Have you ever seen a fitness product and said to yourself “meh, that looks easy…”
…only to try it and realize you were dead freakin' wrong?
Yeah, that was me with the Inertia Wave.
I mean, how challenging can it be to wave around some ropes that weigh less than 3 lbs?
The answer, my friends, is that it's very challenging… downright taxing, both physically and mentally.
Let me say this – the first time I tried the Inertia Wave was at the crack of dawn on an almost-empty beach in my small South Carolina hometown – I was happy there were only a couple people around to witness my struggles!
The Inertia Wave requires coordination, stamina, and focus. It will obliterate your core, recruit stabilizing muscles you didn't think you had, and leave you out of breath in no time at all.
Built as an alternative to traditional battle ropes, the Inertia Wave is advertised as being safer, more effective, more portable, and more space-friendly.
In this review, we'll take a close look at the product, we'll look at the different ways in which you can use it, we'll see how it compares to battle ropes, and I'll share my experience after using the Inertia Wave for over a year.
Is this a wave worth hopping on? Read more to find out…
The Inertia Wave
The Inertia Wave is a pair of lightweight, oscillating tubes that work to provide a unique conditioning workout. In a sea of rowers, bikes, ski ergs, and the like, the Inertia Wave stands out as being one-of-a-kind.
The Inertia Wave is sold in two varieties: one for a single user (the one I own), and another called the Inertia Wave Duo, which is intended for partner-use. Either product can be purchased in a variety of colors.
The product itself is really quite simple. The tubes are made of a flexible rubber/latex material, and they include a hand-hold on one end and a steel ring/carabiner on the other end for attaching. In the case of the Duo, both ends have the hand-holds with an adjustable wrist strap to ensure you don't accidentally release the tubes and slingshot them into your partner.
As far as attaching the Inertia Wave, there is no shortage of options. Along with the tubes comes a nylon strap with a steel ring that attaches to the carabiner. The nylon strap can easily be wrapped around an object or held in place in a variety of other ways, giving you complete flexibility on where to set up the Inertia Wave.
You can attach them to a loaded barbell, rack uprights, sled posts, benches, trees, fences, wall hooks, car trunks, etc… just to name a few.
When you use the Inertia Wave, you'll be moving the tubes up-and-down and side-to-side. In addition, you'll need to create tension in the tubes (max 26 inches of stretch) in order to achieve resistance and ensure a fluid movement. Considering this, you'll need to make sure you have the proper space to accommodate all the movements. This equates to around 11.5 feet from anchor-to-hand and 4 feet on each side.
If you're in a tighter space like a garage gym, home gym, etc… this may require you to move things around, go outside, or otherwise get creative.
The total weight of the Inertia Wave is 2.7 lbs, making it extremely easy to move around. Additionally, the flexibility of the tubes means you can fold them up and store them without taking up much space.
Now that you have an idea of what the product is, let's see how to use it.
How does the Inertia Wave Work?
The Inertia Wave is so effective because of two primary reasons:
1.) It offers resistance across multiple planes – Depending on the movements you're performing (see section below), the Inertia Wave provides three-dimensional, low-impact resistance. This resistance works anti-rotation, anti-extension, rotator cuff stability, and a slew of other stabilizing muscles not seen in the mirror.
2.) It offers ‘live' energy 100% of the time – The Inertia Wave is constantly reacting to your movement. At the same time, it's forcing you to react to its movement. In this way, it's totally alive – you're pulsing energy into the wave and the wave is pulsing energy into you. The benefits here are pretty far-reaching. Beyond the metabolic demands, this live energy requires active force absorption, coordinated movement through and around the core, motor control, etc…
The Inertia Wave can be operated at different intensity levels, any of which will have an impact on the kinetic energy living in the continuously-moving tubes. It's this kinetic energy, coupled with the resistance through tension, that makes the Inertia Wave so effective.
How to Use the Inertia Wave
With the single-user Inertia Wave, there are seven primary movements that should be mastered to get the most out of the product. The Duo offers a few more options if you have a partner to train with, but for the sake of this review, we'll touch on the main seven.
Before jumping into the individual movements, there are a few important tips to consider to produce the best results:
1.) The Inertia Wave should be set up to where the tubes are around the same height as your belly button.
2.) Get into an athletic stance, where your knees are slightly bent and your feet are 12″ or less apart.
3.) Create tension on the tubes by stepping backward, but not so tight that you're getting pulled out of position. The point is to create resistance and to remove slack that could interfere with rhythm.
4.) Stay tight and compact – you want to keep everything close to the body, particularly your elbows.
5.) Practice! You don't get on the Inertia Wave and become a master immediately. There is a learning curve to it, but once you get it, you'll be able to seamlessly move from movement to movement.
The Seven Methods
1.) The Inertia Wave – The Inertia Wave movement is one of the most straight forward, where you're moving the tubes in tandem side-by-side. Imagine your lower body acting like a spring and move your hands as if you were beating a drum with two sticks. Try not to let the tubes hit the ground – keep your elbows by your side and rhythmically move your hands and knees.
2.) The Hero Wave – In the Inertia Wave, you're moving both hands together – in the Hero Wave, you're alternating them. Do everything the same except imagine performing a drum roll with your hands. As one cord is up, the other is down.
3.) The Thunder Slap – The Thunder Slap is the same as the Inertia Wave, but more aggressive. The point here is to make the tubes slap the ground. To do this you'll move the hands a further distance while still keeping the elbows tight to the body and fixed.
4.) Double Over – This is my personal favorite – a real gasser. You're basically moving your hands in a circle towards the center of your body. Your right hand will move counter-clockwise and your left will move clockwise. It's OK if your elbows naturally flare out some, but try to keep them as tight to the body as possible.
5.) The CrossFire – The CrossFire is one that will really light up your core. Here you're going to pull both tubes into your gut and hold them together with both hands. You can experiment with a baseball bat grip or an overlapped hand grip. Keep your elbows tight to your side and start moving the tubes side-to-side. Maintain the rhythm. If you want to try a more challenging variation, you can hold each tube in one hand and perform the side-to-side movement.
6.) The Super Typhoon – This is another one of my favorites. It's basically a pallof press on Adderall. Put your hands directly in front of your sternum and push the tubes away from the body to start the oscillation. The tubes will naturally come back towards you – absorb them and press again. Maintain the rhythm by pushing the hands front-and-back. As you transition to the other side, grab both tubes with the one hand closest to the anchor and move 180 degrees to face the other direction. Place your second hand back on the tubes and repeat.
7.) Oxygen Thief – This is another burner. The Oxygen Thief is the same as the Thunder Slap but with a jump thrown into the mix. You can jump whenever you want, and it doesn't need to be a deep jump squat to be effective. Repeat as much as you want.
Aside from these seven main movements, there are several variations you can introduce to make the movements more challenging. Incorporating lunges, static sit-ups, etc… will add extra layers of complexity. You can also try several of the movements with your knuckles facing towards the sky instead of towards the ground (i.e. elbows pointing directly at the ground). This is a very challenging variation.
Experiment and have fun. Once you master these, you'll be able to transition from one to another without interrupting the flow of the tubes.
The Inertia Wave vs Battle Ropes
One of the biggest selling points of the inertia wave is that it's uniquely different from a traditional battle rope. While I still think battle ropes serve a purpose in training, particularly with eccentric movements like sled pulls, etc… the benefits of the Inertia Wave are very compelling relatively speaking.
Firstly, the Inertia Wave is significantly more compact and much lighter, making it easier to store and/or transport.
Secondly, it's safer on the joints. With the Intertia Wave weighing less than three pounds, you're putting much less strain on the joints as compared to a heavy battle rope. This makes it a useful product across a broader audience and one that is generally more low-impact.
Thirdly, it's easier to set up than battle ropes. With a battle rope, you often need an anchor of some kind, but due to its size and weight, it's more challenging than the Inertia Wave. For instance, I wouldn't dare recommend you set up a heavy battle rope to the trunk of your car, to your door frame, etc… The Inertia Wave has many ways in which it can safely and easily be attached.
Fourthly, the energy created in a battle rope effectively ends at the anchor point/floor. With the Inertia Wave, the energy doesn't stop – it's constantly moving and fighting against you, which is why it's so challenging.
All that to say, battle ropes do serve a purpose in training for certain modalities. Again, they're great for things like sled pulls, etc…
At the end of the day, the two products produce a different stimulus. Depending on your goals, one or the other may be more appropriate. Personally, I like the Inertia Wave much more.
My Experience with the Inertia Wave
There's no doubt that the Inertia Wave is one of the most humbling pieces of equipment I've ever used. I was legitimately taken aback when I first tried it, after initially being extremely skeptical. What surprised me the most was how quickly it gassed me. It became immediately apparent that this was an excellent tool for HIIT and overall conditioning.
I've also been very impressed with how challenging it is on the core, particularly with the CrossFire and Super Typhoon. The pallof press has always been one of my favorite core movements, so it's no surprise to me that the Super Typhoon is one of my favorite Inertia Wave movements. I've found that it's a great way to blend conditioning and anti-rotation.
There's a lot of things happening in rapid succession when you're using the Wave. I feel like I'm controlling the intensity of the oscillation, but at the same time, it feels like physics is controlling me. It's such a different experience compared to traditional conditioning tools.
If I could classify it as one thing, I'd say the Inertia Wave is controlled chaos.
I'm using the Inertia Wave a couple of times a week. If the weather is nice, I prefer to use it outdoors, but otherwise, I hook it up to my Torque Tank M4 and do it inside my garage. I like to flow between 4-5 of the main 7 for 10 seconds each and repeat for a few sets. I also like to incorporate higher intensity intervals where I'm doing on/off cycles of 20-30 seconds of some of my favorite movements.
The constructive feedback I do have for the Inertia Wave is purely cosmetic. One thing I noticed early was how quickly the text on the tubes wore off. There are still areas of worn text present, so it continues to look odd until it all wears off completely. If there aren't alternative ways to apply the text, perhaps a different way to display the brand would be better.
You'll also want to keep in mind that the Wave doesn't fare well in direct sunlight for extended periods of time, as it will affect the tubes themselves. This should be considered another drawback, but it's easy enough to move to the shade.
Who's Using the Inertia Wave
Since it's release, the Inertia Wave has steadily picked up steam in the conditioning market. I first learned of the product after seeing my friends over at Sorinex using it. They actually sell a special edition version of the Inertia Wave, which has a 15% higher resistance.
You can find it here.
You'll also see the Inertia Wave being used by multiple professional sports teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bears, Washington Redskins, etc… Kobe Bryant's Mamba Academy is also a heavy user of the Inertia Wave, as are multiple branches of the US Armed Forces.
Recently Rob Gronkowski of Gronk Fitness has started selling the Inertia Wave, which you can find here.
In addition to high-profile athletes using the Inertia Wave, you'll also find it in Crossfit Boxes, home gyms, and other facilities.
Pros and Cons
- The Inertia Wave is a wildly effective conditioning tool.
- The Inertia Wave will strengthen your core, your posterior chain, and the stabilizing muscles you didn't know you had.
- You can set the Inertia Wave up in dozens of ways, giving you great flexibility.
- Its versatility is awesome – there are many ways to use the Inertia Wave and many ways to throw in variations to the main movements.
- It's easier to move, easier to set up, lower impact, lighter, and more effective than traditional battle ropes.
- Priced at just over $100 with code ‘GarageGym', it's less expensive than other popular conditioning tools.
- There are multiple color options depending on your aesthetic.
- Cosmetically, the text on the rubber tubes rubs off very easily.
- You need to have the space to use it, which means ~11.5 feet in length and 4 feet to both your left and right. Considering how many ways you can anchor it, this shouldn't be a deal-breaker.
- If left in direct sunlight for too long, you may damage the tubes.
Overall, I think the Inertia Wave is a great piece of equipment – It has well exceeded my expectations. If you're looking for a piece of conditioning equipment that will also offer resistance, not break the bank, and take up a small amount of space, I would certainly recommend it.
If you do decide to pick one up, you can use code ‘GarageGym' at checkout for a discount.
If you have any questions about the Inertia Wave, please leave a comment below. Likewise, if you own the Inertia Wave and you want to chime in with your own thoughts, please do so!
As always, I appreciate any feedback.
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