What does the ProBar replace?
One of the greatest challenges the ProBar mobility staff faces is how to demonstrate its versatility and functionality through words and visuals, as its greatest impact is “felt”. Seeing improvements in someone else’s movement quality helps, but nothing is quite like a first hand experience.
However, a good way to familiarize oneself with its many components (and by components, we do not mean the “parts” that make up its construction) is to highlight the various piece of fitness training equipment it either replaces or resembles.
Let us start with the obvious: it’s a stick. It looks like one, feels like one. It is heavier than a PVC pipe or your average broomstick. It is lighter than your average barbell. It’s even lighter than most weighted wands, although, when fully loaded, the ProBar weighs about 6lb. So, there you have it: you can do anything with it that a 4-foot stick can do: you can test someone for a Deep Squat using the FMS (functional movement screen), you can practice martial arts with it, go nuts and get creative.
Unlike an unchangeable object like a barbell, weighted wand or PVC pipe, the ProBar has 2 internal springs and an inner-sliding, self-locking mechanism that wants to stay closed. Which means you the user have to twist and pull on the handles, which telescope outwards, to activate the tension provided by the inner springs. Such resistance is not provided by the aforementioned “stiff” objects.
“I can use rubber resistance bands/elastic tubing”. Yes, you certainly can. But it’s a loose, flimsy type of resistance with constantly changing variables: the older the band, the less resistance it provides. Also, there are no visual metrics of where you consistently grab the bands. The ProBar, by contrast, has had its springs tested for 40,000 aggressive pulls each, which exceed the average lifespan of elastic tubing by a matter of years without compromising its resistance!
A note on creating resistance on your own through the concept of “muscular irradiation” popularized by Pavel Tsatsouline in some of his books, such as Power To The People: most people do not maintain the level of activation that creates the “time under tension” popularized by Charles Poliquin. People tend to adjust their grip or holding width on the PVC pipe or broom stick and rarely are able to replicate the amount of resistance that the ProBar automatically promotes the second you twist and pull it.
So, there you have it: a PVC pipe and a elastic tubing combined. There is a piece of equipment out there that does it (we won’t name it), for about 1/2 the price. But ours is solid construction, all metal (aluminum and stainless steel), with one plastic component made of a weapon-grade polymer (meaning the kind Smith & Wesson make handguns with). Their cost is also dollars, as in, not that much. We’re providing quality at a fair price.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!
Yes, the weighted wand aspect. Your average 6lb weighted bar will run you about $35. But it is ONLY a weighted 6lb bar!
To get the resistance of the elastic tubing (and double that because of the springs), you’d need to add about $20-$25 per band, so let’s say $45 for two. And then, because you’ll need to replace them yearly, let’s bump that up to $90. If you don’t use them enough, it’s your risk that they may dry up and crack, and if you use them, the more you do, the more you compromise their integrity, as their shelf life isn’t meant to be very long and changes in temperature greatly affect their lifespan.
1lb. dumbbells will run you $5/pair online. Our slugs are 500g (1.1lb.). Insert them inside the handle tube PLUS the weight of the ball, you’re already at a heavier weight and how you position your hands modifies the leverage you crate. Like holding a hammer, or wait, an Indian Club or a Club bell! But as a light dumbbell, you can create leverage that replaces a few pairs of light dumbbells up to about 12lb (of torque) per short ProBar staff (because you can take the 4ft staff and disassemble it into 2x2ft staves, as they are connected with a simple yet durable ACME thread! The range itself will cost you over $100+ to go from 1lb pairs to 12lb pairs.
Indian Clubs weighting 1lb (per club) will run you around $40-$50, depending on where you shop. Go up in weight, you go up in price… With the ProBar, how you load the 1/2 staves is up to you, but you have now options to go from about 1lb clubs to 3lb clubs. 2 pairs.
If you are versed in Gray Cook’s Functional Movement Screen but don’t want to carry your full FMS screening Kit, you can use your creativity to do many of the screens, even if not as thoroughly, but at least enough to get going with an assessment. The kit runs from $109 to $179 depending on promotions.
A little self-myofascial release bonus: the two balls that thread into one another when you need the two half-staves to be connected to make the long staff can serve as acupressure balls. That’ll run you another $25.
You can shop for better pricing, but now, unless it’s all Amazon Prime, you might shop at one outlet to get all your goods at once. Pricing all of the above ran me about $556 dollars. And I now need a large enough duffel bag to put it all in!
If I wanted to buy a competing product of lesser quality, because let’s face it, while all the items listed above work independently, but not together (like combining rubber bands and a PVC pipe), you’ll spend an extra $100 on it and STILL need a duffel bag to lug it all across town. That adds an extra $150 for a personal trainer super bag.
I’ve now added up everything, and I’m at $740+ dollars in the shopping cart. And I haven’t even added the cost of the martial arts weapons it makes up…
Ours comes with a nifty bag that carries your weights, has a sharp and you can even slide your smartphone in it 🙂
Suddenly, the ProBar seems like a bargain, doesn’t it? And what a space saver!