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Is this weird workout device the next TRX?


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Photos: Disq

Every time I attach my TRX to the rickety door frame in my apartment, I think my landlord might evict me. So when I heard about Disq, a new anywhere exercise device that claims to help users turn up the intensity on body-weight workouts—without having to hit the gym or anchor equipment at home—I decided to give it a spin (er, pull).

At first glance, Disq’s harness-and-pulley system could easily be mistaken for mountain climbing gear. It’s not. But its design does provide a 360-degree range of movement, which makes it possible to add resistance (AKA turn up the heat) on almost any exercise—from a yoga flow to jumping jacks.

“The most innovative aspect of Disq—and what makes it the most effective—is the constant resistance throughout every movement,” says its designer Robbert Boekema, a former Dutch speedskater. Boekema based his design off the elastic resistance bands he often used in training—but with one major improvement: You won’t need different colored bands for different movements, since the resistance is easily adjustable from one exercise (or person) to the next.

The strength training you’re getting from the constant resistance is more intense than it looks.

I was initially hesitant to set up my Disq because it looked complicated AF, but I was pleasantly surprised by how fast and easy it actually was. Once you read the instructions the first time, putting it on for subsequent workouts takes maybe 30 seconds.

With it on, you can hold the handles and do upper-body exercises you’d do with a resistance band, like flies or rows. Or hold the handles still and do lower-body exercises, which will still come with added resistance (that’s easily adjustable), since the pulleys are connected to your feet.

The strength training you’re getting from the constant resistance is more intense than you’d expect; I could feel it burning during the sessions, and also after. And having total range of motion is helpful—it looks like it would get tangled or caught as you punch and plank, but it doesn’t.

Disq costs $169 and comes with a 10-week program that includes 30 different workout videos—3 for each week—that are all about 30-minutes long. You can follow the specific program or just pick and choose. Unfortunately most of them are very cheesy. But you can also easily take any body-weight workout—say a sequence of lunges, bicep curls, squats, and rows—and use Disq instead of weights, resistance bands, or a TRX.

While it lacks  the efficient simplicity of the TRX, I could see it being a great strength-training option for someone who is newer to working out (or who doesn’t have room for dumbbells).

Another major bonus: You don’t need a place to hang it (other than your hips).

While you’re considering ways to switch up your fitness routine, check out these new research findings that may change how you exercise entirely. Or try this imaginative trick Elle Macpherson uses when she’s in a workout rut.  

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