We Tried It: VersaStick Portable Fitness Equipment


By: , SparkPeople Blogger

I saw an advertisement for the VersaStick a few months back, and I thought it looked like a promising piece of home workout equipment. After all, I love a good resistance band workout, and I think that resistance bands are great for strength training, especially when you don't have a lot of space (or money). I requested a free sample to test it out and the folks at VersaStick were kind enough to send me the whole kit. Score! To see the VersaStick in action, check out this video.

(If you have trouble viewing the video below, click here to see it on YouTube.)

So…what is it? The VersaStick is where the comfort and stability of traditional barbells meets resistance bands. While a standard resistance band has individual handles (that, in my experience, are often slippery or hard to control during some movements), the VersaStick provides a wide, comfortable bar instead of individual handles. It also comes with three different resistance levels: light, medium and heavy, which are interchangeable. You can even double—or triple—them up to increase the challenge. The kit also comes with a door anchor that allows you to do many more exercises than a lone resistance band can provide, as well as a DVD that contains a whopping 7 workout routines, in addition to 36 individual exercise demos. That's a lot of stuff (see below)!

Overall, I had fun using the VersaStick, and our testers did, too. We each got a great workout in a short amount of time by following the DVD and the instruction booklet that came with the kit. Here's a general list of pros and cons.

Pro: VersaStick is portable and easy to use. You could easily travel with it and it takes up very little space. Even if you've never used resistance bands, the instructions are easy to follow and there's a lengthy introduction on the DVD that explains how to use the VersaStick correctly. Our testers agreed, saying, "It was pretty self explanatory and easy to follow."

Con: Many of the exercises use a door anchor, which works if you have a sturdy door and space to exercise in front of it. Only two of the seven workouts on the DVD don't use the door attachment, and most of the exercise demos use the door attachment, too. None of our testers had a place in their homes where they could anchor the VersaStick to their door AND view the DVD at the same time. You could remedy this by watching the DVD to learn the moves and then following them from the printed instruction booklet, like one of our testers did. She also advised, "Make sure that the door fully closed. I suggest locking it, because on the first door I used it kept opening the door and falling off."

Pro: VersaStick provides a variety of workout intensities for people of various fitness levels. You can change the resistance tube to light, medium or heavy, and even after that, you can vary the intensity by changing your foot/body placement in relation to the resistance and/or your range of motion. "I felt the exercises were easy to follow and the resistance level was easily adjustable by stepping further away from the door," said one tester. In addition, people with limited mobility might be able to do many of the exercises—especially the door ones—from a seated position; individuals who have trouble gripping small handles on resistance bands might have an easier time exercising with the VersaStick, thanks to its wide, comfortable bar.

Con: It's surprisingly difficult to remove the bands once you get them attached. VersaStick's booklet says that is because of their high-quality hooks are safer. I would have liked to be able to use various resistance levels during the workouts I followed, but it's not really possible to change out the bands while following the workout routine. One tester agreed, "The clips were extremely hard to press in and take off."

Pro: VersaStick offers a good workout! I tested two of the workouts on the DVD: the Freestanding (door-less) workout, which was challenging and took less than nine minutes. I also did the Cardio Resistance workout, which took about 30 minutes and satisfied my need for both strength and cardio. My heart rate was up in an aerobic range for the entire workout (except the core segment near the end). Our testers, both male and female, also enjoyed the workouts. "I really liked the arm workouts. They were different than what I typically do and that made the workout fly by!" said one. Another tester admitted that he was skeptical at first, saying, "The workout was better than I expected! My heart rate seemed high the whole time, and there were times that I reached discomfort because of muscle fatigue in several muscle groups (my legs, biceps, triceps)."

Con: The Cardio Resistance workout was great, but it offered almost no modifications—they assume a pretty high level of fitness from the viewer, and some people might have a hard time completing this workout, even with light resistance. For me, changing out the resistance bands was a necessity—if I kept one on, it's just right for some exercises, but too hard or too easy for others. When you follow the workouts though, you pretty much have to use just one resistance level and stick with it, even if it's not the best level for all of the exercises in that workout.

Pro: Like resistance bands, the VersaStick is a relatively good value because it's so versatile. Although $80 seems steep for a few bands and a plastic bar, in my opinion, the real value of this product comes from the DVD—seven workouts plus additional demonstrations. You'd probably pay more than $80 to get that many workouts on DVD.

Con: Still, $80 is a lot of money when you can get a regular band and do all or most of the same exercises (sans the bar) for about $15. However, if you're savvy enough and well-versed in using bands, you can buy individual components of the VersaStick kit for less dough. For example, pick up the DVD for $25 in their online store, buy a standard resistance band that has a door hook, and you could pretty much follow all the exercises and workouts. "The price of the VersaStick is definitely a negative," said one tester. "I feel you could do the same workout with just a resistance band."

Overall, the VersaStick provides a fun and versatile workout, but price may be its biggest downside. However, if new fitness gadgets motivate you and you want to try something new to shake up your routine, try the VersaStick! You can buy it and learn more at www.VersaStick.com.

Are you a fan of resistance bands? Would you try the VersaStick?

Photo Source: VersaStick.com

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    A few comments on why people were not going to buy this product would have been enough. More important to me would be the comments of people who did buy it. Why don't you have more of them? - 9/4/2011   12:58:17 PM
    I would wait till the price came down - 10/2/2010   8:01:30 AM
  • 64
    I try to never pay full retail suggested price - I'll wait a few months and catch it on eBay. Doubtless someone NOT on SparkPeople will buy it for Christmas or something and then unload it on eBay. Sounds very interesting though - although - I'm glad they gave the warning about finding a door with enough space to use it AND watch the DVD (which I don't do too well if I'm upside down, since I have to lipread what they are saying).

    And do you testers know, by chance, if the DVD is closed captioned? or offer a sub-title option?? did you happen to notice? Thanks! - 8/18/2010   3:10:00 PM
  • 63
    Found a similar set up at Savers recently, two covered bands and a take apart bar. The brand is ProSpirit so it is or was a Target item. Cost me $3.00 in the original box. - 8/9/2010   12:24:59 PM
    80 bucks is way too high for me. Though I wonder if you could build your own with a PVC pipe and some plain resistance bands. I'm quite the DIY'er, I think I might give it a shot. I'll scour the thrift stores and garage sales for some extra bands. I've got the PVC in the garage from another project. - 6/4/2010   11:25:02 AM
  • 61
    I must admit I would save your money and spend it on an Easy Shaper. It has the same principle as this. It's made by Tony Little. It comes with foot stirrups. It costs a lot less. I got mine for 40 bucks from qvc. I love it and boy does it give you a workout. Check out the Tony Little.com web site. - 2/26/2010   2:55:10 PM
  • 60
    The bar doesn't look sturdy enough to waste $80 on something that I can just buy the bands and do my own strength training workout or do Leslie Sansone's workouts with her walk boosters. - 11/5/2009   11:18:23 AM
  • 59
    Someone suggested this would be in a garage sale already. I am thinking PLAY IT AGAIN SPORTS!!! Worth checking out. But would not pay more than $40 there. I have the full band gym, so really do NOT need this one! - 7/6/2009   10:04:06 PM
  • 58
    $80 and probably made in China by workers making 25 cents/hour...if that.

    I can buy a lot of bands for about half that price. I wonder how long that platic bar will last. - 3/30/2009   3:56:34 PM
  • 57
    I'm looking for a band system, so this is timely- but expensive!!!! I don't think I can justify the cost.... - 3/16/2009   1:36:05 PM
    Like many of you, the price is just too much for me. I feel I can get the same workout with my resistance bands. It's a novel idea, but I think it won't be long until I find one in a garage sale. - 2/22/2009   9:11:14 AM
    Hi, I am Chad Slagle one of the creators of VersaStick and a certified Health Fitness Instructor with the American College of Sports Medicine. It is great to see this many responses to Nicole's article about VersaStick. The moment we stop listening to both the good and bad opinions that people have is the moment our product and ideas are no longer valid.

    There are many products on the market using resistance tubing, and most of them use seperate handles instead of a bar. Using a bar instead of individual handles not only gives the user more control while doing the exercises, but it also allows them to develop balance between stronger and weaker parts of the body. For example, most people notice that one arm is stronger than the other and usually one leg provides more strength and balance than the other. If you are using individual hand weights and/or resistance bands the less developed/balanced side doesn't have the opportunity to catch up with the stronger/more balanced side. This fact coupled with the need to have total control while doing serious movements such as squats, shoulder presses and lat pulldowns, makes a bar a safe and effective choice when using resistance tubing.

    Thank you again everyone for taking the time to respond to Nicole's article and if you would like to ask me anything regarding VersaStick or if you have questions about other types of resistance tubing or exercises please feel free to email me directly at trainer_chad@versastick.com - 2/17/2009   7:37:25 PM
  • 54
    That's one of the highest priced low tech exercise things ever! Who do they think they're foolin'??? - 2/17/2009   7:36:45 PM
  • 53
    Lifeline USA has a similar product for less than half the price however it comes with only a choice of one of two strengths of band, additionals are available. I have had one for seveal years and like it. - 2/17/2009   12:17:21 PM
  • 52
    I don't think I would try it because of the door issue. I have a television and DVD player in the room where I work out but the door is too far away to watch the television comfortably...and trying to read instructions while doing an exercise is too awkward for me..I like to be able to watch and do the motions along with a video...I do have and use bands. - 2/17/2009   11:50:49 AM
  • 51
    Seems to me to be another saftey hazard. Although you list some good things about it, I think the money could be saved and go towards a decent piece of exercise equipment. - 2/16/2009   5:08:14 AM
    I;ve also read of some 'tremdous' tendency for injury for those who are not adequate strong enough to control the darn things! As you can imagine a very large rubber band? OUCH! - 2/15/2009   11:59:49 PM
  • 49
    I think therabands probably do the same thing for alot less. - 2/15/2009   8:47:49 PM
  • 48
    Ouch, $80! JAYELAITCH - I had the same thought! How complicated could it be? - 2/15/2009   7:46:01 PM
  • 47
    I probably wouldn't buy it. I love my bands - I've gathered a variety of them through the years, and they have their own little compartment in my suitcase. I travel to MANY small towns and rural areas for my job and I can use them anywhere - even in those areas where walking is a "not so good" idea. I like the idea of re-creating the idea though. I already have dowel rods and hooks - so that makes it free! - 2/15/2009   5:12:55 PM
  • 46
    I would like to try it, but I will wait for the inevitable copy cat version that will show up on tv for 19.95, or like somebody else said at a garage sale or craig's list. - 2/15/2009   1:37:33 PM
  • 45
    I use Therabands all of the time. They were originally provided by different physical therapists. I was often suppose to attach them to table legs or a sofa leg. That was always an issue, because the furniture would move when I tried to exercise. My last therapist taught me to use a door.

    Attach to the door from the side that, as you pull on the band, you are pulling the door further shut and it will not open on you.

    This sounds like a really great product. However, it concerns me that it doesn't have any programs for people with lesser fitness levels. Such as we Senior Citizens. I am not sure I would risk spending $80 on something intended for one of my kids or grandkids.
    - 2/15/2009   1:30:52 PM
    seems like one of the few tools on the market that isn't complete hype, but i'll probably stick with my bands and weights. - 2/15/2009   1:29:59 PM
    Not gonna happen on my budget! - 2/15/2009   12:53:06 PM
  • 42
    Sounds like the ideal solution would be to have three of these, each set up permanently with one of the bands. Beyond that, the ideal thing would be to have them sent to you for free! - 2/15/2009   10:22:54 AM
  • 41
    Too expensive for me! - 2/15/2009   10:07:07 AM
  • 40
    Sounds like another item I'll find at a Yard Sale before long that someone wasted $80 on and never used. - 2/15/2009   5:19:48 AM
  • 39
    I too would try this if the price comes down.... Plus, I'm unsure what constitutes a sturdy door... I wonder if the workouts are easy to follow by listening too, since I am blind.... Sounds like a good thing, but I'll wait and use my bands for now... - 2/14/2009   10:28:20 PM
  • SHERI1969
    I would LOVE To try this because I'm limited on space AND income AND mobility issues. - 2/14/2009   9:36:08 PM
  • 37
    The only problem with this item - they don't take into consideration the length of your body. With my 6 ft long body - the resistance band is too short & I don't get the same workout with the video that a shorter person might receivce. - 2/14/2009   6:18:26 PM
  • 36
    I also think the product is pretty pricey, even with the dvd. My set of Xertube bands already come with a door anchor, as well as an additional three shorter bands of varying resistance without handles ... essentially meant to wrap around your ankles/calves for adduction, abduction exercises on the floor, etc., instruction booklet, for around $20. - 2/14/2009   6:15:08 PM
  • 35
    a little too expensive right now - 2/14/2009   5:59:52 PM
  • 34
    I use resistance bands all the time and I love them. Yes I would love to try this versastick, it looks interesting. - 2/14/2009   4:22:45 PM
  • 33
    I appreciate your taking the time to review this product and do not think that I would consider the purchase. I like to incorporate bands in my routines and would agree with others that we can use other bands and would cost much less. I also like the comment that together4ever (23rd comment) left..and would definitely purchase equipment from www.bodyelastics.com , which allows one to add different band strengths together. - 2/14/2009   4:01:43 PM
  • 32
    I can actually do ALOT more with my BAND workout than this . PLUS my bands did NOT cost so much. AND I can EASILY switch from one to the other, AND don't really need a DOOR to get a good workout!

    I REALLY appreciated this article giving the PROS and CONS of this equipment. - 2/14/2009   2:05:43 PM
  • 31
  • 30
    For that price....I will stick to the bands I have also.
    Thanks for reviewing this item !! - 2/14/2009   10:51:26 AM
  • 29
    I love resistance bands, I am going to have to check into the VersaStick. - 2/14/2009   10:17:51 AM
  • 28
    This sounds awesome! I don't have that kind of money right now but if I did, I would probably buy this. I rarely buy any exercise "tools" as I feel most of them are just going to be a waste of my money. But I would feel that this was a wise choice.

    I was wondering if you can have all of the band on it at all times so you don't need to try and change out the bands. If it's difficult, most people will eventually give up. I like easy access to anything like this to, so I stay motivated. Does anyone know? - 2/14/2009   9:15:22 AM
  • 27
    watching the video is not possible on dial-up so will have to take your word at trying it.......once the one tester said it was difficult to press clips to remove....that pretty much did me in with arthritus in hands.....have resistance bands from when I was doing physical therapy for arm injury from shoveling snow one year but I don't use them that much.....may have to get them out and dust them off....Good article...thank you - 2/14/2009   8:29:03 AM
    Why buy something like this when you can make do with less expensive and just-as-effective tools? - 2/14/2009   8:27:14 AM
  • SATIA62
    I love these reviews SparkPeople does of various products. I would not have considered by this and now I know I won't because I already have resistance bands. There have been other reviews of products I thought looked interesting and received good reviews and even a dvd I would not have considered that I now hope my library picks up so I can try it before I buy it.

    Thank you for being our guinea pigs. I appreciate it. - 2/14/2009   8:13:00 AM
  • 24
    I agree about the price. But it's interesting how something so simple can provide a better workout than a fancy fitness gadget that costs thousands of dollars. - 2/14/2009   7:47:32 AM
  • 23

    I use the BODYLASTICS Circuit Training Workout. You get a great 30 minute workout with the DVD that is included. Check it out at www.bodylastics.com . - 2/14/2009   7:39:50 AM
  • 22
    I want one! A little over priced though. Maybe I'll just attach my band to a stick! - 2/14/2009   1:56:22 AM
  • 21
    I don't think so. I'm limited on my time I spend on exercise and I use that for the treadmill and bike. - 2/14/2009   12:31:51 AM
  • 20
    Well, now I don't know WHAT to think!!!
    My son says I need to confuse my muscles as he is convinced I don't have enough variety and suffer from muscle memory (same routine every day)... I thought this might be something to add to my pool workouts, but maybe I need to just get some inexpensive bands and try those first.
    Thanks for the info and honest comments - 2/13/2009   9:45:25 PM
  • 19
    I purchased this item and paid $49.99.......I travel 3 days a week and this is an awesome item to take with me on my trips!!!!!!!!! Although the hotels (where I stay during my travels) have full gyms, this is my NO EXCUSE tool for those days I loath going down to the gym. Love it, love it, love it!!! - 2/13/2009   8:32:52 PM
  • 18
    I have both plan bands and the bar. I love them and feel like I get a really good workout. I didn't like moving the door piece from the top to the middle and then the bottom so I had my husband make me some anchors on the wall and since bands are cheep I bought enough to keep at each leave. And for my bar (I have a different brand) I keep all the bands on it at the same time and just set anchor the one I want to use at the time. - 2/13/2009   8:02:46 PM
  • 17
    I agree with the rest of the comments...too high a price for what you get. I'll wait for Billy Hayes and they Shamoo guy to have these on TV for $29.99 and they will throw in a bottle of Kaboom! - 2/13/2009   5:55:54 PM

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