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  1. #1
    Registered User dankydank's Avatar
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    Black Widow Training Gear haul

    Received a few things recently and wanted to post some thoughts on them. This is the one guy known for producing high quality material but you can't find much reviews anywhere for his products. I placed an order for 3 attachments for my power rack; Dip attachment, Spotter arms, and a pair of Dumbbell Spotting Trays.


    Dip Bar


    I'm pretty happy with this attachment. It is long and sturdy, with minimal side to side wobble, and it's fairly light. The Fedex notification said it was 20 lbs. It definitely feels pretty light compared to the other stuff I got from BWTG. Compared to what stock image on the website, you'll notice some differences. He's added a logo to the dip bar and it has a rough powder coating that isn't visible in the stock image. The powder coating feels nice in your hands and helps out a lot with gripping the bar. Compared to my old commercial gym which had a dip bar station and assisted pull-up/dip machines, I would never do dips because I couldn't set up properly and the bars were to wide and also had some kind of slippery plastic coating. Since getting this piece, I've been doing a lot of dips and actually made it my main lift for Chest and Triceps. Haven't had any shoulder pain either that I use to get since it's much easier to setup on a Power Rack at the height you like. Total time to receive was 1 month from placing the order. I would highly recommend this over whatever dip attachment you get from the manufacturer of your rack or stand. He customizes this for the rack you have and the price difference isn't that much higher.

    Dumbbell Spotting Trays


    This is one item I'm on the fence about. The point of it is to hold your dumbbells so you don't have to wrestle with it and possibly mess up your shoulders getting into position to do Flat, Incline, Decline bench, or Shoulder presses. It does solve the problem of starting your rep while allowing you to get into good pressing position, but it does it by creating a different problem. The Dumbbell trays weight somewhere between 30-40 lbs. It's fairly sturdy and actually somewhat difficult to move around since the weight isn't balanced. It comes with a rough powder texture coating all around the entire product. While it is nice on a dip bar like my previous review, it is horrible on this product. There is no UHMW anywhere so the coating will scratch up your rack a lot. If you look closely, you'll see I wrapped some Black Athletic tape around the edges to protect the rack. I also added some near the dumbbell trays to protect my hand. Every-time I took these off I always found some new scratch somewhere on my hand caused by the coating. When un-racking it or racking it, if you hit your hand on it, it could definitely take off some skin. I would have actually preferred the design on the stock image on the website where it looks pretty smooth.

    Compared to the other similar product (VersaSpot), this one is attached independently to each upright instead of as one unit. One complain I saw on VersaSpot reviews was that the space between the dumbbell was to narrow making unracking feel off. That isn't the case here, there is definitely enough space for your hand as well as width between the dumbbells to have a more natural shoulder width distance. This does bring me to my main issue with the product though which is the unracking of the dumbbell. Due to the length off the dumbbell arm, I've tried to unrack it while being a bit infront of my chest, this gives me enough space to get a full rep without hitting the dumbbell arms. This is easily due-able with lower weights, but I didn't buy this thing for lower weights. When trying to unrack it, I've found I need to get my chest directly underneath it or I have almost no power to unrack it. This causes a problem where I can't get enough clearance to get a full rep depending on where I lower it on my chest. The arm sticks out roughly the same size as 2 Monster J-cup arms would, but you have to remember that you're not clearing the bar here, you have to clear the bar and the added length of the dumbbell head. For reference, next time you flat bench, imagine trying to clear the bar roughly the length of 3 J-cup arms before you lower it. For flat benching, it's useable but I do end up spending too much effort worrying about hitting the trays vs getting in the rep. I actually don't have this issue with Incline bench though. This is probably due to the fact that I Incline lower weights and unracking it is no issue so I can position myself a bit infront to get some clearance. I haven't done Decline presses with it so I can't comment there. With Shoulder presses, it has some utility but I haven't found a comfortable way to use it. In order to get it off the arms, you have to have your elbows completely flared out, which you shouldn't be doing unless you want some injuries. I was able to use it by unracking each dumbbell independently while standing then sitting down on the bench. This is better than nothing but not ideal especially if you're shoulder pressing heavy weights.

    Overall it is a good product that works for me since I mainly do Dips for overall Chest and Incline as an accessory. If I was buying it mainly for Flat bench I probably wouldn't use it. I do believe some of my issues just has to be with me being weak with unracking it. I haven't done any barbell benching in over 5+ years so I'm not use to un-racking weights. I would like to get someone else whose use to unracking on barbell to see how it feels for them or get some more training on unracking before I write it off. This took 3 months from ordering to receive.


    Spotter Arms


    Don't have much too say about these. They're spotter arms that do what spotter arms are suppose to do. These are Rogue quality if not better at roughly the same price. He custom makes these as well for whatever rack you have. I did have him add some holes in mine which he doesn't do standard so I could add some attachments in there If I wanted. I may be willing to sell these since I don't ever use them. I actually ordered these before I was able to get safety straps for my rack which I thought would never come back in-stock. These took 3 months to receive from ordering.


    Overall I like the quality of the products I received, I'll probably be going back to BlackWidow for some cable attachments and specialty bars I'm interested in.
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    Originally Posted by dankydank View Post
    Received a few things recently and wanted to post some thoughts on them. This is the one guy known for producing high quality material but you can't find much reviews anywhere for his products. I placed an order for 3 attachments for my power rack; Dip attachment, Spotter arms, and a pair of Dumbbell Spotting Trays.


    Dip Bar


    I'm pretty happy with this attachment. It is long and sturdy, with minimal side to side wobble, and it's fairly light. The Fedex notification said it was 20 lbs. It definitely feels pretty light compared to the other stuff I got from BWTG. Compared to what stock image on the website, you'll notice some differences. He's added a logo to the dip bar and it has a rough powder coating that isn't visible in the stock image. The powder coating feels nice in your hands and helps out a lot with gripping the bar. Compared to my old commercial gym which had a dip bar station and assisted pull-up/dip machines, I would never do dips because I couldn't set up properly and the bars were to wide and also had some kind of slippery plastic coating. Since getting this piece, I've been doing a lot of dips and actually made it my main lift for Chest and Triceps. Haven't had any shoulder pain either that I use to get since it's much easier to setup on a Power Rack at the height you like. Total time to receive was 1 month from placing the order. I would highly recommend this over whatever dip attachment you get from the manufacturer of your rack or stand. He customizes this for the rack you have and the price difference isn't that much higher.

    Dumbbell Spotting Trays


    This is one item I'm on the fence about. The point of it is to hold your dumbbells so you don't have to wrestle with it and possibly mess up your shoulders getting into position to do Flat, Incline, Decline bench, or Shoulder presses. It does solve the problem of starting your rep while allowing you to get into good pressing position, but it does it by creating a different problem. The Dumbbell trays weight somewhere between 30-40 lbs. It's fairly sturdy and actually somewhat difficult to move around since the weight isn't balanced. It comes with a rough powder texture coating all around the entire product. While it is nice on a dip bar like my previous review, it is horrible on this product. There is no UHMW anywhere so the coating will scratch up your rack a lot. If you look closely, you'll see I wrapped some Black Athletic tape around the edges to protect the rack. I also added some near the dumbbell trays to protect my hand. Every-time I took these off I always found some new scratch somewhere on my hand caused by the coating. When un-racking it or racking it, if you hit your hand on it, it could definitely take off some skin. I would have actually preferred the design on the stock image on the website where it looks pretty smooth.

    Compared to the other similar product (VersaSpot), this one is attached independently to each upright instead of as one unit. One complain I saw on VersaSpot reviews was that the space between the dumbbell was to narrow making unracking feel off. That isn't the case here, there is definitely enough space for your hand as well as width between the dumbbells to have a more natural shoulder width distance. This does bring me to my main issue with the product though which is the unracking of the dumbbell. Due to the length off the dumbbell arm, I've tried to unrack it while being a bit infront of my chest, this gives me enough space to get a full rep without hitting the dumbbell arms. This is easily due-able with lower weights, but I didn't buy this thing for lower weights. When trying to unrack it, I've found I need to get my chest directly underneath it or I have almost no power to unrack it. This causes a problem where I can't get enough clearance to get a full rep depending on where I lower it on my chest. The arm sticks out roughly the same size as 2 Monster J-cup arms would, but you have to remember that you're not clearing the bar here, you have to clear the bar and the added length of the dumbbell head. For reference, next time you flat bench, imagine trying to clear the bar roughly the length of 3 J-cup arms before you lower it. For flat benching, it's useable but I do end up spending too much effort worrying about hitting the trays vs getting in the rep. I actually don't have this issue with Incline bench though. This is probably due to the fact that I Incline lower weights and unracking it is no issue so I can position myself a bit infront to get some clearance. I haven't done Decline presses with it so I can't comment there. With Shoulder presses, it has some utility but I haven't found a comfortable way to use it. In order to get it off the arms, you have to have your elbows completely flared out, which you shouldn't be doing unless you want some injuries. I was able to use it by unracking each dumbbell independently while standing then sitting down on the bench. This is better than nothing but not ideal especially if you're shoulder pressing heavy weights.

    Overall it is a good product that works for me since I mainly do Dips for overall Chest and Incline as an accessory. If I was buying it mainly for Flat bench I probably wouldn't use it. I do believe some of my issues just has to be with me being weak with unracking it. I haven't done any barbell benching in over 5+ years so I'm not use to un-racking weights. I would like to get someone else whose use to unracking on barbell to see how it feels for them or get some more training on unracking before I write it off. This took 3 months from ordering to receive.


    Spotter Arms


    Don't have much too say about these. They're spotter arms that do what spotter arms are suppose to do. These are Rogue quality if not better at roughly the same price. He custom makes these as well for whatever rack you have. I did have him add some holes in mine which he doesn't do standard so I could add some attachments in there If I wanted. I may be willing to sell these since I don't ever use them. I actually ordered these before I was able to get safety straps for my rack which I thought would never come back in-stock. These took 3 months to receive from ordering.


    Overall I like the quality of the products I received, I'll probably be going back to BlackWidow for some cable attachments and specialty bars I'm interested in.
    I have 3 BWTG bars. The angled Swiss bar and the hammer curl bar( got both in like new condition off Craigslist for $200) l also bought the SSB bar on a Black Friday sale . I really like all the bars. Wish they were knurled but not a big deal. High quality and have no regrets.. Love the Hammer curl bar. Very versatile bar.

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  3. #3
    Registered User Deep-Voiced-One's Avatar
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    dankydank, Thanks for the detailed review, Dean makes some good pieces (I've gotten a few pieces from him over the years). You should keep those spotter arms, they look awesome and knowing how different movements get added to the mix over time, you never know if you might be able to use them (to possibly set up multiple stations, I could also almost see them being useful for a racking/un-racking station for lying triceps extension (with a rackable EZ curl bar) facing the spotter arms to get the bar in position.

    Dip attachments are extremely invaluable tools for sure and also kinda sucks to hear about the DB trays not living up to the hype, it would annoy me too not having UHMW on it and since it sounds more like a struggle to get into proper positioning and to un-rack/rack with them, it sounds like kicking them up into position the old fashioned way is the way to go (it would be great if someone came up with a monolift DB tray scooped attachment one day where the trays pull out of the way, then when done with your set just bring 'em back and down and the trays are right there for the next set lol).

    Like Al mentioned there's a lot of great specialty bars that Dean makes as well (I believe that you could special request knurling now a days from Dean since he started applying it more in recent years) and if I had to name two cable attachments to consider from BWTG it's Dean's rendition of the "Dog Bone" attachment which he coined the Ball Sac lat attachment, I own that attachment and it's excellent for both solid lat contraction and grip strength and the other attachment for variety would be his Multi-grip attachment.
    Last edited by Deep-Voiced-One; 11-29-2020 at 02:48 PM.
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  4. #4
    Registered User dankydank's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Asjogren View Post
    I have 3 BWTG bars. The angled Swiss bar and the hammer curl bar( got both in like new condition off Craigslist for $200) l also bought the SSB bar on a Black Friday sale . I really like all the bars. Wish they were knurled but not a big deal. High quality and have no regrets.. Love the Hammer curl bar. Very versatile bar.

    Have you used any other SSBs to compare BWTG to? I saw Garage Gym Reviews had a best SSB series recently but they didn't have the BWTG.

    Originally Posted by Deep-Voiced-One View Post
    dankydank, Thanks for the detailed review, Dean makes some good pieces (I've gotten a few pieces from him over the years). You should keep those spotter arms, they look awesome and knowing how different movements get added to the mix over time, you never know if you might be able to use them (to possibly set up multiple stations, I could also almost see them being useful for a racking/un-racking station for lying triceps extension (with a rackable EZ curl bar) facing the spotter arms to get the bar in position.

    Dip attachments are extremely invaluable tools for sure and also kinda sucks to hear about the DB trays not living up to the hype, it would annoy me too not having UHMW on it and since it sounds more like a struggle to get into proper positioning and to un-rack/rack with them, it sounds like kicking them up into position the old fashioned way is the way to go (it would be great if someone came up with a monolift DB tray scooped attachment one day where the trays pull out of the way, then when done with your set just bring 'em back and down and the trays are right there for the next set lol).

    Like Al mentioned there's a lot of great specialty bars that Dean makes as well (I believe that you could special request knurling now a days from Dean since he started applying it more in recent years) and if I had to name two cable attachments to consider from BWTG it's Dean's rendition of the "Dog Bone" attachment which he coined the Ball Sac lat attachment, I own that attachment and it's excellent for both solid lat contraction and grip strength and the other attachment for variety would be his Multi-grip attachment.
    That's one I'm looking at. I want the Multi-grip attachment, SSB, Farmers Walk handles, and Curl Bar
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  5. #5
    Registered User Deep-Voiced-One's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by dankydank View Post
    Have you used any other SSBs to compare BWTG to? I saw Garage Gym Reviews had a best SSB series recently but they didn't have the BWTG.



    That's one I'm looking at. I want the Multi-grip attachment, SSB, Farmers Walk handles, and Curl Bar
    I own both the 2.5" thick Rackable Curl Bar with knurling and the Hammer Curl Bar (2" smooth) and like both of them, but as of recent been really liking the 2.5" Rackable Curl Bar for 21 triceps (7 reps lying triceps extension, 7 reps skullcrushers and 7 reps close grip bench press) as a triceps finisher to which I typically do for 3 sets.

    I actually prefer the 2.5" thick grip better than regular diameter curl bars because to my surprise I experienced no wrist, nor elbow discomfort during any extension movements with it as opposed to the latter option. It also gives a good pump to the biceps and forearms when curling with it, I use my Ivanko 2.5 lb compression collars on it and they fit on nice and tight.

    The Hammer Curl Bar is a nice addition too and I find it mimics the DB version of skullcrushers really well and is more portable for overhead triceps extensions and even hammer curls (as the name implies), the only portion of the Hammer Curl Bar I don't care for is the flared sides for supinated curls with it, mainly because of the diagonal grooves and the angle it cuts off at, it feels kind of awkward on the wrists to me which is where the rackable curl bar does a better job.
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    Originally Posted by dankydank View Post
    Have you used any other SSBs to compare BWTG to? I saw Garage Gym Reviews had a best SSB series recently but they didn't have the BWTG.

    The best one is Crep. Hands down. I have his 1500 SSB. It balances extremely well. I have used ELITE FTS and Rogue SSB. Elite FTS the padding is digs into your neck unless you have Mike Tyson's neck. It does not balance as good as Crep one. MGM has very good write up on the different SSB's. Search for this thread. With Crep you don't need any handles even though i got his 5" stub handles i don't use them at all.

    I have been doing box SQ's with SSB for the past 6 weeks or so. Love it. It is like buy once and cry once.

    It is always better to talk to him

    http://www.1500lb.com/specializedbars.html

    Edit.

    Cost wise it is only little more than ELITE FTS Yoke or Rogue SSB after factoring tax plus shipping . That extra cost is well worth it IMO
    Last edited by vhd16; 11-30-2020 at 07:07 PM.
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    Originally Posted by vhd16 View Post
    The best one is Crep. Hands down. I have his 1500 SSB. It balances extremely well. I have used ELITE FTS and Rogue SSB. Elite FTS the padding is digs into your neck unless you have Mike Tyson's neck. It does not balance as good as Crep one. MGM has very good write up on the different SSB's. Search for this thread. With Crep you don't need any handles even though i got his 5" stub handles i don't use them at all.

    I have been doing box SQ's with SSB for the past 6 weeks or so. Love it. It is like buy once and cry once.

    It is always better to talk to him

    http://www.1500lb.com/specializedbars.html

    Edit.

    Cost wise it is only little more than ELITE FTS Yoke or Rogue SSB after factoring tax plus shipping . That extra cost is well worth it IMO
    +1 on everything vhd16 said about the Crep and MGM’s write-up on SSB. The balance is incredible and padding is very comfortable. I bought handles to go with it and have yet to put them on as well after 12-18 months (maybe more) of using it.
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    Originally Posted by vhd16 View Post
    The best one is Crep. Hands down. I have his 1500 SSB. It balances extremely well. I have used ELITE FTS and Rogue SSB. Elite FTS the padding is digs into your neck unless you have Mike Tyson's neck. It does not balance as good as Crep one.
    There seems to be some variation in the Elite SSBs also. The first one I had was ok, but it didn't balance all that well. I read all of these reviews stating you could use it sans handles and while I could have done so, it would have been with some hesitation. I didn't think too much of it though as I was more than satisfied with the bar for what I paid. One day I had another pristine Elite SSB come my way and tossed it on my rack alongside the other. I noticed the 2 sat completely differently on the rack safeties, so I decided I would try squatting with both. The new (to me) bar balanced significantly better, so I kept that one and flipped the other.
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    Originally Posted by vhd16 View Post
    Elite FTS the padding is digs into your neck unless you have Mike Tyson's neck.
    Did they change padding or something? My Elite bar most definitely does not dig into my neck and the padding is ridiculously thick. My Rogue bar had crap padding and was giving me neck pain quite often, but then I see people squatting heavy/doing goodmornings with it and they don't seem bothered at all by the pool noodle padding.
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    My biggest issue wasn't the padding on the EliteFTS bar, it was more that it sat closer to the outside of my shoulders which made it feel uncomfortable. Ideally I'd like to see someone make a bar where the shoulder width on the bar was adjustable so that it rested comfortably on the traps, want it just wide enough to get my head through LOL
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    Originally Posted by urbanlifter View Post
    My biggest issue wasn't the padding on the EliteFTS bar, it was more that it sat closer to the outside of my shoulders which made it feel uncomfortable. Ideally I'd like to see someone make a bar where the shoulder width on the bar was adjustable so that it rested comfortably on the traps, want it just wide enough to get my head through LOL
    Yeah, I can see that being an issue. Have you used any SSBs that do sit right for you?
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    Registered User urbanlifter's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by murphyreedus View Post
    Yeah, I can see that being an issue. Have you used any SSBs that do sit right for you?
    The Edge Fitness wasn't terrible, but I had to change the padding to make it more comfortable.

    Even then I sold it, I just prefer to push through the elbow/shoulder pain and regular barbell squat.
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    Unregistered User Cleveland33's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Duplicitous View Post
    There seems to be some variation in the Elite SSBs also. The first one I had was ok, but it didn't balance all that well. I read all of these reviews stating you could use it sans handles and while I could have done so, it would have been with some hesitation. I didn't think too much of it though as I was more than satisfied with the bar for what I paid. One day I had another pristine Elite SSB come my way and tossed it on my rack alongside the other. I noticed the 2 sat completely differently on the rack safeties, so I decided I would try squatting with both. The new (to me) bar balanced significantly better, so I kept that one and flipped the other.
    The balancing is an interesting aspect - I was playing around and started unracking mine with my hands on my rack uprights instead of the handles and it really feels unbalanced but for mine, and maybe yours is different, it is balanced but there is movement front to back as if I was twisting my torso more than if one side of my body was dipping. I don't know if that is balance of the bar or perhaps me causing it by not being as stable. Also, the majority of people I see not holding the handles are monsters that are moving much bigger weights and I wonder if that weight is compressing the pads onto your traps more and it will be more stable/balanced there.

    I also think a lot of is our perception of it - like any other bar we are holding tight to our back so if there is any movement or balance issue it probably feels a lot more intense than it actually is.
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    Have the Crep as well and have yet to put the handles on. Never had a problem with it and it balances fantastically. and Ralph is awesome to deal with - even sent me some candies for the kids!
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    Originally Posted by murphyreedus View Post
    Did they change padding or something? My Elite bar most definitely does not dig into my neck and the padding is ridiculously thick. My Rogue bar had crap padding and was giving me neck pain quite often, but then I see people squatting heavy/doing goodmornings with it and they don't seem bothered at all by the pool noodle padding.
    Not sure .I had it couple of years ago

    Like UL said it also sat very uncomfortably on the neck and shoulders plus balance wise not as good as Crep one

    Crep one sits very nice and even with 25’s on each side you don’t need to use the handles or hold on to upright
    I really don’t his 5” stub handles as I don’t use them at all
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