Conditioning coach's invention gets boosts
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Years ago, working on a farm with his family, Mike Kadar developed an idea for a piece of training equipment while ramming a tool into the ground to create post holes for a cattle fence.
Make the metal part flexible, he thought, to provide progressive resistance.
Friday, after more than a decade of fostering and developing the Core Stix Fitness System, the Penguins strength and conditioning coach got an extra boost when Penguins center Evgeni Malkin and former Penguins center Max Talbot tweeted their support of Kadar's invention after seeing a blurb in Men's Health magazine.
"The guys have been exceptional about it," Kadar said.
Kadar puts in long hours with the Penguins -- overseeing routine off-ice workouts as well as early morning and post-practice sessions with players coming back from injury, making protein shakes and providing nutritional guidance, and traveling with the club -- but he carves out time to work on his entrepreneurial venture.
On the road, late at night, Kadar often hunkers down in a coffee shop communicating electronically with his California-based Core Stix partner, Kregg Koch. Kadar became friends with Koch, a patent attorney and former NASA space engineer, and eventually Koch joined the venture.
"We would try prototypes until we got the design finalized," Kadar said. "In the last year, we really kind of finalized everything."
They have a website, www.corestix.com, and videos on YouTube, some of them featuring Penguins players working out on the device. They hold three United States patents, a patent in Canada, Europe and China, and a trademark in Russia.
Kadar once applied to appear on "Dragons' Den," the Canadian version of "Shark Tank," where people with startup businesses make a pitch to partner with big-time investors.
Plans are in the works for an infomercial with Gunnar Peterson, a celebrity trainer.
The equipment features a board to stand on with long rods or arms that can be attached to the board in different configurations. Kadar said he has come up with more than 100 exercises that can be done, most of them while upright and most designed to build core strength.
Kadar's original idea was for commercial use in gyms, perhaps in a class setting a la spinning. The partners have sold Core Stix for that purpose, including to the PGA Tour training truck. Kadar has some in the Penguins training area of Consol Energy Center.
There are three versions, ranging from 38-58 pounds, and Kadar said the workout device is gaining popularity in home use. It's designed for people of all ages and fitness levels -- Kadar recruited a couple of big, strong athletes he knew to test the Core Stix at various stages of development to make sure it held up to rigorous workouts.
Kadar and Koch have gotten word out mostly through social media -- with the assist from Malkin and Talbot -- but Kadar will attend his second trade show next month, shortly before he goes to Russia for the second summer in a row to work with Malkin, this time for nearly a month.
The Core Stix venture is something Kadar is proud of, but he doesn't see it becoming his full-time occupation.
"I love hockey too much to ever let that go," he said.
First Published June 16, 2012 12:00 am