The New UXS Exercise Demo

I recorded a video last night to demonstrate a few of the exercises that can be performed on the newly redesigned UXS (Ultimate Exercise Station):

After working out and training people on the original for almost a year I made several improvements to the design. The sides are angled in more to provide a closer grip spacing near the back and better accommodate smaller people. The roller pads in the back have been replaced with a single roller pad on a movable arm in the front, both to provide clearance in the back for various exercises and to provide better positioning for the leg exercises and the ability to change the body angle for push ups and rows. A set of handles has been added to the top back for close parallel grip pull ups and another set of handles has been added at the bottom back for shoulder push ups as a safer and more scalable alternative to handstand push ups.

My motivation for designing the original UXS was my dissatisfaction with the design and construction of existing chin up and dip stations; most have handles or bars that are the wrong diameter, angle, and/or width and many felt flimsy and unstable. I had originally considered modifying existing equipment, but with everything I wanted to do it made more sense to design my own from the ground up. Once I decided to do that I also decided that to justify the time and expense involved it had to provide more exercises than just chin ups and dips. I wanted it to minimally provide the ability to perform a bodyweight “big five”: chin ups, dips, rows, handstand push ups, and squats.

Of course, you don’t need anything to perform squats other than a place to stand. However, when I decided to use a roller pad for a support for handstand push ups it occurred to me a second, lower one could be used as a support for a squatting movement similar to the wall squat often performed with a ball or roller, and that the roller and bars could be used for support so one-legged squats could be performed with the foot in a further forwards position, reducing the stress on the knee (the pros and cons of unilateral exercises are a topic for another post).

In using the design I found the combination of the lower roller pad and the various bars provided the ability to perform several other exercises. There was a problem, however. The original UXS was too big for very small people, and if they used the handles at the narrowest point the pads got in the way during dips and parallel grip rows. During a photo shoot on the original UXS with the model in the picture below, who is approximately four feet and ten inches tall and around eighty pounds,  we had to leave out several exercises because the station was too big for her to perform them on correctly.

Bodyweight squats on the UXS

This was solved by angling the sides in more and moving the lower pad to the front, which also works better for all the leg exercises and provides the ability to change the body angle for parallel grip push ups and rows. I will probably have her model the new one as well, along with someone over 6’2″ to show how well it accommodates a broad range of height and body sizes.

The close parallel grip pull up handles started out as an additional set of more sharply angled chin up handles but they seemed redundant since the angle of the front chinning bar feels just about perfect, so they were changed. They also work nicely as a place to hang your dipping belt, stopwatch, or tally counter.

The shoulder push up handles are the result of a lot of experimentation with angled push up handle designs, trying to find a way to provide a safer alternative to handstand push ups since it is not something I am comfortable recommending to most people due to the greater difficulty and risk of injury, and because it’s generally not a good idea to have the head below the remainder of the body for too long while training intensely. Handstand push ups can still be performed on the UXS if someone is strong enough and wants to, but they either need to place their shins on the roller pad (half handstand push up), have someone hold their feet, or have good enough balance to perform them unassisted. A word of warning though, the greater range of motion possible on the handles makes them much harder.

If you want to try these (starting at 3:02 on the video) you can do something similar with a set of handles you can make yourself by connecting two eight inch lengths of 1-1/2″ PVC with a 90 degree joint and placing T joints at the ends for stability. Place them against a wall to keep them from sliding, and perform them on a surface your feet will not slip on.

In addition to the dynamic bodyweight exercises several isometric exercises are demonstrated in the video. The UXS is obviously not required for these, they can be done in a variety of ways with all sorts of equipment, but I included them to show how they should be done with the UXS and to get people thinking about how all these exercises can be combined. Here are a few examples of pre-exhaustion using a simple exercise performed isometrically using timed static contraction protocol followed by a dynamic compound exercise:

  • pullover to chin up
  • chest fly to push up
  • lateral raise to shoulder push up
  • simple row to parallel grip row
  • arm curl to chin up
  • triceps extension to dip

Over two dozen exercises are demonstrated in the video, but the UXS can be used for a lot more, including a variety of trunk or “core” movements from either a hanging or support position. Although the station was designed with a single user in mind it is possible for two or three people to simultaneously perform certain combinations of exercises without getting in each other’s way.

The exercises demonstrated are:

0:20 Chin Up
0:29 Pull Up
0:37 Parallel Grip Pull Up
0:46 Close Parallel Grip Pull Up
0:58 Parallel Grip Row
1:15 Parallel Grip Decline/Low Row
1:28 Overhand Row
1:34 Underhand “Yates” Row
1:41 Arm Curl
2:00 Isometric Arm Curl
2:05 Isometric Simple Row (Rear Delts)
2:14 Isometric Pullover
2:29 Parallel Bar Dip
2:38 Parallel Grip Push Up
2:46 Parallel Grip Incline Push Up
3:02 Shoulder Push Up
3:16 Overhand Grip Push Up
3:21 Close Grip Triceps Push Up
3:33 Easy Overhand Grip Push Up
3:38 Easy Close Grip Triceps Push Up
3:46 Isometric Triceps Extension
3:53 Isometric Chest Fly
4:01 Isometric Lateral Raise
4:10 Isometric Front Raise
4:20 Squat
4:35 Leg Extension
4:52 Leg Curl
5:08 Heel Raise
5:25 Reverse “Hyperextension”
5:45 Isometric Unilateral Hip Flexion
6:02 Unilateral Squat

As I mentioned in the recent Q&A on rest between exercises the UXS allows for very quick movement from one exercise to the next. Without rushing I was still able to move from one exercise to the next in seconds because everything is right there and other than opening or closing the roller pad arm the only thing that needs adjusting is your body position. If you want an effective tool for overall strength and conditioning, this is it.

Some general information for those interested:

  • The frame is heavy gauge cold rolled steel.
  • The finish is a durable textured powder coat which comes standard in black, white, gray, and silver (other colors available at additional cost).
  • The roller is upholstered with high grade, bacteria-resistant, easy-care BoltaFlex with PreFix protective finish and available in a variety of colors.
  • Assembled dimensions: 52” L x 43” W x 84.5” H
  • Weight: approximately 250 lbs

The UXS sells for $1,495 USD. They are built to order and require approximately two weeks to complete depending on Regeneration Equipment’s current workload.

If you’ve got questions or comments please post them below, or join the discussion over at the HIT Forum!

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8 Responses to The New UXS Exercise Demo

  1. Alex April 21, 2013 at 9:22 pm #

    I really like the way shoulder push ups can be performed on the new station, thanks to the angled handles and the half pipe heel raise. Looks very comfortable.

    • Drew Baye April 22, 2013 at 8:39 am #

      Alex,

      The shoulder push ups on the UXS are much better than the handstand push ups. They are easier and safer to get into and out of position to perform, and you can concentrate more on intensely contracting your shoulders and triceps since you don’t have to focus on balancing. These can be done without the UXS, but the handles and foot brace increase the range of motion considerably and provide more secure positioning for the hands and feet.

  2. Brian Liebler April 22, 2013 at 7:36 am #

    Drew,
    What’s your opinion about squatting below parallel? I believe that you pointed out that it was bad for the knees.

    • Drew Baye April 22, 2013 at 8:42 am #

      Brian,

      It isn’t necessary to go below the point where the tops of your thighs are parallel with the ground, but as long as you don’t sit on your calves (which shifts the fulcrum from the knee joint to the point of contact between your hamstrings and calves placing a lot of stress on the knees), turnaround in a slow and controlled manner with no bouncing, and you’re doing everything else correctly it isn’t going to hurt you either.

  3. Ben Slater May 15, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

    Hi Drew

    What are your thoughts/opinions on training with the UXS exclusively? specifically body weight and isometrically timed static contractions as the only exercises performed for building size and strength.

    • Drew Baye May 18, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

      Ben,

      I am doing just that for the rest of this year, and think if used correctly it is just as effective for increasing strength, size, and conditioning as free weights or machines.

  4. johnny q January 15, 2014 at 1:10 pm #

    Hi Drew,

    You seem to like isometrics for exercise.

    What is your opinion of isometric holds, such as wall squats, holding push up position, hanging from a bar, etc.

    Thanks!

    • Drew Baye January 15, 2014 at 3:29 pm #

      Johnny,

      When done correctly isometric protocols like static holds and timed static contractions can be very effective, and they are a good workaround for when a joint problem or lack of suitable equipment limits your ability to perform an exercise dynamically.

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