Weight lifting bars have been around for a long time; when I first saw the ActivMotion Bars my immediate reaction was, “Why didn’t someone do this sooner?” Most weighted bars are a stable mass which can provide some benefits for strength training, what makes the ActivMotion Bars unique is they contain ball bearings which shift as the bar moves.
A standard bar is good for strengthening the muscle fibers, however a bar with a shifting mass can help activate all of the fascia and connective tissue between muscle fibers. The shifting mass is approximately 30% of the weight of the bar, so the 12 pound bar has about 4 pounds of shifting mass. The more we understand about the body the more we realize that having variety and variability is an important component of making the body stronger. The same movements and exercises performed the exact same way repeatedly will place limited lines of stress in muscle and connective tissue. Exercises that use multi-planar and multi-directional movements combined with the shifting mass of the ActivMotion Bar can help create strength between all of the muscle fibers which could be effective for reducing many types of over use or strain injuries.
Two ways to use the ActivMotion Bar are to move it through many different planes of motion and movements to activate all of the connective tissue and fascia or to go slow and try to focus on keeping the bar stable to keep the bearings from rolling around. Time under tension (TUT) is important for helping improve strength and definition of muscle. Using slow, controlled movements can keep the muscle tissue under tension for a longer time which can be effective for both increasing strength and improving definition.
If you’re looking for a fun, effective, science-based strength training tool to add to your fitness toolbox consider the ActivMotion Bar.
What I liked:
• The shifting weight can involve and engage all of the connective fibers between individual muscle fibers resulting in thicker muscle tissue that is more resistant against injury.
• It is a lot of fun to work on the timing of movements to keep the bearings from hitting the end of the bar, making quick movements and transitions to keep the bearings moving can increase the level of difficulty.
What I think can be improved:
• The ends of the ActivMotion Bar are sealed to keep the bearings in place but having the ability to unscrew one end to add or remove weight would be an attractive feature that could add more variability to the bar.