I recently came across the X3 Complete Home Gym System and was pretty stunned by all the claims the advertisements make. So much so that I decided to do some research and see if this portable home gym system is legit or just the result of some pretty imaginative marketers.
I’m hoping this review will help you decide whether or not the X3 home gym system is a good fit. After all, when it comes to home fitness products, there are a ton of fish in the sea, if you know what I mean.
What Is The X3 Complete Home Gym System?
Also known as the X3 Pro Bar, this product is designed to be a portable home gym system. It consists of a steel bar, 4 resistance bands, and a foot plate. At first glance, this doesn’t sound particularly interesting or different from any of the other portable resistance band-based home gyms.
One thing that definitely sets the X3 apart is the price, but we’ll get back to that later.
Before we get too far, I want to discuss it’s creator, Dr. John Jaquish. Dr. Jaquish has a PhD in biomedical engineering and first came on the scene when he developed a device to help reverse osteoporosis by improving bone density- with helping his mother being his prime motivation.
He’s still apparently pretty involved with the field, traveling and speaking to groups regarding bone health and ways fitness machines can be used to treat osteoporosis.
His company, Jaquish Biomedical, continues to produce these devices, but seems to have focused more on their home gym products recently.
The marketing for the X3 system spends a lot of time discussing variable resistance training and all of its benefits. Simply put, variable resistance training is any condition where the resistance changes throughout the movement of an exercise. For example, when using a resistance band, the resistance increases as the band is stretched (and decreases as the band returns back to its normal length).
Lots of fitness products use a similar system- any system using a resistance bands really (Bowflex and their power rods do too).
You will also find variable resistance training applied in commercial gyms when you see someone bench pressing or squatting with a barbell and resistance bands (or chains) attached to the barbell.
The X3 is a pretty simple system- as mentioned above, it’s a bar and 4 bands. The devil is in the details though:
The included bar is made out of steel and chrome plated. It’s designed to hold over 500 lb worth of force, which will make more sense when we discuss the resistance bands. It has a hook on each end to attach the bands to. There are ball bearings inside each end (where the hook is) that allows the bar to rotate while keeping the band’s orientation consistent- this makes sure the bands don’t twist or get kinked during use.
Users agree the bar is impressive and well designed to hold a lot of weight. They liken it to the feel of holding a barbell, which is a definite step-up from some of the plastic and more flimsy bars on the market.
The 4 resistance bands that come with the X3 are heavy duty and designed to provide more resistance than most of the bands you’ve probably come across.
They are custom made from a double layer of extra-thick latex specifically for the X3. The 4 included bands come in the following resistances (recalling that with bands the resistance isn’t constant, that’s why each has a range):
- Super light-weight: 15 – 50 lbs
- Light-weight: 25 – 80 lbs
- Middle-weight: 50 – 120 lbs
- Heavy-weight: 60 – 150 lbs
You can also “double over” a band to double the resistance (the light-weight band then becomes up to 160 lbs) and combine bands to fine tune the resistance felt depending on the exercise. There’s also an “elite” band that can be purchased separately- it provides 200-300 lb of resistance and even up to 500 lb when doubled over.
What really jumps out to me is how much resistance these bands are capable of providing. The bands developed for the X3 provide a lot more resistance than the resistance tubes currently hanging on my attic door- I think my HEAVIEST tube offers 50-75 lb of resistance.
The footplate is a nice touch, because one thing that sucks about resistance bands is having to stand on them. The included footplate is supposed to make that more comfortable. The high density polyethylene surface has a notched out area on the bottom designed to keep the band in place.
Using the footplate should make exercises like biceps curls and shoulder presses more comfortable.
This plate is also designed to withstand over 500 lb of force, so it should be able to keep up with the extra strong resistance bands.
The X3 Home Gym System also comes with a 12-week online training program to help you make the most of your new product. Each week consists of 2 different workouts, each performed 2x (one workout on Monday and Thursday, the other on Tuesday and Friday for a total of 4 workouts per week).
Each workout only consists of 4 exercises and each exercise only consists of one set…to failure. This is probably a different way of exercising for most of you, but keep in mind you can make up your own workouts too. You don’t have to follow their online program if you don’t want to.
Personally, I find it hard to believe that moderate to experienced weight lifters are going to be happy with a single set of each exercise, whether it’s to failure or not. But again, nobody is forcing you to follow the online workouts.
With some imagination, you can probably come with more exercises, but the ones used in the workouts consist primarily of stuff like: chest press, front squats, deadlifts, tricep extensions, bicep curls, shoulder press, and rows.
The online program also includes nutrition tips to help you lose weight and gain muscle. The tips vary from week to week and are supposed to be progressive. Dr. Jaquish spends a lot of time talking about ways to cut out sugar.
Does the X3 bar come with a warranty? No, not exactly. Instead, it comes with a “quality guarantee and return policy” which basically says that if you aren’t satisfied with the X3 you can return it. The thing is, the quality guarantee only lasts for 14 days.
Reading the policy online is a little confusing and I’ll admit I had to read it a few times to understand what they are saying. But the way I understand it, is that you have 14 days to use the X3 once you receive it- if it’s defected or you simply don’t like it, you can return it for a refund (or exchange in the case of a defect).
After 14 days has passed, you can’t send it back for a refund or exchange regardless of what happens.
To me, this sounds a lot like a 14 -day warranty. If a band breaks or a hook on the bar bends after 15 days, it sounds like you are stuck with the X3.
I would contact the company directly and ask them this if you are interested in purchasing the X3.
But if this is correct, 14 days is an awful warranty on any product- especially one at this price.
Speaking of price, the X3 bar system isn’t cheap. Actual price will vary a little depending on promotions and sales, but expect to pay about $500 for this system.
For a resistance band system, this a steep asking price. That said, the X3 is a lot heavier duty than most resistance bands on the market. Actually, I’ll be honest and say I’ve never seen resistance bands that can offer more resistance than these. The bar is high-quality too- heavier duty than most of the competition.
I mentioned in my intro that the marketing for the X3 made some pretty astounding claims. Here are a few of the claims found on the X3 website:
- Gain muscle 3x faster than conventional weight lifting- they are quoting a study performed on college athletes that showed combining elastic resistance with free weights improved strength faster than with free weights alone. This is true based on the findings from this study performed on elite athletes, but the problem I have with it is that the elastic resistance in this case was added to the traditional free weights (barbells). The X3 doesn’t use free weights at all, it is purely elastic. It’s a real stretch (pun intended) to apply these findings to the X3 system.
- X3 will help you produce more growth hormone and testosterone- this is based on a study that showed variable resistance exercises increased the levels of testosterone, growth hormone, and cortisol more so than a constant resistance set up. Again, my only problem is that in the study it sounds like they are adding elastic bands to a barbell set up, which is different than the X3.
- All you need is 10 min/day and no cardio- the creators of the X3 tell us that we only have to workout 10 min a day with this product to lose weight and triple our strength. There’s no research behind the 10 min claim and although it’s obviously better than no strength training, for moderate to experienced lifters I doubt it’ll suffice. The website doesn’t explicitly say that you shouldn’t do cardio, but it does sell t-shirts with the motto: “No weights, no cardio, just X3”. I think cardio is just as (if not more so) important than strength training for overall health.
- High quality bar, sturdy enough to handle high loads
- 4 extra strong resistance bands included, capable of providing 100’s of pounds worth of resistance
- Included footplate makes certain exercises more comfortable
- 12-week online fitness plan included
- Portable, easy to take the X3 on the road
- Lack of warranty
- Some exercises difficult or uncomfortable to perform
Although their website spends a lot of time trying to sell us on how state-of-the-art this product is, to me it’s just a quality resistance band system. Nothing more, nothing less.
All the talk about how the X3 is state-of-the-art variable resistance training at its best is just that- talk. It’s good marketing designed to sell this product. I can’t buy into the research they quote because the training methods in those experiments where different than the X3 system.
I actually wish they would back off a little with all these claims because the X3 Home Gym System is actually a really nice product. It’s a portable resistance band set designed for heavy lifting. The bar and bands are awesome. The price is high, but if it can prevent you from having to pay a gym membership or purchase a larger home gym it may be worth it.