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Training out of a garage gym, one soon realizes that they need to be creative if they want to do more than just barbell lifts.
Bands, chains, buying a simple pulley to mount up on the wall – this is how it starts out beyond the platform. And for many, there ain’t too much room beyond the platform anyways.
Sometimes what’s needed is something simple, yet innovative to use that will allow you to get more for your buck. That is why I’d like to introduce you to the Ki-RO Core Trainer.
This harness is a definite upgrade from the old school. People use harnesses or something like them to load or drag resistance. With a harness – the load becomes an extension of your body. Since you don’t have to worry about grip, all you have to focus on is overcoming the resistance itself!
But harnesses have typically been a one-trick pony. Most harnesses usually only have one or two attachment sites to attach carabiners to (mainly because its meant only for sled-dragging a weight forward or backward).
What you get with the Ki-RO Core Trainer is what feels like to be a new way to load your body (with a harness) that goes beyond sled dragging.
The main focus of the Ki-RO Core is that you can attach carabiners from nearly any direction! With the innovative sliding ring technology, you're able to attach and slide the ring attachments on the harness so that the resistance can come from a specific direction.
To get a better picture, think of being able to attach a cable or band to pull on your trunk from any angle you’d like. And not just that, since there are multiple attachment points, think of potential multiple force vectors. You can set up a sweet rotational (or anti-rotational) type exercise by having a band or cable pull on you from your front left side and another band or cable pulling back on you from the right. That is a definite trunk and spine challenge right there!
That is just one of the many exercises that you can come up with or envision. The Ki-RO Core really opens you up to this ability to conjure up a whole new array of exercises to specifically train your trunk, scapulae muscles, and challenge your total body.
Another big feature of the sliding ring technology is that the rings can move with you or change direction, which will provide you with rotational resistance. The ability to train rotational exercises is awesome and since you don’t actually have to grip anything, you can focus more fully on the muscles which will be doing all the rotating.
Think of the Ki-RO Core Trainer as the MVP of training tools that you will carry along in your gym bag (along with your bands, chalk, straps, etc.). That’s part of the coolness of this harness. It’s compact enough to fit in your bag so that you can carry and travel around with it.
Another feature is the fully adjustable Velcro straps that will make it fit onto you like a vest. By fully adjustable I mean that once you decide on which ballpark type size you need to buy, you are able to strap yourself down from multiple directions so that the vest will fit like a glove!
About a month ago is when I received the Ki-RO Core in the mail via USPS. I was surprised by how heavy the box was! Intrigued, I then opened the box…
The first thing I see is a letter with warnings and information about the harness, with contact support for further questions if I were to have any. It's nice to see a company being tidy and upfront with these details.
Next up was a spiral bound notebook! This thing is pretty awesome and detailed itself!
The good folks at Ki-RO are not a big company by any means, but I could already tell that they truly believe in their product. Flipping through the notebook, it was nice seeing how neat and orderly the information was. This notebook contains all the of the information with how to custom-fit the harness to properly fit on your body, as well as ideas and examples of exercises to be performed.
Next up was the actual harness. This thing is what made the box feel heavy! It definitely feels like a heavy-duty harness – so I decided to weigh it.
There is a good amount of polyester webbing strap, Velcro, rings, and carabiners in this harness, so its nice knowing that each part is a high-quality ingredient.
Contained within the manual are the instructions for you to properly tighten and adjust the harness to your body. It is really easy to adjust – there are Velcro straps to make it snugger to your ribs as well as straps to make it fit optimally onto your shoulder/trap area.
Even though the harness weighed in a 3-lbs – with it on your body it truly feels lightweight. Mobile! Agile!
As an RTS® guy (Resistance Training Specialist), I had quite a few ideas on how I wanted to load myself with the harness besides typical sled dragging variations (which actually had another awesome feature compared to other sled dragging harnesses I hadn’t even thought of and will show in a bit).
I usually Gerry-rig some straps crisscrossed around my torso and attach it to a cable or weight pin. With the Ki-Ro Core however, it felt like it was designed to do this!
Being able to load up a push-up is usually a hard feat to accomplish since you either have to juggle a weight balancing on your back or chains cutting the circulation off your neck. The harness disperses the weight so all I really had to focus on are my bench press-ey muscles (chest and triceps). It was an awesome feeling! Since I had the weight attached to the sliding rings on the harness, it was also really easy to get in and out of!
Standing Back Extensions
Oh buddy! This was a treat – I really noticed how awesome the sliding rings are on this type of exercise. I had the rings set up to adjust so that the load would be heaviest at my strongest part and let up when I would mechanically be at my weakest.
Similar exercises you could do (If you didn’t have an Edge Fitness Systems Standing Back Extension) are a good morning type movement with either band or cable.
Seated Spinal Extension
To hit a good spinal extension type movement where you actually move through a good ROM, you either need an expensive machine or a 45° back raise (which often still is tough to keep your glutes and hams from coming involved).
The Ki-RO Core allowed me to keep the load to just involve my spinal erectors. Not having to worry about grip was awesome as all of my focus could be directed to getting those muscles that run along the side of the spine big and strong.
Multiple directions of force Side-Bend
This exercise was super cool! Having a cable pull your side up on one end (on the harness) and holding on a dumbbell opposite of that creates a unique load profile to your obliques and ab musculature. This feels like a full range-of-motion dumbbell side bend.
Unique Sled Dragging Capability
With the Ki-Ro Core’s sliding ring technology, you're able to switch back and forth on forward and backward sled dragging without having to reattach! This is a great time-saving feature!
There are several other exercises I came up with, but these are the ones that I definitely wanted to highlight.
I would highly recommend purchasing one. I know when I got mine, training definitely got less boring and more fun. Strategically varying your “core” lifts is key to a healthy strength training program.
From what I’ve seen and used, the Ki-RO Core Trainer is in my opinion the best harness out there.
I really don’t have much to add that could improve the harness itself. What I would suggest is for the makers of Ki-RO Core to come up with other strap type tools. Heavy duty and adjustable seatbelts are not very popular in garage gym culture yet - but could be if there were more innovators coming up with ways to make more with what they got! Or maybe even something like a Ki-RO Core Foot Strap that allows you to train your ankle with 360° of resistance. That might be a good idea!
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