"Comparing the old CrossCore device to the newest iteration is like comparing a WWI bi-winged airplane to a Stealth bomber."

Change is not always a good thing. When I heard that Mad Dogg was "redesigning" the CrossCore180 Rotational Bodyweight Trainer my jaded side thought, "Oh hell, I hope to God they don't homogenize the essence out of the device." In this day and age the trend in fitness, be it devices, tools or machines, is to make them slick, streamlined and easy. In some pursuits, like building muscle, melting fat or infusing the body with strength, power and endurance, slick, streamlined and easy is downright detrimental.

Be it cardio training or resistance training, in order to elicit tangible, measurable results we need to self-induce a sufficient degree of stress. We induce stress by jacking up the intensity of our training efforts; duration and frequency being the other exercise variables.

Intensity is the relationship between exercise effort and momentary capacity. High intensity, maximal intensity, requires we exert limit-equalling or (preferably) limit-exceeding effort. We understand that capacity ebbs and flows and is a shifting target. And, further, that there are many definitions, tests and benchmarks of "capacity." Still, to improve the body we need improve its capacities.

We purposefully traumatize the body in order to force it to build muscle and shed its stored body fat. Please don't freak out over my use of the word trauma as 'the poison is in the dose' and exercise-induced trauma is controlled and on the lowest end of the trauma scale.

Without inducing stress and trauma, where would the incentive be for the body to favourably reconfigure itself? To build muscle and shed fat, to become stronger and more muscular, to increase our stamina and endurance, we need equal or exceed our current capacities. This is where the physiological gains are hidden.

If moderate, modest training produced dramatic results, we would be a nation awash in supermen. The inconvenient truth of truly transformative fitness is this: progress begins at the end of your comfort zone.

Without self-imposed stress of sufficient intensity, without sheer physical effort, without dramatic exertions intense enough to trigger the adaptive response, there are no results – how could there be? Do we really think the human body will magically reconfigure itself in response to polite, sub-maximal training?

But I have digressed….

When the new CrossCore System with Pro Kit arrived I had a good deal of trepidation and some genuine angst. I had just written a damned book about how to use the old CC180 in such a way as to replicate the results obtained by hardcore, barbell and dumbbell resistance training. I was able to technically replicate a surprisingly wide number of classical, barbell/dumbbell, free-weight exercises using the CC180.

I discovered that if I could mimic and replicate the classical barbell/dumbbell exercises on the CrossCore, with the requisite technical exactitude, I could create payloads sufficiently intense to stop some of the world's strongest men dead in their tracks. I was petrified that the newest iteration (call it CrossCore 2.0) would be sissified, eviscerated and made too slick for its own good.

If the revised tool was overdesigned it could undercut the protocols I'd so exactingly developed for CrossCore 1.0. I opened the box and had to admire the sheer mechanistic beauty of the new device. It was extremely cool looking; it looked like the face of a Star Wars creature.

I hung up the new device and got down to business. I immediately went to "pulled-pin" mode because that is where the device realises its uniqueness: there is nothing in the progressive resistance universe quite like using a CrossCore180 in pulled-pin, fully rotational mode, maximally unstable, maximally intense.

I will make a flat statement of fact, based on my 50 + years in the iron-slinging game: the CC180 used in pulled-pin mode (and in the hands of an expert) trumps results derived from whatever resistance machine it can mimic. How can I voice this heretical blasphemy?

This humble portable device can mimic the motor-pathway of at least two-dozen resistance-training machines. In each instance, in head-to-head comparisons, the results derived using the CC180 exceeds the results obtained training on super-expensive, super-sophisticated resistance training machines.

  • Resistance training machines eliminate the 3rd dimension of tension, the need to control side-to-side movement. Muscle stabilizers need not fire during a resistance machine repetition.
  • Muscle stabilizers go crazy when performing an identical exercise using the CC180 in pulled-pin mode.
  • The CC180 forces muscle stabilizers to fire maximally in order to keep the payload (your body moving through time and space) within the proscribed motor-pathway.
  • Machine users can allot 100% of available strength to push or pull and need not apportion a percentage of available strength towards side-to-side control. This makes pushing and pulling easier using machines.
  • Ergo, the CC180 produces superior results to any machine it can mimic. The CC180 has a purposeful instability that digs the deepest possible muscular inroad, far deeper than a machine that eliminates the 3rd dimension.
  • The inherent instability of a properly used CC180 in full, pulled-pin mode requires a significant portion of available strength be allotted to counteracting the CC180 purposeful instability.
  • If there are three dimensions of tension, push, pull and control of side-to-side motion, theoretically, eliminating one of the three dimensions renders that mode or machine 33% inferior to the instability-inducing CC180.

...But I digress yet again…back to the new CC180.

The first thing you notice while attaching it to an anchor-point is how well engineered this thing is. It is a striking piece of mechanical miniaturization, visually cool looking yet not overbuilt; it still fits in the same little tiny bag that CC180 1.0 came in.

The next thing you notice is the handles: sturdier and more contoured than the previous industrial models. The new ones make for better gripping. And saving the best for last, the rope-shortening dilemma that plagued 1.0 is gone.

Oh give the man a bonus that came up with this rope-shortening gizmo. Previously you had to apply and undo a specific knot, some three-part half-clover reverse-hitch knot that I never got right, despite being shown on eight different occasions.

I used to do every CC180 exercise on the fully extended ropes: like Hendrix or Clapton playing Marshall stacks turned up to volume 10. Now, even a knot dufus like myself can instantaneously shorten the CC rope to any length. This opens up a whole new world of exercise and positioning possibilities for me to explore.

I am fired up. CC 2.0 is light-years better than the well-made and revolutionary CC 1.0 device. This is a profound portable resistance training device and when used in a very specific fashion, this tool with its inherent instability and limitless exercise possibilities, exceed machine results and comes damned close (and in some instances equals) the results derived from the resistance training gold standard: barbells and dumbbells used in hardcore fashion.

You can burn yourself down, in the best possible Old School way, using the new CC180. You can create an endless variety of hypertrophy-inducing, muscle-building, adaptive response triggering, hardcore resistance-training workouts.

The expert use of this sensational new tool can produce gold standard results using a portable training device. And we haven't even touched on the devices pure cardio uses. Comparing the old CrossCore device to the newest iteration is like comparing a WWI bi-winged airplane to a Stealth bomber. Check it out for yourself. This thing is "muscles in a little bag."

About the Author
As an athlete Marty Gallagher is a national and world champion in Olympic lifting and powerlifting. He was a world champion team coach in 1991 and coached Black's Gym to five national team titles. He's also coached some of the strongest men on the planet including Kirk Karwoski when he completed his world record 1,003 lb. squat. Today he teaches the US Secret Service and Tier 1 Spec Ops on how to maximize their strength in minimal time. As a writer since 1978 he’s written for Powerlifting USA, Milo, Flex Magazine, Muscle & Fitness, Prime Fitness, Washington Post, Dragon Door and now IRON COMPANY. He’s also the author of numerous books including Purposeful Primitive, Strong Medicine, Ed Coan’s book “Coan, The Man, the Myth, the Method" and numerous others. Read the Marty Gallagher biography here.