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If you haven't come across a ViPR before, it's a hollow rubber tube in weights from 4kg to 20kg with two hand holds on one side and one on the other. Whilst you can do the usual barbell exercises like shoulder presses, ViPRs are meant for functional exercises to suit everyday life. When my wife and I built a garden terrace, we did the digging and mixing concrete by hand; we were fitter than we had ever been from working out in a gym because all our twisting and lifting muscles were involved. With a ViPR you can replicate those movements. My favourite ViPR exercise is thread the needle with a shoulder press. Using both hand holds shoulder press it, then turn it 90 degrees and swing it downwards with the right arm leading - like a kettlebell swing - into a partial squat so that it passes between your legs, then back up to a shoulder press and repeat it with the left arm leading. You can see that this exercises a bigger range of muscles than using a kettlebell in a two-handed swing. I use an 8kg and a 10kg ViPR in the gym and as the gym will close shortly, I have a 10kg ViPR at home.

On the downside, the ViPR arrives without an exercise sheet, so you need instruction from a good personal trainer who has used ViPRs. Alternatively look at the few videos on the ViPR section of You Tube, particularly the one day workshop where most of the participants are using 4kg and 6kg ViPRs (that was a surprise) and, those by ViPR inventor Michol Dalcourt. The high cost of the individual tubes and the emphasis on the ViPR web site for attending certification courses, points to gyms and personal trainers as the target buyers, not individuals. For this reason I can only give it four stars. I can see that many of us will be making something similar with lengths of smooth wood or rigid plastic drain pipes filled with sand.
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on 3 May 2012
I bought a 20kg ViPR to supplement my functional fitness and kettlebell training. This is probably one of the best purchases I jhave made, although they are still quite expensive. However, I am using this kit almost every day, so on a cost/use basis, it's good value. i would suggest that, no matter how strong you are, don't buy the heaviest as I did. In hindsight, I should have started with 12 or maybe 16 kgs, as the movements are different to any other type of resistance exercise you will have done. The results though are great. Don't try to do conventional exercises with it though, it's a whole new paradigm that you will need to buy into, but this is relatively simple if you understand the functional fitness approach. It is about loaded movement, and full body movement, not about bicep curls. Excellent for rotational and anti-rotational (core) training, so good for the stabilisers like the QL muscles, and the synergistic muscles, that often get overlooked with other types of exercise regime.

I would advise anyone to take ViPR classes at a gym before buying one or, if you're like me, jump straight in, buy one and figure it out from there. You won't be disappointed.
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