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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

Equipment must adapt to new trends to stay relevant


James Anderson, UK sales manager, Star Trac

There’s still a need for fi xed 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 fi xed and free weight, it’s an example of how traditional resistance equipment can be adapted rather than being sidelined by new trends.

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 defi nition 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.

Free weights are being used by a broader demographic

The evolution of resistance training has seen a growth in innovative functional equipment, moving away from fi xed 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 fl exible 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 fi xed machines”

BRIDGING THE GAP 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 fl exibility, fun and engagement in their workouts – and Kinesis

38 Read Health Club Management online at

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 fl oor 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 specifi c to sports or special target groups. ●

March 2013 © Cybertrek 2013

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