The Tsunami Barbell™ Flexible Composite Barbell gives muscles approximately 20 percent more activation compared to a standard barbell and stabilizer muscles are three times more active resulting in a more effective workout. This advancement in athletic training earned the Tsunami Barbell the Award for Composites Excellence (ACE) Best in Show from the American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA).

A flexible bar made from a combination of thermoplastic tubular materials combined with advanced composite pultruded shapes makes the Tsunami unique.

Gordon Brown, founder of Flexi-StiX, LLC of Anderson, S.C., and his business partner, David Abernethy, director of strength and conditioning at Furman University in Greenville, S.C., came up with the concept of the flexible barbell. Brown currently holds a number of U.S. patents with a focus on flexible composite materials.

“I was initially intimidated when I went to the weight room to meet up with David,” says Brown. “Everything in there was steel.” According to Brown, Abernethy told him that strength and conditioning coaches need barbells that bend in order to make their athletes stronger and faster. “He asked me to create a bendable barbell for him, so I did,” says Brown. “A flexible barbell can only be made with composite materials; they give you the stiffness and the bend you need.”

The bar itself only weighs 15 pounds compared to the normal steel barbell that weighs around 45 pounds. Its overall stiffness makes the bar oscillate during lifting allowing the lifter to achieve effective muscle stimulation. This gives coaches the ability to train athletes to a higher level of performance than using traditional steel barbells. “In essence, my goal is to give an athlete a more efficient way to train that makes them stronger and faster,” says Brown.

The COMPOSITES 2013 ACE Awards competition recognizes outstanding innovation and achievement in technology, manufacturing and product development. The awards were presented at COMPOSITES 2013 in Orlando, Fla.