A few years ago, I wrote about the benefits of municipal governments installing public fitness equipment in public parks.

By eliminating the cost and improving the accessibility to exercise equipment, public fitness parks are increasing activity levels in communities around the world.

Which is good, because a physically active community is a healthy community, and a healthy community spends less  on health care, misses fewer days of work, earns more money, pays more taxes, etc…

Outdoor Fitness Equipment - Uneven Bars

It’s a win:win.

Or at least it should be.

The Problem is that city bureaucrats have no idea how to design an effective outdoor fitness park. So, they rely on the salespeople from the equipment suppliers to tell them what they need.

And fitness equipment salespeople are in the business of making money.

And that’s fine for them, but not so good for the city’s coffers.

So, as a public service, I thought I would compare & contrast two different pieces of outdoor fitness equipment. A set of Uneven Bars (very old-school) and a Combo Lat Pulldown / Chest Press Machine.

Feel free to email this article to your local city councilor as a reminder of how you prefer to see your tax dollars spent.

Uneven Bars

Cost: $1200  + shipping/taxes/installation

Exercises:

  • Chin Up
  • Pull Up
  • Chest Press / Push Up
  • Lat Row
  • Tricep Dip
  • 2 Leg Squat
  • 1 Leg Squat
  • Hanging Leg Raises
  • Hanging Windshield Wipers
  • Handstand Push Ups
  • Bicep Curls
  • Plank / Bridge
  • Calf Raises
  • Balance training
  • Wide variety of Flexibility / Stretching Exercises
  • Wide variety of Strength Band Exercises
  • Wide variety of Suspension Trainer Exercises
Pros:
  • Lower Price
  • Less Maintenance
  • Wider variety of exercises
  • Greater range of exercise intensities
  • Reduced chance of breakdown
  • Longer lifecycle
Cons:
  • Less “sexy” than Lat Pull / Chest Press teeter totter machine
  • Would require an instruction board for all the different exercises

outdoor fitness equipment - lat pull chest press

Lat Pull – Chest Press Combo Machine

Cost: $3450 + shipping/taxes/installation

Exercises:

  • Chest Press
  • Lat Pulldown
  • Some strength band exercises (vertical pole attachment only)
Pros:
  • More fun looking than a set of boring old  Chin Up bars
  • Beginners love the simplicity of single purpose exercise machines
  • Less than body-weight resistance good for beginners
  • Exercise instruction chart comes included
Cons:
  • Higher Price
  • Bearing maintenance cost
  • More complex design = greater chance of breakdown = more downtime = crappy fitness park
  • Reduced exercise options
  • Less effective for more advanced trainees
  • Shorter lifecycle = costs even more money to replace
Conclusion
.
Fancy-schmancy exercise equipment looks better in a photo-op than a set of uneven bars. And we all know how much politicians love photo-ops.
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But…it’s your tax dollars. Let them know how you want to see them spent.

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