It is said that there is nothing new under the sun. If that is true then why are there so many more elements in the periodic table than when I was in school? We do seem to be discovering more things under the sun, one of which in the world of strength training is a heavy metal cylinder rolled across major muscles. There is nothing new about applying metal objects to muscles. There is a whole toolbox of oddly shaped objects used against muscles to loosen fibrous tissue. These are usually applied by hand, and the pressure exerted on the muscle is from the practitioner’s weight. These are often used by massage therapists, physical therapists, chiropractors, trainers, and athletes. The devices of which I am speaking that are new under the sun, however, are heavy metal cylinders that can weigh as much as 175 pounds and use their own weight to loosen and separate muscle fiber from other tissue.

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Let me make it clear: I am NOT a paid spokesman for either of the two products I am about to discuss. I know the two men who created each one and consider them friends. I have been instructed by each of them in the use of their products. Each of them has used his product on me and I have attended seminars conducted by each of them on the use of their product. And, finally, I own one of each product.


By now most people in the fitness industry are familiar with the technique of body tempering. It is a technique generally attributed to Donnie Thompson. Donnie, famous for his powerlifting achievements, is now becoming famous for his innovative creations such as the Thompson Fat Pad, Thompson Fat Bells, Bowtie and now body tempering.

Donnie Thompson’s body tempering devices, as I have said, are solid metal cylinders, generally 24 inches in length and four inches in diameter. I have seen several of them at various weights from 65 pounds to 175 pounds. There may be others, but those are the ones I have seen. In fact, I own the 65-pound device. For a relatively small cylinder, it is amazing how concentrated the weight is. The most popular of Donnie’s devices is the 135-pound cylinder, which he has named the X-Wife. I have a few ex-wives, so I know the name implies that they inflict discomfort and pain. Mine helps me a great deal, so I call it “my mistress."


The use of these devices is not for the faint of heart. It is not a gentle rubdown with sweet smelling oil. It is, by reason of the weight of the device, a very deep manipulation of muscle tissue. It tends to separate muscle tissue from other fibers to which it adheres. Experience has shown that the body can tolerate more and more weight in time — one of the reasons for the various weights of the cylinders. The other reason for the various weights of the cylinders is the size and muscle density to whom it is applied. Significant differences exist between a 320-pound offensive lineman and a 120-pound female powerlifter.

There may be a more technical and/or scientific explanation for what body tempering does, but that’s not my field. I have found that it significantly aids in exercise if I use it beforehand as a warm-up and a way of loosening muscle fiber. It also aids after strenuous exercise as a relaxing device, as pre-habilitation, and to speed recovery. Be advised: use of these devices can cause some discomfort. However, enduring a few minutes of discomfort is worth the therapeutic results.


The other device I want to discuss is one created by Rob Polenik and is patented (or more correctly, the patent is pending). His product is a line of hollow cylinders with a bar in each. The largest of these is a two-inch bar that will accommodate five and 10-pound plates. This allows the device to weigh anywhere from 40 pounds to 240 pounds. There are smaller cylinders with a one-inch bar inside that will accommodate specially machined proprietary plates to make the device weigh from 15 pounds to 90 pounds.

Rob is the proprietor of a commercial gym that caters to serious weight training individuals in powerlifting, bodybuilding, strongman, and general fitness. His members weigh anywhere from 100 pounds to 300 pounds. The variance in the weight of his devices tends to accommodate the variance of his clientele. Each of his trainers has been instructed in the use of his devices, even to the use of the specially made little collars that go on each of the bars inside each cylinder. Ownership of his two cylinders and the weights and collars therewith eliminates the need for multiple devices of varying weights.

MORE: Why Body Tempering Works

It is my belief that each of these devices will find a niche in the fitness industry marketplace. If there are no budgetary restrictions and you’re dealing with large muscular men, like an NFL team or a major college football program, it may be that Donnie’s devices are the correct way to proceed. If, however, there is a budget, and the necessity for utility and efficiency, Rob’s devices may be appropriate. In any case, both are great products. I could talk at length about them both without giving you a true picture of their benefits. In this case, a picture is not worth a thousand words, although I have enclosed pictures. The true test of the devices is to try them and evaluate their benefits, efficiency, and utility to make up your own mind.