I’m going to say something controversial here: I miss the gym more than I miss my friends amid these COVID-19 times. While I can stare lovingly into the eyes of a good pal over FaceTime while she raves about a spider on her ceiling who (*fingers crossed*) might be a romantic interest, I can’t swing a kettlebell around until my arms feel like spaghetti. I can’t pretend I’m Black Widow singlehandedly lifting a car while I bench press a barbell. Who even am I without a Smith machine?
Why I needed this so hard.
Although I love to run and take virtual fitness classes to keep my body and mind healthy, I miss feeling strong—pushing through short and precise reps beneath heavy weight. Like my friend encountering the spider on her ceiling, it felt like fate when I crossed paths with an ad for Gorilla Bow on Instagram. It was exactly what I was looking for: A portable and versatile fitness system that uses resistance bands and a sturdy bow to replicate the weight of a barbell, hand weights, or a pulley system that you find in the gym. I reached out to the company to test the product and waited with bated breath until the Bow arrived at my doorstep.
How the Gorilla Bow works.
I was generously sent the original Lite Bow *and* the Gorilla Bow Travel to test. The Lite Bow is a cohesive unit (so is the Original Bow) while the Gorilla Bow Travel disassembles into three 21-inch sections. All the Bows are compatible with the weighted Gorilla Bands, but they each have different weight capacities: The OG Bow maxes out at 300 pounds of tension, the Travel Bow maxes out at 350 pounds of tension, and the Lite Bow maxes out at 120 pounds of tension. All three systems come with sets of bands so you can start ~getting swole~ right away.
How much does it cost?
The price points may seem a little steep to the leisurely gym-goer ($199 for the Original Bow, $249 for the Travel Bow, $119 for the Lite Bow), but they aren’t that unreasonable in the grand scheme of things. First, if you haven’t been paying for a gym membership since March, you’ve probably already saved up this money if you’ve been tame with your impulse buys. Second, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a kettlebell or dumbbells that weigh more than 10 pounds that cost less than $60. The resistance bands that come with the product are meant to stand in for these additional pieces of equipment and keep your at-home gym setup cute and uncluttered.
Why I'll never waste money on dumbbells again.
I used my Gorilla Bows in two different settings: Outside in my parents’ front yard and inside my small New York City apartment. Using it in the front yard was easy. I incorporated the Travel Bow into my Nike Training Club app workouts for moves like bicep curls and squats. Using it inside after a short run was equally seamless. I give it the Tiny Living Space stamp of approval!
My only complaint.
At first, connecting the bands (especially heavier bands) to the Bow was a nerve-wracking process. I feared that the Bow or the band might ricochet back at me if I wasn’t extremely careful. After practicing a few times, I found that threading one end of the band into the Bow, holding it down with my foot, then connecting the band to the other side was the most effective way to strap in. Contorting into certain positions with heavy bands strapped onto the bow was also a bit awkward. I hope my parents' neighbors were eating popcorn while they watched me rack some extremely tight and heavy bands over my shoulders for a squat.
Technical difficulties aside, this product is exactly what I hoped it would be—a cure to my gym-less blues and an ally in maintaining the muscle mass that I worked so hard to build in the time leading up to quarantine. I don’t plan to return to my gym until there’s a vaccine (and it’s proven effective), so I look forward to slinging my Travel Bow over my shoulder and bringing it down to the park for sweat sessions. Besides, who misses loitering next to a 50-year-old dude while waiting for a bench to open up? (Not me, not I.)
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