This week, we take a moment to review the Crossover Symmetry H.I.I.T System.
Item: Crossover Symmetry H.I.I.T System
Price: $280.00 USD (excludes shipping)
Manufacturer: Crossover Symmetry, Arveda, CO, USA
Crossover Symmetry is a rotator cuff/scapular activation and strength protocol designed to eliminate or reduce shoulder impingement and improve overhead performance. Crossover Symmetry used to market its products almost exclusively to baseball players. Recently, however the brand has directed its focus to the functional fitness industry, targeting CrossFit Games athletes in particular with the High Intensity Interval Training (“H.I.I.T”) system – hence, this review.
The H.I.I.T. system comprises three sets of color-coded resistance cords with varying levels of resistance. It also includes a two-sided, illustrated exercise chart that details the four exercise protocols: Activation, Recovery, Plyometric, and Iron Scap™. Activation protocol should be performed pre-WOD. The rest are prescribed post-WOD (although I used Iron Scap ™ before my workouts with good results). Each protocol consists of seven exercises with 5-20 reps each.
The Crossover Symmetry cords are attached to removable or permanent anchor points at knee or eye level on a squat rack, pull up tower, door, or wall. The athlete then follows the 7-10 minute exercise protocol sequence before or after training to mobilize, activate, and improve overhead position and stability.
In the Box
The H.I.I.T. system comes with three sets of color-coded resistance bands, exercise chart, squat rack attachment straps, and a carrying bag. Currently, Crossover Symmetry provides a video link (of average quality) that goes through step-by-step instructions for each exercise protocol.
For my review, I chose the “competitor” level resistance cords (7 lb., 15 lb., and 25 lb.), squat rack anchors, and door belts. There are resistance cord packages for “novice” and “elite” level resistance as well. Door belts allow you to convert almost any door into a Crossover Symmetry station without the need for additional mounting hardware.
I used and tested the H.I.I.T. system for four months. I used it inside (attached to squat racks, pull up towers, and squat stands), outside (attached to my in-ground pull up bar and to chain link fences), and on the road while traveling (attached to hotel room doors with the door belts). During the last month and a half of my review, I used at least one of the exercise protocols six days a week.
Opening Up: Crossover Symmetry effectively and efficiently prepared me for overhead work. During my review, I saw dramatic improvement in overall shoulder mobility and overhead positioning – both on gymnastic and Olympic lifting movements.
Prior to this review, I regularly performed resistance band and lacrosse ball shoulder/ rotator cuff mobility before every WOD. I found that 10 minutes of H.I.I.T. protocols were more effective than twice that time spent with bands and other mobility tools. And the protocols did not smoke me for the impending WOD, either.
Rotator Cuffs Got You Down?: I have been addressing my own rotator cuff issues for years, both in physical therapy, which has been generally successful, and with daily mobility from MobilityWOD and Becoming a Supple Leopard.
However, in my experience, the problem with physical therapy is: A) you only go after you’re injured; and B) you only address where you are injured (one shoulder versus both). The Iron Scap™ protocol of the H.I.I.T. system was particularly useful in both prevention (strengthening) and overall rehabilitation of both shoulders at the same time.
After a month and a half of using the Iron Scap™ protocol, I had no discomfort with butterfly pull-ups or kipping toes-to-bar movements. In addition, the third pull of my snatch dramatically improved.
Easy and Fast to Use: Most days I attend the 5:00 a.m. class at my gym, CrossFit Connex. Thus, between 4:40 and 4:45 a.m. every weekday morning, I enter the box at some modest level of impairment, ranging from lack of sleep or coffee, to a weekend-induced carb hangover. Nonetheless, I had time to set up the H.I.I.T. system, complete at least one protocol, and put the equipment away before class started.
Price: Add shipping and any extra attachment options (door belts) and you’ll be paying over $300.00 USD for a Crossover Symmetry. But to the brands credit, the product is well made and appears to be designed for heavy gym and/or team use.
Still, that’s a hefty price tag for an exercise chart, video link, three sets of high-grade latex tubes with nylon sleeves, PVC handles, carabiners, and a bag. Assuming you “graduate” to the next level of resistance, you’ll need two more sets of resistance bands, which according to Crossover Symmetry’s website, will cost approximately $95.00 USD.
Lack of Information: Currently, you cannot order the H.I.I.T. system online.While you can purchase a number of other systems on Crossover Symmetry website, there is limited information about the H.I.I.T system (including the price) on Crossover Symmetry’s website. You have to call or email Crossover Symmetry to find out more about it and to place an order.
There was no information provided with the system that prescribed which program(s) to follow, the timing, or the frequency of them. Obtaining this information required a separate email. I also had to email Crossover Symmetry to obtain the video link to the exercise tutorial. While I don’t mind having to call or email an equipment supplier to order or ask questions about their product, responsiveness is important. Here, Crossover Symmetry left something to be desired.
The H.I.I.T. system is a good product with well-crafted exercise protocols that will dramatically improve your overhead movement, positioning, and mobility. My experience with this product is that it efficiently reduced discomfort and improved strength over time.
I have not obtained the same benefits from my own informed “freestyle” mobility practice, as guided by trial-and-error, and other mobility resources. In short, my shoulders feel healthier having regularly used the H.I.I.T. system.
The price is a sticking point for me, however. It’s a very close call whether all of the benefits of the H.I.I.T. system outweigh the price for the individual user.