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Home Gym Equipment for Obstacle Race Training

3 Jul 2012

If you’ve visited my training guides page, you’ve probably seen a link to obstacle training aids via Amazon that I recommend if you’re working out at home for your race. The equipment listed on this page are common to some of the recommended workouts for obstacle racing.

Listed below are my picks and why I selected them. Just a disclaimer, the product links below are affiliate links. But of the many brands that offer these types of equipment, these are my favorites based on my personal experience and use.


Pull-Up Bars

The first three categories have to do with completing a pull-up. Since I’ve covered them more in-depth this in my pull-up guide post, I’ll go over them briefly here.


Heavy Duty/P90X Chin-Up Bar

Since the pull-up is one of the staples of obstacle race training, you’ll need a pull-up bar at home.

The P90x Chin-Up bar is a heavy-duty, steel bar with 12 grip positions, which will come in handy when you want to work with various pull-up variations. This bar supports up to 300 pounds and fits doorways up to 32 inches wide.

I like the P90X Chin-Up Bar, but my personal favorite for home use is the next one on my list.


Iron Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar

The Iron Gym Bar may only have three grip positions, but it really may be all you need. It’s very easy to assemble and fits most doorways as well. It’s also more compact and less expensive than the P90X chin-up bar.

Overall, the Iron Gym Bar is a great tool for the value and if you don’t need to have a variety of grip positions.


Pull-Up Assists

Can’t do a pull-up yet?

There are a variety of pull-up assist aids out there. My personal favorite is the Lifeline Revolution.

The Lifeline Revolution comes in a variety of weight assist ranges per band:

Pullup Revolution – Lifeline USA – 50 lb Resistance

Pullup Revolution – Lifeline – 60 lb Resistance

Pullup Revolution – Lifeline – 30 lb + 60 lb Resistance

The thing to keep in mind about the Lifeline Revolution is that it’s really there just to help you get to one pull-up. Try not to rely on it too much and be sure to get a set of bands that provide the right weight assist. Their best-selling/standard band is the 60-lb version, but if you weigh less than 200 lbs, you may be able to start with the 50-lb one.



My recommendation for tubing/bands goes beyond obstacle race training: if you are putting together a home gym in compact quarters, having a set of bands is a must. You can use bands to do most exercises you would typically perform using dumbbells or cross cables at your gym. And when you’re on the road, bands are lightweight and easy to bring along if you want to workout while you travel.

Specific to obstacle race training, bands can be used as part of a progression to pull-ups. To strengthen the muscles you’ll engage for a pull-up, you can adjust the anchor point of the tubing.

One of my all-time favorite bands are the all-purpose exercise bands available at Perform Better. But the straight bands from Black Mountain and Spri work as well, just be sure to buy a door anchor or two.

All Purpose Bands

Black Mountain Products Resistance Band Set (with Door Anchor, Ankle Strap, Exercise Chart, and Resistance Band Carrying Case)


Spri Xertube Resistance Cord with Door Attachment



Dumbbells are one of the more versatile pieces of exercise equipment. You can use them for isolated strength training, to load bodyweight exercises like lunges and squats, and for many other purposes.

I recommend going local to purchase your dumbbells as shipping costs can make them very expensive.

At home, I have both the Power Block and a few sets of lighter dumbbells. Having a power block or similar adjustable dumbbell set can be a great space saver, but sometimes it’s awkward to use one of these adjustable dumbbell sets when you need lighter weight. That’s why I have single pairs of 5, 7.5-8, 10, and 12.5-lb dumbbells.

My picks for adjustable dumbbells sets and single pairs:

PowerBlock Personal Trainer Adjustable 2.5 to 50-Pounds per Dumbbell Set

The PowerBlock comes in several varieties. I have the classic set that goes from 5-50 lbs in 5-lb increments. At the time, I didn’t have the option of getting the personal trainer set, which goes from 2.5 – 50 lbs in 2.5-lb increments. I would have liked the option of the 2.5-lb increments.


Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells (Pair)

Even though I like the PowerBlock, I know some exercisers that find it’s box-like design awkward and prefer a more, well, dumbbell-shaped set. The Bowflex SelectTech is a popular one in some of my client’s home gyms. As you can see, it has more of a dumbbell shape and may have a more comfortable grip than the PowerBlock.

Whether or not you choose the PowerBlock or Bowflex SelectTech may have to do more with personal preference. I don’t think you can go wrong with either.


Rubber Hex Dumbbells


I prefer hex dumbbells to the rounded ends. Again, this has mostly to do with personal preference. I like that they don’t roll around on the floor because my home is on a slight incline, and for exercises like push-ups with rotations or rows, they are more stable. If you feel like you have wobbly wrists with some plank exercises that require dumbbells, these may be a good fit for you.


Iron Hex Dumbbell Pairs

The Iron Hex Dumbbells are similar to the Rubber Hex. The main advantage is that the Iron Hex are usually less expensive than the Rubber Grip. But if you tend to drop your dumbbells after a set, then you may want to re-think doing that with these as they may leave a dent on your floor.

So these are my picks. What’s in your home gym for obstacle race training?

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One thought on “Home Gym Equipment for Obstacle Race Training

  1. Thanks for all the great information you provide for us home gym users. I travel a lot for work and need compact but strong tools that I can use indoors or out. I have found one of the best resources is your site as well as homegymkitdocom which provides info and videos on the use of home gym equipment. Love your site – great work.

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