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Exerbell: the water kettlebell

Translation: Julia Graham

Take a bag and a bit of water and what have you got? The Exerbell. A personal trainer from Zurich wants to disrupt the fitness market. And he’s already raised almost 150,000 francs on Kickstarter for his new product.

Before the pandemic, Tommy Chang was a fitness instructor in Zurich. He had plans to run his group fitness classes in Basel and Zug as well. But then the first lockdown came along and put a damper on his ambitious ideas for growth. A marketing expert by training, Tommy came up with a concept in the summer that’s just as simple as it is clever. Take a bag and fill it with water, and then you’re looking at the Exerbell.

Tommy asked himself what fitness training would look like in the future, and above all, where it’s likely to happen. Even after the pandemic, a lot of people will probably carry on doing their workouts at home. He assumes that the fitness industry will become a hybrid model of gyms and home gyms. That’s certainly possible, as I know from first-hand experience.

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The crisis as an opportunity

Like many others, Tommy Chang moved his classes online during the first lockdown last spring. However, training sessions that focussed on using participants’ own body weight weren’t 100% successful. So, the next step was to use water bottles, backpacks or duffle bags filled with books. It was difficult, both for him as a coach and for the participants, to work out how much weight was needed. Traditional iron weights were either sold out or weren’t something his students wanted to use at home.

And as for dumbbells, it’s not long before you’re splashing out a few hundred francs for something that spends most of the time lying idle at home. What’s more, dumbbells aren’t nice to look at, they can damage the floor and are dangerous for children.

Tommy thought about how he could standardise the props he was already using in his online sessions, and ideally, also make them more aesthetically pleasing. He started by making bags from different materials. He then tested them over and over for months and showed them to various people. Until one day someone said: «I’d buy that. How much does it cost?» He went on to use this prototype to start his campaign on Kickstarter. Funding seems to be secured for the time being, as he’s managed to raise almost 150,000 francs to date.

Is Exerbell a better kettlebell?

The Exerbell is a foldable, wearable fitness device. It lets you do functional workouts at home, outside or on the go. By using water as a weight, you can make simple exercises more difficult. The dynamic of the moving water creates instability, which poses a new challenge for the body. That’s where leak protection comes in to ensure a safe workout with no accidents when you’re training inside.

Compare this to the classic kettlebell, which features a metal ball with a handle. The cast metal design can easily scratch or dent floors and walls. Enter Tommy with his soft Exerbell, which is made of recycled PET. You also have the option to use sand rather than water. Depending on how much you fill it, the Exerbell weighs between 2 and 14 kg. Once you’ve finished your workout, you empty it and store it dry, folded up in a drawer. An Exerbell costs around 36 to 52 francs, depending on the design.

It’s an innovation that looks intriguing at first glance, and I’d love to put it to the test as soon as it becomes available. But the jury is still out on whether I can use it to mix up my post-workout shake while exercising 😋.

We‘re not yet sure if or when the Exerbell will be available to buy at Galaxus. But our product management team is working on it.

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