Product: The Mass Suit
Producer: Juke Performance Inc.
Where To Buy: http://www.MassSuit.com
Being a long-time fan and practitioner of bodyweight training, I was immediately interested when I found the MASS Suit at the LA Fitness Expo in January 2011. Fortunately, the good people at Juke Performance Inc. sent us one of their Maximum Athletic Sport Suits to test.
The product was created to provide full-body resistance to promote weight loss, strength, endurance, speed, power, and flexibility. It does this by connecting your hands, arms, core, legs, and ankles with a series of straps and rubber resistance bands in a non-intrusive, comfortable, and highly adjustable way. That may sound (and look) intimidating, but in reality, the design of the suit is extremely practical for a variety of workouts and methods.
After a brief shadow boxing warm up, I tried a few of my favorite implements: kettlebells and sandbags. I kept the standard formation of resistance bands stated by the instructions, and started the workout with a variety of kettlebell exercises including Swings, Cleans, and High Pulls. I felt a new dimension of resistance during each movement and had to concentrate on my form more than I usually would. The MASS Suit seemed to be pulling everything towards my core, forcing me to increase the intensity and explosiveness of each movement. Limiting the exercises to ballistic movements felt more natural (and safer) than anything involving a sustained overhead lockout, such as TGU’s and Windmills. The MASS Suit includes two handles that can be held, removed, or left dangling at your sides; I chose to remove them during the kettlebell set.
After readjusting the MASS Suit to provide more resistance to my lower body (this was done by unclipping the lower leg strap and doubling up on the ankle strap), I moved onto sandbags. I performed Goodmornings, Overhead Presses, Squats, and other slower movements to see how the MASS Suit would change the workload. Just like the ballistic kettlebell exercises, additional energy was required to move the weight, making the 50lb sandbag feel like more. It also made adjusting for the shifting weight of sand more difficult.
I finished the workout with various bodyweight exercises, including many that involved groundwork. I wanted to see if the straps, clasps, and rubber resistance bands would be uncomfortable or get in the way. Fortunately, the opposite was true! The waist/core strap actually felt like a pad running along my spine, so even though I was performing sit ups and rolls, it didn’t hurt. My favorite and most intense exercises involved crawls and push up variations. I could really feel the difference the MASS Suit made when all four of my limbs were on the ground and my core was contracting. I also tested a more minimal set up using only the ankle straps and handles with double resistance bands. I did some more core exercises and shadow boxing, both of which felt more intense than they usually would. By leaving out the elbow and lower leg straps I was able to move more freely, but still felt the strain of the double resistance bands whenever I reached full extension.
Overall, the MASS Suit is an extremely fun, quality product. Just by looking at it you can tell that a lot of time and effort was spent on its construction and design; good materials, comfortable straps, extensive adjustability for any body type, and the ability to increase and decrease resistance for different movements and difficulties are just a few of the innovative features. While the MASS Suit can be used for most of the unconventional training methods featured in the My Mad Methods Magazine, it really shines during bodyweight training, especially for conditioning.
During the bodyweight set, I started poring sweat after a couple of high intensity exercises, and the resistance felt natural and welcome. The only drawbacks I found with the MASS Suit involve putting it on and a price tag that might not be affordable for some people. Putting it on for the first time will probably be a challenge, although after that, you should get the hang of it and can do it much faster the next time. A piece of advice: unless you want putting on the MASS Suit to be a workout by itself, do yourself a favor and unclip the resistance bands before you start. I would highly recommend this product for anyone who has gotten to a level of fitness that makes standard bodyweight exercises unchallenging, or anyone that wants to cut the time of their training sessions in half by making them harder with this product