What On Earth is a UBALL?
The above video gives the UBALL sales pitch but I found out about the product through Instagram and after contacting the inventor, Julian Sardinas to do a Garage Gym Athlete profile, I agreed to do an unbiased review. Full disclosure, I paid for my UBALL out of pocket and although Julian agreed to give Garage Gym Life subscribers a 10% discount, I received no consideration in exchange for my opinion.
Ordering and Turnaround
I ordered my UBALL Thursday, November 17, 2016 and received it November 22, 2016. No complaints about promptness there. (note: UBALL.net is currently on back order but they are accepting pre orders. According to the site, you won’t be charged until your product ships.) I tried but couldn’t buy it with my Health Savings Account which was disappointing. Julian said he’s tried to change this but the Shopify platform doesn’t allow payments with your HSA card (or a debit card for that matter). Since they accept PayPal along with credit card and Amazon payments, you might be able to link your PayPal account to a health savings account but neither he nor I are sure about it. I signed up for the uball.net newsletter on the site in order to get a free bungee cord, taking $4.95 off of the price since you really can’t get the full value out of the UBALL without the bungee cord. I haven’t received a newsletter since placing my order and I assume that’s because they don’t sell any other products.
A Slow Start
Honestly, I let my UBALL sit on my garage shelf for a couple of days. Then I had the idea to ask an expert. I see a soft tissue specialist once a week and I left the UBALL with her to play with. When I picked it back up and asked for her opinion she was underwhelmed. She didn’t say it was a bad product, just she couldn’t see what advantage it held over an ordinary lacrosse ball. Of course, she also has access to a large array of chiropractic and massage tools that I don’t have. Anyway, I had a review to write so it was time for me to play with it for myself. Since the UBALL doesn’t come with any instructions, I wasn’t sure how to use it beyond strapping it to a barbell and letting the weight rest on me. Then I decided to go on Instagram and view Julian’s daily video tips. That helped a lot! I made the connection between what Julian was doing in the videos and the therapeutic care I get every week from my soft tissue specialist.
Financially, $40 isn’t too bad for a mobility product. The MobilityWod Supernova retails for $39.95 plus shipping and the mount to put it on a rack will run you $64.95 plus shipping. the MWod Roller does mount to a rack but you would have to get a lacrosse ball for floor applications.
One thing I didn’t like is that the bungee cord is so short. I can’t simply attach the UBALL to my power rack and attack my tight upper back muscles which would allow me to get away from using a lacrosse ball in a sock. I was able to attach it to my rack mounted dip station to get the job done but if you don’t have one of those, you’ll have to keep the sock and ball handy or lie on the ground.
This is a mobility/rehab tool and therefore a medical product. It would be nice to be able to use HSA money to buy it. After all, I can use it for a simple knee brace from the pharmacy section at Wal Mart. Maybe this will become an option down the line.
Performance wise, I can tell you that my chiro has remarked that my shoulders, forearms and chest are a lot less ropy than when she first started working on them.
I’ve done nothing new except use the UBALL following the video tips on Instagram and YouTube. My current favorite is the calf massage as my right calf has really tightened up since I resumed martial arts.
I like using the legs to scrape along my neck and as a sturdy base to keep pressure on my calves. When my oldest son visited, I let him use the UBALL and he was amazed at how much pressure he could put on his tight pec –delt tie in with just the UBALL and an Olympic bar. Same thing happened when my youngest son pulled his shoulder slightly out of the socket doing deadlifts. After seeing the chiro and taking some time off, we used the UBALL to help keep his shoulders mobile as he resumed upper body training. He now reports no pain or shoulder weakness and in fact just got a trap bar deadlift PR!
I wouldn’t say that the UBALL should replace a lacrosse ball or foam roller. Rather, it’s another option for addressing tight areas. For my part, I now keep the UBALL in my backpack along with my small first aid kit, flip flops, pistol and other things I keep handy. The best thing I can tell you is to play with it and watch the instructional videos to help get your creative juices flowing as you explore SMR with this product. Julian and his wife, Amanda, say that they will now be emailing instructions for using the UBALL to every new customer along with a link to the how to videos on their website. I also get their newsletter now and it’s got some good ideas for how to use the product as well.
You can order your own UBALL along with a complimentary bungee cord by visiting www.uball.net. Use Promo Code: GARAGE GYM LIFE at check out for 10% off.