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Equipment Outfitting a serious gym. Vendors & suppliers. Devices & equipment

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Old 08-18-2005, 09:46 AM   #1
Jason Billows
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I'm outfitting my home gym and am trying to decide where my money is best spent. Are bumpers really all that valuable? If I have a bar and plates will they not work just fine?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but bumpers seem to just add the ability to drop them from height. Is lowering a regular bar and plates going to affect my workouts?
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Old 08-18-2005, 09:50 AM   #2
Allen Yeh
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I would think that being able to "bail out" safely is a very good idea since if you happen to fail on a lift you might not be able to lower it slowly.

Also depending on where in your home you are working out I would think that dropping a 135 lbs of regular plates will screw up your flooring a lot more than 135 lbs with bumper plates.

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Old 08-18-2005, 10:41 AM   #3
Michael Keller
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Jason, they're important, but you can survive without them for a while. I haven't got any yet--though I will, and I've been doing CrossFit for a while. If you get some horse stall mats they will suffice as long as you don't drop the weights from high up. Bumpers do allow you to bail out safely, which is a necessity doing the O-lifts, but you can modify your workout until you get them.
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Old 08-18-2005, 12:03 PM   #4
Mark Roughton
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The safety factor of being able to bail on a bad lift is very important.

As a beginner with these lifts, I'd like to offer a couple thoughts. I've been getting some instruction in the olympic lifts for the last few months. My instructor is always hollering at me to drop the weights instead of lowering them slowly. I'm an old dog, and these are new tricks. I'm coming around, though.

Lowering the weight slowly changes the mechanics of the whole thing. A good snatch and a good c&j are fast, explosive movements. Lowering the weights slowly is the exact opposite of what you're trying to learn. It's a big waste of energy, for one thing, but also, unless you're lowering the weights very carefully, your body mechanics are all wrong. There may be some value in the negative movement of a concentration curl, but with the olympic lifts, think about it: unless you're very disciplined, when you lower a weight from hip level, nine times out of ten you're probably gonna bend at the middle to do it, probably with straight legs, instead of doing a "reverse pull" down into your starting position. You wind up applying the braking action with your lower back and hamstrings, maybe your shoulders a little, too. I'd venture to guess that more people hurt themselves on poorly performed lowering movements than they do on the lifting portion.

You have to learn how to do (at least) two distinctly dfferent kinds of drops. One is the bail-out on a bad lift. The quicker you learn to do that, from the beginning, the safer you'll be. The other is the controlled drop from a successful lift. 40 kilos bounces pretty wildly when you drop it. 80 kilos doesn't. Much. But you still have to guide it down. (Dreschler's Weightlifting Encyclopedia has a small section devoted to safely lowering the weight. Might be worth a look.)

To answer your question more directly, I'd say it depends. If you really want to learn how to do the o-lifts right, and you're just starting out, get the bumpers and practice dropping them. If you just want move a bunch of weight, get whatever. Personally, I'd recommend starting with a good bar and a pair of bumpers you can afford, instead of "saving" money on a 300-lb discount store set of iron that you'll wind up selling at a garage sale anyway. (That's where mine are going.)

:-)
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Old 08-18-2005, 01:38 PM   #5
Jason Billows
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Thanks for the input guys.

Since I'm just recovering from back problems I think I'll avoid trying to lower the weight. Thanks for your thoughts on that Mark.

However, I checked out prices and I think I'll have to hold off on ordering bumpers for a while. I guess I'll focus on other movements and modify the WODs as needed.

Thanks again.
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Old 08-18-2005, 02:05 PM   #6
Mark Roughton
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Whoa, don't let me talk you out of trying to learn the movements just because you don't have bumpers yet...you can learn a lot with a pvc pipe, a broomstick, a breaker bar, an empty o-bar, even light weights. I'm just saying you don't want to go real heavy (anything that'll strain your back if you can't drop it) until you've got equipment you can drop. In the meantime, by all means, learn the movements!
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Old 08-18-2005, 02:22 PM   #7
Alex McClung
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Jason,

I take my iron plates outside and flail, bail, and drop shamelessly. Cheap alternative to bumpers if you don't mind the weather.
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Old 08-18-2005, 03:24 PM   #8
Grady McDonald
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Bumpers are like flying first class. You don't NEED them to get to where you want to go, but when you do it, it's worth every penny and it's a hell of alot more fun. When you fly first class and then next week you have to go back to coach, you're like "this sucks". Bumpers are like kettlebells, you will only buy them once, and you will use them as long as you still have lead in your pencil. IMO, they are the most important piece of gear for your home gym.
BFS has an OUTSTANDING sale going right now.
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Old 08-19-2005, 04:53 AM   #9
Larry Lindenman
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Grady, true, true, awesome post, funny avitar too!
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Old 08-20-2005, 07:19 PM   #10
Tony Budding
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I agree with Grady, but would take it a step further. I'd say bumpers are like flying Virgin and metal plates are like taking Greyhound. They are a significant investment but one of the best things you can do for your athletic endeavors.
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