X3 Bar home gym review

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REVIEW – How can you build muscle without spending hours in a gym each week and spending money on monthly membership dues? Sure, you can work out at home with your own fitness gear, but that can get expensive too and there’s the matter of all the time you have to devote several days a week to do the actual workouts. Then there’s the X3 Complete Home Gym that claims to build muscle by only spending 10 minutes 4 days a week. There has to be a catch right? Let’s find out.

What is it?

The X3 system is a home gym system invented by Dr. John Jaquish, a biomedical engineer. The portable workout system uses three parts. There’s the ground plate, the bar, and a set of heavy-duty latex bands.

What’s in the box?

X3 bar
Ground plate
4 bands
Exercise charts

Design and features

The main and most important component of the system is the X3 bar. The 23.5 inch bar is made of stainless steel with a special hook design to hold the exercise bands and ball bearings that allow the hooks to rotate freely for wrist comfort.

The bar has a well made substantial feel. There’s no way this thing is going to break or bend. I bet you could even run over it with a truck and it wouldn’t be any worse for the wear. I wouldn’t advise testing that theory though.

The biggest part of the X3 system is the ground plate which is a CNC milled high-density polyethylene 19 x 10-inch plate that has been designed to stand on for some of the exercises. The top of the board has raised dots that keep it from being slippery but you’ll want to use the board on a non-slippery surface and not a bare hardwood floor like I’m showing here.

There’s a wide routed slot on the bottom of the ground plate which allows the exercise bands to fit under the plate while you’re standing on it.

X3 bar + bands + ground plate = let’s build some muscle!

Let me start out by saying that I’m not that strong. I’m a 5’6″ 129lb female that had a double mastectomy back in 2011 due to a fun-filled adventure with breast cancer which left me with some minor range of motion and upper body strength issues.

I work out 3 times a week on a lower tier priced Total Gym system, but I am a sucker for workout gear and thought the X3 looked interesting with the claims of building 3x the muscle working out only 10 minutes a day 4 times a week.

The X3 website outlines a 12-week workout program with videos that explain how to do the exercises which consist mainly of

  • Chest press
  • Tricep pushdown
  • Overhead press
  • Squat
  • Deadlift
  • Bicep curl
  • Bent row
  • Upward row
  • Calf raise

In the videos, Dr. Jaquish also talks about nutrition info and medical research info that backs up the system that he’s created. Actually, he talks a lot in his videos and I kept wishing for videos that were less talk and just demonstrations of the exercises that I could follow along with while doing my daily workouts.

The X3 bar ships with 4 latex bands that are different widths which translates into different strengths or weights.

The extra-lightweight band – 10 to 50 lbs, then doubled over 100 lbs
The light weight band – 25 to 80 lbs, then doubled over 160 lbs
The middle weight band – 50 to 120 lbs, then doubled over 240 lbs
The heavy weight band – 60 to 150 lbs, then doubled over 300 lbs

You have to choose the band that is right for you for each exercise so that you can do the exercise with the proper form for as many reps as it takes to get to total fatigue.

The X3 workout system has two different workouts for each week. One workout is done on Monday and Thursday and the other workout is done on Tuesday and Friday. Each workout only has 4 exercises and you only need to do 1 set of each exercise. That hardly sounds like a workout that will build muscle right? Well, trust me when I say that you will work up a sweat because you have to do each exercise to fatigue. That means you do reps until you can’t do another one. That’s all there is to it but it’s not quite as easy as it sounds, especially if you’re not all that strong like me. I had problems with a few of the exercises.

The exercises are done with the band hooked in the bar hooks or looped around the ground plate and the X3 bar. In the image above, I’m doing a chest press with a band doubled around my shoulders. This is one of my favorite X3 exercises because it’s easy to get into position, but sometimes the band separates around the back of your shoulders. It would be nice if there was a clip that could keep the band doubled and stacked correctly.

This is the triceps pushdown position and while I enjoy working triceps, this particular exercise can be uncomfortable because the band needs to rest across your trapezius muscle and not your neck. If you don’t have a big trapezius muscle (I don’t), it can feel awkward and painful especially if you try to use a band that is too strong for you. I have to use the 2nd weakest band for this exercise and sometimes I feel like it’s going to snap my collarbone. You can also do this exercise with the band around the back of your shoulders similar to the chest press exercise, but I find that to feel even more awkward for me.

And here I am demonstrating an upward row with the band under the ground plate and looped once through the X3 bar.

The main X3 exercise that I have trouble with is the squat. For that exercise, you’re supposed to put the band under the ground plate and through the bar as you see above, but then you are supposed to rest the bar across your arms in front of your shoulders/pectoral muscles. Well, I don’t have a chest at all now. I’m completely flat like a 12yr old boy, so I don’t have anything to balance the bar across and it’s a bit painful to have the bar across the tops of my arms when there’s not a lot of padding there. You can see what I mean by watching Dr. Jaquish demonstrate that exercise.

Why is this type of workout equipment effective?

The X3 exercises use variable resistance and stabilizing muscle firing which means that the tension on the muscle is not constant throughout the exercise and puts less stress on your joints where you’re weaker and more stress where you’re strongest. According to Dr. J, exercising this way will cause an increase in the release of human growth hormone which has a lot of health benefits for your whole body including helping your muscles grow.

What I like

  • Compact/portable system
  • 10 minute workouts 4 times a week

What needs to be improved

  • Expensive
  • Can be difficult for beginners to do all the exercises
  • Safety concerns  with some exercises like overhead press, tricep pushdowns, and squats

Final thoughts

In all honesty, I hated the X3 bar the first time I tried it because I found it awkward to use the bands because they would separate or twist across my back. I also had problems with some of the exercises due to my own strength and body shape. After the 3rd or 4th workout, I started becoming more accustomed to getting the bands in position and began liking the workouts a little more. I’ve now used the X3 bar about a dozen times and I definitely feel stronger. I can almost even do a real pushup now (sorta). Don’t laugh but it’s been a goal of mine to be able to do a real pushup for the past 2 years and only just in the last week have I been able to do one. I can only go down about 4-5 inches, but I couldn’t do that at all before and I think the X3 system has made the difference.

Does the X3 system help you build muscle? Yes, I truly believe that it does. But you can get the same results from other workouts and equipment. That means you have to decide if you’re willing to spend $500 on this system. I actually prefer my existing Total Gym to the X3 system because I can do a lot more exercises with it. But that equipment requires a lot more room than the X3 system and I’ve been using that equipment for years and am seeing more results now using the X3 for 10 minutes a day 4 times a week vs. the Total Gym for 30 minutes 3 times a week. I plan to continue using the X3 and the Total Gym so I can have a variety. I’ll update this review in a couple of months as I continue to use this system.

Price: $499.99
Where to buy: X3bar.com
Source: The sample for this review was provided by X3.

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31 thoughts on “X3 Bar home gym review”

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  2. The key to any kind of home gym equipment is to find something that you are going to continue to use. If it is too difficult, most people will stop after a certain time. You might want to try draping a towel across the front of your shoulders for the bar to rest on for the squats. That might give you a bit more cushion. I just got a Peloton bike at home and I am so far really enjoying the workouts. For strength (because the spousal unit does not want weights or other gym equipment in the house) I go to a place called KoKo Fitness. They have a great strength program that is guided by a personal USB key and on screen instructions. I get a great strength workout that varies every day I go and it only takes 30 minutes. I am stronger now than I have been in years using their program. I have managed to stick with them now for over 4 years.

    1. I agree that you have to like the equipment in order to stick with it. I’ve been using the Total Gym for several years now and enjoy it. I also tried a few months at Planet Fitness and although I really like the variety of machines, I would rather workout at home by myself instead of driving to the gym, changing clothes, having to wait for certain machines, wiping them off after each set, etc.

      1. Yes I hate waiting on a machine also. That is what I love about KoKo. You get a machine and it is yours the entire duration. You move from one exercise to another so your strength workout also becomes a form of aerobic workout also because you are not resting between reps. The muscle you just worked out rests while you work out another. Unfortunately you still have to change there, but you don’t have to worry about lockers as you leave your bag right by the machine. Mine is on the way home so it is not too bad for me. Keep up the good work!

    1. I just got one, and the bands are around 40 inches long doubled up. I had to use some straps to shorten them when it came to chest presses. Being female, I just don’t have the massive shoulder width and was getting very little range of motion. A video showing how to do this can be found here: https://youtu.be/4tBlrSDYFKw

        1. I am on my second week now. I am more sore on the pull days than the push days. So I feel like I am getting more of a workout with the rows, curls, and deadlifts. I am going to give it the full 12 weeks before making any judgments. Using extra straps to shorten the band for chest presses and rows makes all the difference in the world.

          1. For chest presses, why not loop the bands around 40-buck bench? For tricep touchdowns, why not loop it around one of those ubiquitous 20-buck doorway chin up bars?

      1. Jack M Browder Jr

        Good review. I made myself a poor man’s version using an Instar bar, a couple of garage hangars, and a heavy duty set of Sunpow bands. However, the bar is awkward so I just ordered some metal handles designed to be used with loop bands. Everything came from Amazon except the hangars. I follow the 12-week course (starting my third week next Monday). With only 2 weeks in I can feel the difference in my strength and conditioning level. I’ve worked out all my life, just turned 66 TODAY, and feel great. Congrats on beating the Big C. Keep up the good work

        1. Hi Jack…and thanks for the review Julie,
          I was going to order the X3 but they are out of stock for 2 months , I’m on a waiting list; I kind of did what you did. I ordered some resistance bands from Undersunfitness.com (I’m not affiliated with them) just trying to help others here. I made a 19 x 10 platform with room for the bands on the bottom so they don’t rub and ordered a bar from amazon, Tikaton Resistance Bar. My total with bands, platform and bar $200.
          I’m curious where I can find the workout program from X3?
          Thanks in advance,

  3. Another option is the Candybar from sugar.fit along with a set of bands (you can get good sets with identical resistance to the X3 setup from Serious Steel or EliteFTS). Another machine you may enjoy is an Aeropilates. You can often pick up a barely used one on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist for under $100.

  4. Anyone paying that much money for such a simple device is easily fooled. Add the cost of the extra latex bands in. Rubber band exercisers all suffer from the same problems. Little to no resistance at the bottom of the movement, very uneven resistance and breakage. “Better results than weights”. Yeah right. That’s why so many bodybuilders, strength athletes and other professionals use rubber bands. Get out of here.

  5. Do you have more information posted about the Total Gym? I desperately need to build some muscle and had some soft tissue injuries in recent years so need to be cautious with strength training, I have wondered about the Total Gym if it would work for me.

    1. Kim, I haven’t reviewed the TotalGym or have ever talked much about it, but I love mine. I’ve had one for many years now and I think I bought it from QVC or the Home Shopping club just because they had a great deal on one when I was shopping for one at the time. I’m actually getting ready to go use mine in just a few minutes as a matter of fact!

  6. Why I decided to purchase the X3 bar. I did a lot a research on this type of set up before i bought it. All the “do it your self” contraptions that claim to be just as good as the X3 bar were mostly a joke. Yes, you can rig up some steal pipe, put some carabiners on the end, cut out a cutting board, and buy some bands and say it’s just like the x3. But the fact is, it’s really not.

    Others like the gorilla bar and similar set ups are ok, but they are not like the x3. Fact is, there is nothing like the x3 on the market. There are two attempts to copy the x3 but they both fall short. The quality is just not there. There must be a real strong patent on it.

    The X3 is like buying something from Rouge fitness vs, Wal mart or target. You get what you pay for. Working out on really good equipment makes the workout better and more efficent.

    I have a complete home gym that would make many jealous. We just bought a trailer and I’m putting together a number of items so I can workout on the road. I purchased crossropes
    (yea, they are expensive too) and other Items from Rouge. My point is good exercise equipment is an investment. If you actually use it, it’s worth the cost.

    All that said, is the cost of over $500 for the X3 worth it. Of course the owner of the company is making a good profit, but you are getting a very well built piece of equipment. Everyone wins. The cost was fine with me. I did not have to buy it, I chose to. So it really comes down to what your wanting in fitness equipment.

  7. Like others perhaps inspired by the pandemic, I was looking for a compact gym for home and came across the X3 Bar by Jaquish. The promise of 10 minute a day workout is quite appealing as well. Mine arrived, I’ve tried it a few times, and unfortunately I will be asking for return and a refund. Note I was not against paying the very high price of over $500 – it’s just that for over $500 this should actually be something I am capable of using. I guess I am considered somewhat slender: 5’10 male, 160 lbs. For reference my suit jacket size is 38-40. The X3 bands seem well made and you get four which increase in thickness as does their resistance levels. Unfortunately, these bands seem made for the inventor, who’ll you notice is a pretty big guy. Firstly, getting the bands in place is quite an ordeal. If you are not already broad shouldered and bulky the straps will dangle from you and it’s like a circus act to get them to pair together in the proper place to try the exercise. Notice the videos everything looks very convenient as the straps on the models seem to appear as one piece. Also, the point resistance shown on the x3 videos begins very early since the models are so big the bands wrap much tighter around their shoulders. The logical answer would seem to be for X3 to offer shorter straps for smaller people – nope. Seems other have had this question but the only advice given seems to be to try and get creative by looping the band around the post a couple of times. Well, if you do that you end up with a bunch of twisted spaghetti that rolls off your back when you try to use it. I do like new fitness ideas and I even paid this very, very high price for this equipment. But I am not going to pay that price if I cannot use the equipment. There are other videos out there about whether or not this is scam – that I don’t know. It is well made but I agree price is high. I will return this and likely buy some other band equipment where I can vary the size more easily.

    1. Gregory Glading

      Don’t give up just yet. Firstly, you can secure the straps with velcro cable ties. A company called Black Mountain Products sells a sleeve specially designed to secure bands. You can shorten the bands by either looping them around the hooks or loop them around a PVC pipe. Elastic resistance bands are a standard 41-inches. I have the exact opposite problem. I am 6-3 with a 53-inch chest. I have to extend the bands with link chains. Give those tips a try before giving up

      1. Hi Yazan,
        Yes, I was able to get a refund. I will say the x3 customer service was quite good. I ordered the Gorrilla Bow and will give that a try.

  8. Thanks for the review. I’m absolutely loving x3 and I tell all my friends to try it. My wife actually read this review before starting about 4 weeks ago and felt the feedback was helpful. You need to get comfortable with the bands and figure out proper weight & range of motion. We are both feeling much stronger, and are losing inches off the belt already. Can’t wait to see the before and after 12 week pics!

    The videos he posts are definitely wordy, but he also posts specific workout videos for each exercise, which I found helpful. He breaks down the weeks and builds you up to more dynamic exercises which absolutely do the trick, if done correctly. After every workout I’m crushed.

    Anywhere from 15-40 reps, 1 x set, until exhaustion. Work all ranges of motion, it’s genius.

    Worth the $$$

  9. Agree that the key is finding something that you’ll actually *do*. I’ve tried bands with a bar (you can buy bands and a bar separately on Amazon for just over $100), and they work, but I don’t stick with it. Then I remembered the Bullworker device that I had in high school, and ordered a new one — my old one long lost. It’s great. It’s fast. And most of all, I use it. Keep trying until you find something you like, because anything is better than nothing!

  10. I just ordered mine. I have gone through both push and pull days and the exercises are great! My only problem is with the chest press and triceps workouts. The band seems to rip the skin of my arms and shoulders, even when wearing a shirt. Anyone else also have this problem?

  11. I have no idea on the utility of the X3 Bar but calling John Jaquish Doctor is an enormous stretch. His Ph.D. is from Rushmore University, a well-known, unaccredited diploma mill.

    Jaquish real background is in marketing, and at that he does a pretty good job.

  12. Hi I enjoy the read thank you I’m currently reading Dr John Jaquish book and decided to do some research so found what you wrote very useful thank you.

  13. Just started my 4th year of X3. As far as Iron Weights, starting at age 57 I experienced 3 separate and unrelated muscle or connective tissue injuries. Each required at least 6 months of active rehab. At age 63 I discovered X3 and cautiously “dipped my toes in the water”. Three years later—sold or donated my iron gym, and 100% using the X3. No further injuries; no regrets whatsoever. In fact, X3 is now selling advanced matrix polymer latex bands (“ParaForce”) that are extremely durable, possibly unbreakable, so they continue to push the envelope with new product development.

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