19/10/2021 | Andrew Tracey
Andrew Tracey is a long time collaborator with Bulldog Gear. A coach, writer and current fitness editor of Men’s Health Magazine, he has been in and around the fitness industry for the past 16 years. Having enjoyed and endured a number of disciplines from endurance racing, to strongman, to Crossfit AT enjoys getting neck deep in the practice just as much as the theory.

It may be a big investment, and it definitely breaks all of the rules we laid down on budget and necessities in our previous ‘home gym’ articles, but if you’re in a position to do so, purchasing a piece of metabolic conditioning equipment opens you up to a whole new world of training options.  

If your plan is to combine your time in the gym or box, with complimentary sessions at home, whilst all of our advice and recommendations on ‘building strong foundations’ still stand true, there’s a lot to be said for simply purchasing one piece of conditioning kit, and leaving it at that.  

Metabolic equipment gives you a no skill option, in an environment where you’re bereft of one of the most important factors in any gym- coaching. If you’re going to split your time between the gym and home, leaving the high skill work in the gym, and taking care of the grunt work at home, gives you the best of both worlds. Not only this, but far too often incredibly beneficial, low heart rate, sustainable aerobic work is overlooked, simply due to the logistics of programming it in a class environment -  

We can end up in this hole of smashing ourselves with metcons. So it makes sense to have a piece of conditioning kit at home that you can sit on to do your long form work.  

If you do want to include this work, long runs/walks, hikes and even low impact resistance circuits can tick all the boxes, but ask yourself whether or not you’re more likely to get in the ‘low and slow’ work, if it’s just a case of saddling up on a bike erg in front of Netflix for a few hours?  

If this is all starting to make sense to you, and you believe this is an extremely viable and appealing option- then picking the right piece of kit is a must.  

Still with us? Good Here's our -





Already own weights? a sled allows you use them for low skill, low impact conditoning.

A small sled is relatively easy to store. even most larger 'push/pull' style sleds break down easily.

A lack of eccentric loading makes sled pushing an unparalleled tool for active recovery. 

Builds raw, functional strength with a high degree of transfer to real life.  



Useable without weights, but less functional, requiring further investment if you don't already own plates.

Requires a lot of space to utilise fully, impractical for a small, indoor setup, unless you have access to a road or garden outside.  





Tied third as many of the pros/cons are similar, leaving this one up to personal taste.

Incredibly good value for money compared to other commercial grade kit ie. treadmills Versatile machines that accommodate everything from long endurance slogs to fast paced sprint conditioning intervals, and do both well.

Ubiquitous in the fitness sphere, making free, professionally programmed workouts easy to come by.  



Large, even when broken down.

Skill element makes some training necessary for maximum effectiveness.




Low skill, easily accessible piece of equipment.

Accommodates everything from long endurance slogs to fast paced sprint conditioning intervals.

Carryover to traditional cycling.

Rising ubiquity in the fitness sphere means many programming platforms are now incorporating bike ergs into training.

Relatively compact versus rowers, ski-ergs or treadmills.  



Although more compact than other entries, space may still be an issue as bike does not break down easily.

Marginally more expensive than other entries (but cheaper than most other comparable stationary bikes)




Low skill, easily accessible piece of equipment that allows you to hit peak intensities and power output with little practice.

Low impact, total body movement.

Ubiquitous in the fitness sphere, making free, professionally programmed workouts  easy to come by.

Training stimulus carries over well to most other endeavours, but conversely few other modalities prepare you for the air bike (IYKYK).  



Although more compact than other entries, space may still be an issue as bike does not break down for storage.

It hurts.

It really hurts. 



Coming in at well less than a tenth of the price of the other entries and an even more impressive fraction of the size, the jump rope offers a lifetime's worth of portable, conditioning stimulus.

Often overlooked but not to be underrated, anything from a well engineered speed rope can be employed with DEVASTATING results, almost anywhere.

Andrew Tracey