Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Get Fit, Stay Fit with the XBAR

During a flight to Atlanta in the fall of 2014, I was flipping through the pages of Muscle & Fitness Hers when I discovered the XBAR.  My eyes scanned the “holiday gift guide,” taking in the festive buffet of earbuds, hats, activity trackers and everything else an avid gym goer or athlete would appreciate.  But out of all of these must-have items, the XBAR stood out as soon as I saw it. The XBAR resembles the familiar curl bar, with three different standard hand positions, close grip, regular grip and wide grip, which allows for unlimited exercises.  You can do countless variations of planks and pushups, squats, lunges, presses, curls, extensions and more! Within seconds, I was snapping a photo of the page with my smart phone so I would remember to look into it once I arrived home.  

There were quite a few reasons this product piqued my interest, the most important of which I have listed below.  Visit and use code MEGANLINGE at checkout to save 10%.  Shipping is free!

The XBAR is Portable
Recently, I have been traveling more often for work events.  While I appreciate an escape from my every day routine, access to a gym is never guaranteed.  And although many hotels provide fitness centers, the “gym” sometimes consists of a treadmill, a single set of dumbbells and maybe (if you’re lucky), a water cooler.  When planning your travel routines, it’s much easier to stay accountable when you know what resources you will have access to and how to incorporate them into a full body workout.  Typically, my travel routines are shorter than the ones I do at the gym.  For this reason, I appreciate the efficiency of the XBAR.  You can plan your workouts ahead of time and, because of the resistance method of training, you’ll incorporate more core work and recruit the stabilizing muscles more than you might have otherwise.  The XBAR is 34” end to end and the entire kit weights less than 10 lbs.  The XBAR was created by Damian Sanders, ex-pro snowboarder.  Like a lot of people, his schedule became filled with family life and running a small business.  Determined to find a solution to his problem, Damian was looking for something portable, convenient and functional.  Within 3 months of using the XBAR prototype (and eating right), he was back in great shape.  What started as a simple push-up bar evolved into a life-changing fitness tool.

Not only do I enjoy traveling with the XBAR, but I’ve also appreciated the convenience of using it at home AND in the gym.  As a personal trainer, I am always looking for new and stimulating ways to keep my clients challenged.  The XBAR is a great piece of equipment that can be incorporated into an existing routine, or used on it’s own.  One of my favorite workouts includes cardio intervals and strength intervals using the XBAR.  The kit comes with a drawstring travel bag, containing three different levels of resistance bands.

The XBAR Offers Variety for the Body
Another reason I was immediately so fond of this product is because of the variety it offers.  In February 2012 I had surgery for a herniated disc.  The herniation was the results of too much activity, not enough rest and a worn out body!  Since then, I have realized the importance of moderation and have come to appreciate the “peaks and valleys” of a workout routine.  Not every workout needs to be as intense as the last, not every run needs to be faster or further than the previous.  What I enjoy about the XBAR is that even though I’m not leg pressing 45s or doing assisted pull-ups to strengthen my upper body, the muscle activation provided by the XBAR stimulates the muscle fibers in a new way, recruiting muscle from different positions with a form of resistance the body may not be used to.  Doing the same exercises, with the same equipment and the same amount of weight will cause the body to plateau.  Not only that, but you are more likely to injure yourself that way.  The XBAR recruits the core and stabilizing muscles, which encourages you to use good form and provides a mind-muscle connection that creates better awareness during, and after, your workout.  

The XBAR Accommodates Varying Fitness Levels and Body Types
With three different resistance bands (included), the amount of resistance you can achieve is equivalent to an entire gym rack.  Use one band for a light workout, add all three bands together and the resistance is more than most people can handle.  Because of the fluid rotating end-swivels on the XBAR, and the rubber to rubber detached pushup docks, you can always find a position that perfectly fits your comfort zone.  Being that I am 5’11.5,” I am sometimes concerned with using resistance bands for fear they may snap!  However, you can position just one foot centered on the band to allow for more stretch.  If you are on the shorter side, you can spread your feet further apart to take up the slack and get more resistance. While foot placement will vary the amount of resistance each band provides, in general the weight equivalent is as follows:  green band = 5 pounds per side, red band = 8 pounds per side, blue band = 13 pounds per side.  An additional black band is sold separately and offers 19 pounds per side.  

XBAR TripleSet Circuit
This routine was inspired by a class I created and teach at Lateral Fitness in Chicago.  The workout, called TripleSet, alternates between sets of cardio (C), strength (S) and core inspired (CI) intervals. So drop your excuses and get ready to raise your heart rate with this version of my workout including the Xbar.  Perform each exercise for 30 seconds.  Complete 2-3 rounds of the seven sets.  Rest as needed.  
1C  High knee run
1S  XBAR squats
1CI XBAR plank with knee drives 

2C  Mountain climbers
2S  XBAR upright row
2CI XBAR plank with leg lifts 

3C   Jumping jacks
3S   XBAR lunges with right leg in front
3CI  XBAR side plank to right 

4C  Jumping jacks
4S  XBAR lunges with left leg in front
4CI  XBAR side plank to left 

5C  Jump rope in place
5S  XBAR pushups
5CI XBAR reverse plank with leg lifts 

6C  Jump squats
6S  XBAR side lunge to right
6CI  XBAR reach out plank 

7C  Jump squats
7S  XBAR side lunge to left
7CI  XBAR kick backs (30 seconds/side)

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