My Favorite Sports and Fitness Accessories

Our whole family is pretty active and involved in different fitness activities in one form or another. A few of our favorite sports and activities include: running, tennis, volleyball, gymnastics, baseball, frisbee, ping pong and archery. So we’ve gone through all sorts of products to see what we like and don’t like. Below is a list of some of our favorite items that we’ve come across and hope you’ll find something that may become a new favorite of yours as well!

Garmin Fenix 3 Screen Protector

Garmin Fenix 3 Screen ProtectorThe runners in our family all love the Garmin Fenix 3. It really is a great watch and it is very durable. However, we wanted to find a screen protector that would actually help give a little more protection to the face, without being noticeable. Some of the screen protector’s don’t hide quite so well.

But we found these screen protector’s by IQShield work really well. They’re so clear you can’t even really tell there’s a screen protector on the watch unless you look real closely at the edge. And it does do a nice job adding some extra protection to the watch. It’s nice because instead of the face of the watch taking a beating, we can just change the screen protector occasionally and that keeps everyone’s watch looking great!

And although the Garmin Fenix 3 isn’t a cheap watch to buy, these screen protector’s are super affordable.

Exercise Mats for Fitness Equipment

Once you start using fitness equipment in your home, having a good exercise mat to put underneath it can be a huge help. We have several different types of exercise equipment and found that we like having mats under each one of them. One of the benefits is that you can use them to catch sweat that drips down while you’re exercising.

So instead of having the sweat just landing on the floor or carpet, the mat becomes a nice barrier to that. Now of course you could put down a towel each time but that can get to be a hassle. Then you having something else you need to wash and when you’re in a hurry, it’s nice not to have one extra step before you get on your exercise machine.

Supermats Solid P.V.C. Mat for Rowing MachinesThe fitness equipment we currently own and use are: the Schwinn 430 Elliptical Machine, a Concept2 Rower, a ProForm Cardio hiit Elliptical Trainer and a Keiser M3i Indoor Cycle. The key to using a mat with each of these is finding the right shape and finding something that has the right thickness or support for the particular machine your using.

So for the the Schwinn Elliptical we use a Body Solid Super Mat, for the Concept 2 Rower we use the Supermats Solid P.V.C. Mat which is specifically designed for rowing machines, for the ProForm Elliptical we SuperMats Heavy Duty P.V.C. Mat that’s designed for treadmills but also works perfectly for this elliptical  and finally for the Keiser M3i Cycle we use the Body Solid Super Mat that’s designed for bikes.

As you can see there are different types of mats designed for different types of fitness equipment. If you’re using any of the above equipment or similar equipment, then I would definitely recommend the same mats that we’re using. But either way, we’ve had really good experiences so far with all the mats listed above.

Olympic Barbell & Barbell Clamps

CAP Barbell Olympic BarOut in our garage, we have some dedicated fitness equipment for weights. And one of the things we needed was an olympic barbell. You’d think they’re all pretty much the same, but that’s not necessarily the case. Some have different weight capacities, some are made of steel while others are made of aluminum.

I use the CAP Barbell Olympic Bar and I would consider this a nice olympic bar for someone on a budget. It’s not the best out there but it’s still going to do a nice job of supporting a lot of weight. And it has pretty good sleeve spin which makes it easier to lift weights and puts less tension on your wrists.

If your someone who’s more competitive, then you may want to find something a little more hard core. But I’ve been really happy with this barbell so far and don’t see any reason to spend more money on something nicer. I’ve even had some compliments from friends who’ve been over to lift a few times saying they were impressed with this bar.

Quick Release Pair of Locking 2 Olympic Size Barbell Clamp Collar Great for Pro Crossfit TrainingBut along with having a nice olympic bar to use for lifting weights, I’ve found it’s just as important to have some good clamps to go with it. Because having to sit and struggle to get clamps off gets frustrating real fast. Especially if you’re trying to get to your next set quickly and the clamp sticks or doesn’t slide off smoothly. Then it can be tempting to try and slide the weights off too quick and you can wind up hurting yourself if you’re not careful.

So the ones I use are a pair of “Quick Release Olympic Size Collar Clamps” by YYGIFT. They’re designed for cross training environments and boy do these work great. They’re definitely more robust than your average spring clamps.

Another problem with spring clamps is they can need a lot of adjusting, especially if you’re someone who drops your weights. Now these will still slide a little bit if you’re doing that, but not as badly as spring clamps.

I’m not someone who drops weights so it’s not an issue for me. They fit snugly on the bar and I don’t get any movement of the weights while lifting. I also like that these are a little safer for my older kids to use as they’re starting to get into lifting weights as well. So overall, these are another product that I’ve been really happy with and if I had to re-build my home gym, these would definitely be on my list again.

Valor Fitness Dip Handle

Valor Fitness MB-A BD-7 Dip HandleAs part of our home gym in the garage, we have some Valor Fitness equipment (their BD7 power rack) and I was looking at getting a separate dip bar set-up. I used something like that in high-school and really liked it. But I came across a dip handle accessory that Valor makes which is designed to work with the BD7. And it works perfectly!

It’s a lot less expensive then purchasing a separate piece of equipment just for doing dips. And it’s been really durable to use. I try to do dips a couple times a week and it’s help up great. When my friend comes over he’s 200 lbs and he’ll add another 25 lbs on a dip belt and it holds him just fine. I also like that you can put them in different positions around the cage which is nice to be able to do.

There’s really nothing I don’t like about these which is why I strongly recommend them.

Small Dual Action Ball Pump

One of the things I’ve found when being out playing sports with the kids is that it can be handy to have a portable ball pump. It seemed every now and then we’d bring something like a basketball, soccer ball or football somewhere to go play and we really wished we had blown it up a little before taking off.

Small Dual Action Ball PumpThere’s quite a few choices when it comes to small hand pumps, but the one I really like is by Fitness Factor. It does come with needles so you don’t need to buy those separately. And it’s easy enough to pump that the kids can use it. That was important for me as I want them to learn how to do these types of things as well.

And even though it doesn’t cost much at all, it does come with a lifetime warranty just in case something ends up not working with it as it should.

Also, I noticed that with some of the pumps I’ve used in the past (especially hand pumps), that if the needle wasn’t quite secure enough it would make it easy to bend the needs either while you were trying to insert it into the ball or while you were pumping the ball up. But I haven’t had any problems like this. There is a valve that does a really nice job securing the needle which seems to prevent that from happening.

So overall, I’ve been really happy with this hand pump and would highly recommend it.

Rowing Machine Chain Oil

Rowing Machine Chain Oil, Works Great on Concept 2 RowerOne of my favorite fitness products to use that we own is the Concept2 Rower. It’s like the best combination of working out and relaxing at the same time.  I don’t think I would have ever believed how nice this rower is to use until getting one myself.

Well one of the things I learned about this particular rower is that if you use it frequently, you’re going to want to oil the chain every now and then. It’s super easy to use and apply and there are instructions to tell you what to do.

My big concern is whether the oil would do what it’s supposed to do as the Concept2 Rowers aren’t cheap and I didn’t want to do anything to mess it up. But this oil works great. It’s a thin oil and doesn’t attract any dust.  Motor oil is one of the recommended oils you can use with this rower but I didn’t want my workout area to start smelling like a gas station. This oil doesn’t have any odor, it’s like a mineral oil.

So overall, I’ve been really happy with this. It’s kept my rower in excellent working condition and the bottle lasts a really long time. Definitely something I’d recommend anyone getting a rower or specially a Concept2 rower.

Lance Gross

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