The is one of those inventions you sort of wish you had thought of yourself. It’s fairly simple—it appears to be made out of some sort of PVC and coated with a soft rubber that actually makes it comfortable to roll around on (unlike its cousin, the Dharma Wheel, which is beautiful, made of wood, and isn’t exactly an object you want to hang out on for extended periods of time). The Plexus Wheel’s main objective is to assist with thoracic extension; by draping your upper torso over the wheel, you are able to move into a supported upper body back bend.
The wheel has other uses, too. You can use it to elevate a leg while stretching forward, or you can prop a foot up on it while performing a single mountain climber to isolate hip flexion. I actually really liked this variation (I am not quite bendy enough to need extra elevation in my seated forward bends), and found it to be an effective isolation exercise.
Plexus Wheel Pros
It’s nice to have assistance in backbends. It’s difficult for many to get an arc through the mid-back, so having something to drape yourself over makes the motion more accessible.
In addition, as I noted above, the soft coating along the outside makes it fairly comfortable to roll back and forth. It’s thick enough to take away the discomfort of the hard plastic surface, but not so soft that you don’t feel full supported.
I also really liked the applications to single leg movements because it provides good feedback and can be a great way to prevent too much movement through the pelvis. Plus, balancing the foot on the wheel requires a little bit of thought and is guaranteed to slow the movement down, which can be useful for understanding and isolating the action.
Plexus Wheel Considerations
I am on the short side (5’1”), and the wheel feels a little big. I have a feeling if I were a little bit taller, it would fit just a little bit better through my mid-back—or perhaps it’s just my lack of flexibility that makes it feel like it’s a touch big. It's hard to say. The does come in sizes, so if I were going to purchase one for future, I may choose a smaller size for myself.
It’s on the narrow side, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just means I wasn’t willing to try two feet on top in a plank position because of the narrow base of support and it took me a couple of seconds to feel secure in the backbend position.
All in all, I think it’s a good product. I recommend it for people who want to work on supported backbends, and I will use it with clients to teach hip isolation.
|Plexus Wheel At a Glance|
|Uses||Thoracic and positional mobility options available, website offers a sizing guide|
|MSRP||$88- $220 depending on size and number of wheels chose|