I Tried 8 New Pieces of Exercise Equipment That Helped My Workout

Working with the Strongboard, a new piece of exercise equipment

Working with the StrongBoard, a new piece of exercise equipment | StrongBoard Balance

The world is overflowing with exercise equipment. With a new product hitting the market seemingly every hour, it’s hard to know when a piece of exercise equipment is actually useful, or yet another thing that will end up in a corner collecting dust. Because there are so many options out there and because it’s difficult to ascertain how effective they are, a lot of people might just assume none of them are worth their time and money.

In a lot of cases, that’s an awfully accurate assessment.

If you sit in front of the TV for any extended period of time or visit a sporting goods store, you’ll be absolutely bombarded by fitness products and “new” or “exciting” exercise equipment. How do you know if they’re actually worth checking out? You can read reviews, of course, and that can help you separate the wheat from the chaff. That’s exactly what we intend to do here.

I’ve had the chance to check out dozens of new fitness products, and though all of them have value, I’ve found relatively few that I’d actually recommend. For the past several months, I’ve found eight products I specifically liked, and on the following pages, I’ll run through them.

Here are eight new pieces of exercise equipment that I found useful for improving my workouts.

*Disclosure: All of these products were provided to the author, free of charge, by their manufacturers. The author received many samples to try from numerous companies, and this list is in no way comprehensive. These are the products that I tried, liked, and am subsequently recommending.

1. StrongBoard Balance Board

The StrongBoard in its natural environment

The StrongBoard in its natural environment | Sam Becker/Health & Fitness Cheat Sheet

If I had to choose a favorite, this would be it. The StrongBoard Balance Board was something I was skeptical about until I started implementing it into my routine. At first, I had a hard time staying on. After a while, I was able to do squats and bring dumbbells on to do different exercises. Given what we know about the importance of balance training, it’s worth a shot.

Check out all of the options available from StrongBalance.

2. Triggerpoint Core Roller

The foam roller, fresh from the package

The foam roller, fresh from the package | Sam Becker/Health & Fitness Cheat Sheet

I wasn’t convinced of the merits of foam rolling — but after giving it an honest try, I have to say it’s become a post-workout ritual. The Triggerpoint Core Roller was what helped me convert. It’s tough, durable, and is built with coils and raised surfaces to really dig into your muscles. Specifically, I found it to be particularly helpful a day or so after doing strenuous leg workouts.

Check it out at the Triggerpoint website.

3. Onyx wearable communicator


The Onyx badge, brand new in the package

The Onyx badge, brand new in the package | Sam Becker/Health & Fitness Cheat Sheet

This new Bluetooth-connected communication device from Orion Labs is very cool. Essentially, the Onyx badge is a walkie-talkie. It uses your phone to establish a connection and works just like those old Nextel walkie-talkies. Give one to a friend or workout buddy, so time or distance can separate you. I used it to go camping and found it was helpful when hiking or running in groups.

It may or may not be useful for you, but even if you just want to use it to keep in touch with your spouse (or a best friend) without burning through texts or cell minutes, it’s a great product.

Check out the Onyx from Orion Labs.

4. Harbinger weight lifting belt

weight lifting Harbinger lifting belt, newly arrived

Harbinger lifting belt, newly arrived | Sam Becker/Health & Fitness Cheat Sheet

If you lift, it really doesn’t get much more simple or essential than a lifting belt. Having last used a belt like this in high school, I didn’t know how much of a difference a quality product can make. Harbinger makes a great one. If you need or want to try out a belt, I’d suggest this one.

Get a Harbinger lifting belt here.

5. LifeTrak Bluetooth heart rate monitor


My first trip outside with the LifeTrak watch

My first trip outside with the LifeTrak watch | Sam Becker/Health & Fitness Cheat Sheet

In a world rife with smartwatches, Fitbits, and all other types of fitness trackers, I found the LifeTrak Zone R420 to be a simple and welcome addition to my slate of fitness equipment. It’s basically a Bluetooth-connected heart rate monitor (and sleep tracker). If you want an affordable, simple device to help track your efforts, this is it. It won’t alert you of texts or emails to allow you to focus on what you’re doing. LifeTrak makes several models, but the R420 did the job for me.

Oh, and you don’t need to charge it.

See what LifeTrak has to offer.

6. Perfect Fitness Bands Kit

The bands in the box

The bands in the box | Sam Becker/Health & Fitness Cheat Sheet

If you’re a traveler, you’d find the Perfect Fitness Bands Kit invaluable. If you don’t have access to dumbbells or barbells, these can come in handy in hotel rooms or an Airbnb rental. They’re not ideal replacements, of course, but they’re easy to pack in a bag and can be used in a pinch.

The Perfect Fitness Bands Kit is available here.

7. Rolflex muscle roller

My own Rolflex unit

My own Rolflex unit | Sam Becker/Hralth & Fitness Cheat Sheet

Admittedly, this was the one product that took a while to win me over. The Rolflex looks weird, and it gathered dust for a while before I actually gave it a shot. But as strange as it looks, it’s actually very useful to relax and roll out your muscles. Not convinced? I wasn’t either. But after using it for a while, I became a fan.

Check out the Rolflex from Range of Motion Products at https://irolflex.com.

8. Perfect Fitness AbCarver Pro

The AbCarver in the box

The AbCarver in the box | Sam Becker/Health & Fitness Cheat Sheet

I’m not a fan of ab-focused workouts or products. The simple fact is you’re not going to get abs like Channing Tatum by doing a million sit-ups — you’ll need to lose body fat to do it. For that reason, I didn’t know what to think of the Perfect Fitness AbCarver Pro. But I started adding it to my routine and was pleasantly surprised. It’s actually fun to use, and though I still don’t have a six-pack, I can definitely feel it the day after use.

The AbCarver Pro is available from Perfect Fitness.

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