What It Is: A heavy-duty plastic platform shaped like a mini surfboard with two anchor points on either end for elastic tubing. One end of each tube has a cuff that you attach to your ankle and the other end has a handle to hold on to. Comes with multiple resistance tubes so you can adjust intensity.
Judging from this product’s website, the FREESTYLER seems to offer a little of everything: Pilates tool, platform for choreographed exercise-to-music classes, portable device for personal trainers, physiotherapy, rehab, stretching, sports, home gym … you name it.
What You Might Not Know: I’m told that the FREESTYLER is huge in Europe and is just making its way to North America now. I love this promo video for the product – it’s like a very exciting fitness/Broadway musical mashup.
Only, can someone explain to me the folks in costume with those skull-hugging Spiderman hoods? Seriously, please leave a comment and let me know what that’s about. It’s awesome.
Feelin’ the Love: I test-drove the FREESTYLER at a recent fitness conference and when they first strapped me in, I felt like it was pulling me off-kilter. But with instruction from a patient FREESTYLER trainer, I soon realized that the pulling effect was part of the FREESTYLER’s benefit and charm.
I could feel right away how the tubing’s resistance was hitting my muscles from multiple angles as I moved my legs and arms around – it felt like I was getting a better hip, abs and shoulder workout compared to traditional exercises like squats, planks and dumbbell lifts.
If I Could Change One Thing: The idea behind the FREESTYLER is to provide “functional multiaxis movement” (according to a document from the company). It makes you use lots of muscles all at once with training that “emphasizes the body’s natural ability to move in three anatomical planes of movement.”
All that multi-dimensional movement choice is great – really great – but it also complicates how to actually use this thing from the exerciser’s point of view. Since my arms and legs aren’t normally attached to resistance tubing when I move around, I didn’t find exercising on the FREESTYLER to be immediately intuitive.
I think you’re supposed to bust out with your own freestyle “flow” of moves. But I didn’t know how to do that. Luckily, FREESTYLER offers 285 free video clips on its website for guidance.
Should You Buy It? Depends on what you’re looking for. With all the movement variables and adjustable equipment options available with the FREESTYLER, you’ve got everything you could wish for in a piece of portable fitness equipment, except maybe ultra-simplicity.
Since the FREESTYLER is more than 200 bucks, maybe see if you can try it out first at a fitness conference or fitness supply store. And it wouldn’t hurt to check out a few video clips, as well.