The DISQ Review: Taking Your Workout With You

Exercise Equipment You Can Take on a Run

Using the DISQ. DISQ

My average workout looks something like this:

  • Run 1.5 miles to the local park
  • Workout in the park (run sprints on the basketball court, use the park benches to do step ups and box jumps, and use the playground equipment to do other exercises, such as lunges on a swing, or pullups on the monkey bars)
  • Run 1.5 miles home

The great thing about this type of workout is that it's free, it's straightforward, and it requires nothing more than my body weight.

But sometimes, it's limiting.

As someone who was once a gym rat (thank God those days are behind me!), I do have an appreciation for certain exercises that: 1) require equipment, or 2) become harder when you add resistance to them. For instance, I love me some weighted squats, and I'm a fool for barbell deadlifts and dumbbell rows. Without lugging weights with me to the park, it's nearly impossible to mimic these movements in an outdoor setting... at least an outdoor setting like the one I previously described.

That's why I was pumped to learn about the DISQ ($199). This revolutionary piece of fitness equipment is lightweight, transportable (you just strap it to your body and go), and enables you to turn any location into a full-fledged gym. Seriously - the park, your workplace, your kids' baseball game - as long as you have the DISQ with you, you're ready to workout.

The DISQ is a patented piece of equipment with two separate resistance cords housed within a waist pack.

You strap the waist pack around your waist, and you place the accompanying ankle cuffs on your legs. You then pull the DISQ's handles out of both resistance housings, and loop them down and around the attachments on the outside of each ankle cuff. Once everything's in place, the DISQ can be used as-is for lower-body exercises, or you can grasp the handles and extend the cords further to perform any number of upper body exercises.

After speaking with the product's inventor to learn more about the DISQ, the company sent me a test product to try out and review. This is my total experience:

Workout #1 with the DISQ: Walking

The day I got the DISQ was an off day for working out, but I decided to wear the DISQ while walking my dogs. The instructions were clear and straightforward, so it took no time at all for me to strap the DISQ to my  body. The instructions did indicate that the ankle straps might rub uncomfortably when worn with low-cut socks, but since I'm not one to heed warnings (a major personality flaw), I ignored the advice.

I grabbed my dog, ramped up the resistance on the DISQ, and got to hiking.

Unfortunately, it wasn't long before I was regretted my decision to wear low-cut socks. The rubbing at the front of my ankles was uncomfortable, but I did my best to ignore it and just keep pushing through.

Aside from that personal gaffe, I was pleased with the overall experience - the resistance was noticeable, and my basic walk was ramped up to a more challenging level.

Also, I was pleased that the waist band stayed put and the resistance cords didn't interfere with my usual range of motion.


  • The instructions made it easy to get started - it didn't take much effort to figure it out
  • The product made my workout harder
  • My range of motion wasn't impeded
  • My waist pack stayed in place


  • With low-cut socks, the ankle cuffs rubbed into the front of my ankle
  • My husband kept laughing at me - while I don't care what I look like when I exercise, the contraption does attract attention

Workout #2: Home-Based Strength Training Routine

The next day I decided to sub my normal strength training routine for the DISQ. I again strapped on the equipment (this time wearing tall socks) and turned on my must-see TV show of the night. I spent the next hour squatting, lunging, rowing, curling, and deadlifting my way through a pretty serious strength training routine, all with the use of just one piece of wearable fitness equipment. It was pretty sweet!

That said, it wasn't the same as lifting weights.

Here's the thing: the DISQ uses cords to create constant resistance. The resistance is excellent and easy to adjust by twisting the dials on the waist pack. But, unlike other forms of resistance training, the resistance is only engaged during the concentric part of the exercise, when the cord is being pulled out of the waist pack. For example, if you're doing a biceps curl, you'll only feel resistance as you draw the system's handles up to your shoulders, but not as you reverse the movement and lower the handles back to your sides.

The jury is still out when you compare the benefits of concentric and eccentric training, but a review study published in the 2008 British Journal of Sports Medicine found that the high-load of eccentric training tends to lead to greater muscle hypertrophy (muscle growth) than concentric training. I can't draw any fast-and-hard conclusions from this study as it relates to the DISQ, but it might indicate that because the DISQ doesn't include an eccentric load, users could be less likely to experience post-exercise delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), and also be less likely to experience some of the more significant muscle mass growth seen in traditional strength training.

That's all just as an FYI.

How this relates to the general DISQ user is that when you're using the DISQ at higher resistance levels, the release of tension at the top of the concentric movements can feel a little "jerky" and make the total movement less smooth.

I did ask the inventor about this aspect of the device, and while he admits its a limitation of the DISQ, he also added that it was a decision made so that the equipment could remain more durable and lightweight. Sounds like a reasonable tradeoff.


  • Could do a full workout at home using just one piece of equipment
  • The resistance was easy to adjust
  • My equipment was attached to my body! I could workout in the living room, and even continue exercising when walking into the kitchen


  • The lack of an eccentric resistance created a "jerky" movement at higher resistance levels

Workout #3: Run to the Park, Strength Train at the Park

The final test was to put the DISQ to work during one of my park-style routines. With the resistance set to a reasonably low level, I took my jog to the park. The added resistance was definitely noticeable by the end of the run! That said, I wouldn't turn the resistance up too much when running due to the concentric release at the top of every step - when the resistance level is high, the change in resistance can slightly affect your gait. This didn't seem to be an issue at modest resistance levels.

Once at the park I did the same series of strength training exercises that I did the previous day at home. I'd grown more accustomed to the style of resistance training the DISQ offers, so the release of resistance at the top of the movement didn't throw me off as much as it did the previous day.

At the end of my routine, I decided to use my phone to record a quick series of exercises, just for reference. This was not my workout, and I didn't think through the exercises before I did them, so it's not a perfect sequence, but it'll give you an idea of how you can use the device.

Watch the video >>

When it was time to head home, I dialed the resistance back down and took off at a jog. I realized about halfway home that the resistance had done its job, and I didn't want to overdo it. I slowed to a walk and walked the rest of the way home.

One thing I noticed during this workout was that my resistance dials didn't seem to match up with the labels. There are two separate resistance dials - one for the left cord and the other for the right cord. Both dials could achieve the same levels of resistance, but the labels kept throwing me off. I would turn them both the same number of clicks, and the resistance would be the same, but one dial would show a low level resistance and the other would show a high level resistance. I realized I had to stop paying attention to the labels and only go by "feel" to make the two sides match up.


  • Easily added resistance to my run
  • Could take the device with me to the park without any trouble - it stayed in place and was comfortable to wear around (as long as you wear tall socks!)
  • Could expand my park workout to include exercises I can't usually do, such as biceps curls and triceps kickbacks


  • The labels on the dials threw me off when determining resistance level and trying to get both sides to match up - it's a better idea to determine resistance by "feel"

Overall Impressions

The DISQ has made it onto my limited list of fitness equipment that I use over and over again. While it has some limitations, the DISQ makes it possible to achieve a full-body strength training routine wherever you are. This is great for on-the-go individuals, those who want to workout outside, and for frequent travelers who want access to a "gym" no matter where life takes them.

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