The Coolest Strength Training Equipment You've Never Used: PurMotion Strength Products
Dr. Joel Seedman, Ph.D.
Recently I had the pleasure of meeting with the owner, innovator, and developer of PurMotion strength training equipment, Jorge Bonnet. Jorge and I sat down and discussed some very unique training methodologies and how we could blend both our styles together to enhance athletic performance, body mechanics, and muscle function. Jorge was also kind enough to provide several demos of his PurMotion inventions, all of which blew me away not only because of the quality of the craftsmanship but also because of their incredible application to functional training and athletic performance. Although I’ll be highlighting several of his PurMotion devices over the coming months I wanted to start things off by reviewing the Wishbone training tool.
The PurMotion Wishbone is one of the most versatile and ingenious strength training tools I’ve ever used. In fact, it’s one of those that makes you a bit jealous you didn’t invent it yourself. The device could not be more user friendly and simple to use. Simply attach it to the end of a landmine station on the end/collar of the barbell. From there the lifter can perform literally dozens, if not hundreds, of possible exercise variations many of which are impossible to replicate with any other training tool or device. At only $599, the price is unbelievably affordable considering you would have to pay tens of thousands of dollars to attempt to replicate all the various exercise options with individual pieces of equipment. Although the device can be used for a variety of movements, its primary application is aimed at targeting the lower body.
Now, before we get into the various exercise options and unique movements, it’s important to highlight that the Wishbone is not simply another unique training tool designed for the purpose of simply keeping things interesting with novel or unique exercises. Instead, Jorge designed this piece of equipment (and many of the PurMotion) tools with the sole purpose of optimizing human mechanics by taking advantage of the multi-directional force vectors that we encounter in sports and everyday life.
For instance, few if any sports involve isolated horizontal or vertical force vectors. Instead, most activities and movements involve multiple force vectors, particularly horizontal and vertical forces combined. However, most traditional strength training modalities only involve vertical force vectors due to the ease of loading movements with gravitational forces via traditional free weights. Unfortunately, we end up missing out on the horizontal component of movement as most activities including sprinting involve a diagonal or angled force vector (the resultant/combination of the horizontal and vertical force vectors).
Jorge specifically designed the Wishbone and many of his other training tools to take advantage of this concept by practically, safely, and naturally applying multi directional force vectors to the human body. Not only does this more specifically mimic sports and athletic performance activities, it also reduces stress to the spine and other joints, as there’s no longer direct axial loading.
With that said lets get into the various movement options of the PurMotion Wishbone. Here are some of my favorite variations as shown by my athletes and clients in this video. Notice how many of them involve eccentric isometrics to help maximize body mechanics and proprioceptive feedback.
Keep in mind this is not an all-inclusive list of movements that can be performed using the Wishbone, as literally every time I use it I discover new and unique variations that are surprisingly effective.
Athletic Squat on Balls of Feet
Typically I wouldn’t recommend that an athlete perform squats on the balls of their feet or toes, as it’s generally recommended to squat while sitting back and placing force through the entire foot especially the heels. However, after assessing and analyzing with Jorge the unique biomechanics and force vectors involved it actually makes quite a bit of sense to perform this squat variation on the toes. Here’s why:
First, because the landmine involves 2 force vectors (horizontal force vectors and vertical force vectors) as previously described, when you take the resultant combination of the horizontal & vertical force vectors and apply it to this movement, you see that the body should be perpendicular to the barbell. However, this concept can also be applied to the feet since we typically want the foot/ankle complex to be perpendicular to the resultant force vector in order to apply and absorb force in that same perpendicular direction. Theoretically this combination maximizes loading into the targeted musculature while minimizing stress to the joints.
Not only does the wishbone attachment provide this unique option, it does so while minimizing stress to the knees since the hips can still sit back into the movement. This particular variation also crushes the quads especially when performed with 90-deg ROM (read more about squat depth here) making this a perfect & safe substitute for sissy squats. For athletes looking to work on components related to sports performance, particularly acceleration, this is an exceptional squatting variation as well.
Traditional Front Squat
The Wishbone can just as easily be applied to traditional squats by simply sitting back on the heels. While this does require a bit more ankle dorsiflexion and ankle mobility (which can do wonders for athletes with tight Achilles and calves) it also crushes the core and hips. It also teaches the athlete how to sit back during their squat, which has incredible transfer and carryover to traditional barbell squats. Just be careful your core musculature is prepared for the load, as lack of abdominal strength could place additional stress on the low back.
Reverse Squat (Hack Squat)
One of the most unique features of the hack squat is that it allows the lifter to face away from the pivot point of the landmine (by turning 180 degrees) rather than towards it. This has several unique benefits. First, it provides a more upright torso position than any other traditional squat variation since the lifter is essentially leaning back against/into the landmine. Not only does this reinforce the idea of sitting back into the hips and loading through the heels, the relatively upright body position also taxes the daylights out of the quads while minimizing stress on the low back. The effect feels similar to a wall sit except the lifter is not performing an isometric contraction but instead a very dynamic powerful movement.
Another very unique feature of the reverse hack squat variation is that it mimics deceleration scenarios, as opposed to the other variations (facing towards the landmine anchor point) which mimic acceleration scenarios. Few if any other training tools on the market provide such unique squatting features that allow athletes to target both acceleration and deceleration so simply, effectively, and efficiently.
Parallel Landmine Setup
By adjusting the base of the landmine height to approximately sternum level, the Wishbone device can be applied to squats and other lower body movements. These replicate more traditional squat movements (barbell back squat, safety bar squats, front squats, etc.) since the loading and force vectors are essentially vertical and perpendicular to the floor. These feel very similar to many squat machines on the market and feel surprisingly comfortable and natural.
Angled Platform Squats
If you’re looking to take advantage of the Wishbone’s angled force vectors involved with the athletic squat (on the balls of the feet), yet are also looking to minimize tension to the calf muscles and Achilles, simply place the feet on an angled platform as shown in the video. This provides the same functional force vectors involving both a horizontal and vertical loading component, however, the lifter can push through their entire foot rather than the balls of the feet. These feel incredibly comfortable and natural while also being very joint friendly.
Similar to the squat variations, lunges can just as easily be performed with the PurMotion Wishbone attachment. Additionally, the forward positions (with the body facing the landmine anchor point) are very sprinting specific to acceleration scenarios involved during sprinting and athletic performance. Similarly, the reverse hack lunge position (facing away from the landmine anchor) has incredible transfer to deceleration as well as to the transition and maintenance phases of sprinting biomechanics where the torso is more upright. Many of my athletes and clients noticed incredible tension to the glutes and posterior chain during the traditional forward lunge version, while the backward hack lunge produce enormous tension on the quads.
Single Leg Variations
Every squatting variation previously described with the PurMotion Wishbone can also be performed in unilateral or single leg fashion. Several of them can also be combined with a contralateral knee drive component making them even more transferable to athletics and speed training.
It’s important to note the significant balance and stabilization required to control the single leg squatting movements. In fact, most of my athletes and clients, as well as I, noticed that all of the single leg variations were surprisingly challenging to balance and stabilize while also feeling quite comfortable and natural. The balance and stabilization component is due to the mediolateral and rotational instability of the landmine station that makes these even more difficult to balance than most free weight variations. Even the slightest mediolateral deviation or instability will be immediately exposed with these, as the landmine station will want to twist and rotate. As a result, the single leg squatting variations are incredibly beneficial not only for building significant levels of functional strength and hypertrophy in the lower body, but also very effective for eliminating a variety of imbalances, weaknesses, and movement dysfunctions.
Staggered Stance Athletic Positions
One of the coolest features of the Purmotion Wishbone is that it can be combined with a number of different athletic stances. These include staggered stances, sprinting start positions, wrestling stances, fighting stances, sprinting acceleration positions, starting block stances, fighting positions, and more, all while performing a variety of squats and dynamic movements from these sport specific positions.
Jumps & Explosive Movements
Any one of the previous PurMotion Wishbone exercises can also be performed using explosive jumps. The unique angular force vectors not only minimize loading to the joints but also transfer exceptionally well to athletics and sports. Additionally, the padded nature of the Wishbone shoulder pads makes the catching and deceleration phase much more user friendly than many barbell squat jumps, particularly for less-experienced athletes.
Other Wishbone Options
The PurMotion Wishbone is an incredibly versatile piece of equipment that can be used not only for an endless number of lower body exercises but also for other full body movements.
Lateral Abdominal Rollouts
While not initially created for the purpose of blasting the abs with unique core exercises, Jorge Bonnet’s unique PurMotion Wishbone design is actually very conducive for performing a variety of lateral ab rollouts. By simply flipping the Wisbhone upside down you actually have 4 options as shown in the video.
In the first one in this video I’m demonstrating a planking version of a lateral ab rollout. This works remarkably well as the forearms simply rest on the pads that are used for the squats. The second one, shown by Leslie, is similar, however, it’s more of a long lever pushup plank as she’s gripping the neutral handles. This places even more tension on the rectus abs and transverse abs due to the more extreme anti-extension component. The third option, shown by Charlene, is very shoulder friendly as the lifter simply grips the neutral grips of the Wishbone while performing the lateral rollouts. Finally, in the fourth one, Austin is demonstrating a pronated snatch grip position by holding the loading collars of the Wishbone. This not only crushes the core but also blasts the upper back, shoulders, and lats.
All four of these rotational landmine rollouts are deceptively challenging core exercises, particularly on the obliques and transverse abs as the level of anti-rotation, anti-extension, and anti-lateral flexion involved is enormously high. It’s up to the lifter to keep the spine and core locked into a neutral position even though the lateral forces will attempt to shift the lifter out of position. Whether you’re looking for core exercises to build an aesthetic 6-pack, improve spinal stability, reduce low back pain, or simply enhance athletic performance, these are tough to beat. While similar movements can be performed on a traditional landmine stations as I’ve highlighted in previous posts (see more ab rollouts here), using the Wishbone not only provides more unique options in terms of hand placements but the positions also tend to be more natural feeling particularly on the shoulders, elbows, and wrists.
Overhead Presses and Push Presses
Another unique feature of the PurMotion Wishbone is the ability to perform bilateral overhead landmine presses with a neutral grip. Not only do these crush the entire upper body including the deltoids, triceps, upper chest, upper back, and spinal stabilizers, they’re also very friendly on the glenohumeral joint due to the slight angular force vector. Here’s one of my clients and professional model Austin Kane showing how it’s done as we prep him for his next photo shoot. The lateral spacing of the grips on the Wishbone feel incredibly safe on the shoulders and also quite strong and powerful. These are great for overloading with heavy resistance without fear of bothering your joints.
Additionally there are 2 small yet noteworthy instability components. First, you have the mediolateral instability of the landmine station itself due to the angular rotational path that the bar wants to travel. If you press too much with one arm, the landmine station and Wishbone will actually shift and tilt. This does wonders for cleaning up asymmetrical pressing form and upper body imbalances. Secondly, the neutral grip handles actually have a slight anteroposterior instability component. To keep the grips from tilting forward or backward requires the lifter to grip the daylights out the handles while maintaining maximal full body tightness throughout. Again, this is also incredibly effective as a means of eliminating sloppy overhead pressing mechanics.
Bonus Combination Options
Every once in a while I get a bit carried away experimenting with unique movement variations and exercise combinations. Sometimes they sound better on paper than they are in real life and other times they end up feeling even better than I could have imagined. My latest experimentation combining the PurMotion Wishbone and the Exxentric KBox falls into the latter category, as the movements felt remarkably smooth and natural yet brutally intense and effective on the targeted musculature. Here I’m demonstrating a few squatting variations and overhead presses alongside my awesome client and national figure competitor Leslie Petch. Read more about the Exxentric KBox here.
Although it looks a bit crazy the setup is surprisingly easy and user friendly. Simply anchor the KBox pulley to the mounted Wishbone (via any sturdy nylon strap) and you can literally perform any of the previous exercises I highlighted above. Just beware as these combinations produce unprecedented levels of eccentric overload, muscle damage, mechanical tension, and metabolic stress making them top tier options for eliciting functional strength and hypertrophy in safe and effective manner.
It should also be highlighted that these are probably the most joint friendly and spine friendly squat variations I’ve ever performed with the KBox. That’s not to say that the KBox is unusually harsh on the joints and spine, but simply that whenever intense eccentric overload is present particularly with vertical force vectors, there’s naturally going to be more tension to the surrounding structures. However, because of the unique angular force vectors involved with the Wishbone and landmine station, the muscles receive just as much stimulation and eccentric overload, albeit with less stress on the spine and joints.
War Hammer Plus Attachment
The PurMotion War Hammer Plus is not only one of the most effective landmine attachments but also one of the most versatile & unique pieces of equipment in the fitness industry. Here’s a small example of the many movements and exercises than can be performed on it as I demonstrate 11 variations alongside my awesome athletes Leslie Petch, Ben Lai, & Ike Onike.
The war hammer plus provides options and exercise variations that literally can’t be performed or replicated with any other tool on the market.
For instance the war hammer allows individual to perform squats similar to traditional back squats/safety squats/front squats (the bar is resting on the shoulders/upper traps), however the load is positioned only on one shoulder rather than on both. This produces a very unique, functional, & novel stimulus to the body as the core, spinal stabilizers, hips, upper back, shoulders, and lumbopelvic hip complex must work overtime to handle the extreme offset unilateral loading pattern.
Facing directly towards the landmine anchor point mimics acceleration attributes whereas turning 180 degrees and facing away from the anchor point more closely mimics deceleration mechanics. This loading protocol can be used on squats, lunges, hinges, jumps, and single leg squats as shown in the video.
Another very unique and impressive feature of the war hammer is the lifter can turn 90 degrees so the anchor point is lateral from their body. This setup allows the athlete to perform angular sport specific positions using orbital movement patterns that closely resemble drills and positions where the athlete is cutting and turning during sprinting. The key is to position the body in such a way that the movement & body move through an orbital sphere.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks as I review other PurMotion Products. You can also get 10% off any piece of PurMotion equipment by visiting their website and using the code DRJOELAHP at checkout.