As you may know, here at End of Three Fitness, we are not big on exercise machines. Most machines out there negate functional fitness, are costly and borderline useless.
I mean who hasn’t seen the $900 elliptical that gets used daily…as a clothing rack?
While I do not support the use of a lot of machines, there are some out there that are absolutely amazing for functional fitness and conditioning…and they will destroy you…every time. I love some DIY Projects, but some things are better off being purchased like barbells, plates and these unconventional machines.
1.) Concept 2 Rower
If you CrossFit, the Concept 2 Rower needs no introduction. This machine has been known to destroy individuals. Whether you are using it as a part of a metabolic conditioning workout; with multiple different exercises and elements, or if you are just using the rower by itself – this thing can wreck you.
I didn’t even fully understand the full potential of the rower until I started following the Quest Programming at End of Three FIT. Part of the reason I am doing this post is because I have been saving up for this machine for a long time, and I just made the purchase!!
I use the rower for intervals, as a part of CrossFit workouts and by itself for monostructural conditioning. I have been using rowers on and off in different gyms for years. I workout in my garage 99% of the time, but I would actually drive to a gym on some occasions just for the rower.
Cool thing is Emily can use it too! She had her first taste of a row workout on Saturday and she liked it. You can check one out here.
‘The misery machine’
Ask any college athlete about the worst workout their coach put them through and it probably involved an Airdyne. There are even horror stories of coaches who took off the seat to make it even more miserable.
I do not have a ton of experience with an Airdyne, mainly because they are hard to find!! I have used an Airdyne in some college and high school weight rooms and I completely agree that it is the “misery machine”.
I’ve never tried an Airdyne without a seat, but that sounds wrong for multiple reasons. Airdynes are a little bit cheaper than rowers, and offer a great conditioning workout that is similar to a concept 2 rower, actually some would argue better.
Nordic skiing is an exhilarating and aerobically demanding sport, so it’s no surprise that Nordic skiers are extremely fit athletes. The SkiErg makes this terrific aerobic exercise accessible to anyone. Each pull engages the arms, shoulders, core and legs in a downwards “crunch,” using body weight to help accelerate the handles. A workout on the SkiErg works the legs at least as hard as the upper body. Maximum heart rates are achieved through aerobically demanding workouts.
I have used a SkiErg one time so far in my life…and that may be enough. This machine is very capable of making you throw up on your first use.
It is made by Concept 2, just like the rower, and actually has a lot of the same components. It is cheaper than a rower and much different in the way it is used, but just like the rower and the Airdyne it can absolutely destroy you. Check one out here.
What do they all have in common?
So why are these machines better than an elliptical, treadmill or stair climber??
- Intensity – The workouts typically performed on these three machines are more intense than your average 30 min jog on a treadmill. While you could sprint on a treadmill, it would burn you out incredibly fast. These machines have the ability to let you go incredibly fast at a higher intensity without the immediate burnout that is associated with running sprints…the reason being is point #2…
- Full Body – These machine incorporate the ENTIRE body. The fact that these machine allow you to efficiently use your entire body during a workout will keep you moving for longer and get more muscle groups involved…which will also intensify cardiovascular and respiratory intensity.
- Functional – These machines make use of the entire body and take stabilization muscles and coordination – they are way more effective and functional than all other machines on the market.
These pieces of equipment may seem expensive, but they are all well worth the money. In the world of fitness machines, they are actually not that expensive at all. However, coming from a guy who has built 90% of his garage gym, these machines are EXPENSIVE!!
Like I said, I saved up for a long time before I finally purchased the Concept 2 Rower, so long as you have a goal and you are not being irresponsible any of these machines could be a good choice.
Why the Rower?
If you hit up any of the links provided above you will notice that the Concept 2 Rower is the most expensive of the “Unconventional Machines”, so why did I pick the most expensive one?
A few reasons:
- I have the most experience with the Concept 2 Rower.
- I feel it gives more well-rounded conditioning.
- It’s more widely used in CrossFit, which is how I train.
Got any unconventional fitness machines I haven’t listed??