With so many of us working longer days and traveling for our jobs, the demand for portable fitness equipment has become higher than ever. The OYO Personal Gym was designed to fill this need and help folks exercise wherever they are. This isn’t a groundbreaking idea, there are plenty of portable exercise devices on the market. But when I saw that the OYO gym used SpiraFlex technology, I was intrigued and decided to dig a little deeper.
With this review, we will take a close look at what the OYO device has to offer. The goal will be to determine whether this portable gym is worth investing in or whether it makes sense to look elsewhere.
Let’s start from the beginning.
Who Is OYO?
OYO, or “On Your Own” Fitness was founded by Paul Francis, the same guy who actually invented SpiraFlex (more on that in a minute). After much success with this new resistance technology, he started OYO in order to implement it into portable fitness equipment. The company name is pretty clever if you ask me.
OYO only produces a couple of products and they all rely on the SpiraFlex technology. They are all designed for on-the-go fitness as well, making the need for bulky free weights and machines unnecessary.
They’ve taken the portable exercise idea and really run with it. OYO has started partnering up with different companies to provide their workers fitness breaks at their desks- a brilliant idea. Not only is it great marketing for their products, but it might actually help folks stuck in the office get some much needed exercise.
OYO’s Personal Gyms are also being found in group exercises classes like Pilates, Yoga, and spin classes.
But what (if anything) makes these products stand out from the rest of the pack? That would be the SpiraFlex discs.
What Is SpiraFlex?
SpiraFlex is what provides the resistance for the OYO devices (the original DoubleFlex and the OYO Personal Gym). I first came across this technology when I was reviewing the Bowflex Revolution, which I believe was the first home fitness machine to utilize it.
Paul Francis licensed the tech to Nautilus, Inc and helped them develop the Revolution, which has been a big success.
Francis actually came up with the idea in an attempt to help astronauts stay fit in space. If you think about it, it’s actually pretty tough to work out when you don’t have gravity pulling you down. Lifting weights doesn’t work. Our good ol’ fashioned body weight exercises like push ups, pull ups, and squats don’t work either (because you are weightless in space).
In order to over come this hurdle, Francis designed a form of resistance that isn’t dependent on gravity- enter SpiraFlex.
SpiraFlex comes in the shape of lightweight discs. Inside the discs, are a series of stretchy bands (similar to resistance bands, but more durable material). As the disc rotates, the bands are stretched and provide resistance. Unlike a typical resistance band that offers variable resistance (more resistance the farther it is stretched), SpiraFlex discs are designed to provide a more constant resistance that feels more like lifting free weights.
Turns out they really worked. The astronauts in the International Space Station have been using this technology for a decade or so to help maintain muscle and bone mass while working in a zero-gravity environment.
Back here on Earth though, these discs also have added benefits. SpiraFlex discs are very lightweight and small, which means they don’t take up much space. 25 lb of SpiraFlex resistance only weighs like 2 lb- this makes it the perfect tech to use for portable exercise equipment.
And with a feel that mimics free weights, it can work as a nice alternative for folks who don’t like the feel of resistance bands.
So far I like what I’m seeing- we have a company based solely around a technology that is NASA tested and approved. Now let’s see exactly what we get with the OYO Personal Gym.
The OYO Personal Gym
The Personal Gym version (or DoubleFlex Black) of this device is the second generation edition. The DoubleFlex was their first creation, but don’t worry, the only thing that changed was the color and how much resistance comes with it. The original DoubleFlex is still available on their website I believe.
The device itself is an interesting looking product. It reminds me a little of the old bow-type exercise machine my dad had- it had a series of nylon straps going around it and you could push and pull in various ways to get a full body workout…
Anyway, OYO obviously upgraded the look and design. With their sleek Personal Gym, you have a black high strength polymer frame. There are nylon coated stainless steel cables laced within the bow. On each end there is a handgrip that can also attach to a floor or leg attachment. The SpiraFlex discs attach to the middle of the frame.
I forgot to mention earlier, but with SpiraFlex, you can connect them together to get the cumulative resistance. So, if you have a 5 lb disc and a 10 lb disc, you can connect them both to get 15 lb of resistance.
The OYO Personal Gym comes with 25 lb of resistance in the form of a ‘5 lb’ disc and 2 ’10 lb’ discs. You have to connect all 3 to the center of the frame to feel the max resistance.
Most users agree the OYO feels sturdy and well-built. The frame doesn’t feel flimsy and the steel cables running through it are more than durable enough to handle the resistances being applied.
The device itself is around 2 feet long and only weighs about 3 lb with all the SpiraFlex discs attached. It folds in half too, allowing it to easily fit in any bag or suitcase. When it comes to portability, the OYO gym does score big.
OYO claims this machine can provide a full body workout. On their website they actually show you (with clips) how to do 197 different moves. I checked this out and technically speaking, they do provide 197 different variations, but there is a lot of redundancy here. For example, they count doing a “right chest press” and a “left chest press” as two different exercises and they do this with every move.
That being the case, this device does still offer a ton of exercise variety. Different exercises utilize the gym’s different actions- some exercises include the cables while others involve actually compressing the frame- both of which use the SpiraFlex discs.
The exercise variety is increased greatly with the addition of the door anchor and foot attachments, which allow you to connect one end of the machine to a door and do exercises like tricep extensions and perform a variety of lower body moves respectively.
The biggest complaint users seem to have with regards to the exercises themselves is that 25 lb of resistance is too light for a lot of the moves. That makes sense if you are a fit individual who lifts weights regularly. But I also think those individuals might have been a little unrealistic in their expectations for this device.
The OYO Personal Gym is obviously designed as a portable fitness machine. In order to stay portable, it has to be small. If you stacked a bunch of discs on this thing it would take up more space.
I think this device was designed with muscle toning more in mind than building massive strength. OYO themselves say it works well with HIIT workouts and stability type workouts like Pilates and Yoga- routines where you are either switching rapidly between exercises to get more of a cardio workout or performing light resistance moves while holding various poses.
They also promote that it can be used while walking outside or exercising on a treadmill or stationary bike. I don’t think OYO designed this device with power lifters in mind.
When you purchase the OYO Personal Gym, you get the following:
- Personal Gym LE (obviously)
- 1 ‘5 lb’ SpiraFlex disc
- 2 ’10 lb’ SpiraFlex discs
- 1 door achor
- 2 foot attachments
- Nutrition guide
- Exercise wall chart
You can also download the free OYO coaching app as well as watch the free workout videos online. OYO even designed a 10-week challenge you can access if you want to perform the guided workouts.
I think this is a fairly generous package for the price. Speaking of price, for an additional $50 you can upgrade to the OYO Gym Pro, which includes integrated sensors that allow you to connect directly to the app- helps you count reps and track calories, etc.
The OYO Personal Gym comes backed by a full 3-year warranty. I think this is very impressive considering the price. A lot of similarly priced fitness products may have a 1 year warranty (or even no warranty). OYO is definitely showing confidence in their product by providing an impressive warranty. I like it when a company is willing to back up their products.
The OYO Personal Gym is the first portable fitness device designed to utilize the NASA approved SpiraFlex technology. Considering the founder of OYO invented the technology, it’s unlikely he’ll license the rights away to any other company making portable resistance equipment- after all, who would want the competition?
It comes with a generous selection of attachments and extras to ensure you can get started on the right track from day one. It’s also durably built and comes with an impressive warranty to back it up.
For the price, I would say you’re actually getting a lot here. In terms of the competition, you’re probably talking about a resistance band set such as the BodyBoss, which isn’t nearly as convenient (or portable) or a resistance system like the X3, which is significantly more expensive.
Overall, I think this device is well designed and priced wisely to appeal to a lot of people. I think it would make a great addition to any home gym arsenal, especially for those who do find themselves traveling often for work. Is it going to replace your home gym or weight set? No, but it can definitely help keep you on track while you’re away from the gym or stuck at work.