With the rise in home workouts, you may be in the market for new fitness equipment that can give you a full body workout. Exercise mirrors and slide boards are two options. Two increasingly popular brands of each of these types of fitness equipment are the BRRRN Board and the Mirror.
What Is the BRRRN Board?
The BRRRN Board ($229 to $299) is a five-foot long, 28-pound slippery board made with recycled rubber. It’s what’s known as a slide board: You stand on it and do side-to-side exercise movements. You wear special booties that come with the board while using it to help you glide smoothly across the board. There also are mittens that come with it that enable you to slide across the board using your hands. The board also comes with wipes that keep the board slick.
Think of it as your small patch of space at an ice skating rink. Other slide boards have been used by hockey players and skaters for several decades.
In addition to the board itself, you can purchase a monthly ($9.99/month) or annual ($79.99) subscription to on-demand exercise videos for using the BRRRN Board. The workouts from BRRRN include cardio, weight training and yoga.
A regular-sized board is recommended for those up to 5’5″; there’s also a slightly longer board available for taller users.
The BRRRN Board is made by BRRRN, a company that opened a boutique exercise studio in 2018 in Manhattan. The studio features its slide boards in classes and expanded to sell its slide boards for at-home customers in 2020. The in-person studio focuses on cold workouts done in a studio kept at 50 degrees.
What Is the Mirror?
What do you see when you look in the mirror? If you own the smart exercise device called t he Mirror ($1,495), you see more than a reflection of yourself. By syncing the device with your smartphone or smart watch, you also see fitness trainers who guide you through on-demand and live fitness classes, including yoga flow, boxing, Latin dance and weight training.
With Mirror’s required monthly subscription ($39/month), you have access to a wide variety of fitness classes, including heart-pumping cardio, strength training classes and yoga. Some classes allow you to compare your performance and heart rate with others taking the class in real time. Mirror also has camera-based technology that allows you to connect one-on-one with a personal trainer for an extra charge.
By entering personalized fitness information, the Mirror can suggest real-time workout modifications. For instance, if you have weaker knees, you may see a short video to suggest how to perform certain moves safely, says Sergio Pedemonte, personal trainer and CEO of Your House Fitness in Toronto.
Originally founded by former New York City ballet dancer Brynn Putnam, Mirror is owned by Lululemon Athletica, a fitness apparel company based in Vancouver that purchased Mirror in 2020.
There also are other smart workout mirrors on the market now, such as Forme Life, Tempo Studio and Tonal.
Both BRRRN and Mirror have unique fitness capabilities, but which one is better for your needs? Here are some pros and cons of each item.
[Read: At-Home Exercises for Knee Pain.]
The Pros of BRRRN Board
— The board can be used for low-impact exercise. This is beneficial for those who can’t workout at a higher intensity, says personal trainer and group fitness instructor Tami Smith, who is the owner of Fit Healthy Momma in St. Augustine, Florida. At the same time, you can use BRRRN for more challenging workouts and for interval training — going from slower to a higher intensity, says Pedemonte, who uses a BRRRN Board.
— The board’s focus on side-to-side movements is unique among fitness equipment. This type of movement — such as side lunges or moving your feet rhythmically from side to side — encourages your body to use more muscles and could help prevent injury when done correctly, Smith says.
— It’s a great way to tone and strengthen your lower body and improve stability and balance. Pedemonte says that advanced users enjoy the BRRRN board for its core exercise variations. Your core includes your abs, glutes, hips and pelvic floor.
— It has a small footprint. If you live in a small apartment or home, BRRRN can likely fit easily in your home space, says Dr. Alexis C. Colvin, professor of orthopedic surgery at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and chief medical officer for the U.S. Open. You can tuck it under a bed or in a closet when not using it.
— It’s less pricey than the Mirror.
[READ: Best Lower Body Workouts.]
The Cons of BRRRN Board
— You may get bored making the same lateral movements, Smith says.
— You will still need to do other types of exercise. For a well-rounded exercise experience, you’ll still need to do other exercises, such as for your upper body, Smith says.
— It’s not the best choice if you have weak knees or leg muscles. The lateral sliding movements can be challenging, says Atlanta-based fitness coach ShaNay Norvell, author of “Stretch Your Stress Away with ShaNay.”
— The slippery surface could make you slip and slide, Norvell says. “Good body control is needed to effectively use this equipment,” Norvell says. This could be frustrating for beginners and could lead to injury if there isn’t a fitness trainer to help guide you through how to use it properly. The BRRRN website includes intro videos to guide new users on how to take care of the board and how to slide properly.
The Pros of the Mirror
— You can mirror the movements of the instructor. This helps you to learn the right form, Smith says.
— It’s an interactive experience. The livestream, interactive classes create a feel of community, and that can be motivational, Smith says. “Working out from home can feel boring and lackluster for many, which causes them to peter out and find an excuse not to do it,” she says. The interactivity helps to counter this. You can even send shoutouts or interact via emojis with the instructor or other class members, Pedemonte says.
— There’s a large variety of exercise classes available through the Mirror.
— You can get personalized instruction from a trainer by using the camera feature. This enables the trainer to see you during a workout, Norvell says. The camera also can be covered for privacy. These sessions have a separate cost. Even without the personalized instruction, the Mirror allows you to track your personal workout data and progress.
The Cons of the Mirror
— With a $1,495 price tag, plus the monthly class subscription, it can be pricey. The manufacturer does offer financing options.
— It can be discouraging to stare at your body versus the instructor’s body for a long time. “There can be a subconscious comparing taking place,” Norvell cautions. This can lead you to try and put your body in positions that may be beyond your range, increasing your risk for injuries. Although this could happen in a class, the instructor would be there with you to correct your form.
— You need to have a wall where you can secure the Mirror and enough space to complete the workouts. This may be harder if you don’t have a good wall for it, Smith says. Even if you have an available wall, you have to give some thought as to where you’ll place it. A room with a window might cause a problem with the screen’s clarity, Pedemonte notes.
Which Is Better for You: BRRRN Board or Mirror?
Both the BRRRN Board and the Mirror are potentially effective to get you in shape and help with weight loss, Colvin says. This is particularly true if you consistently complete the workouts three to four days a week along with good nutrition practices, Norvell adds.
In addition to space and price, the other important factor is getting the fitness item — be it BRRRN Board, the Mirror or something else — that you think you’ll enjoy.
“Working out should be fun,” Smith says. “I hate to see people buy something just because they saw their friend or favorite influencer promote it, but they actually hate the workouts.” If you don’t enjoy the workouts, you’re much less likely to stick with it.
Here are some final tips for selecting the right items for your home workouts:
— Consider the added cost of accessories, such as free weights, Smith advises.
— Plan in advance where you’ll put your equipment.
— Start slowly and gradually pick up the pace, Pedemonte cautions. Go at a rate you can sustain versus a trainer’s pace.
— Talk to a fitness professional to help set up your home gym. If not in person, this can be done virtually where the trainer can see you and help you learn how to safely use your equipment, Norvell says.
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BRRRN Board vs. the Mirror: Which Is Best for Your Home Gym? originally appeared on usnews.com