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Joe Kinney created workout equipment during the pandemic. Kevin Purvis works out at the Kokomo YMCA with the new device Thursday.

During the early stages of the pandemic, while more people began working out at home, Kokomo resident Joe Kinney began designing workout equipment.

Roughly two years later, having gone through eight prototype variations, he opened a website and social media account for the equipment earlier this week.

Titled the Complete Upper Body Bar, or CUBB, Kinney’s equipment aims to target more muscle groups during upper body workouts via resistance bands and rotating handles.

“Believe it or not, there’s nothing out there like this. When we patented it, there was nothing out there,” Kinney said. “So it’s unique to the industry.”

Kinney explained he has a background in machine work, primarily making automotive components.

He had been following along with a P90X home gym routine when the instructor started talking about the benefits of supinating (rotating your forearm) while lifting weights.

When Kinney tried to change workouts with his free weights, though, he noticed there was less resistance depending on where he held the weights. For example, doing an overhead dumbbell press nearly eliminated supination resistance. So, he decided to make his own equipment.

The first prototype took six months to make and, according to Jason Amonett, chief financial officer for Resistance in Rotation, a company started by Kinney to produce the CUBB, the prototype cost $10,000. One of the first challenges the company ran into was finding a way to manufacture the CUBB at a lower cost.

During other prototype phases, Kinney explained, he modified the equipment to be safer and more durable.

The inventor hopes to begin production in the next six months, with assembly set up in Peru and the majority of pieces manufactured in Indiana.

Once the company is ready to release the CUBB, he added, there will be multiple variations for customers to choose from. The company is looking to produce a modular CUBB — primarily for home workout customers, a fixed CUBB for gyms and a lightweight travel CUBB.

As Kinney was developing the bar, he showed it to a friend who works in physical therapy.

“He went to see it, and he was like, ‘Man, this would be perfect,’” Kinney said. “You wouldn’t believe what they have now, it’s still archaic. And the cost is so expensive for the equipment you work on for turning.”

Now, Kinney said, the company is working on developing a version of the CUBB that would be utilized in a physical therapy setting.

The inventor acknowledged it would take time for the product to pick up popularity, but he was still excited to launch the website Monday afternoon. Since the launch, he added, people have already begun reaching out with questions about his invention.

In two weeks, Kinney said, Resistance in Rotation will be demonstrating the CUBB’s durability with a livestream experiment. During the livestream, which will be on resistanceinrotation.com, a robot will work out with a CUBB set to 135 pounds of resistance until the elastic band set in the middle of the bar breaks.

Amonett added, “You’re getting decades worth of use in less than a week.”

The video feed will run 24/7, monitoring the torque of the band in different workouts. The video will also keep track of how many repetitions the robot completes.

“I don’t care whose elastic band it is,” Kinney said, “over time, you get degradation.”

Resistance in Rotation has also been working with a university to test whether the CUBB could be more effective than other workout equipment. A preliminary study has been conducted, Kinney said, and the project might move forward with a full study.

James Bennett III can be reached at 765-454-8580 or james.bennett@kokomotribune.com.

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