EnhancersOctober 9, 2020
Of course all you really need in your home gym are some heavy things you can move through space, and of course there are some calisthenic folks out there thinking, "You don't even need that...". But unless you're a 1920's strongman, we all agree that warmups, stretching, and in some cases joint support, will not only help prevent injury, but greatly improve your performance.
To that end, this list of American made workout accessories has been compiled. Tie your home gym together, and reach peak physical condition with the help of locally made gear.
There are four main categories on this page: Resistance Bands, Wraps & Straps, Yoga Mats, and Yoga Blocks.
Fitcord makes traditional resistance bands in Gulf Shores, Alabama. They offer 3lb, 7lb, 12lb, 18lb, 25lb, 40lb, and 55lb bands, and will even make higher resistance bands upon your request (a big perk of local, smaller scale manufacturing). Like most modern resistance bands, these are covered with a cloth sheath, and if you've ever snapped a resistance band, you know exactly why.
Stroops' resistance bands get a little bit more funky with their designs. While they have the traditional 'Slastix' band, their other products apply the benefits of resistance band training to other forms of exercise. 'Son of The Beast' for example, is an elastic battle rope. The 'MMA Python Striker Belt' adds elastic resistance to shadow boxing (and kicking). Lastly, the 'VITL' system is an all-in-one training kit that hooks up to your door. Fitcord also has a door adaptor system. You've got options!
Alliance Rubber Company is a woman owned small business that makes all things rubber band related, they even own the domain rubberband.com. Their resistance bands are a bit more clinical in nature, and are perfect for actual injury rehabilitation. However they also make rubber straps for holding your gear down in certain sport related environments (hiking, hunting, camping, preventing the extra plates from falling off your barbell because you're a savage and there's no room for a barbell collar, etc.). Due to the products' simplicity, Alliance's resistance bands are much less expensive than Fitcord's or Stroop's.
Wraps & Straps
First of all, this is NOT Titan Fitness (aka Titan Distributors), the distributor of imported and domestic strength equipment often touted as a less expensive alternative to Rogue- this is Titan Support Systems, an old school, Texas made, powerlifting gear manufacturer. They've been at it since 1981, and if you're looking for any accessories directly related to powerlifting, these are your guys.
Quite frankly, these guys are just like Titan Support Systems, but where as Titan focuses more on powerlifting, Schiek focuses on bodybuilding. Schiek is an old school, trusted, no frills company that's been around since 1991. Schiek products are used by world class bodybuilders like Phil Heath and Jay Cutler, but everyone should have a pair of their basic lifting straps for the sake of maxing out on back day.
Schiek's belts utilize more modern materials like nylon and velcro, and are ergonomically designed to provide contour support along your hips and ribs. Schiek does also offer leather belts, but their origin is not disclosed. If you like knowing where your products come from, stick with their nylon belts (they are their bread and butter anyways).
Pravacana also touts themselves as eco-friendly (spoiler alert: this will be the advertised key selling point of any smaller scale yoga mat manufacturer- turns out yogis are conscientious people). However, what really differentiates Pravacana from other companies, is that they provide custom prints on your yoga mats. 'Pravacana' is the Sanskrit word for 'Expression'.
Kiss The Sky is a really unique company because their manufacturing process is eco-friendly. Only kidding, of course it is actually eco-friendly, but what's really unique is their process of using recycled rubber is the creation of their mats. Zero emission goodness.
This one is different than the rest. Aqua Mentor is a manufacturer of foam based aquatic products, like those red lifeguard tubes, and they apparently were contacted by a company called 'Embrace Yoga' to manufacture yoga blocks. Aqua Mentor does not sell the blocks directly. Similar to Pravacana Mats, Embrace Yoga allows you to print custom designs on your yoga blocks.
Hopefully this list provides the information needed to make more informed purchasing decisions for your home gym, and ultimately elevate your performance.
By the way, if you're not doing yoga yet, it's time to start. I'm talking to YOU.
As always, please send additions or corrections to firstname.lastname@example.org.