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Strength Axle System

Trainerspace Review: Strength Axle System

“That looks like a medieval torture device!” a man tells his friend as he walks around me. I’m rolling down a sidewalk in beautiful Balboa Park in San Diego, California on the Strength Axle System.

I want to laugh, but it’s taking all my focus to breathe and push the Strength Axle forward. My first thought when I was told about the Strength Axle System from Guinness World Record holder, George Hood, was, “How hard can it be, propelling yourself forward on a wheeled contraption?”  Little did I know what a challenge it would be!

Craig Thompson is an Army veteran, personal trainer, and creator of the Strength Axle System. He also lives in San Diego, so I had the opportunity to meet with him, try out the Strength Axle System, and get a great workout. Craig led me through a series of exercises that he uses to train himself and his clients. What I honestly thought was going to be an easy roll through the park turned out to be a fun and challenging workout. In fact, I loved it so much that I ordered one on the spot.

What I like about the Strength Axle System is that it is a simple tool that can be used for a variety of different exercises. The exercises are low impact on the joints, but gets your heart rate racing in seconds because your entire body is engaged. The Strength Axle System was designed to simulate the functional strength involved in wrestling/ground fighting/wrist control without the injuries that person-on-person training involves. Some of the top-ranked Crossfit gyms use the Strength Axle as well, showing the versatility in the various sports that this product can be used to train for.
The following are the exercises that can be done with the Strength Axle System:

Plank

The first thing Craig had me do was hold a plank using only the wood platform, or Core Trike, for my feet. As I got in position, I could instantly feel every muscle that a plank is supposed to work. I often have to fidget to make sure I’m holding my body in the right position when executing a plank, but with the Strength Axle System, there was no guessing or fidgeting, just grunting and praying to the exercise gods to have mercy. George Hood used this system to train for his second attempt at setting the Guinness World Record for the static plank hold and more than DOUBLED his record going from 1 hr 20 minutes and 5 seconds to 3 hours 7 minutes and 15 seconds! After just 1 minute of holding a plank, I was sold. Now, I use this to plank every morning in my living room and am a firm believer that this is the best abdominal exercise.

Bear Crawl

Next, Craig demonstrated a low impact exercise utilizing just the axle part of the Strength Axle System. The mere mention of Bear Crawls made me have flashbacks of military training and my more recent experience doing the Go Ruck Challenge, but I didn’t complain and proceeded to roll the axle forward while stepping up with my legs. I have weak wrists and a history of elbow problems and prefer not to do bear crawls because of the pain and inflammation it normally causes, but with the Strength Axle I didn’t feel any pain. Furthermore, Craig explained that the Strength Axle will strengthen the forearm muscles which will help alleviate pain and injury in the future. Don’t be fooled by the low impact, my heart rate was soaring after a short distance down and back.

Inch Worm

In case the plank alone isn’t enough of an ab workout, you can do an inch worm utilizing the entire system. Start with your body flat and while holding the axle in place, pull your feet towards your hand keeping your legs straight. Next, keep your feet in place and roll the axle forward. Progress forward like an inch worm.

Rolling with the Whole System

The last exercise that we went through was using the entire system. It looks like it should be an easy exercise because it’s on wheels, but the fixed wheel system forces you to use your entire body to propel yourself forward while holding your balance. It only took about 30 seconds to a minute to get my heart rate up and my arms shaking under my weight. Again, this is a low impact exercise and a great alternative to running or other forms of cardio that are harder on the joints and don’t necessarily use the entire body. Anyone, at any age, can utilize this tool.

Working with Clients

As a personal trainer, the best way to utilize the Strength Axle System with more than one client is to set up different exercises or stations. Instead of timing each station, set a certain length for the individual using the Strength Axle System to execute one of the above exercises and use them as the timer. The longer it takes the client on the Strength Axle System to go down and back, the longer their partner has to do burpees, pushups, etc. Besides adding variety to the workout, this brings both camaraderie and competition to the group.
Besides being a great tool for yourself and clients, the Strength Axle System is made in the USA and was invented by an Army Veteran. After just one session with Craig, I not only had to have one, but I felt good about buying an American-made product from a veteran-owned business. As a San Diegan, I also had the pleasure of supporting a local business!
By Lisbeth Prifogle, MFA

Lisbeth is a writer, marathon runner, globe-trotter, cross-fitter and US Marine. She lives, trains and soaks up the sun in San Diego, California. When she’s not working, writing, or training, she is studying and working towards a holistic health practice diploma and nutrition certification. Reach her at:  lisbeth_prifogle@yahoo.com.