The HarleyBar has been leaning against a wall in my apartment for three weeks now. I have used it, oh, a half dozen times.
On the surface, this does not bode well for my evaluation of the weighted bar, which can be disassembled to produce smaller, lighter dumbbells. After all, the most effective exercise equipment not only yields results but is easy (and safe) enough to use that you actually do so regularly.
But let me be clear: The HarleyBar is perfectly designed. It feels substantial, durable and offers myriad ways to combine and recombine the two- and three-pound units. The 2.5 pound add-ons (which will be available at a later date) would provide even more. My issue is that I simply lack the motivation required to do the recommended exercises, including walking lunges, bicep curls and dead lifts.
The bar's creator is Harley Pasternak, a Toronto native whose "trainer to the stars" moniker is well-deserved: He's worked with the likes of Halle Berry, Alicia Keys, John Mayer, Jessica Simpson, Eva Mendes, Kanye West and Seth Rogen. He is also the brains (and body) behind The 5 Factor Diet books, which have become bestsellers by virtue of simple recipe and fitness solutions.
He says the HarleyBar was born out of necessity. "I have clients who are constantly in places like a trailer or hotel location, which don't necessarily have access to full gym, or maybe it's a privacy issue and they don't want to walk into a hotel gym and be photographed," he says from Los Angeles. "They can take this with them anywhere and work on their whole body."
I've been test-driving the bar as it transitions from prototype to mainstream. When Mr. Pasternak makes an appearance on the Shopping Channel Oct. 10, he will also be offering a supplemental DVD (the bar will retail for $49.99). This will be far more helpful than the one-pager of suggested exercises that came with my bar. If you've never done an "incline dumbbell fly," chances are text won't be enough to convince you that you're doing it right.
That said, the HarleyBar can be used by people at all fitness levels. The versatility of using it as a bar or dumbbells is genius. "It adds variation. In order for body to keep changing, your program has to keep changing," Mr. Pasternak says. "It will grow as you grow."
He makes a convincing case, so much so that I gave the equipment another go soon after our chat. I pushed myself to do the walking lunges with the dumbbells and dead lifts using the bar. The only thing missing was Harley.
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