on April 12, 2009
I was a little leery of making this purchase. Normally, products that seem too simple for too reasonable of a price just never end up satisfying in the way you hope (e.g. The Dodge Neon, anything on Jack in the Box's value menu, my two years at DeVry). But this? Oh. Oh, my faith has been restored in cheap American products.
Because, you see, kids. This is a WELL ENGINEERED cheap American product. Yes, a rarity. I was worried that it would be difficult to assemble. I was worried that it wouldn't really hang from my door frame. I was worried that it would break under my underwhelming 155lbs. I was worried the Utah Jazz wouldn't be able to gear up and start winning road games as the playoffs grew nigh.
I mostly worried for naught.
I assembled the Iron Gym Extreme in about 15 minutes. Probably could have done so a lot more quickly, but I was distracted by Boston Legal on DVD, and by gunning my power ratchet wrench at my cat to stop her from playing in the packing materials.
(Note: You do NOT need your own tools to assemble this product. It comes with a little tool. But you can speed up the process with your own tools. You should have your own tools anyway, you know? Be a man.)
Once you assemble the Iron Gym Extreme, you'll need to pick a doorway. It seemed to fit all my doorways perfectly, but I have heard word of older houses having issues. You will need to insert a small metal wedge into the top of your doorjamb. This helps to secure the device and make sure it doesn't fall on anyone's head. It's not as scary as it sounds, you just kinda shove the thing behind the wood. Then you kinda wiggle it and say "Will that hold it?" Then a few minutes later you say "Gol-darn, it WILL hold it. Ain't that somethin'." Should any friends be standing nearby, this would be an excellent time to exchange high-fives.
I then chin-upped. Well, I tried. God as my witness I had no idea I was such a puss. I had like no upper-body strength. I'm pretty sure I heard my cat laughing at me somewhere down the hall behind me, but the blood was thumping in my ears so I can't be sure. But the bar sure worked!
I didn't give up and kept at the bar. Now, no, several weeks later I'm nowhere close to entering any Ultimate Fighting Competitions or anything, but I can do buttloads of reps now, and my cat has stopped mocking me.
This product has been excellent. Buy with confidence.
The Utah Jazz, however, appear to be headed towards a first-round sweep at the hands of the L.A. Lakers.
on January 8, 2010
Product works, and is strong enough for a 100kg person, but it damages the door frame.
Product has changed through time, mine came with a metal block not a plastic one (probably since the plastic ones were breaking) and knurled handles for the pushups. Pushups and dips are WORTHLESS on this, they should never have compromised it to suit those purposes. The knurled plastic pushup handles are the same parts of the device that apply pressure to the doorframe - the ridges indent into the wood. Probably this can be fixed by slipping a piece of thin wood between the device and the doorframe, but it is an unnecessary complication and the damage is done.
The bolts I received, instead of 8 of the big kind and 2 of the flatheads, I got 10 of the big kind, rounded head bolts .... the two bolts that were meant ot be flathead, well the roundhead went through the wall, denting the soft wall above the frame. I have fixed this by sliding a thin piece of wood between the bar and the wall, and I put a piece of paper between the bolthead and wall and the paper was undamaged so it is not touching the wall anymore. BUT COME ON! Stupid bolts. Wish I had noticed first, I had even read a review by someone else and missed that point.
If it does not fit your door, you are stuffed. So, here are the elusive measurements that I could not find anywhere. Tags for poor customers searching the internet are here
iron gym deluxe extreme measurements dimensions width door size
Width of support bar on top of door: 45.5cm total width, 34cm between the connecting bars
Width between the ends of the bars that will destroy your doorframe if your doorframe space is not at least this wide: 73cm
Width your doorframe should be as a minimum to allow the "padded" (that is, knurled destructor bits) ends to be on the frame: 81.5cm
Max width of the device: 105cm
Now I have only given it 1 star because the door damage infuriates me, it is unnecessary. Also I don't like reading the instructions where the first step is "with an electric drill, drill 8 holes in the wall to mount the two brackets that will hold the device, with 4 screws each". It does not need these mounting brackets, but annoying they would even suggest such a thing - the whole point of it is to NOT damage the wall.
One more gripe - they should have made the main bar solid, not two-piece. It was designed two-piece to minimise packaging, and then, they made a mess of the packaging so it is still quite large. I know it is cheaper to have a package that is shorter and wide, but I would have paid more for one that is long and narrow, with a solid bar. That would make it a rock solid product. Alas, it is a bit wobbly and creaky.
Is it a good product otherwise? Apart from door/wall damage and creaky construction, problems that can be fixed, yes it is good. I give it 1 star because I am so annoyed. Fix the door damage problems and I would give it 4 stars. Solid bar, I would give it 5 stars and pay 20% more for it.
Good handle positions. Great variety of pullups and chinups etc... although, not stable or strong enough to climb around on it like a monkey, jumping from grip to grip, turning upside down. You could do all this, it won't break or fall off (unless you start jumping up or swinging wildly). For steady, controlled work, it is fine.
Too low? Need to bend knees? This really isn't a problem, and is probably safer because you will fall a shorter distance if it breaks :) seriously though, the height is not a problem. In fact if you have a low ceiling the lower height bar is probably a bonus.
Note that when you go up, your head generally goes between the handles, which is good. Better than hitting your head on a bar, anyway.
So if you want to get it, please check the measurements, investigate the screws and reinforce the doorframe with thin wood to protect it. If you do all that, it can be a good device.
If you like this review please hit the button so more people notice it - my ramblings are not worth much but the measurements I think are essential for everyone to see. I searched for days and only found one reference to any measurements.
on April 3, 2009
Depending on the size of your door frame the rating can be anywhere from 1-5 stars. The assembly is pretty straight forward (the instructions weren't very good, but you really just need to look at the picture and put the pieces in the correct place). It's a solid piece of equipment and the quality seems good. Here's the problem: it says that this will fit any door frame from 24" to 32". What I discovered is that the ends of the 'U' shaped pieces stick out past the bar that is supposed to rest against the molding. This makes the rubber protective sleeves useless since they are not touching the molding. If your door frame is less than 31" then you will want to find another product. If your frame is 31" to 33" then this would be great. My door frame is 28.5" and I'm having to place towels between the molding and the metal ends so I don't gouge the wood. If I could make another purchase I would buy one with a simpler grip system that actually made use of the foam/rubber padding. Also, you don't need to mount this piece to your wall. It works just fine without the wall mount.
on January 30, 2010
that this thing is not adjustable at all. You wall needs to be ~5.5" thick, otherwise you'll have troubles using this bar. I had to modify this this, installing additional wooden bar (~1.5" thick) on top of that black plastic one (had to use longer screws). My wall is 4" thick and without modification thing kept slipping off my doorframe and I even fell couple times.
on February 6, 2009
I've used this with the P90X program for three weeks now and have had zero problems. I'm about 200 pounds and have never felt unsafe on it. No hardware needed to attach it, easy to assemble, sturdy materials, and comfortable grips. Definitely the best choice for me in Jan 09.
The only downside is a slight mark from the black foam on my white door frame. It's very slight but if you have a spouse that cares about that and is tall enough to notice it, you may need to wrap it with some fabric.
on September 16, 2009
Like many of the respondents, I looked around at a number of different pull-up bar options before purchasing the Iron Gym Extreme. I really had two major questions in my mind:
1) Should I get a basic bar, or a more complex (Extreme) bar? The simple answer is to ask yourself what you will be doing with it. The Extreme bar is the same quality, and has many of the same features, as the basic bar, with one important difference: grip variety. Not only does the Extreme version have additional, wider tri handles, but it also has wide lat handles, which I would argue give the best workout. Plus, the bar places you farther away from the door for some of the exercises, which helps for comfort and range of motion. If those are not important, I see no reason to not buy a basic model, but for the relatively small additional cost, I think you get more options, and better fitness benefit.
2)Should I get this, or a more expensive bar? I can't attest to the other bars out there. I wanted to do P90X with it, and, well, they have their own bar. Is it any lighter, stronger, or more durable? Who knows, but the Iron Gym Extreme is well built and does everything I need it to do for much less cost. For all intents and purposes the two (and others) have the same look, feel and features, so unless there is compelling reason, why pay more? Like a lot of things in life, it's nice to have "matching" items, but with this, there is no need. Use the extra cash to go buy some more protein shakes or something.
With the decision made, here are my general comments on the bar:
1) Assembly: Pretty easy. It came fully wrapped for protection, and all of the pieces fit together perfectly. The manual was essentially a diagram, but it was easy to follow. It even came with a little spanner tool to tighten the nuts and bolts, although I would probably recommend a proper tool to tighten it fully.
2) Build/contruction: Very good. Lightweight steel with a high quality painted grey finish. The nuts, bolts and washers are a bit lighter than I would have expected, but they appear to be strong enough for the job.
3) Set-up: Really easy. There is a small metal door wedge that slides between the wall and trim to keep the bar on the top of the door frame. While the wedge doesn't appear capable of resisting much force when applied, it doesn't need to, as it firmly does its job of keeping the bar on the frame.
4) Grips: Standard foam, but quite comfortable.
5) Weigh-bearing/noise: I am about 175lbs, and the whole bar feels really sturdy under my weight. There is no visible flexing of the bar when in use, and the only noise is from the slight rubbing of the foam pads against the frame when initially bearing the weight on the bar due to initial flexing. It is not at all concerning to me (it's simply physics), and there appears to be no strain on the door frame, wall or joists.
6) Frame padding/marking: Some respondents seem to get scuff marks on their frames and walls, some do not. Personally, I have not seen any with a few weeks of use, but I expect that when the foam breaks down a bit with the friction that I may see some in the future. However, tape a piece of paper to the frame and you have solved the problem.
7) Other uses: I'm not about to do dips with it, but the handles are very useful for push-ups (similar to push-up handles, which cause less wrist strain and give a better range of motion), and I could see the benefit for securing the feet for sit-ups.
With that being said, here are some of the reasons I did not give it a full 5 stars:
1) The ab straps are not included. I knew this going in, and they are "free" with mail-in insert (can't order online, which is odd), but at $8 for shipping, you might as well buy from the store at $10 and get them instantly. Honestly, they should just be included in the packaging.
2) The bar is designed for a maximum 32" doorway. At 34", it will still straddle the doorway with about 1" overlap on each side of the frame, but I wouldn't want to try using it. Again, I knew this going in, and I found another doorway that worked, but the extender bar is $10, plus $8 shipping. Really? Couldn't it come with a longer bar to begin with? Most wheelchair accessible doors are 34", and therefore the bar won't really work with that door width right out of the box.
3) No wall chart or DVD (without paying more money to Iron Gym and waiting for the mail). Personally, I don't need them, but for those without much experience, I feel it's important to be taught correct technique and variety of exercise. For pennies per package, Iron Gym could have provided a great deal more product.
So, full marks for performance and "bang for the buck." If Iron Gym weren't so cheap on the accessories and modifications, it would be the perfect package. Most importantly, I am seeing results, and I was in very good shape to begin with. Unlike a lot of equipment that gets used for a while, then collects dust and eventually ends up in a garage sale or in the dump, I believe this bar will have a good useful life with most people.
I love this workout bar!
I unpacked the contents (which were very well packed, no chance of any damage in transit) and laid it all out on my living room couch. Sat down on the couch next to the pile of parts, and had it put together completely in 10 minutes. I'd recommend installing all of the bolts loosely at first, and once the entire thing is put together, tighten everything at once. This will minimize the likelihood of installing anything wrong and keep all the components straight.
The instructions show nothing more than an exploded diagram of the bar, but that's really all you need. All you're doing is bolting one bar to another bar, and most of the bolts are the same size, so there's absolutely no need for any more complicated instructions. It even comes with a wrench, so you won't need to search for one that's the right size.
So when you're done, you have the workout bar, and a little metal sliver that you slide onto the door frame as a safety piece - it would hold the workout bar on the frame if it were about to slide off. Which it won't do, by the way. At least not on my frame.
It's extremely solid once placed on the frame. No flex, no creaking wood or shifty metal parts. The workout bar and the door frame feel like they are now all part of the same single piece. But all you have to do is lift a couple of inches and the bar comes clean off the door frame. Nice.
I like having all of the hand position options. I don't feel like they left anything out. And I like using it for push-ups too. Sometimes my left wrist gets a little wonky and I can't keep it in that hand-perpendicular-to-the-arm position without some pretty serious pain, so this is great because I can just grip one of the bars with each hand instead of using the ground.
So far I haven't tried using it for anything else, so I'm not sure how it performs in those scenarios. I'll update the review if and when I try them out.
At any rate, if you're in the market for one of these workout bars, just splurge a little and get this one instead of the basic model. You'll get enough use out of the extra hand positions that it'll be worth it in the long run.
One last thing that may seem obvious but warrants a quick mention anyway -- of course, you won't be able to install this any old way. The bars can't be on the side of the frame that the door is hinged to, because the door will get in the way. It also won't fit if the door frame is really close to the corner of a wall. So keep that in mind when deciding where you'll want to put it. Turns out the designer of my home had a real knack for putting door frames in corners, so I ended up with only one feasible option out of nearly a dozen.
on October 20, 2009
I am a scientist by trade but a rock climber at heart. Weekends are for going to the crag and rocking out with some of the hardest men and women in the world, though realistically, I'm more their mascot/dedicated belayer than their peer. Ahem, with that said... Most good climbers will tell you, "Oh don't climb with your arms. Use your legs and balance!" but guess what? Most good climbers can also rip off about 30-40 one-finger pull-ups after telling you that and then go flash their six-packs at the hot babes (or hot boys, for all the sexy lady climbers out there). I already do tons of weight training and plastic wall climbing at the gym, but I figure having this around to do a more climber-specific abs/back workout would be nice. How did my investment pay off? Well, let's see.
The contraption, which is rather bulky and voluminous when fully assembled, is surprisingly compact when broken apart. Assembly is a complete no-brainer. I'm a scientist but definitely not a mechanic: if it's not a simulation on the computer, it's probably too complicated for me, but this was not the case here. It took about ten minutes for me to sort out the parts and then assemble the whole thing using the schematic (no instructions, just a picture, like with your old Legos) and the the handy mini-tool provided.
Okay LET'S DO THIS THING. My doorway is just about the right size, and yes, you'll need solid molding above the the doorframe to do make this happen. If your frame is too wide, the bar cannot be mounted, as a good percent of your load is dissipated via the side grips, not the topmost plastic piece that sits on the doorframe. I weigh close to 200 lbs, and have not had any problems with failure, either of the bar itself or the doorframe.
For the actual workout: I like to mix up sets of wide, normal, narrow, and super narrow grips to simulate the different situations I might run into out at the local crag and the Iron Gym is more than accommodating, with narrow, medium, and wide grips as well as side grips for shifting more load to shoulders and biceps and away from lats. Really the only thing that is missing is the super narrow grip where your hands are touching, but that's a result of the bar design (the main bar is actually two bars that you screw together in the middle) and isn't a problem if you don't mind your hands rubbing on the metal. I use my lifting goves and it's no problem at all.
Now then, sounds spectacular, right? Well, not quite. Here's why it gets 4 stars and not 5. The foam padding isn't very rugged at all, and while the parts that you hold onto are probably going to last for a while, the two pads that grind against the doorframe probably will not. Mine tore after two weeks. I do about 20-30 reps a day, so it was only a few hundred reps total. I'm also quite careful not to swing or kick or whatever else it is people do to wriggle their way up, so it's not like I'm slamming it against the wall or anything. I noticed the problem when I took it down after using it one day and saw that the doorframe was chipped pretty badly where the pads go. Examination revealed that the pads had torn and the metal underneath was covered with white paint from my walls. A thicker pad might have helped, but these folks used the same stuff they make all the other padding out of. Cheaper for them, painful for my walls.
The other beef I have with them is, and this is probably less of a practical issue but definitely a matter of principle, that this is a pull-up bar and not much else. Why are they calling it a whole gym? I have the ab straps, which you can use to do a pretty decent ab workout, but really, that's about it. Those sit-ups, push-ups, and dips they advertise are more like "Hey let's put our invention on the floor and see if it looks like anything!" Situps just means you're putting the bar on the floor of the doorway and hooking your feet under it, while dips and pushups are just you putting your hands on the bar instead of the floor. These are things you can do with any block of metal you find in the garage and represent nothing more than their marketing division getting way more creative than they ought to be. I wouldn't have bothered mentioning this part, but I've seen way too many people go on and on about how "this is SOOOO much better than going to the gym" when it really isn't. This thing in no way replaces exercises like shoulder press, benchpress, dumbbell fly, cable crossover, etc. This is dishonest marketing that will hinder their customers' progress. Oh, but they did try to compensate by offering up a rather useless pile of nutrition advice. It was cute, but nothing new or helpful.
It was actually around this time that I noticed the company's name. With all this marketing, it's no wonder you can't spell Pro-Fit without P-R-O-F-I-T. Come on guys. You made a very clever pull-up bar. You're selling a decent product at a fair price. Leave it at that. Also, WTF is up with the oiled men working out shirtless in the ads on TV and print. Who are you trying to impress anyway? The only people watching are other men.
So there you have it. Good engineering, bad marketing. I guess it's better that than the other way around, which would have been an instant one-star. Take it for what it is: a decent, nicely-designed pull-up bar and nothing else.
on March 31, 2011
Many reviewers mention that this product won't fit due to their doorways being too wide. I have the opposite problem; my doors are too close to the corner, meaning that this product is too wide to fit the door. Be warned, even removing the optional wide-angle pull-up handles, this product's minimum width is 37 inches, and many homes where space is at a premium have halls too narrow or doors too close to a corner to accommodate this product. -2 stars for having no dimensions listed on the package, -2 stars for having no information online or anywhere else.
on December 2, 2010
The big question when deciding to buy the Iron Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar - Extreme Edition is...what will it do for you? Well buy this piece of equipment if you want to strengthen your upper body and stomach muscles. More specifically, you will be able to work your biceps (front of arms), triceps (back of arms), latissimus dorsi (the back muscle that give you that V-shape), pectorals (chest muscles), and abdominals (stomach muscles). Note I would not expect this piece of equipment to work any of your leg muscles- if used conventionally. Of course there's a lot of accessory muscles that might get a little workout too, such as your forearm muscles, because you're gripping a lot, and parts of your shoulder, but the major muscles that will get worked the most are listed above.
So how do you use it? You do a lot of the exercises hanging. Therefore, if you're not into hanging on to things to get your exercise in, skip this piece of equipment entirely. The first big exercise you can do on it is the chin-up, where you're pulling yourself up to the bar and then lowering. This will work you biceps and lats the most. BTW, chin-up, pull-up, they're both the same.
You can vary the grip, more so with the extreme edition. Know that using a palms up grip is best when doing chin-ups, simply because you'll be putting your biceps muscle in its most mechanically efficient position to contract- and so you'll able to pull up more times than if you used, say, a palms-down grip. Try it- you won't be able to do as many chins with your palms down, or in a middle position either for that matter. In fact, the palms down grip will work your biceps a lot less, so if you want bigger biceps, use a palms up grip! Switch grips for variety if you must- I'm just sayin' what's more productive and what works what the best...
The next big exercise is the dip. The dip will work your triceps and your chest muscles the most. Your front deltoid will get a fair workout as well. However, because the exercise is called a "dip", and setting this thing on the floor to do dips doesn't allow you to "dip" down very far, don't expect to get much of a workout doing a dip with the Iron Gym.
Next is the push up. You put the bar on the floor and do push-ups with it- which will work the triceps, as well as the chest. This is a good, productive exercise, and the Iron Gym makes it harder than a regular floor push-up- simply because you are up off the floor and can lower yourself lower- which gives you more range of motion, a good chest stretch, in addition to making the push-ups harder.
Lastly is the sit-ups. You can put this bar on the floor to anchor your feet to help stabilize your body better to do a sit-up. Contrary to popular belief, if you are doing a sit-up with maximal effort (i.e. doing them until you can't do another one), EMG studies have conclusively shown that your ENTIRE ab muscle is contracting. Sooo, know that you're not working the "upper abs" more than the "lower abs" when using this device to do a sit-up- rather your whole abdominal rectus muscle is contracting at once and getting worked and stronger.
Okay, so those are the major exercises you can do, although I guess you could pick it up and make up a few of your own moves if you wanted to. A few details. Some people have had trouble with this thing fitting in their doorway. My advice is to just try it- if it doesn't work, ship it back to Amazon for a refund and call it a day. If you're so inclined, look at some of the other reviews that have given precise dimensions, get out your protractor, and measure away to be sure it will fit. For me that's just way too much work...
Will this get you stronger? Absolutely- but only so much (which might be enough depending on your fitness goals). Anyone reading the strength training research knows that once you can do more than around 20 reps or so of an exercise in a row, you're going to be building muscle ENDURANCE more than muscle STRENGTH. That's the major beef I have with these kinds of pieces of exercise equipment- there's no way to "easily" make the exercise harder over time as you get stronger and the exercise becomes easier. And if you can't make the exercise progressively harder, the muscle isn't stimulated to get bigger and stronger as time goes on which means you will reach a point where you're simply maintaining - unlike exercise machines with a weight stack that enable you to gradually increase the weight to constantly challenge the muscle. Trust me, the guy in the YouTube Iron Gym video didn't get arms like that by just doing chin after chin using just his own body weight. Perhaps he had a small child grab his legs as he did the chins, or had his girlfriend sit on his back as he did pushups...
Overall this is not a bad piece of equipment, you just have to know its limitations- like how strong it can get you, and what muscles it works.
A few tips. If you can't pull yourself up and do a single chin-up (have your wife or girlfriend try one for fun), just use a chair to stand on to get you to the top position, and then slowly lower yourself to the floor while hanging on to the bar- then repeat until you can't do any more. You'll find that after a week or two of doing chins like this (just the lowering part), you'll soon be able to do a full regular chin-up where you can pull yourself up to the top position no problem. This works because you're about 50% stronger lowering something than you are lifting it. Exercisers who want bigger arms might also be interested in Smokin' Hot Guns!!: How an Average Guy Can Get Big, Muscular Arms In One Workout A Week. Stay fit.