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smaller footprint while also offering a larger running surface, again conducive to smaller spaces and group training.


NEW CATEGORIES But it’s not all about smaller machines and reducing footprint to maximise space. The development of new kit and even new equipment categories – the elliptical cross-trainer, for example, first launched by Precor in 1995, through to more recent launches such as the Precor AMT and Technogym Cardiowave – are integral to the survival of the industry. New categories continue to launch.


For example, Concept2’s SkiErg brings the exercise benefi ts of the great outdoors, inside. Designed for Nordic skiers, nevertheless it opens up the benefi ts of the activity to everyone in the same way that the rowing machine did when it was launched some 25 years ago: you no longer need snow to participate and benefi t from one of the most challenging and physically rewarding sporting activities. Meanwhile the xRide Octane xR6 is currently the only seated elliptical cross-


trainer on the market. It can provide a challenging workout for fully-fi t users, but is also ideal for people with injuries and those undertaking rehab thanks to a low starting resistance, the fact that it can be used with any one limb, and the inclusion of a muscle resistance programme and independent upper and lower body workouts to focus on trouble spots.


WHAT’S NEW IN R&D? While new categories continue to emerge, treadmills, bikes and cross- trainers are still the staple of any gym, so how can manufacturers improve what’s already on the market? With 8 per cent of the company’s


employees involved in research and development, Precor looked outside of the fi tness industry – and in particular to furniture manufacturers – to increase comfort levels when designing its recently launched 815 bikes. Miles Rimell, head of marketing, explains: “Precor has long believed in taking a broader-minded approach rather than simply looking to our fi elds of existing expertise. Our research showed that gym users wanted


Equipment needs to offer flexibility, as well as the option to generate additional income


february 2011 © cybertrek 2011 Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital 43


Above: Keiser is developing state of the art electronics to tell users how much power they are using. Below: The Octane xR6


greater comfort, so we looked at how chairs are designed in terms of comfort and technology and brought that expertise into the fi tness arena.” Meanwhile, with a development team


of 175 people, Technogym continues to invest in creating innovative and engaging solutions to push at the boundaries of product development and help members achieve their wellness goals.


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