Germs in the Gym – Be Confident Exercise is All You Get in the Gym!

When going to the gym or hitting the weight room - what is your overall goal? Naturally, a ‘top of mind’ goal is to ‘GET FIT’. Of course, you are not thinking ‘GET SICK’! That is a silly thought, but not if you think about how many people touched those handles on the equipment you are working out on and the GERMS they left behind. Gyms and weight rooms are a haven for germs. Although using gym wipes is a good practice, the bottom-line is that germs continue to live on the equipment. A gym should be a place where we go to Get Fit - Not Sick.

Good news…there is a solution - Black Iron Strength® Antimicrobial Copper touch surfaces on strength equipment. This solution is Chemical Free, Sustainable, and Works Continuously - 24/7/365.

This Video shows how Antimicrobial Copper works:

Super Bugs with Play Button

Let's examine 'Germs in the Gym' in more detail:

  • What makes germs including Super Bugs so dangerous?
  • How are germs including Super Bugs spread?
  • Why are gyms the perfect harbor for the spread of germs?
  • What is the SOLUTION?

What makes germs including Super Bugs so dangerous? – The discovery of the first true antibiotic, Penicillin, in 1928 revolutionized the world of medicine. People no longer had to live in fear of death when they developed a bacterial infection. After the discovery of penicillin, scientists continued to develop better and stronger antibiotics to combat new strains of bacteria. These drugs gave us a sense of security and we overused them. Along the way, germs started to mutate and change so they could survive the drugs. Basically, these tiny organisms figured out how to ‘out-smart’ the scientists and Super Bugs developed. In 2014, these Super Bugs infected more than 2 million people in the US and more than 23,000 people died according to the National Institute of Health. Unfortunately, the number of infections and deaths are increasing every year. (1)

How are germs including Super Bugs spread? – Did you know the 80% of infectious diseases are transferred by touch?  On a daily basis, your hands touch many places and objects as well as skin to skin contact with another person. Do you honestly believe that every object you come in contact with has been properly cleaned and sanitized? Do you believe that each person you touch with your hands has properly washed their hands? According to the CDC, just 40% of healthcare personnel adhere to hand washing. If only 40% of healthcare personnel are compliant with hand washing, do you really think the rest of the population is washing their hands? You know the answer - NO!!!

Why are gyms a perfect harbor for germs? – Obviously, when you go to the gym or the weight room, you are working hard to build muscle or to simply to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  Whatever your motivation, you are sacrificing precious time with a fitness goal in mind.  What rarely crosses your mind is that on every handle and every bar, there are millions of bacteria or viruses that have been put there by the hundreds or thousands of people who have lifted the same weight weeks, days, and years before you. No amount of cleaning will remove all the bacteria. Plus, the bacteria and viruses simply grow back. FITRATED completed a study examining gym cleanliness This study will grab your attention. Did you know that dumbbell you are using has 362x more bacteria than a toilet seat!!! (2)

Dumbbell 362x Dirtier than Toilet Seat

What is the SOLUTION? – Germs including Super Bugs have a natural enemy - Antimicrobial COPPER! Multiple independent research studies have proven that antimicrobial copper kills 99.9% of bacteria in less than two hours. Antimicrobial copper works naturally so there is no special cleaning or maintenance. Plus, it is free of chemicals and never stops working. A recent peer-reviewed study published in the American Journal of Infection Control demonstrates the effectiveness of antimicrobial copper in a fitness environment. The study showed that equipment with antimicrobial copper handles had a lower bacteria count by an average of 94%.

Graphic showing the effectiveness of Copper


Antimicrobial Copper on touch sufaces kill germs 24/7


Good news…Antimicrobial Copper handles are available on strength equipment. Black Iron Strength® is the leading and only manufacturer of antimicrobial copper fitness equipment. To see the full line of Antimicrobial Copper CuLEAN® equipment by CuVerro® , click here. Our goal at Black Iron Strength® is to make sure people GET FIT-NOT SICK when working out in the gym or weight room. 

1 Stop the Spread of Super Bugs. (2014). Retrieved from
2 Examining Gym Cleanliness. (2019) Retrieved from

Are Cable Attachments Created Equal? Five Factors to Consider when Purchasing Cable Attachments!

Are all cable attachments the same? Why are some cable attachments more expensive than other cable attachments? This is an important question when we are all looking for the best value for our money. Whether purchasing the cable attachment for a fitness center or home gym, what factors should you consider? Knowing that not all cable attachments are the same, this will help you make an informed decision when buying cable attachments for your home gym or fitness center.

What are the five factors to consider when purchasing Cable Attachments? 

  • Positive grip
  • Durability
  • Maintenance and cleaning
  • Ergonomics and biomechanics
  • Finish on the cable attachment

Positive Grip

When purchasing a cable attachment, consider the grip. After all, your grip is the weakest factor and will fail first. Don’t let your grip be your limiting factor. If you do, it will prevent you from getting maximum result from your upper body workout! Some attachments have a rubber or foam-gripping surface. Rubber or foam grips can be slippery and will limit your ability to grip the handle. Steel handles with superior knurling will always provide the best gripping surface. Not all knurling patterns are the same! If the knurling pattern is too shallow, you can loose your grip. If the knurling pattern is too deep, it can cut into your hands. From my experience, the knurling on attachments manufactured overseas is not nearly as good as the knurling on attachments manufactured in the USA. Next, let's consider durability.   

[caption id="attachment_2916" align="alignnone" width="197"]All Black Iron Strength® Cable Attachments have precision knurling, which creates a positive grip. Black Iron Strength® Stirrup Grip with Precision Knurling[/caption]


How often are you looking to replace your cable attachment? If you choose a cable attachment with a rubber or foam handle, the rubber or foam will eventually wear out. However, solid steel handles will give many years if not a lifetime of use. In the long run, steel handles will cost more in the beginning. However, over time you will save money because eventually a foam or rubber will disintegrate. Also, with a strap grip, consider the material that the strap is constructed out. Most straps are flat nylon. However, the most superior strap for cable attachments is mountaineering rope. Mountaineering rope is much stronger and durable than traditional straps used in strap grips. In addition, mountaineering rope is much comfortable than traditional nylon. What about the maintenance and cleaning?

[caption id="attachment_2915" align="alignnone" width="300"]Black Iron Strength® Strap Grips are constructed out of mountaineering rope. Black Iron Strength® Strap Grips with Mountaineering Rope[/caption]

Maintenance and Cleaning

If you choose a rubber or foam handle, both are is very difficult to clean. Since rubber and foam are porous, it is a harbor for bacteria! This is especially important to consider if you are purchasing cable attachments for multiple users. Solid Steel is easier to clean. However, the cleanest handle option is antimicrobial copper handles. Antimicrobial Copper Handles are a self-cleaning surface and kills 99.9% of all bacteria and viruses in 2 hours or less. This technology works 24/7. Check out this medically based independent research study in the American Journal of Infection Control on the killing properties of antimicrobial copper on fitness equipment.  What about the ergonomics and biomechanics of the attachment?

[caption id="attachment_2861" align="alignnone" width="300"]Black Iron Strength Cable Attachments with Antimicrobial Copper Handles kills germs 24/7. Black Iron Strength® Straight Bar with Antimicrobial Copper Handles - Kills all Germs 24/7[/caption]

Ergonomics and Biomechanics

No doubt, we are all looking to live a long life and enjoy a lifetime of exercising so you need to keep those joints happy! When choosing a cable attachment, consider attachments with rotating handles. Rotating handles reduce the stress on the user’s wrist, elbows, and shoulder joints. Speaking from personal experience, when those joints wear out, it will definitely affect your ability to exercise. It is important that the rotation be smooth and fluid, allowing you freedom of movement to focus on your exercise and to not be limited by a poorly manufactured cable attachment. Cable attachments manufactured with IGUS® bearings allow for superior rotation and need little maintenance. Finally, let's consider the finish on the cable attachment.

[caption id="attachment_2914" align="alignnone" width="300"]Cable Attachments with Rotating Handles are the most ergonomic Black Iron Strength® Low Row with Rotating Handles[/caption]

Finish on Cable Attachment

The most ideal finish on a cable attachment is a military hard chrome finish. Often less expensive cable attachments have a decorative chrome finish, which has is very shiny. These attachments are often made overseas. What is the difference between military hard chrome and decorative hard chrome? Why pay the difference? Decorative chrome chips easily and will start to flake while military hard chrome is durable and will give you a lifetime of use. Once again, it is important to realize that a less expensive cable attachment will more be costly in the long run when you consider the durability and are having to replace the cable attachment more often.

[caption id="attachment_2913" align="alignnone" width="300"]Black Iron Strength® have a military hard chrome, which is the most durable. Black Iron Strength Straight Bars with Military Hard Chrome Finish[/caption]

I hope you have found these five factors helpful when you are purchasing cable attachments At Black Iron Strength®, our focus is to deliver a superior product to give you a lifetime of use.

Jump Start Your Workout – Include Cable Attachments

Are you considering purchasing a cable machine for your home gym? Does the fitness center you are a member have cable machines? If you are new to cable attachments, consider including them in your fitness routine. Cable attachments are versatile and give you a wide range for upper body movements. Recently, when I was at the gym, someone asked me,  ‘Why use cable attachments?’ My response was, ‘Why not, don’t limit yourself!’ Let’s discuss the basics! Learn what are cable attachments and what are some of the more popular attachments that will find in the gym or consider purchasing for your home?

Why use Cable Attachments? Cable attachments are designed to use with cable-based machines and easily attach with a carabiner clip to the machine. Using cable attachments will significantly increase the number of exercise possibilities with your upper body. Plus, as you get more advanced, there are lower body exercises that you can do with cable attachments, but I will save that for another blog. Cable attachments allow you to a exercise with greater range of motion because of the freedom of exercising in a variety of different angles. Unlike machines, you are not confined to exercising within a defined range of motion.

What are some of the popular Cable Attachments? Let's discuss (5) commonly used cable attachments that will jump start your workout: Low Row, Strap Grip, Stirrup Grip, Straight Bar and Lat Pulldown.


Low Row

Cable Attachments with Rotating Handles are the most ergonomic

The Low Row Cable Attachment is sometimes referred to as the Double D or the 3-D V-Shaped Handle. It is often used as a standing or seated row, which is a pulling movement. This compound movement works the lats and biceps. Click to see full product description.

Strap Grip

[caption id="attachment_2864" align="alignnone" width="300"]Strap Grip gives you a variety of upper body movements. Black Iron Strength® Strap Grips with Antimicrobial Copper Handles[/caption]

The Strap Grip gives the user tremendous options in an upper body workout because of the flexibility of the strap. Some of the exercises with the Strap Grip are bicep curls, press downs, chest presses, seated rows, and pull downs. The flexibility of the strap allows you to work a variety of upper body muscles including the biceps, triceps, lats, deltoids, and pecs. When working out with a strap grip, it is a one-handed motion. Therefore, you are working out each side of the body independently, which avoids one side compensating for the other that could create a strength imbalance. Click to see full product description.

Stirrup Grip

[caption id="attachment_2860" align="alignnone" width="197"]Jump start your workout with cable attachments from Black Iron Strength. Black Iron Strength® Stirrup Grip Cable Attachment with Antimicrobial Copper Handles[/caption]

The Stirrup Grip is sometimes referred to as the cable version of a dumbbell. Like the dumbbell, the stirrup grip on a cable unit allows for a variety of pressing and pulling movements. For example, the bicep curl would be a pulling motion and the tricep press down would be a pressing or pushing motion. Like the Strap Grip, working out on with stirrup grip is a one-handed movement. Therefore, you are working each side of the body independently.  Click to see full product description.

Thick Handle Straight Bar

[caption id="attachment_2832" align="alignnone" width="300"]Black Iron Strength® Straight Bar is available in three lengths. Black Iron Strength® Straight Bar Cable Attachments (Available in 14 inches, 20 inches & 26 inches)[/caption]

The Straight Bar is very versatile because it allows for multiple pulling and pushing upper body movements. Some of these exercises include bicep curl, pull downs, high rows, upright rows and shrugs. With the versatility of this attachment, you can activate the major muscle groups of the upper body. Most straight bars are 20 inches long. However, some brands are available in 14 inches and 26 inches long. This is important because we are not all the same size! You should consider choosing a straight bar based on your shoulder width. If you have a wider stance, consider the 26-inch bar. However, if you have a narrower stance, the 14-inch bar would be a better choice. Click to see full product description.

Lat Pulldown

[caption id="attachment_2856" align="alignnone" width="300"]The Lat Pulldown allows you to perform lat pulldowns giving you a wider grip option. Black Iron Strength® Lat Pulldown with Antimicrobial Copper Handles[/caption]

The Lat Pulldown is a long bar that runs straight and curves at each end, which allows the user to naturally grip the bend in the bar. When attached to the cable machines, you use the bar to perform lat pulldowns to the chest or behind the neck, to exercise your lats. However, do not limit yourself to lat pulldowns! This bar has multiple purposes, especially when performing exercises with a wider grip. This includes exercises such as wide-grip upright rows, wide-grip cable shrugs, wide-grip seated rows and wide-grip tricep press downs. Click to see full product description.

By discussing the basics, hopefully, this article has taken some of the mystery out of using cable attachments and given you the groundwork to use cable attachments the next time you are in the gym. As a fitness educator and former owner of a personal training facility, I have always encouraged the use of cable attachments. Attach those cable attachments and ‘Jump Start Your Workout!’ My next blog, I will focus on the five factors to consider when purchasing cable attachments.

Kettlebells: Old-School Power, New-Age Technique = World Class Strength

A Brief History

“The reemergence of the kettlebell as a training tool of prominence in recent times has spawned a great deal of buzz about this supremely time-honored strength/conditioning medium”. J. Dellinger continues on to share that, despite a lack of documented info on kettlebells, there is traceable data to show that this type of strength training instrument has been used throughout the world, including Russia, Ireland, China, India, and Egypt. It’s no wonder that countries are competing for the original acknowledgement of this amazing, yet pragmatic “ring-weight”.

The Textbook of Weightlifting, published in 1910 contains four exercises, which used the kettlebell. Then, in 1924, the Milo Barbell Company incorporated six kettlebell exercises in their course series Body-building and Muscle-developing Exercises. The reason for the implementation of the kettlebell is obvious from two perspectives. First, it made lifting a heavy weight both convenient and practical. Second, the aesthetic shape made them ideal for strongman acts.

Arthur Saxon, nicknamed "The Iron-Master", was a German strongman and circus performer from the late 19th century into the early 20th century. Mr. Saxon had the following points of interest to say:  “The lifting of three, or even two, 56 lb. ring weights is far more impressive to the ordinary man than a much heavier bar-bell.”

We can all agree that kettlebell training methods and philosophy have evolved since the late 1800’s, Brian D. Johnston and Tommy Boyer-Kendrick continue on in Current Kettlebell Methodology. They state that in the past, the number of explosive and ballistic kettlebell movements were often more of a demonstration of ability rather than an applied and regular exercise technique. We know more about the human body, what our individual muscle groups are capable of and how to utilize kettlebell training to our advantage to increase muscle and performance.

Arthur Saxon, the only man to single press 370 pounds overhead with one arm, had this to say on the subject in The Text Book of Weight-lifting:

“In order to secure (the result of all-around development), the exercising must be thorough, and it must be all-around. Each part of the body must be dealt with seriatim.”

“Just think carefully over the various lifts, and you will see that every lift develops particularly certain muscular groups upon which a very considerable strain is put in other lifts, which do not, however, test these same groups so severely. It stands to reason, therefore that the regular practice of all-around lifting must (out) of necessity, be excellent practice, not only for all-round lifting, but also for special and particularized lifting.”

Dynamic Duo: The Maker and The Instructor

There are two key players in the kettlebell industry: the maker, Tom Grace, President of Black Iron Strength®, and the instructor, Michael Skogg, world-renowned kettlebell coach, educator and author.

Michael Skogg has this to say about kettlebell technology today:

“It’s for everyone. Whether you’re a 20-something guy in peak condition, or a 72 year-old grandma, we can work out a routine for you and it will make you stronger.” “A simple concept: Everyone can be strong with the (SKOGG) Kettlebell Method.” 

That statement is a huge jump from the iron men of the 1800’s to being a recommended weight lifting apparatus for a “72 year old grandma.” Here is the thing, when used correctly, at the appropriate weight, kettlebell training is ideal for all lifters. In The Future of Kettlebell Training, Brian D. Johnston and Andrew Short share the following:

Certainly the “olde tyme” strongmen exercise and methods will never go out of vogue; and neither will Olympic style lifting. Those lifts have become “traditional” and likely will always remain part of our exercise heritage. However, as we become more creative and have better tools with which to exercise, such as Modern American kettlebells by Black Iron Strength®. These new and innovative methods are easier to develop and employ, which meets the needs of our progressive society to bring this optimum weight training application to all as Michael Skogg referred to above. To learn more about the Skogg Kettlebell Method or to purchase the Skogg Training System, click here: Skogg

Let’s talk about the modern maker, Tom Grace.

Tom Grace, President of Black Iron Strength®, and developer of the Modern American Kettlebell, is no stranger to strength training in athletics and in military training.

Tom served as the Director of Instruction for the Department of Physical Education at the US Military Academy supervising 42 instructors, 57 programs and instruction for 4,400 cadets. Also, Tom was also the Women’s basketball strength and conditioning coach at West Point. Tom served as an Officer in the US Army, retiring at the rank of Major, from 1978-1992. After completing his Master of Science in Exercise and Sports Science from Penn State University, he returned to his Alma Mater to become an Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Education.

With education and experience under his belt, Tom applied his knowledge to develop the top of the line, American made weight training systems. In fact, Black Iron Strength® has been awarded 15 US Patents and 6 Registered Trade Marks.

To check out Black Iron Strength Kettlebells and to purchase direct, click here:

Black Iron Strength® Kettlebells