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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

Resistance equipment: The resistance movement

With today’s buzzwords being free weights, functional and bodyweight training, how is the resistance offering at the gym evolving – and is there still a place for fixed resistance kit? Julie Fisher asks a panel of suppliers for their thoughts

By Julie Fisher | Published in Health Club Management 2013 issue 3

Ease of use and Education

Miles Rimell
Miles Rimell
Miles Rimell,

Marketing Director EMEA & APAC,

Precor


At Precor, we believe fixed resistance machines still command a place on the gym floor. Indeed, according to IHRSA’s Profiles of Success 2011 report – which looks at member participation by equipment and group exercise category – 2.1 million members use resistance machines annually. I think the important issue is not whether they are here to stay, but how we enable those new to exercise to use them, as well as improving the offering for more experienced users.

A key benefit of conventional strength training is how it adapts to meet the user’s level of fitness and encourages proper technique, which reduces injuries. But it has to be easy to use, and educating the user is paramount.

When we developed the Precor Discovery Series Selectorised Line, we observed people using their smartphones and took inspiration from consumer products. We focused on taking the intimidation away from strength equipment, making it inviting and approachable, while still providing an improved experience for serious strength exercisers. That meant incorporating easy to understand graphics and, if members are still unsure about a piece of equipment, there are Quick Response (QR) codes that enable them to use their smartphones to view instruction videos.

Precor Discovery Series: QR codes offer access to instruction videos
Precor Discovery Series: QR codes offer access to instruction videos

New thinking

Allan Collins
Allan Collins
Allan Collins
,

Director of Education,

Jordan Fitness


The traditional view has always been that resistance training is used for strength and bodybuilding, while CV machines are used for aerobic fitness and fat loss.

However, the concept of resistance training has changed over the last few years – it’s no longer just about strength training – with a paradigm shift in the use of free weights as functional training has evolved. Now trainers understand that it’s more about movement, with the end result in fact subject to the training parameters used: free weights can be used for aerobic gains, for example, just as a treadmill can.

Describing exercise in terms of resistance training or CV training is an outdated concept. Kettlebells are a great example of how free weights are now an accepted method for strength endurance, body composition changes (fat loss) and even cardiovascular improvements, as well as an alternative to CV machines.

Free weights can also be used by those wanting aerobic gains
Free weights can also be used by those wanting aerobic gains

Freeing up floor space

Rob Thurston
Rob Thurston
Rob Thurston,

Commercial Director,

Cybex International UK


We’re seeing a significant increase in the number of high street gyms and health clubs that are growing their strength equipment provision through products that would, conventionally, have been associated with high performance and sports conditioning facilities. Power racks, half racks and lifting platforms are replacing more traditional options, like squat racks, as members demand versatility and quality from their gym’s equipment.
The shift from selectorised and free weights equipment towards cable-based machines is also a growing trend among gyms. Cable machines or functional trainers are multi-purpose, offering users a full body workout with an extensive range of exercise options; compare that to a single piece of selectorised equipment, for example a leg press, that could feasibly take up just as much floor space but targets just one muscle group.

Product innovation has also meant strength equipment is becoming easier to use, more aesthetically pleasing and less intimidating, while better awareness and understanding from the user means cable machines offer a highly accessible strength training option, regardless of age, gender or training ability.

The demand for information from users has also fuelled a rise in educational tools and aids, with equipment suppliers offering online tutorials, smartphone apps and training guides to support workouts.

Cable machines: Smaller footprint, but more functionality
Cable machines: Smaller footprint, but more functionality

Machine-free Gyms

Nick Mennell
Nick Mennell
Nick Mennell,

EMEA Education and Global Journey Manager,

Life Fitness


New forces are reshaping the health club model globally, and strength training is smack bang at the forefront. Radical changes have been taking place, with a shift from cardiovascular to strength training using body weight as the resistance.

We’re seeing the emergence of a new, unconventional gym model – the strength and conditioning gym – which is a refreshing antidote to the conventional model. Examples include the warehouse gym model, with clubs like the Better Body Shop; MMA clubs such as Fight Science; and athletic performance gyms including City Athletic. The common denominator is that they are largely machine-free. The body is the machine and bodyweight training is an essential conditioning stimulus.

From researching global fitness trends, including the popularity of strength training, Life Fitness developed the SYNRGY360, a customisable exercise system that facilitates eight of the top 20 trends in the ACSM’s recent survey of fitness trends: functional fitness, strength training, personal training, core training, group personal training, boot camp and sport-specific training.

The modular design of the system makes it possible to choose a configuration that meets varying training philosophies, and many of the training applications focus on the user’s body as the source of resistance: suspension training, for example, and boxing.

Life Fitness’ SYNRGY360 system uses body weight to provide the resistance
Life Fitness’ SYNRGY360 system uses body weight to provide the resistance

Small Circuits

Tim Colston
Tim Colston
Tim Colston,

Managing Director,

Keiser UK


There’s still a place for single station resistance machines. However, the days of rows and rows of single station machines are numbered. Instead, gyms will offer a single line or small number of single station machines, predominantly for beginners to use.

At Keiser UK, we’re seeing more demand for small circuits, with one line of multi-faceted fixed resistance equipment that will cater for everyone, from the elite to older populations and, of course, new members.

As more zoned and open plan areas are introduced into gyms, at the expense of traditional CV and resistance areas, the ratio of CV equipment to resistance equipment is also likely to change. Moveable equipment will become more prevalent, catering for a multi-purpose gym that can be focused around personal training areas and gym floor-based group exercise classes.

A line of multi-faceted fixed strength kit can cater for all populations
A line of multi-faceted fixed strength kit can cater for all populations

Adaptation of Equipment

James Anderson
James Anderson
James Anderson,

UK Sales Manager,

Star Trac


There’s still a need for fixed strength kit in gyms, not least because that’s what members are used to. However, manufacturers need to adapt existing resistance equipment to make sure traditional resistance methods cater to new trends – for example, the focus on free weights, functional and bodyweight training to help the body move with more freedom.

Star Trac’s HumanSport range offers the best of both worlds, using cable resistance to help people move in a more natural way, free from restrictions. The range can be used by personal trainers, but can also be incorporated into a group exercise class, where participants work around the station as they would in a circuit class. Royal County of Berkshire Health and Rackets Club – part of the Virgin Active Group in the UK – has been running very successful classes for some time.

Our MaxRack – another ‘bridge’ piece of equipment – lets people perform free weight power rack training with the safety of a Smith machine. A halfway house between fixed and free weight, it’s an example of how traditional resistance equipment can be adapted rather than being sidelined by new trends.

Equipment must adapt to 
new trends to stay relevant
Equipment must adapt to new trends to stay relevant

Free Weight Flexibility

Matthew Januszek
Matthew Januszek
Matthew Januszek,

Customer Solutions Director,

Escape Fitness


As a longstanding staple of a club’s equipment list, members are back on board with free weights. Why has the recent upsurge occurred? One of the key reasons is training methods. Functional training is on the rise and trainers are incorporating free weights into exercise programmes.

As education and training evolves and progresses, trainers are becoming more aware of the variety of exercises that are possible with free weights, and how using them correctly can aid weight loss, provide body definition and build strength. Free weights are now used in more rounded programmes – from studio classes to small group training – offering full body workouts and thus appealing to a far broader demographic.
The evolution of resistance training has seen a growth in innovative functional equipment, moving away from fixed machines, providing more choice and an increased demand for functional training sessions. Indeed, functional training has been the driving force behind increased usage and demand. Not only do free weights continue to give results, but they are also flexible enough to adapt to market changes, which is why they’re still the backbone of a club’s equipment list.

“The evolution of resistance training has seen a
growth in innovative functional equipment, moving
away from fixed machines”

Free weights are being used by a broader demographic
Free weights are being used by a broader demographic

Bridging The Gap

Craig Swyer
Craig Swyer
Craig Swyer,

Product Manager,

Technogym


We see the move towards functional training and away from traditional resistance training as an interesting opportunity for operators, and we believe new product and programming opportunities exist. For example, in 2011 we launched Kinesis Stations, which were designed to bridge the gap between functional and traditional strength training.

Offering complete freedom of movement through 360 degrees, the product can be used by any exerciser, regardless of level or ability, as well as in a variety of ways: small group training, personal training, or independent use by members.
Progressive training is what members are looking for – along with more flexibility, fun and engagement in their workouts – and Kinesis Stations facilitate this in a number of ways. They allow for ongoing progression of exercises, motivating clients to achieve their goals by continually challenging them, as well as driving engagement and interaction on the gym floor with staff able to demonstrate new exercises on the equipment. A great example of progressive strength training using Kinesis Stations can be seen at Hereford Leisure Pool, which has integrated the machines into its GP referral programme, supporting post-surgery rehabilitation.

Secondary spend can also be enhanced, as the stations are an excellent personal training tool, and operators can introduce new programming options specific to sports or special target groups.

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/HCM2013_3equip.gif
With free weights, functional and bodyweight training the new trend, is there still room for fixed kit? Julie Fisher asks a panel of experts
Miles Rimell, Precor Allan Collins, Jordan Fitness Rob Thurston, Cybex International UK Nick Mennell, Life Fitness Tim Colston, Keiser UK James Anderson, Star Trac Matthew Januszek, Escape Fitness Craig Swyer, Technogym ,Resistance equipment, free weights, functional training
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Precor: Fitness equipment
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features

Resistance equipment: The resistance movement

With today’s buzzwords being free weights, functional and bodyweight training, how is the resistance offering at the gym evolving – and is there still a place for fixed resistance kit? Julie Fisher asks a panel of suppliers for their thoughts

By Julie Fisher | Published in Health Club Management 2013 issue 3

Ease of use and Education

Miles Rimell
Miles Rimell
Miles Rimell,

Marketing Director EMEA & APAC,

Precor


At Precor, we believe fixed resistance machines still command a place on the gym floor. Indeed, according to IHRSA’s Profiles of Success 2011 report – which looks at member participation by equipment and group exercise category – 2.1 million members use resistance machines annually. I think the important issue is not whether they are here to stay, but how we enable those new to exercise to use them, as well as improving the offering for more experienced users.

A key benefit of conventional strength training is how it adapts to meet the user’s level of fitness and encourages proper technique, which reduces injuries. But it has to be easy to use, and educating the user is paramount.

When we developed the Precor Discovery Series Selectorised Line, we observed people using their smartphones and took inspiration from consumer products. We focused on taking the intimidation away from strength equipment, making it inviting and approachable, while still providing an improved experience for serious strength exercisers. That meant incorporating easy to understand graphics and, if members are still unsure about a piece of equipment, there are Quick Response (QR) codes that enable them to use their smartphones to view instruction videos.

Precor Discovery Series: QR codes offer access to instruction videos
Precor Discovery Series: QR codes offer access to instruction videos

New thinking

Allan Collins
Allan Collins
Allan Collins
,

Director of Education,

Jordan Fitness


The traditional view has always been that resistance training is used for strength and bodybuilding, while CV machines are used for aerobic fitness and fat loss.

However, the concept of resistance training has changed over the last few years – it’s no longer just about strength training – with a paradigm shift in the use of free weights as functional training has evolved. Now trainers understand that it’s more about movement, with the end result in fact subject to the training parameters used: free weights can be used for aerobic gains, for example, just as a treadmill can.

Describing exercise in terms of resistance training or CV training is an outdated concept. Kettlebells are a great example of how free weights are now an accepted method for strength endurance, body composition changes (fat loss) and even cardiovascular improvements, as well as an alternative to CV machines.

Free weights can also be used by those wanting aerobic gains
Free weights can also be used by those wanting aerobic gains

Freeing up floor space

Rob Thurston
Rob Thurston
Rob Thurston,

Commercial Director,

Cybex International UK


We’re seeing a significant increase in the number of high street gyms and health clubs that are growing their strength equipment provision through products that would, conventionally, have been associated with high performance and sports conditioning facilities. Power racks, half racks and lifting platforms are replacing more traditional options, like squat racks, as members demand versatility and quality from their gym’s equipment.
The shift from selectorised and free weights equipment towards cable-based machines is also a growing trend among gyms. Cable machines or functional trainers are multi-purpose, offering users a full body workout with an extensive range of exercise options; compare that to a single piece of selectorised equipment, for example a leg press, that could feasibly take up just as much floor space but targets just one muscle group.

Product innovation has also meant strength equipment is becoming easier to use, more aesthetically pleasing and less intimidating, while better awareness and understanding from the user means cable machines offer a highly accessible strength training option, regardless of age, gender or training ability.

The demand for information from users has also fuelled a rise in educational tools and aids, with equipment suppliers offering online tutorials, smartphone apps and training guides to support workouts.

Cable machines: Smaller footprint, but more functionality
Cable machines: Smaller footprint, but more functionality

Machine-free Gyms

Nick Mennell
Nick Mennell
Nick Mennell,

EMEA Education and Global Journey Manager,

Life Fitness


New forces are reshaping the health club model globally, and strength training is smack bang at the forefront. Radical changes have been taking place, with a shift from cardiovascular to strength training using body weight as the resistance.

We’re seeing the emergence of a new, unconventional gym model – the strength and conditioning gym – which is a refreshing antidote to the conventional model. Examples include the warehouse gym model, with clubs like the Better Body Shop; MMA clubs such as Fight Science; and athletic performance gyms including City Athletic. The common denominator is that they are largely machine-free. The body is the machine and bodyweight training is an essential conditioning stimulus.

From researching global fitness trends, including the popularity of strength training, Life Fitness developed the SYNRGY360, a customisable exercise system that facilitates eight of the top 20 trends in the ACSM’s recent survey of fitness trends: functional fitness, strength training, personal training, core training, group personal training, boot camp and sport-specific training.

The modular design of the system makes it possible to choose a configuration that meets varying training philosophies, and many of the training applications focus on the user’s body as the source of resistance: suspension training, for example, and boxing.

Life Fitness’ SYNRGY360 system uses body weight to provide the resistance
Life Fitness’ SYNRGY360 system uses body weight to provide the resistance

Small Circuits

Tim Colston
Tim Colston
Tim Colston,

Managing Director,

Keiser UK


There’s still a place for single station resistance machines. However, the days of rows and rows of single station machines are numbered. Instead, gyms will offer a single line or small number of single station machines, predominantly for beginners to use.

At Keiser UK, we’re seeing more demand for small circuits, with one line of multi-faceted fixed resistance equipment that will cater for everyone, from the elite to older populations and, of course, new members.

As more zoned and open plan areas are introduced into gyms, at the expense of traditional CV and resistance areas, the ratio of CV equipment to resistance equipment is also likely to change. Moveable equipment will become more prevalent, catering for a multi-purpose gym that can be focused around personal training areas and gym floor-based group exercise classes.

A line of multi-faceted fixed strength kit can cater for all populations
A line of multi-faceted fixed strength kit can cater for all populations

Adaptation of Equipment

James Anderson
James Anderson
James Anderson,

UK Sales Manager,

Star Trac


There’s still a need for fixed strength kit in gyms, not least because that’s what members are used to. However, manufacturers need to adapt existing resistance equipment to make sure traditional resistance methods cater to new trends – for example, the focus on free weights, functional and bodyweight training to help the body move with more freedom.

Star Trac’s HumanSport range offers the best of both worlds, using cable resistance to help people move in a more natural way, free from restrictions. The range can be used by personal trainers, but can also be incorporated into a group exercise class, where participants work around the station as they would in a circuit class. Royal County of Berkshire Health and Rackets Club – part of the Virgin Active Group in the UK – has been running very successful classes for some time.

Our MaxRack – another ‘bridge’ piece of equipment – lets people perform free weight power rack training with the safety of a Smith machine. A halfway house between fixed and free weight, it’s an example of how traditional resistance equipment can be adapted rather than being sidelined by new trends.

Equipment must adapt to 
new trends to stay relevant
Equipment must adapt to new trends to stay relevant

Free Weight Flexibility

Matthew Januszek
Matthew Januszek
Matthew Januszek,

Customer Solutions Director,

Escape Fitness


As a longstanding staple of a club’s equipment list, members are back on board with free weights. Why has the recent upsurge occurred? One of the key reasons is training methods. Functional training is on the rise and trainers are incorporating free weights into exercise programmes.

As education and training evolves and progresses, trainers are becoming more aware of the variety of exercises that are possible with free weights, and how using them correctly can aid weight loss, provide body definition and build strength. Free weights are now used in more rounded programmes – from studio classes to small group training – offering full body workouts and thus appealing to a far broader demographic.
The evolution of resistance training has seen a growth in innovative functional equipment, moving away from fixed machines, providing more choice and an increased demand for functional training sessions. Indeed, functional training has been the driving force behind increased usage and demand. Not only do free weights continue to give results, but they are also flexible enough to adapt to market changes, which is why they’re still the backbone of a club’s equipment list.

“The evolution of resistance training has seen a
growth in innovative functional equipment, moving
away from fixed machines”

Free weights are being used by a broader demographic
Free weights are being used by a broader demographic

Bridging The Gap

Craig Swyer
Craig Swyer
Craig Swyer,

Product Manager,

Technogym


We see the move towards functional training and away from traditional resistance training as an interesting opportunity for operators, and we believe new product and programming opportunities exist. For example, in 2011 we launched Kinesis Stations, which were designed to bridge the gap between functional and traditional strength training.

Offering complete freedom of movement through 360 degrees, the product can be used by any exerciser, regardless of level or ability, as well as in a variety of ways: small group training, personal training, or independent use by members.
Progressive training is what members are looking for – along with more flexibility, fun and engagement in their workouts – and Kinesis Stations facilitate this in a number of ways. They allow for ongoing progression of exercises, motivating clients to achieve their goals by continually challenging them, as well as driving engagement and interaction on the gym floor with staff able to demonstrate new exercises on the equipment. A great example of progressive strength training using Kinesis Stations can be seen at Hereford Leisure Pool, which has integrated the machines into its GP referral programme, supporting post-surgery rehabilitation.

Secondary spend can also be enhanced, as the stations are an excellent personal training tool, and operators can introduce new programming options specific to sports or special target groups.

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/HCM2013_3equip.gif
With free weights, functional and bodyweight training the new trend, is there still room for fixed kit? Julie Fisher asks a panel of experts
Miles Rimell, Precor Allan Collins, Jordan Fitness Rob Thurston, Cybex International UK Nick Mennell, Life Fitness Tim Colston, Keiser UK James Anderson, Star Trac Matthew Januszek, Escape Fitness Craig Swyer, Technogym ,Resistance equipment, free weights, functional training
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While much of the fitness industry has reopened its doors across the UK over the past weeks, many members are yet to return.
Opinion: Re-engaging your post-lockdown absent members
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Gympass platform expands to offer customers access to over 2,600 UK facilities
One of the world’s largest corporate wellbeing platforms Gympass has gained a new partner every month since the start of 2021, taking its total to more than 2,600 bricks and mortar UK gym facilities.
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Featured supplier news: Engaging smart technology helps gyms and fitness professionals get their leading role back
Safety, quality of service, and member engagement are key in order to offer a unique fitness experience that will boost the re-start.
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Company profile: Freemotion Fitness
With science and innovation at its core, Freemotion questions how we work out and then ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Gympass
On a mission to defeat inactivity, Gympass is a corporate wellness solution that builds mutually ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Fitness equipment
Precor: Fitness equipment
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
Management software
fibodo Limited: Management software
Exercise equipment
Power Plate: Exercise equipment
Lockers/interior design
Fitlockers: Lockers/interior design
Property & Tenders
Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire County Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
12 Jun 2021
Worldwide, Various,
Diary dates
13-14 Jun 2021
Online,
Diary dates
01-04 Jul 2021
Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
18-19 Sep 2021
Locations worldwide,
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
28-29 Sep 2021
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
04-07 Nov 2021
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
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