Specifically, I am referring to the Go Fit Ultimate ProGym. The aforementioned rubber tubes come in three resistance levels indicated by color (Green = “15 lbs.”; Blue = “10 lbs.”; Red = “5 lbs.”), two handles that can be fastened to any combination of said tubes, a door stop (explained later), examples of workouts in print and DVD and a carrying bag. All told, when zipped up in the bag, the “gym” in its entirety is not much bigger than a toiletry case.
We’ll get to how they’re actually used, but let’s start with the most important asset of this item, the potential usage occasions. These are examples of scenarios where I have used these to find otherwise unavailable time or access to resistance training:
– Traveling: Backpacking through Europe, visiting family, work travel, any time you’re not by your neighborhood gym. I’d be willing to bet grandma doesn’t have a bowflex. Traveling for work and staying at the Marriott, you may not have time to head down to the gym. This fits as into your luggage as easy as anything else you could pack save for a pair of socks. It’s in my carry-on above my head as I write this.
– Cardio compliment: After returning from a ride or run. Supplementing a three hour group ride with some strength training sounds about as appealing as pogo sticking to the dentist. It’s a lot more manageable when you can spend 10-15 minutes in your room when you get back and get in a full resistance workout and stretch. You’re overall fitness level will thank you.
– Time maximization: On the days where there isn’t enough time to even eat real meals let alone get in a resistance session. Have I brought these to work and found somewhere out of the way to do15 minutes of resistance during lunch? Yes, yes I have. (The living room at home is a more socially acceptable alternative)
– You just hate the gym: This one’s pretty simple. Some folks, especially endurance athletes, find spending time and effort in the gym unappealing for many reasons.
Now, how do these things actually work? The wonderful thing about this is that your muscles don’t know if you’re lifting iron or rubber. If the resistance is there, they’ll respond. So doing curls is as simple as: (1) choosing the combination of resistance you’d like; (2) snapping them to handles; (3) standing on the center of the tubes; (4) engaging a curling motion. Shoulder raises? Repeat steps one through three and do shoulder raises. Shoulder press…you get the idea.
However, where the range of exercises grows exponentially is in using the included door stop, which is how Go-Fit can call this a “gym.” It allows you to put the bands above any door hinge you can find, freeing both handles and your feet. And given that just about any door I know has multiple hinges, multiple angles exist for exercises such as chest press, leg extensions, rows and beyond.
Here are some exercises and usage instructions. You can also get creative and emulate other exercises done with more traditional methods.
Is the Go-Fit Ultimate ProGym the same as going to the gym and getting in a full scope strength session? Probably not – especially if you’re interested in 50 lb. curls…per arm. But it’s pretty darn close. Especially if you pack the punch in the time you use them, doing core work as active recovery from chest press, for example. Not waiting in line or having to go back and forth between stations is a HUGELY underestimated efficiency win. Keep as active as possible and in 20 minutes, you can knock out a full session that will not leave you disappointed.