Working out at the gym didn’t prepare Leigh Wagner for her real life.
As a mother and a rehabilitation director for a physical therapy group, Wagner, 36, was lifting patients or moving heavy equipment or picking up her kids — movements that treadmills, elliptical machines and lifting weights couldn’t help.
Then Wagner’s personal trainer introduced her to a workout tool that mimicked the different movements she makes throughout the day. It was just a weighted bag with handles created by a Baton Rouge nurse practitioner, but Wagner said it changed her for good.
“I didn’t know how weak I was until I became stronger,” she said.
The workout tool, named DisruptiveStrong by inventor Todd Bossier, is “unconventional training equipment,” Bossier said, because it doesn’t look like things you normally see at the gym.
It is a padded cylinder that can be filled with small, weighted bags to create a weight from 12 to 112 pounds. The cylinder can be used for a martial arts workout or it can be used like a dumbbell or kettle bell for weight training.
Over a two-year period, Bossier, 39, designed and tested the simple-looking device that could be used for dozens of different workouts. The name was inspired by the type of physical and mental strength that successful athletes have.
These people either “disrupt their opponents or they disrupt barriers and disrupt obstacles,” Bossier said.
Over the past decade, amateur and professional athletes have been drawn to workouts that break from gym exercises focused on repetitive weight-lifting movements. Crossfit gyms and mixed martial arts workouts stress core, midsection and back strength in addition to traditional arm and leg workouts.
Bossier is seeking to tap that trend with DisruptiveStrong.
“The idea is that, to gain success from a fitness or athletic training standpoint, you have to disrupt your patterns or barriers and become ‘disruptive strong,’ essentially,” he said.
This month, Bossier is selling DisruptiveStrong directly to consumers for $99 to $199 via the Kickstarter crowd-funding website. The first 500 orders will be delivered immediately after the Kickstarter campaign ends April 22.
Baton Rouge-area buyers can order through the website and then pick up the product from Bossier and save shipping fees.
Bossier said he is also in talks with a sporting goods distributor to sell his product online and in stores, but for now he is focused on building the brand through direct-to-consumer sales.
Since he started training for sports as a middle school athlete, Bossier has made working out a part of his life. He played college baseball at Delta State University in Mississippi in the late 1990s, and in 2008 he and his wife, trainer Leigh Ann Bossier, opened two gyms in north Mississippi.
At his gyms, Bossier bought into an exercise class called Cage Fitness that mimicked mixed martial arts training and used weighted dummies for grappling and wrestling. The dummies came in two sizes — 25 and 40 pounds.
Searching the market, Bossier found sandbags, weighted duffle bags and other workout tools, but nothing that fit his needs.
“The problem was the duffle bag was kind of cumbersome, and you couldn’t really use the sand inside of it,” he said. “It was just a one-and-done kind of thing.”
Over two years DisruptiveStrong went through several prototypes, but Bossier settled on a pliable padded cylinder about the size of a duffle bag that is filled with bags of steel shot.
Along with athletic trainer Johnny Long, owner of Sports Performance Specialists in Tennessee, Bossier has developed a series of exercises using DisruptiveStrong. A few videos are now available at the DisruptiveStrong channel on YouTube, and Bossier plans to create a smartphone application to feature dozens of additional exercises.
In her workouts, Wagner uses DisruptiveStrong in various ways, pushing, pulling and dragging it as well as lifting it. It prepares her for awkwardly picking up patients or lifting her children.
“When I’m not prepared or I don’t have time to get in the right position, I don’t have to worry about hurting myself,” she said. “I’m stronger.”