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Schwinn Airdyne vs. Concept 2 Rower – What is the Best Piece of Cardio Equipment?

Schwinn Airdyne vs. Concept 2 Rower

c2 rower versus airdyne schwinn

 Schwinn Airdyne vs. Concept 2 Rower

What is the best piece of cardio equipment for your gym, CrossFit box or home fitness facility?  Forget the elliptical, the Tony Little Gazelle, or your standard treadmill. These cardio machines, don’t hold a candle to these two main workhorses: The venerable Concept 2 Rower, and the Schwinn Airdyne.

There is no arguing the fact that virtually every CrossFit facility has Concept 2 Rower. But the lesser known workhorse that is seeing a groundswell of interest is the Schwinn Airdyne. Here is a quick breakdown comparing the two.

Concept 2 Rower. A human polygraph machine

Concept 2 Rower. A human polygraph machine

Size:

 The footprint of the C2 rower is very small when it is tilted up on its head while being stored, but when being used, these rowers are quite lengthy and require quite a bit of space. Get a few in a row and you can say goodbye to a fair chunk of your gym, each rower needs a space that is 9 x 4 feet (36 square feet). The Airdyne has a smaller footprint while being used (10 square feet approximately) 4 foot 10 inches by 2 feet 1 inch  L x W.  Airdyne is approximately 1/3 smaller for footprint. Theoretically you could have 6 airdynes in the space you could fit 2 rowers. Advantage: Airdyne

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Ease of Use: 

Teaching a new person how to row can be tricky, and there are even courses on how to refine your technique on the C2 rower. Even athletes sometimes have a tricky time grasping the concept of the pull, and separating the moves: Legs / Arms/ Back. People are continually trying to improve their rowing “technique”, and all the while their ability to work hard on the rower and the ability to generate power is hampered. On the Airdyne the only thing you need to really focus on is getting the seat high set correctly and then basically you are just asking them to pedal and push and pull… Lesson over. Within a few short minutes, someone can auger themselves right into the ground with an Airdyne.

Advantage: Airdyne

A bacon powered morning rowing effort

A bacon powered morning rowing effort

Cost

The price of a brand new C2 rower is anywhere from $850 to $1200. There are some used ones if you check Craigslist, but they get snapped up pretty quickly by CrossFitters. On the other hand you may come across an Airdyne at a garage sale. They have been around for over 30 years and come up quite frequently on Craigslist or Kijiji. I picked up mine or $150 and a buddy picked one up last week for $30. Typically a used one can be anywhere from $150-400. New airdynes range from $300-$1100 depending on the model. Lots of these beauties are still kicking around, but with the increasing popularity of Airdynes in MMA facilities and CrossFit boxes you have to be quick to snap them up.

 

Advantage : Airdyne

Effectiveness

Both of these machines are fantastic because of the fact that the work on them can be quantified on the monitor. Essentially both the C2 and the Airdyne are human polygraph machines where you can’t hide or go through the motions. On both you can really work hard, but the rower requires more skill and proper positioning to really be in a good position to generate power. The other downside of the rower is that effectively it is a “pulling machine” where you are also using your legs. The airdyne is a particularly effective device because of the fact that when your legs get tired you have to use more arms in a pushing & pulling motion. In terms of bang for your buck you can’t beat an Airdyne for warming up for your workout.

The versatility of the Airdyne can’t be matched by the C2 rower. Basically on a rower you can row, with some minor variations, on the Airdyne some people for very creative in using the handles and pedals in various positions to elicit a variety of exercise stimuli. With a C2 rower there is a bit of a rest on the catch, but on an Airdyne, it is all suck, all the time, there is no rest.  I know that I can row on a C2 for an hour, but the thought of spending an hour on the “dyne” is something that nightmares are made of. Remeber the movie “The Princess Bride”, in that movie I think this was the earliest model of the Airdyne.  Video

Advantage: Schwinn Airdyne

 

Fun Factor

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Certain newer models of the rower have the fish game on the monitor. It’s sort of fun, but not really useful for training.

Airdyne: there is nothing fun about the airdyne. Unless you can share the fun with friends. 

Just try it for a minute hard, and try to hang on. The current record for 1 minute at Mark’s Gym is 48 calories. I’m still working on beating it when I can summon the courage to try it again.  Also the seat on the Airdyne really doesn’t make it fun at all. Every cyclist knows that a fatter seat does not equal comfort. Learn how to change your Airdyne seat. 

Advantage : C2 rower

Durability

This one is a toss up. Concept 2 rowers have been around since the mid 1980’s and the Schwinn Airdynes have been manufactured for over 30 years with their designs remaining relatively unchanged. The warranty on the Airdynes is stellar for home use. Frame – 30 Years; Parts – 3 Years; Electronics – 3 Years; Labor – 1 Year; Wear Items – 1 Year.  Concept 2 is similar : Concept2 Model D and Model E Indoor Rowers are backed by a limited 2-year and 5-year warranty. I’ve used both extensively and have never had to replace parts on either, or had any problems with either of them.

Advantage: Tie C2 Rower / Airdyne 

 Schwinn Airdyne vs. Concept 2 Rower Conclusion

If you are serious about fitness then you will probably get both of these exercise tools. But if you had to pick just one, or space is an issue, then I’d say get a Schwinn Airdyne. This is a serious tool that can get you fit fast, the learning curve is low, and it works more muscles in different planes than a rower. Don’t just take my word, try it for yourself!

Click here for a list of Airdyne workouts

Click here for a good partner rowing workout

 Concept 2 Rower versus Schwinn Airdyne

CrossFit Skills Inventory

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So you are newish to CrossFit, and although your desire for improvement is insatiable, at some point you should take inventory of where you sit. After all not all of us are going to the CrossFit games, and really, not all of us want to. But how is your General Physical Preparedness. Here is a good measuring tool to figure out how you stack up and determine where you may have weaknesses.

A thanks to CrossFit Oahu. and CrossFit One WorldHere are the 32 skills and their standards:

  1. 5 reps- front squat (155/105). Crease of hip below parallel and full hip extension at top of squat.
  2. 5 reps- overhead squat (95/65). Crease of hip below parallel and full hip extension at top of squat.
  3. 5 reps deadlift (225/155). Full extension at top of lift and hands must stay on bar for all five reps.
  4. 5 reps- kettle bell swing (32kg/20kg). Arms must stay straight and ears must be in front of arms in overhead position.
  5. 3 reps- thruster (135/95). Crease of hip below parallel and ears in front of arms in overhead position.
  6. 15 reps- wall ball (20/14). Crease of hip below parallel. Ball must touch wall and go OVER the 10’ mark. Must catch ball on every rep. A drop of ball constitutes a failed attempt. 
  7. 5 reps- squat clean (135/95). Must catch bar in full squat position with crease of hip below parallel. Must stand to full hip extension with elbows in front of bar. Hands must stay on bar for all five reps.
  8. 5 reps- jerk (135/95). Ears in front of arms in locked out overhead position. Push jerk or split jerk.
  9. 3 reps- squat snatch (135/95). Must catch in squat position with crease of hip below parallel. Must stand to full hip extension. Must keep hands on bar for all three reps. You can keep attempting as long as you get three in a row and don’t let go of the bar.
  10. 3 reps (each arm)- one arm dumbbell snatch (50/35). Must catch in full squat with crease of hip below parallel. Dumbbell never touches ground during all six attempts.
  11. 5 reps- Dumbbell hang squat clean (50/25). Must catch in squat with crease of hip below parallel.
  12. 5 reps- press (95/65). Ears in front of arms in locked out overhead position.
  13. 5 reps- push press (135/95). Ears in front of arms in locked out overhead position.
  14. 5 reps- sumo deadlift high pull (95/65). Elbows above bar in high pull position.
  15. 15 reps- ball slam (20/12). Arms straight overhead in top position with ears in front of arms. Must catch ball on bounce while in squat position. Dropping ball constitutes a failed effort.
  16. 5 reps- bench press (BW/66% of BW)
  17. 10 reps- kipping pull-ups. Full extension of arms at bottom. Chin over bar at top.
  18. 5 reps- strict pull-ups. Full extension of arms at bottom. Chin over bar at top. 
  19. 1 ascent- rope climb 15’. Must start on with butt on ground. Using feet is okay.
  20. 3 reps L pull-up. Toes must be above hips at the start and end of pull-up. You can lower the legs at every rep, but toes must be above hip before you start pull-up motion.
  21. 3 reps- muscle-up. Must turn palms out at bottom prior to beginning movement. Must turn palms forward when over the rings before returning to start position. Must not come off the rings for all three reps.
  22. 25 reps- push-up. On count of judge. Down, hold, up, hold. Chest touches deck. Full extension of arms at top of push-up.
  23. 5 reps- slapping push-ups. Touch chest to deck, then both hands must touch the chest when at top of the pull-up. 
  24. 10 reps- bar dips. Shoulders below elbow at bottom position. Arms straight at top position.
  25. 5 reps- ring dips. Shoulders below elbows at bottom position. Must turn palms forward when over the rings at finish position.
  26. 5 reps- handstand push-ups. Forehead touches deck. At top position, head comes forward and ears are in front of arms.
  27. 10 reps- burpee. Chest touches deck. 6” jump.
  28. 10 reps- GHD sit-up. One hand touches ground at bottom position. One hand touches foot post at top position.
  29. 10 reps- kipping knees to elbows. Done on rings. Knees must go over the elbow. Arms must stay straight.
  30. 10 reps- rebounding box jumps 20”. Must jump as soon as feet touch the ground. Must get full hip extension jumping off box.
  31. 3 reps (each leg)- one leg squat. Butt must go to ankle depth. You leg extended cannot touch ground for all three reps.  
  32. 10 reps- double under. Self explanatory.

Please note that as the CrossFit world evolves and becomes more mainstream these standards may seem easy. CrossFit.com workouts will always get harder and 225 power cleans will be the old 185, and which subsequently was the old RX weight for power cleans at 135. The pointy end of the stick for which CrossFit programs increasingly gets further away from normal people. So remember this was originally posted in 2010.

The 5 W’s of a Garage Gym

example of garage gym

The 5 w’s of a Garage Gym

Who: the garage gym is for someone who is determined to make a difference in their life and wants to have the convenience of fitness at their finger tips. Perhaps its for someone who doesn’t have a lot of time, or works for home. Maybe a small family? The garage gym gives you the convenience of walking out of your house and into your little private pain cave.

What: The garage gym doesn’t have to be anything special. The greatest asset in your little fitness center is not fancy machines or equipment, it is space. There are tons of bodyweight workouts  and if you are starting back into getting into shape then those can be a really great place to start. The picture above is from our old garage gym and I can tell you that I didn’t need much more space than that to do most workouts.

Where: One of the cool things about a garage gym versus a basement gym is that itgarage gym collingwood allows you to get fresh air by opening the doors and it also gives you the versatility of being able to run or get outside and then come back into cover. This is why I feel that a garage gym is superior. If you want more space, then move the cars out of the driveway and you’ve got an extra 30 x 10 for neighbours to come over and do a circuit!

Why: Gym memberships can be expensive and if you have a decent understanding of training then a garage gym can keep you sharp. We made our garage gym, even though we had access to a really nice CrossFit facility. The problem was that it was 15 minutes away, and in the 30 minutes of travelling, most of our workouts including warm up and cool down could be done. It was a matter of convenience. The only problem with the convenience is that there are always things to do around the house that are distractions, so be sure to set aside dedicated time for yourself to get fit.

When: Early in the morning, you can get out for a quick session of squats push ups and sit ups, or as we found, after the kids went to bed, we were able to get away and enjoy a little couple time in the gym. Dropping weights had to be while the kids were away because the baby’s room was right above the garage, d’oh!  Scheduling a workout date with neighbours ensures greater compliance and more fun, so find a workout buddy and set up a date.

Recommended starting equipment

If you are getting started, you don’t need much, I think the biggest bang for your buck comes from these items, in no particular order.

1. Pull up bar

2. Adjustable dumbells

3. Skipping rope

4. Plyo Box 

Once you get these than you can look at the other good stuff like an olympic bar , kettlebells, or a TRX or gymnastic rings.

Google, garage gym, and you will find some great examples of what other people have done with a little space.

Happy garage workouts!

 

 

Team Rowing Workouts – So much fun!

Tip: Put weights at bottom to prevent rower from moving.

Want a quick rowing workout that is sure to challenge you and be deceptively hard?! A lot of people use rowers for “cardio” but you can build power and speed by doing interval training on them, and with these great machines, the numbers don’t lie. This is the human polygraph machine and by working hard for a short amount of time you can increase your intensity and your overall strength and speed. All you need is a timer that has a one minute repeat function. Go ahead and try it, it doesn’t look that hard… does it?

This one is great and is from CrossFit Football

Complete 10 rounds:

Row for 1 minute, rest for 1 minute.

*Row for 1 minute as many meters as you can, rest one minute.
*Continue this cycle for a total of 20 minutes.
*Your score is the total amount of meters rowed – goal is row at least 3000 meters
*Penalty is 1 burpee pull up for every 5 meters under 3000 meters.

Post total meters rowed and if any penalties were assessed to comments.

Now here is the variation, as most home gyms or smaller boxes are limited to fewer rowers. It is a 2 person variation but the same premise.

2 Person workout

Complete 10 rounds:

Bottom Left : Pink item is author's stomach and lungs

Row for 1 minute, rest for 1 minute.

*Row for 1 minute as many meters as you can, rest one minute.
*Continue this cycle for a total of 20 minutes.
*Your score is the total amount of meters rowed – goal is row at least 6000 meters
*Penalty is 1 burpee pull up for every 5 meters under 6000 meters.

This workout is done with a continuously running clock so you are going to have to be quick on your transitions. Partners switch on every minute. It tends to be about 50ish seconds of work to 1 minute of rest.  Therefore this workout is tougher than the top one person 3000 workout.

3 person workout

You can also substitute 3 people per rower and then I’d say you probably have to hit 10,000 meters with a two to one rest to work ratio.

Row for 1 minute, rest for 1 minute.

*Row for 1 minute as many meters as you can, rest one minute.
*Continue this cycle for a total of 30 minutes.
*Your score is the total amount of meters rowed – goal is row at least 10,000 meters
*Penalty is 1 burpee pull up for every 5 meters under 10,000 meters.

Give it a shot, the added team dynamic is interesting, as people tend to work harder and suffer more in a group setting. Don’t let your team down and go row!

 

 

 

 

The 5 W’s of a Garage Gym

example of garage gym

The 5 w’s of a Garage Gym

Who: the garage gym is for someone who is determined to make a difference in their life and wants to have the convenience of fitness at their finger tips. Perhaps its for someone who doesn’t have a lot of time, or works for home. Maybe a small family? The garage gym gives you the convenience of walking out of your house and into your little private pain cave.

What: The garage gym doesn’t have to be anything special. The greatest asset in your little fitness center is not fancy machines or equipment, it is space. There are tons of bodyweight workouts  and if you are starting back into getting into shape then those can be a really great place to start. The picture above is from our old garage gym and I can tell you that I didn’t need much more space than that to do most workouts.

Where: One of the cool things about a garage gym versus a basement gym is that itgarage gym collingwood allows you to get fresh air by opening the doors and it also gives you the versatility of being able to run or get outside and then come back into cover. This is why I feel that a garage gym is superior. If you want more space, then move the cars out of the driveway and you’ve got an extra 30 x 10 for neighbours to come over and do a circuit!

Why: Gym memberships can be expensive and if you have a decent understanding of training then a garage gym can keep you sharp. We made our garage gym, even though we had access to a really nice CrossFit facility. The problem was that it was 15 minutes away, and in the 30 minutes of travelling, most of our workouts including warm up and cool down could be done. It was a matter of convenience. The only problem with the convenience is that there are always things to do around the house that are distractions, so be sure to set aside dedicated time for yourself to get fit.

When: Early in the morning, you can get out for a quick session of squats push ups and sit ups, or as we found, after the kids went to bed, we were able to get away and enjoy a little couple time in the gym. Dropping weights had to be while the kids were away because the baby’s room was right above the garage, d’oh!  Scheduling a workout date with neighbours ensures greater compliance and more fun, so find a workout buddy and set up a date.

Recommended starting equipment

If you are getting started, you don’t need much, I think the biggest bang for your buck comes from these items, in no particular order.

1. Pull up bar

2. Adjustable dumbells

3. Skipping rope

4. Plyo Box 

Once you get these than you can look at the other good stuff like an olympic bar , kettlebells, or a TRX or gymnastic rings.

Here are some examples of nice garage gyms to give you some ideas.

Happy garage workouts!