No Bias or BS Here
Here is the official Massenomics review of Donnie Thompson's Formal Bowtie by Spud Inc. Massenomics is in no way affiliated with Donnie or Spud Inc., so rest assured this review is straight from the heart.
The Bowtie Basics from Super D
We knew from Spud Inc.'s description that the Formal Bowtie is a simple but effective accessory for helping athletes train and maintain preferred posture. But we wanted to make sure we knew exactly what the Bowtie is, and how it is intended to be used. For that, we went straight to the horse's mouth. We asked inventor Donnie Thompson (Super D) how to wear it, when to wear it, and why to wear it.
Donnie explained to us that the Bowtie is not to be viewed as a "brace", but rather a device used for compression of the shoulder and proper humeral alignment resulting in better posture. His advice was to use it 15 minutes at a time, for a cumulative amount of one hour per day as we get used to it.
Putting on the Bowtie
Unlike a real bowtie, you don't have to get your great uncle Allen to teach you how to put this one on. It's about as simple as it gets. Just put your arms in the holes with the logo facing upside down, then grab the back strap and flip it over your head. Put your thumbs in the front straps to adjust it. Watch the process in action below.
A helpful tip we found was to get some assistance adjusting it into place. Once you have it on, have someone pull the back strap down. For an even snugger fit they can pull each individual red strap under your lats. This really adds a firmness to the fit and adds more desirable compression, you just need to make sure you actually have some lats.
Ohh sometimes I get a good feeling, yeah
Probably the most important question.. How does it feel?
To put it simply, it feels pretty damn good. Within the first ten seconds of wearing it you get an "oh, I totally understand why this is a thing now" feeling. It really does pull your body into better positioning. It's actually an eye opener as to how your upper body posture controls the entire posture for the rest of your body. It puts your arms/shoulders/back into their more ergonomically correct positions. The compression it places on the front of your shoulder joint is also noticeable. Sitting and standing both feel better.
The most noticeable feeling is actually when you take it off after wearing it for 10-15 minutes. Your shoulders then feel "free". Like you could move and twist them around in a way that you haven't been able to in a while. There is a little bit of a blood rush that comes back to your shoulders from the compression. The exact feeling is difficult to get into words, but it is easy to conclude that the Bowtie produces a positive effect. The lasting presence it has on the body reminds you to manually keep yourself in the proper position for a while after you have taken it off.
When to Wear it
Just like Super D recommended, we have been wearing the Bowtie for about 15 minutes at a time for a few times every day. We have used it sitting at the computer, driving a car, and walking around the house. It is interesting to try it out doing all different sorts of activities, and that is what we would recommend for anyone to do when they get it. We specifically liked wearing it just prior to squat and bench press workouts. It feels like it takes a little bit of the strain off as you get your shoulders warmed up for getting under the bar in a back squat.
Size it right
Make sure to get the right size. Going too big is a problem in our opinion. You lose the effect when it isn't tight enough. There are sizing charts provided on the Rogue and EliteFTS websites. If you are on the edge of a size our recommendation is to go with the smaller size. That tightness and compression is a good thing. Our XXL was a good fit for guys in the 270-300 pound range. Our guys in the 220-240 range would have liked an XL or possibly even a large.
We have only had our Bowtie for a few weeks, so we can't speak to how long it will hold up based on any experiential evidence. But we can tell you that this is a product that looks like it was built to last. It is a relatively simple product, but it was made right. The materials all have a high quality feel to them, and it is noticeable that extra care was taken in the stitching. That quality stitching is extremely important for the durability of a product like this. This high level of craftsmanship on the Bowtie is in line with the quality work we have seen from all of the other Spud Inc. products that we use in our gym.
$59.99 + shipping
Formal Vs. Casual
The Bowtie comes in two versions, formal and casual. We only have the formal, so we can't accurately compare the two. We do know that the formal version is heavier and stiffer than the casual version. To us that seemed like the more effective of the two options.
Donnie Thompson's Bowtie gets the Massenomics seal of approval. Two massive thumbs up. If you feel like you could benefit from improved posture this is a good tool for you. If you feel like you have tightness or mobility issues with your shoulders, then this is a good tool for you. Having only had the Bowtie in our possession for a few weeks, we can't make opinions on any benefits of long term use.
It is important to keep in mind that it is just one tool. It is not going to fix all your problems. The Bowtie is just one part of a plan to improve shoulder mobility, shoulder health, or humeral alignment. Unfortunately, the Bowtie won't do all the work for you, so you still have to put the work in to get all the other pieces of the puzzle in place. We certainly see use of the Bowtie as a benefit not only to lifters, but also to the vast majority of the general public that hunch over computers and cell phones all day.
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