As I mentioned in my review of MiCoach, one thing they don’t mention very prominently on the game packaging or in online advertisements is that the game does require some extra equipment that doesn’t come bundled with it. You can still use the game without this equipment, but you’ll have to skip lots of exercises that use the equipment. You’ll know whether you have to use the additional equipment in any given exercises by looking at the icons next to each exercise. Also, your on-screen instructor will show you exactly how to use the equipment, either verbally or clearly in the demonstration of the exercise.
In order to have a full experience, you’ll need to invest into buying some additional equipment. I’ve put some of my suggestions below.
- Towel – Any old hand towel should do here. In some games you’ll fold the towel and use it as a pad to make exercises more comfortable.
- Bench – This is another piece of “equipment” mentioned. You’ll need this from time to time to rest a hand or foot on it for support. You should be okay with a folding chair or a kitchen chair here, just keep it handy near your workout area.
- Stability Balls – The manual suggests you use an “Adidas Core Stability Gym Ball”, but as luck would have it that’s not available in the United States. You should be okay getting any brand of Exercise Balls. I just decided to go by the highest Amazon ratings and go for the one with the highest ratings, the Body Sport Exercise Ball. The Isokinetics Balance Ball Chairis a pricer option but also one I considered, as that could also double for your “bench”. To choose the right exercise ball for your height, use this as a guide:
- 34-inch (85 cm): For users 6′ 7″ in height and taller
- 30-inch (75 cm): For users between 6′ 2″ and 6′ 6″
- 26-inch (65 cm): For users between 5′ 8″ and 6′ 1″
- 22-inch (55 cm): For users between 5′ 1″ and 5′ 7″
- 18-inch (45 cm): For users between 4′ 6″ and 5′ 0″
- Dumbbells – Dumbbells are used in some exercises to introduce resistance and help with strength and muscle conditioning. Again, brands of dumbbells will work, but I like these Valeo Hand Weights because of their rating and the ease of holding them with the PS3 Move controller. The game will advise you on what weight to get, so I’d suggest playing it a couple times without the weight to get a sense of what the exercise entails. One bit of advice–don’t go too high too fast in your weight selection. Even the lightest handweights get very, very heavy as you get longer into a workout.
- Heart Rate monitors - The game integrates with heart rate monitors. Obviously, the one Adidas wants you to buy is the Adidas MiCoach Pacer Bundle Heart Rate Monitor. But I like the fact that they didn’t make it so that you had to use their own proprietary heart rate monitor (like EA Sports did), but will support any third party heart rate monitor or USB dongle that supports the ANT+ standard. Here’s a list of some at Amazon that range in price from $30 to $300. When you have this equipment set up, your heartrate will be displayed on screen throughout your workout.
At first, I wasn’t happy that I had to buy all this extra equipment to use this game. Then again, I figured these are all pieces of equipment you should have anyway in your home gym or when doing your workouts on and off the PS3. Plus, I’d rather choose my own equipment than have a flimsy resistance band or non-standard heart rate monitor like EA Sports did. Bottom line is, MiCoach is not just another game–it’s a system that will require a bit of an investment to get the full value out of. Shop around and try to find the highest quality, lowest price equipment to use.