Body Bar Flex

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Body Bar Systems' original product was a simple weighted bar that could be used for all kinds of strengthening workouts, from beginner to advanced, as well as for balance, support and as a stretching aid.

Until now, the company hasn't bequeathed its name on another product. But Body Bar Flex makes the wait worthwhile. It is a rod about 1.25 inches in diameter that looks on first sight just like the original bar -- same soft, comfortable, rubbery coating. But pick it up and be surprised. It's light! And it flexes. Those two attributes are what make this different.

After playing with it for a few weeks -- and using it with the Body Bar Flex Basics DVD the company also sells -- we're convinced it has a winner on its hands. Although we suspect the teachers involved can come up with advanced workouts using the Flex bar, we think it is perfect for women looking to start an exercise program or who are less fit, and in general for beginners who may be a little intimidated by dumbbells and other strengthening equipment. This isn't intimidating at all. Plus, depending on how much you bend it during an exercise, it can offer resistance equal to less than a pound to close to 10 pounds. It's so variable that you can get exactly what you need.

Plus, you can use the bar not only for bending as a strengthening workout, but also as a balance aid, support for neck or head during some exercises, and an aid for some stretches. You really can get a pretty full workout using just this tiny, light bar and the DVD. No storage problems here!

The Basics DVD is pretty much a must since there is no instruction that comes with the bar -- no posters or booklets -- which is a bit dismaying since you have to learn the exercises or always watch the DVD. Plus, there is no downloadable guide for a user to print out on the DVD. A bit of a problem for somebody learning the routine and who doesn't always want to or simply can't be in front of a TV screen.

Granted, some of the exercises shown on the 60-minute DVD -- with a super friendly and non-cheerleader instructor, by the way -- include the bar when they really don't need one at all. Seems a little silly at times. But you can always just drop the bar by your side. Although we did the whole thing and all of the seated, standing, kneeling and supine positions with the one 3-foot-long bar, it would have been better to have both the 3-foot and the 4-foot bars to be able to better complete the routine.

Long story short, this is a nifty product that can provide someone a simple, balanced, toning, strengthening and overall routine that can be done two or three times a week.

SNEWS® Applause Meter:
4.5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)

Suggested Retail: 3-foot bar, $25; 4-foot bar, $35; Basics DVD, $20; package with both bars and the DVD, $60

For more information:www.bodybars.com or 1-800-500-2030

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