stimulates protein synthesis while also supporting the production of growth hormone. Isoleucine, on the other hand, also supports the development of muscle, helps recovery and contributes to lean body mass. Finally, valine helps supply our muscles with the energy they require.
With this list, we intended to provide you with a comprehensive palette of choices. Hopefully, after having read it, as well as the introduction of BCAAs, you are now prepared to make some decisions.
The most important thing you can do is be aware of your body. It may sound silly and self-explanatory, but it all boils down to that. Sure, you will get all the relevant info and get your supplements accordingly. But at the end of the day, it is your body that has to work with them to produce the best results. So, listen to it! And don’t be afraid to mix things up as you go along until you have found the perfect supplement solution for your workout and your body.
Good luck and happy exercising!
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If you’re curious to know some of the best weight gain supplements on the market, then you should highly consider checking out this article further. Here, you’ll find factors that you should consider before buying a weight gain supplement product, as well as tips for choosing the best weight gain supplements for your needs and most importantly, your lifestyle. It’s hard to think that someone wants to gain weight because our society’s ratio for weight gain to weight loss is vastly heavy-sided, but there are people who need additional assistance when it comes to gaining weight in the gym or gaining weight for a small frame in general.
|ON Serious Mass||Creatine, Glutamine|
|VITOL Russian Bear 5000||Anabolic Growth Formula|
|Core Grow||Low Glycerides|
|BSN True-Mass 1200||215 Grams of Carbohydrates Per Serving|
|Pro Supps Karbolic Super Premium||Antioxidants|
|MTS Nutrition Epic Gains||EFA-Enriched Whey|
|Beverly International Mass Maker||4 Types of Protein|
|ON Pro Gainer||Complex Carbohydrates and Lipids|
|Muscle Meds Carnivor Mass Anabolic Beef||100% Beef-Based Isolate|
|EFX Sports Karbolyn Fuel Complex Carbs||Fast Acting Carbohydrate Loading Ingredients|
First on our list is a fantastic product from Optimum Nutrition that has high carbs and a great deal of protein for those that want lean mass to add their body. Featuring 25 different minerals and vitamins, including creatine a glutamine, you’ll be able to recover and receive the muscle mass that you want. Furthermore, there’s 1,250 calories per serving (which is 2 scoops). You’ll be able to have 250 grams of carbs per serving, as well as 50 grams of protein in each serving that you have.
The Advantages of the Product
The Disadvantages of the Product
Next up is a 4lb. beast from VITOL – a product dubbed “Russian Bear 5000”, you’ll be able to get a lot out of this weight gain product, but this is only for those incredibly serious about gaining weight. While most of the reviews are great, there aren’t a ton because as we said, this is for those that are serious about gaining weight. In each serving, you’ll find that there are 5000 calories – yes, 5000 calories per serving of this Russian Bear product. This product’s recipe list includes the highest biological pharmaceutical grade proteins, which include non-fat egg whites, and milk solids. The 46 grams of MCT’s are also incredible for those looking for some serious bulking.
The Advantages of the Product
The Disadvantages of the Product
From Core Nutritionals, this delicious tasting weight gain supplement tastes like peanut butter pie, and features a whole based mass blend rather than a protein powder blend. You’ll find that this superior blend also features a quality whey concentrate, a digestive blend, and one that features no maltodextrin or fillers for those that want a serious and natural experience. As we said, you want something that has low triglycerides and that of the sort; thankfully, this product has low glycerides, and you won’t have to worry about the wrong types of bulking being on your body.
The Advantages of the Product
The Disadvantages of the Product
This massive package comes with 15 straight servings (10.38lbs.), and features more than 1200 calories per serving, as well as 215 grams of carbs in this serving. If you’re curious, this serving of carbs comes primarily from rolled oats, and there are no more than 50 grams of protein per serving that you take from this product. There are a ton of flavors available for those that want something sweeter or something more fruity. There are various sized packages, as well, and if you want to just try it out for the first time, there are smaller options available.
The Advantages of the Product
The Disadvantages of the Product
This 4.4-pound package comes in a variety of flavors, including fruit punch, chocolate, blue razz, and comes in two sizes – either the 16 serving package or 32 serving package. You’ll be able to speed up the recovery process, as well as make use of ingredients like taurine and betaineine – both clinically validated within this product. Supposedly, these clinically validated servings are great for athletic performance and improving these performances, as well as the recovery of these workouts. There are anti-oxidant nutrients as well as a product that synergizes well with carbs to make sure your muscles receive the effects of this product.
The Advantages of the Product
The Disadvantages of the Product
Manufactured by MTS Nutrition, this delicious product is noted as a mass gainer, and this 5-pound package comes with 24 servings. Within this product, you won’t have to worry about any maltodextrin, and you’ll receive a premium and advanced protein blend. There are multiple servings of vegetables and fruits within each serving, and you’ll be able to promote a ton of gains as you take this product.
The Advantages of the Product
The Disadvantages of the Product
From Beverly International, this massive 5lb. container is capable of giving you serious gains. Featuring 11 high-quality carbs within this product, as well as high potency, you’ll be able to take this creamy product without suffering from any bad aftertaste or bad experience pre or post-workout. If you’re someone that doesn’t consume enough calories and you want a weight gain supplement that will hit the spot, this is a product you should consider. Gain lean weight with this fantastic, fasting-acting and convenient product.
The Advantages of the Product
The Disadvantages of the Product
Another product from Optimum Nutrition, this one is fantastic for those that love a double rich chocolate taste, without gaining fat from this decadent flavor. Gain the type of calories you need without suffering, and enjoy the tastes you love. In each serving of this product, you’ll be able to make use of 650 calories per serving, as well as 60 grams of premium protein for the best muscle building experience. There are 7 unique sources that these proteins come from when taking one serving, and this is full of amino acids for better transportation to your muscles and throughout your body.
The Advantages of the Product
The Disadvantages of the Products
This 10-pound pouch features over 700 calories per serving, which is great for both those that want to fill a ton of calories in their day, as well as those that just want an extra boost per day. This product features a beef-based protein, and is an isolate weight gain supplement. If you want a faster recovery time, and want to make sure you’re getting a product that promotes muscle mass building, then this is the product for you.
The Advantages of the Product
The Disadvantages of the Product
Want an inexpensive product that doesn’t force you to have a fancy flavor? This long-lasting and fast-acting post-workout weight gain supplement is for you! There are no side effects after using this product, and you’ll be able to know that this is stimulant-free, as well as a great and quick carb-loader. Typically, sugar drinks are great for keeping you energized for only half of the time that this Karbolyn product can, and you’ll be able to outlast and outperform the competition with ease.
The Advantages of the Product
The Disadvantages of the Product
Taking a weight gain supplement isn’t just about getting in a healthy weight range, in fact, many use a weight gain supplement to help them in the gym when it comes to strength training and making themselves bulkier. We aren’t talking about your standard pre-workout, we’re talking about a supplement that will allow you to healthily gain weight without the use of fatty foods and bad calories. There are a ton of things you should know before purchasing your very first or another type of weight gain supplement.
Research more about a supplement – when it comes to something as drastic as a weight gain supplement, researching and knowing more about a supplement, what it does, and how your diet changes is imperative. Those that are new to the game may not realize that a weight gain supplement is extremely high in calories, and allows you to hit your calorie goals much easier day in and day out. With that being said, if you want to eat massive burgers every day with no healthy foods in between, and think that this is a safe option, you’re going to be gaining a ton of fat to say the least – and not any healthy weight, either. You’ll want to edit your diet and see what’s best before you dive into taking weight gain supplements.
There are some that are considered a “hard gainer”, also known as someone who eats and eats and eats, in order to try and get their weight up, a weight gain supplement may be a great decision for you, but you’ll have to edit your diet and nutrition to make it fit with your lifestyle. If you’re someone that requires thousands of calories per day to meet your personal goals, there are very high calorie shakes provided by certain weight gain supplement companies.
Stay lean, don’t get fat – with the right diet and a weight gain supplement that’s specially formulated, you’ll be able to get leaner, rather than gain fat. One of the biggest things about using a weight gain supplement to meet calorie goals is that you don’t want a heavy amount of fat, which can compromise your immune system and organs. You’ll basically want this supplement to aid your muscle-mass building with the right type of dietary fat. Because of this, you’ll want to make sure that there are little to no saturated fats within your weight gain supplement, as well as medium chain triglycerides, or else you may be worrying about putting on actual fat, rather than lean weight.
Find when you should take a weight gain supplement – not all weight gain supplements are meant to be taken close to the time of your workout; in fact, there are some that are meant to be taken afterwards, and can be taken as meal replacements so you’re not overreaching for calories that you don’t need. You can also have some that are meant to be taken with your food as an additional calorie supplement. Whatever your intention, make sure to research each weight gain supplement you come across, or else you may be taking it wrong and not yielding the best results.
Those that want to take their weight gain supplement right before or right after their workout should look for a recipe or blend that contains little to no fat, and one that has a high carb count. When you have this blend together, you find that you’ll be able to meet calorie goals without splurging or without lean properties. It’s worth noting that the best time to take a weight gain supplement is when you are starting your workout or when you are finishing, as your muscles will act with the carbs in order to transport the amino acids properly to your muscle’s cells. When this happens, the calories are being successfully used to help make you leaner and bulk up, rather than gain actual fat. We highly suggest trying on that you’re meant to take after your workout.
Look at the calorie levels – just because they’re meant to be higher in calorie values than other products, doesn’t mean you should skip out on knowing how many are in each. With weight gain supplements, the calorie levels vary greatly, and you should never skimp out on them. Because of the varying levels of calories, the product will help build your muscles in a specific way. You’ll want to match the perfect weight gain supplement calorie level with your nutrition level and your muscle needs.
If you’re someone that struggles greatly with building any sort of muscle mass, then a weight gain supplement that is higher in calories will serve you well. Those that build easily, but need an extra boost, don’t have to go as high as others. There are some that are well over 1000 calories per serving, and others that are in the 400-500 range. Make sure to research and create a plan that works for you.
Creatine matters – another reason you should research more on the ingredients and the product itself is so that you can meet your creatine levels much easier. With a weight gain supplement, you’ll be able to hit multiple birds with one rock. You won’t need an extra protein shake or powder when you have a product that not only fuels your muscles, but gives you the extra ingredients that you need. Make sure your weight gain supplement comes with creatine to top off the success of the weight gain supplement. Of course, there may be water weight at first, but this is only because of the extra influx of carbs that your body is seeing.
After some time, you’ll see this water weight flow off, and you’ll start to gain lean mass. Timeframe: one to two weeks. If this is your first time working out in a long time, and you’re coupling this with a weight gain supplement, you may not see this water weight come off for as little as three weeks because of the workout impact to your muscles. When you first start working out sort-of heavily, the tears in your muscles fill with water to protect them.
You’ll be able to recover faster – thanks to the inclusion of l-glutamine in many weight gain supplements; you’ll be able to recover much faster than you normally would. This is usually because of the l-glutamine that’s included in the recipe list. There are many products that come with this and act as a double-duty product, so not only are you getting creatine, but you’re also getting l-glutamine for recovery. This is a type of amino acid that ensures your muscles are going to be recovering as best as possible. Those that tend to be sore or take longer to recover after workouts may want to look into this ingredient when searching for the best weight gain supplements on the market.
Furthermore, the usage of l-glutamine in your weight gain supplement will ensure a healthy and ready-to-go immune system. In doing so, you won’t have to miss out on important training sessions and workouts because you feel ill or because you mysteriously got sick. Don’t compromise your immune system because of a flaky product – it’s not all about aesthetics.
You may know a weight gain supplement as a protein shake – in more modern terms. If you’re looking for the best protein shake or weight gain supplement on the market, there are a few things more that you’ll need to know and define before purchasing. So, how do you know which protein powder or weight gain supplement is the best for you?
First and foremost, you should know the importance of a protein powder versus a whole food or weight gain supplement. Even though you can meet your protein and calorie goals with food, sometimes for those that are bulking up incredibly, it may just be too much to eat that amount every day. With a protein powder or other type of weight gain supplement, you’ll be able to take a much smaller amount, receive the proper calorie or protein amount, and not worry about getting sick from feeling too full. You should aim to get your daily nutrition from food, while using a weight gain supplement to fill the calorie void.
The right ingredients – when choosing the best weight gain supplement, you’ll want one that comes with a variety of extra ingredients. Some of these ingredients include l-glutamine for recovery, as well as creatine so that you’ll be able to fuel your muscles and reduce the need for post-workout shakes or another product to help your fitness routine.
The types of proteins – yes, there are different types of proteins that you should know, and you should also know their best uses. The types of proteins include the following:
If you want to build your muscles and get lean muscle mass, you should look for a protein powder that has a value known as “high biological”. If you’re this person, you should look towards whey isolate or a whey protein in general for the best results.
While weight gain supplements make take inspiration from these types of proteins, you may not see a company directly label one as an egg protein, milk protein, etc., but you’re free to research more on the aforementioned to help you gain weight in the gym and speed up your recovery.
If you’ve found entirely too much information in this article and you’re stumped, we highly suggest the SERIOUS MASS weight gainer from Optimum Nutrition. Well-received and well-priced, you’ll be able to get this product in a variety of “colors” (also known as flavors), as well as sizes for your needs. With over 250 grams of carbs per serving of this, as well as 50 grams of protein, you’ll be getting everything you need in this high-calorie product that’s meant for you to gain weight with.
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