The International Health Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) held their annual convention and tradeshow earlier this month in San Diego. This event is the “superbowl” of the fitness and health tradeshows. Alas, I did not attend – however I did manage to get the scoop on the latest fitness and exercise trends, gizmos and permutations. Here’s a look at what’s coming to a gym near you:
Fully loaded ellipticals
You can now change up your stride pattern. The early models didn’t transition very well but the latest versions seem to work more smoothly. True Fitness’ new CSX elliptical allows users to step off the pedals and onto fixed side panels, then move just the handles back and forth to get a better upper-body workout.
The Gsycle is another hybrid machine that looks like a stairmaster but allows for handle movement as well as lateral lower body movement. (Note: please resist the urge to pop an ecstasy tablet while watching this video)
No surprise here that computer technology is becoming more and more a part of fitness equipment. Here are some examples:
- Life Fitness’ Elevation series of cardio equipment allows users to save their workouts to a USB stick, then download that information into a special website where they can monitor the workout length, distance and intensity. You can also download iPod music and videos right into the machines.
- Star Trac offers software with a series of pre-designed cardio and strength programs that allows users to track their progress. Gyms will sell the software-loaded USB sticks to members, who can plug them into Star Trac’s E Series cardio equipment and its new Koko strength-training machines. Check out the Koko strength machines here.
- Smart Feet: Nike already has footwear containing a sensor that relays information to the exerciser’s iPod Nano, which can then be downloaded into a computer. Until recently it was used outdoors only. Now several fitness equipment companies have incorporated the technology into select machines so that workouts can be monitored in the gym as well.
Guru Johnny G has given his spinning bike a makeover with the “Krank cycle”. It looks like a Spin cycle but instead of pedals it has hand cranks that can be turned together or independently. Check out the demo here. (Yeah, I’m not sure about this one either!)
The TRX system isn’t that new, but it appears to be exploding in popularity. It is simply a rope with handles, although it is actually more versatile than one might imagine. Here’s a video demo.
SoloStrength: This is one that I’ve had a chance to try. To be honest, it’s a glorified chin-up bar that costs hundreds of times more. Yes, it is easily adjustable and has the advantage of vertical beams to hand tubing etc. from, but at $1500 the price should scare people off. It’s also limiting for lower body and the middle shoulders. Demo
Check out Les Mills’ Body Jam. Not for the dance-challenged (such as myself). Although I’m not a fan of how the Les Mills company cookie cuts their programs and has their own certification process and licensing, I’m really diggin’ that type of class.
It will be interesting to see which of these products takes off and which ones fizzle out. Have you tried any of these new machines/gadgets/classes? Tell us what you think.