To get strong, you don't necessarily need a rack of dumbbells. To get flexible, you don't necessarily need a yoga class. The innovative products here will do all that and more, providing an all-in-one stretching, strengthening, posture-improving workout from your living room, or wherever else you happen to be.
Cave man fitness
WeckMethod RMT Club: The 21-inch rubber-and-plastic club, designed by Bosu Ball inventor David Weck, looks like a giant golf ball on a tee. The ball end of the rotational movement trainer (RMT) is filled with heavy, movable steel shot that, encased in a soft rubber shell, can be safely swung around and slammed onto a wooden floor. Models in 2, 4 and 8 pounds are available. A workout DVD and wall chart are included, with more workouts on YouTube.
Likes: It's an effective, motivating and highly natural workout that gets you back to your inner cave man or woman (which was Weck's goal). Twenty-one exercises, which include swinging the club in every direction as well as pounding it into the ground, create a fun and taxing workout that rotates, stretches and strengthens your body, especially your shoulders, as it forces you to coordinate momentum, balance and posture. Using the 4-pound model, I felt increasingly flexible and athletic as the workout progressed and worked up a good (but not messy) sweat. The pounding exercises, done in 20 reps, deliver a lung-heaving interval training effect. Done at home or in group classes, this simple, compact device can benefit everyone from non-exercisers to serious athletes.
Price: $79.95 (2-pound); $89.95 (4-pound); $99.95 (8-pound). www.weckmethod.com
The go-anywhere gym
The Disq Pro: This on-your-body "portable gym," invented by Dutch national team speed-skater Robbert Boekema, consists of a pair of retractable resistance cords on the hip belt that thread around pulleys located on right and left ankle straps. The resistance can be adjusted with the turn of a dial.
Likes: A tremendous workout with exceptional take-anywhere portability. Run or ride with it, and stop every 30 minutes to get in some strength work: You can knock off two birds with one stone. Throw it in your luggage, use it in your TV room. If you're worried that it'll be too easy, as I was, no problem: It has enough resistance for a true strength session. I was thoroughly worked after the 30-minute Total Body Blast workout, which can be downloaded free from the website. You do dozens of upper- and lower-body exercises in this workout: upright flies and bent-over rows, thrusters, swings, lunges, wood chops, mountain climbers, you name it. This is a great product.
Dislikes: Not cheap but worth it. A lower-cost $199 model will be available in June.
Price: $300. thedisq.com
Slide and get ripped
Xtreme Rollers: Two 2.5-pound disks with nine omni-directional castor wheels on the bottoms can be used on feet or hands to do various free-range-of-motion exercises on any smooth, hard floor. Foam kneepad and a DVD are included.
Likes: Within seconds, sprawling out horizontally with the rollers on hands or feet deeply engages the core, upper chest, shoulders and butt. Initially, after two or three minutes, I was exhausted. Many movements are possible, starting with mountain climbers, rolling push-ups, in-and-out Supermans, dynamic downward-facing dogs and others — limited only by your creativity. Versatile and easy to use, the compact rollers are easy to stow and carry in a trunk or backpack. Attachments allow use with both feet and hands.
End of your rope
Beast Battle Rope: The 20-foot nylon-sheathed elastic ropes have fabric loops at each end to offer heavy resistance.
Likes: It provides a taxing workout while allowing more versatility and transportability than a normal non-stretching workout rope. The Beast can wrap around or be clipped to a post, used with a partner or attached to a belt. It can stretch up to three times its length, pulling you (and your partner) while forcing all-body stabilization throughout all movements, including explosive-step running and a large variety of rope throws: inside/outside circles, power slams, squats and jumps squats, stand-to-knee, jumping jacks, and in-and-out waves. Four resistance levels are available, from 47 to 105 pounds, with 77 pounds the most popular.
Price: $149 to $249.99, depending on the resistance. $189 for the 77-pounder. www.stroopsperformance.net
Wallack is the coauthor of "Fire Your Gym: A Nine-Week All-Body Makeover." email@example.com