We are asked constantly how the SandBell came into existence. So we thought we would share the origin story of how it came about.
The best new inventions solve a problem. There is far more to making a new consumer product successful, but solving a problem is the foundation.
The problem was seen by Jim Liston, co-founder President of the Competitive Athlete Training Zone (“CATZ”). CATZ is a sports performance training program focused on youth athletes, and Jim is one of the top experts in strength and conditioning, training professionals athletes like David Beckham, who incidentally used SandBells when recovering from an injury at CATZ.
Jim saw the need for an effective and safe weight for kids to use. Dumbbells were easily dropped and medicine balls were hard as rocks when thrown or would rebound and hit a youth athlete in the face. Kettlebells were out of the question for kids.
There were sandbag weights for training on the market, but they were heavy and had multiple handles. Jim wanted a simple, functional free weight starting with light hand weights and increasing in weight. A natural shape of any sandbag is rectangular so he created outer bags of heavy duty nylon with lightweight nylon liner bags. Both sealed with velcro. They worked but sand would leak. Enter Hyperwear.
The innovation in creation of the SandBell is simple physics. A round shape absorbs impact uniformly giving it a big advantage over a rectangular shape which directs and amplifies force in one direction. Just switching to a round sand disc shape was the leap to the creation of the SandBell. After that step, it was a matter of testing different materials and fabrics to find the ideal construction.
Only one frustrating problem remained. How to fill the SandBell and close it.
Holding a heavy object to a sewing machine did not work. That lead to the creation of the fill tube that is stitched into the SandBell so that they can be filled after sewing and with the tube being collapsed and inserted inside the SandBell. This is one of the key ideas that led to the award of a utility patent covering the SandBell and SteelBell earlier this year.
Your SandBell should stand up well to a year of use even if you slam it. Just keep it away from anything sharp. (contact customer service if you have any leaks). The SandBell is safer than any other free weight, solving the problem Jim wanted to solve. And it has been so strong and effective that we created the SteelBell and sell both products not just to kids, but to NFL football teams for their strength training.