Spruce Up Your Home Gym With Star Wars Workout Gear or Frank Underwood’s WaterRower

By Laura Goldstein

Outfitting the luxury home gym is the latest trend on the custom fitness landscape. Forget clunky weights relegated to the garage or basement. Today, equipment is as sculptural as it is functional. But sweating in luxury, as expected, comes with a hefty ticket price.
WaterRower. photo credit: WaterRower

If you’re a fan of Netflix’s diabolical, House of Cards, you’ll recognize Claire’s gift of the WaterRower to her husband, Frank Underwood as part of his fitness regime leading up to his presidency. In fact, Google searches for “House of Cards rowing machine”, have grown exponentially each season.

“It’s been a fantastic boon for the brand,” acknowledges David Jones, Director of Sales and Marketing for WaterRower from their head office in Warren, Road Island where each machine is hand-crafted from Appalachian hardwood. “Purchased by both men and women, it’s the perfect blend of luxury, style and fitness,” Jones explains.

Invented in the 80s by Yale and U.S. National Team rowing champion, John Duke, “the design has changed very little since then,” Jones says. “Like an expensive painting, it’s fitness as art and Duke had aesthetics in mind right from the very beginning designing this sleek machine powered by a silent waterwheel that creates resistance while simulating rowing.”  “But what has changed,” Jones continues, “is the technology aspect.” “We are launching an app on Black Friday that will pair with Smartphones via Bluetooth and sync with our newest WaterRower iteration to track fitness data.” Elegant and ergodynamic with adjustable footrests and comfortable seating, it’s renowned for its low-impact exertion, burning calories and easy vertical storage in the home gym.

And, if the wow factor is what you’re after, it’s got it in spades. $1,822Cdn and upwards waterrower.com

Hock LOFT Dumbells in Rack. Photo credit: Hock

“Think of the Hock brand as the Hermes of luxury fitness accessories,” says Tracy Smith, on the phone from Paris. She is the exclusive distributor for Hock in the U.S. and Canada. After travelling to many luxury spas and hotels in Germany, Smith noticed their gyms all sported elegant Hock accessories. She wrote directly to the German product designer, Kristof Hock (a former concept developer at Technogym,) wanting to bring the sophisticated “style in motion” line to home gyms and hotels in North America.

“Kristof wanted to create the perfect alignment of form and function. He uses locally sourced sustainable wood like ebony and American walnut; Grade 303 non- reactive stainless steel and Italian leather to create minimalistic yet elegantly designed products that fit perfectly in the hand. They make your workout more enjoyable,” Smith explains.

Their biggest seller is the Rotator 2 Jump Rope, a precision 4 ball-bearing system with finely tuned anodized parts and a 9-foot natural leather rope that can be cut to fit. LOFT Dumbbells available in varying sets and weights, would look as stylish in the living room as a contemporary sculpture as it does in the home gym. Made of brushed stainless steel and oiled walnut, the dumbbells are symmetrically aligned in pairs by weight on a vertical stand, (not the more common horizontal bench.) Want to work-out on your yacht? No problem. Racks can be custom- made for yachts and screwed into the deck.

“Hock has even customized solid gold dumbbells ($125,000 each) and clients often ask for personal monogramming on products,” says Smith. “I really enjoy working with architects to match a client’s home gym with Hock products as I’ve done in The Hamptons or for the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.”

Rotator 2 Jump Rope from $305Cdn, LOFT Dumbbells from $430Cdn for 2lb weights;  Rack from $1,720Cdn. shophock.com

PENT Adjustable Banka Bench. Photo credit: PENT

 PENT is the crème de la crème of luxury home fitness accessories (you know it’s expensive when they don’t publish their prices.) Designed in Germany, the bespoke collections boast sensuous lines and impeccable craftsmanship – the same terms used to describe luxurious furniture pieces for the home. The Banka Luxury Exercise Bench constructed in hygienic oiled walnut wood, leather and stainless steel, easily tilts for stretching or lifting weights without losing stability. Scala, a wall and floor mounted bar for exercising and dance is made of European walnut and stainless steel. The ladder-mounted version incorporates 6 removable rods for TRX weight training to build core, strength and balance. Prices upon written request at: pentfitness.com 

CorePump designer, Dr. Samuel Colby. Photo credit: Souls Image photography

In 2006, sports performance coach and Doctor of Naturopathy, Samuel Colby, was late to a class because he stopped to fill a flat bicycle tire with a hydraulic air pump. That was his eureka moment. “I thought, I can devise an all-in-one unique pneumatic, continuous resistance device that will take the place of conventional equipment in the home gym,” says Colby from his office in Scottsdale, Arizona. “The CorePump machine enables the user to work what I call the 3 pillars of fitness: improved strength, flexibility and cardiovascular health without experiencing jerky movements and muscle soreness afterwards,” he explains.

Working with clients in their home gyms, Colby was told the same thing over and over again. “CEOs especially, use lack of time as an excuse not to exercise,” he laughs. “But the CorePump can give a full work-out in less than 30 minutes with no need to waste time driving to a fitness studio and has such a small 2’by2’ footprint, it fits anywhere.”

He emphasizes that it’s family- friendly providing a safe workout in the home for seniors and kids too, (8 years to teens.) “Obesity is a huge problem for kids in North America. I designed the CorePump to clean-up the mess McDonald’s has made,” he says. $1,830 Cdn corepump.com

Onnit Star Wars Fitness equipment. Photo credit: Onnit

Imagine doing the Downward Dog with Harrison Ford in your in-home yoga studio.

One small caveat: Harrison (aka Hans Solo,) is encased in a high-quality polyurethane rubber non-slip yoga mat that has just the right amount of cushioning. Onnit an American company based in Austin, Texas specializing in health and fitness is making sure the Force is always with you with a collection of Star Wars-inspired gear. Adding kettlebells to your home gym helps build strength and muscular endurance. Sculpted in chip-resistant iron you can join the Dark Side with Darth Vader, Boba Fett and an Imperial Stormtrooper in 50-lb, 60-lb and 70-lb weights. Solo Yoga Mat, $79.50 Cdn.,Star Wars Kettlebells $183 to $245.Cd onnit.com

Onnit Star Wars Kettlebells. Photo credit: Onnit