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Cable machines: Smaller footprint, but more functionality

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


Rob Thurston, commercial director, Cybex International UK

We’re seeing a signifi cant 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 fl oor 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.

March 2013 © Cybertrek 2013 MACHINE-FREE GYMS

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 fi tness 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 fi tness trends: functional fi tness, strength training, personal training, core training, group personal training, boot camp and sport-specifi c training.

The modular design of the system makes it possible to choose a confi guration 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.

SMALL CIRCUITS 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 fi xed 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

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

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 fl oor- based group exercise classes.

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