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Local man creates small wonder

Montrose inventor takes his Wonderweight through world of athletics.

January 20, 2011|By Charles Rich,

With an inquisitive mind, Justin Elledge developed a desire for building products when he was a child. Through the years, some never got a sniff, while others scratched the surface en route to being marketed.

Always looking to reinvent himself, Elledge found a new target in athletics.

With the level of sports participation brimming and muscles constantly aching, the Montrose resident sought out a creative idea geared for athletes suffering from sore arms and shoulders.

Elledge developed the Wonderweight, a device weighing between two and four pounds designed to strengthen shoulder muscles without causing traumatic stress. The device resembles a traditional free weight in which the top and bottom portions are flat and rotate. The object is designed for users to spin the flat portions while holding it in an upward position.


It took a while for the product to get noticed, but it's caught on for various athletics.

"For the last two years, I've had baseball players fighting over it," said Elledge, 53, whose product is available online at "It wakes up dead arms on pitchers because the muscles have been dormant for some time and it almost instantly fires up every muscle in the shoulder.

"It's also something that can work for somebody who's 8 or 80. It's strictly mind engaging matter when using it."

Elledge, an instructor at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena for 14 years, said he came up with the invention idea in 2000. He pitched the product to a plethora of licensing companies, but no one bit.

In 2008, Elledge began giving the product, manufactured by an independent contractor in Orange, away for free to anybody who had a keen interest in building their arm endurance.

"There are a zillion inventions out there, and, for every 1,000 created, maybe 10 of them actually make money," said Elledge, who said the Wonderweight costs $89. "With the Wonderweight, it's been 10 years of my life and I want it to take off and do well."

With athletes, Elledge said it might expand their careers.

That's what Elledge would like to see accomplished.

"It's about giving something back to their lives that makes it the most rewarding," said Elledge, who added that Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels, a former World Series Most Valuable Player, recently tried the product for the first time. "It doesn't fix arthritis, but it can greatly alleviate the pain, along with carpal tunnel and tendinitis."

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