The base of this product is the core of what makes it work. It functions as an anchor for your bands and places you right in the center. Simply attach the ankle cuffs to one end of the band and the handle to the other and you are ready to go.
If you aren't familiar with exercise tubes, the tension gradually increases as you extend the tubes. The initial part of any movement will start out easy and gradually get harder. Depending on the exercise, there are a couple ways you can make it more challenging. The easiest is to reposition your feet so that the bands start off with more tension (by increasing the length of the tube). If you find that is not enough, you can easily swap out the tubes for harder ones. The basic set comes with 6 tubes, two (2) easy, two (2) medium, and a couple of replacements (1 of each).
So, you get this product home and it doesn't come with a list of exercises and you aren't a gym rat... what do you do now? Well, here is one of my favorite parts of this product. The Freestyler team has spent a lot of time building a massive library of exercise videos through their Video Center (last check was over 700). Not only that, but they have been organized into exercise programs. To get an idea of how customized you can get your program tailored, here is an example of the options:
Step 1: Choose the type of exercise program you are looking for (choose from Ladies, Strength & Conditioning, Pilates, Group Fitness, Dance, Rehabilitation. I chose Strength & Conditioning
Step 2: Choose a program by sport, body type, "over 50", toning & weightloss, by level, or 8 week intensive bootcamp. I'm going with Sport.
Step 3: Choose my sport: Golf, Tennis, Ski, Basketball, Soccer or Running. Since it's winter, let's go with Ski.
Step 4: BEGIN! I now have an exercise program that has 15 exercises, doing 20 reps of each. The videos last around 2 minutes apiece and automatically move to the next one. Since there is no need to make any adjustments to the machine between exercises, you can just jump right into the next exercise. It doesn't matter if you are working upper body or lower body.
In summary, here are the pros and cons:
- The large number of exercise routines to try and instructional videos: you aren't likely to get bored or stuck with what to do (or make mistakes with form)
- Lightweight and portable: easy to store and use anywhere in the house
- No wasted time between exercises: I get in my strength training in a much more compact timeline so I can get on with the rest of my day
- You may not have the ability to set up the Freestyler in front of an internet-ready TV, computer, or want to use your smartphone to go through your exercises.
While the core audience for this product is the home user, the wide range of exercises that can be performed, as well as its portability and price, make this a great tool for fitness professionals in either group training or individual settings. While I personally won't be dropping my gym pass, as I still like to push the heavy weights that can't be simulated with bands, it's definitely a tool that will add to my workout regimen, especially when I'm short on time.