Company - Iron Gym
Product - Iron Gym Pull Up Bar
Summary - A simple pull up bar allowing you to develop your upper body at home
Price - RRP £29.99, can be bought from Amazon & other sellers for £19 or less
Main Website - http://www.irongym-europe.com/products/the-original-iron-gymtm-27.html
Buy From - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Iron-Total-Gym-Upper-Workout/dp/B002GHBRWA
Company & Product Information
Iron Gym is the creator of the Original Iron Gym pull up bar. Based in Finland, they produce a range of fitness equipment including the iron gym, "speed abs" a simple ab roller and "the original push up max" which is a set of rotating plates from which you can complete push ups (if of course you're not happy with making use of the floor!).
The key with their products, and particularly the Iron Gym, is their simplicity. The Iron Gym, though the term "gym" is used very generously, is a pull up bar which is fairly secure, easily to assemble and put up / taken down in seconds.
The Iron Gym Pull Up Bar
With regards to putting it on your door frame, this can be done in seconds, with the rear of top of the product having a plastic piece which sits easily on the top of a door frame, meaning the product is supported and secure when placed in a door frame using the weight of your body as can be seen via the picture on the right.
First, I'll talk through what's great about the product, before stating the exaggerated claims the marketing department has made, in addition to letting you know some extra problems worth bearing in mind.
Not only is it easy to assemble (it took me less than 10 minutes to take it from pieces in a box to a fully functioning pull up bar), it's also super easy to attach to your door-frame and go, from the product arriving at your door, you could easily have completed a full pull up workout 30 minutes later.
These are just scratching the surface with regards to the full range of pull up varieties you could realistically do.
You could, for example, choose to do a pull up (wide grip) with a pronated grip (palms facing away), a supinated grip (palms facing you), or a mixture of the two. Additionally you could complete a chin up (narrow grip) with either grip.
You could even get really fancy and start to mix grips once you're more confident, eventually resembling something similar to some exotic calisthenics movements, whilst developing a back and biceps more powerful than a silver-back gorilla.
Whilst sometimes seen as a badge of honor for lifting heavy, it doesn't look pretty, neither will it impress your boss when he thinks he's gripping a rubbery hand of scar tissue during a handshake.
- Regular push up (grip on wide sections of the horizontal bar)
- Circular push ups (lowering your body in a circular motion, down towards one wrist then up on the other side)
- Neutral grip push ups (palms facing each other)
- Close grip push ups (grip on narrow section of the horizontal bar)
When you're confident, play around with different grip styles and lowering your body in different fashions.
By moving onto 1 handed press ups you'll also develop fantastic tricep and chest strength to complement your well developed back and biceps. Though of course, you don't need any equipment to do push ups if you'd rather use the floor!
Where the Product Doesn't Deliver
First it's worth dissecting the claims made by the marketing department, when buying the product I expected a product that would be able to give me a full upper body workout and build a great and balanced physique.
Personally, this is where I feel the product fails to deliver, the adverts and the box claim you can do 5 exercises:
- Pull Ups
- Chin Ups
- Sit Ups
- Push Ups
Even if you place the iron gym on a box, the curve of the product means you're likely to have the product get in the way of the full range of the exercise.
If you are wishing to build up some extra arm muscle using the iron gym (bearing in mind triceps account for two thirds of the muscle on your upper arm) then forget what the instructions tell you and stick to close grip push ups, placing your hands on the centre section of the horizontal bar.
This will give you much better tricep development than doing tricep dips with 30% of the usual range of motion.
In addition to this, whilst they wear away, they leave black marks on your door-frame, in my last house that I rented, using the iron gym for a year or so, the black marks were such that it looked like I'd rubbed coal against the wall.
I've recently moved to a new apartment, and after just a few pull ups during the week, black marks are beginning to show on a new door-frame. See below for pictures of both.
One genius idea that my housemate uses is to wrap two small towels around the ends of the pull up bar, this way the bar stays firmly in place but without any of the unsightly black marks on your door-frame.
Overtime, this may result in a weakening of the screws and potentially the collapsing of the bar, leading to injury. Realistically, I would recommend something sturdier for anyone significantly above 90kg or 200lbs.
Finally, whether the box advertises itself as some sort of magical multi-gym, its main function is a pull up bar. So if you can't complete a pull up or chin up, this product loses most of it's functionality.
That being said, there's a range of ways you can build up your pull up strength towards a full pull up.
One method is negative reps, i.e. jumping towards the top of the pull up and trying to lower your body down slowly.
A second method is by keeping one leg on a chair, this will support some of your body weight and help get your body used to, and stronger in, the movement pattern.
You'll need to consider this when completing an entire workout using the iron gym, making sure to do more reps on easier exercises to maintain a similar level of volume for different major muscle groups. Naturally you should be throwing in some squats for good measure too, there's no excuses for missing leg day!
If you're buying this bar to build up muscle, make sure you follow the 3 absolute essentials for muscle building and you're set to go.
There's also a few things to watch out for with this product, but with some simple adaptations such as wrapping the ends in a towel when placing on your door-frame and using a balanced workout plan, you can get a decent workout and built strength at home without the need for a gym membership.
Despite this product's simplicity, it works. Simple to set up, sturdy (providing you're not much more than 90kg!) and allows you to perform a range of exercises to build your upper body.
Want to see a full iron gym workout? Leave a comment below.