LSU incubator startup launches ‘world’s first wearable gym’

    Fitness startup Apex Resistance and Conditioning has invented what co-founder Adrian Cornish refers to as “the world’s first wearable gym,” a pair of futuristic looking shorts paired with resistance bands dubbed the Bionic Resistance Shorts.

    The Bionic Resistance Shorts add resistance to the wearer’s movements using elastic bands and sturdy fabrics to enhance workouts. Cornish and co-founder Nathan Roy launched sales of the $99.99 shorts three weeks ago out of the Louisiana Business and Technology Center at the LSU Innovation Park. So far, they’ve sold about 60 pairs with essentially no marketing beyond a website.

    “I was an athlete and I wanted to make athletes stronger. I want to see someone break a 9-second 100 meter dash,” Cornish says about the idea for the shorts. “If you look at the market there are a lot of similar products, running drag parachutes, there are weighted vests, ankle weights, wrist weights, but the problem with these is they are not a complete workout.”

    The Bionic Resistance Shorts have been years in the making. Cornish partnered with Roy in 2013 and together they hand sewed prototype after prototype to find a way to create the shorts.

    “We did a lot of brainstorming and testing of materials. They are 100% nylon, and then they have neoprene, since the material is strong enough to hold the attachment points that allow resistance bands to be connected,” explains Cornish. “That’s really the secret sauce.”

    Roy says the high tech shorts weigh about 2.5 pounds, and he admits they might look a little odd upon the first glance. But he says they are good for travelers and people seeking a good workout in a small amount of space.

    Apex Resistance and Conditioning was recently approached by an orthopedic surgeon who was interested in using the bionic shorts for patients’ rehabilitation.

    “He wanted to sign a distribution right then. He’s on board now because he sends a lot of his clients to physical therapists, but insurance only covers them for a short period of time,” Roy says. “It has taken the place of a lot of different things that he has used for a long time.”

    Cornish says the efforts to get the company and Bionic Resistance Shorts off the ground took perseverance because of the newness of the concept.

    “We are in a whole new territory,” Cornish says. “We’re just trying to begin marketing and getting our story out.”

    —Deanna Narveson

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