It’s been awhile since I’ve done a product review – and I wanted to do one that I’m really excited about. About a week ago I ordered a Crossover Symmetry which is half training device, half mobility device. On it’s surface it looks like something you might’ve built yourself out of some carabiner’s and resistance bands, after some research, poking around the internet, reading other people’s thoughts, and some pretty fervent marketing from my former coach Mike – I decided to give it a try. More than all of this research though, my shoulder just hurt, and I would try anything to get it back to healthy. A long time ago I wrote a post about injury versus discomfort, and my shoulder was very uncomfortable and probably a month of heavy training away from actual injury. That all being said – I’ve had it now for about 4 days, so I can’t write a full review – but I think I’ve done enough playing around to warrant at least a first impression, rather than waiting 4 months until I say anything about it.
In the Box
The Crossover Symmetry kit’s are not one sized fits all, unless you buy all the sizes I suppose. They’re sold as discrete units to fit the athlete and their needs, generally most of the kits have 3 resistance options, a “light” a “heavy” and one in between. They’re sold based on the type of athlete you are, which makes sense, a 120# woman needs different levels of resistance than a 220# man. So I bought the “Elite” package which is marketed for men who “Frequently use RX weights” which I think I qualify for. You can read more about the system and packages here.
So basically you get a nice little pamphlet, 3 pairs of resistance bands, and 4 straps to attach the bands to large stationary objects. Overall the packaging and kit feels very well put together, and at least gives you some justification for the price, it’s not just resistance bands and clips. The pamphlet is also worth mentioning, one of the earlier reviews I saw of this system said it came with little documentation, and that he had to hound the company for more. Nothing like that here, I’m guessing they took that review and ran with it, which is a good sign for any company. In any case I was very impressed with the initial setup. Plus the whole thing fits nicely in a carrying bag they give you.
As I mentioned earlier – I’ve only had this for 4 days now, and I’ve only trained 2 of those days so far (3rd time will be today). One of those days was very squat intensive, meaning it wasn’t a very good test of the system. Still having never used it or set it up before, I was impressed at how easy it was. Simply wrap the straps to a squat rack, clip the bands on, and follow the steps. The protocols they give you are nicely documented as well, with easy instructions. There are 3 different “protocols” they give you; “Activation”, “Plyometrics”, and “Recovery”. So far I’ve been sticking with the “Activation” protocol before training, I’ve not tried the other two. It’s 7 movements, for 5-8 reps, with 2 second holds at the “top” of each movement. Granted I’m not a physical therapist, and mine has yet to see it in action, but I feel like it’s a very complete and well thought out protocol.
I’m going to transition slightly into “Second” use territory because Saturday was really a better test of how my shoulders felt. I wanted to remove other variables like all the mobility work I do and really test this system, so I did only the Crossover Symmetry. Better yet, Saturday called for strict presses and weighted pullups, two very good movements to assess how my shoulders felt. Long story short, I was really impressed with how I felt with no other mobility work. My strict press was very solid, and my range of motion was actually surprising to me.
Obviously it’s a bit early for a “Conclusions” section, or even a true pro’s and con’s list. This isn’t a “quick fix” kind of thing, where you use it a couple of times and then put it back in the closet, it’s an everyday, build muscle, teach yourself how to use the muscles of the shoulder and upper back properly type thing. I really don’t expect to be able to write a full review for at least a month, which is why I wanted to get this first impression out there, because I’m already pretty impressed with it. The system is portable, quick to setup, easy to use, and from what I can tell thus far, very effective. I’ve heard of gym’s having a couple of these for their members, and it makes a load of sense now why, if you have shoulder problems – which almost everyone does, I would be hard pressed not to recommend this at some point, especially if your own mobility of physical therapy tools haven’t quite done the trick yet. I’m truthfully very excited to see how recurrent and consistent use might help.