The verdict is still out regarding the benefits of those bulky, uni-tasking ab machines you find on some weight room floors; however, one thing is becoming clear: core-training benefits cannot be realized by training the trunk musculature in isolation. For a more balanced approach, incorporate closed-chain exercises into your classes.
Health-Conscious Chef Spreads the Word on Healthy Eating
A person’s nutrition choices can make or break his health. Unfortunately it seems that many people would rather choose McDonald’s french fries over a healthy spinach salad. However, one man has made it his mission to teach the world’s eaters to take nutrition choices into their own hands. Formerly known as the “Naked Chef,” Jamie Oliver has a reputation for helping the average, non-culinary-oriented person navigate the kitchen.
Hula-Hoop enthusiasts take heart—it may now be possible to get
the same gyrational movements while sitting at your desk. The Hawaii Chair of infomercial fame promises users an opportunity to get fit while you work. According to the manufacturer’s website, the Hawaii Chair “combines the ancient art of the Hula of the Hawaiians with an easy-to-use, fun exercise machine.” Users’ hips gyrate as the seat rotates clockwise and counterclockwise at the desired speed.
A new device that has exploded onto the market is the Shake Weight™,
a 2.5-pound dumbbell-shaped apparatus that promises “strong, sexy, sculpted arms & shoulders” in just 6 minutes a day. The product was originally designed for arm-conscious women, but a male version has recently entered the market. Users grip the tool in one or two hands and then shake it vigorously back and forth with minimal—if any—changes in range of motion.
The Shake Weight website states
that strength benefits are derived from
a “new” technology dubbed “dynamic
The Pilates chair—or “wunda chair,” as Joseph Pilates called it—is a powerful piece of exercise equipment. Its small size belies its remarkable ability to build core stability, upper-body strength and lower-body power to improve performance in athletes, retrain the body after injury and increase overall physical conditioning. Although it’s been part of the Pilates system for many years, the chair is currently experiencing a new level of interest as a great tool for teaching clients either individually or in small groups.
In the January issue, it was reported that fitness equipment manufacturer CYBEX® had developed special pink treadmills to raise awareness and money for breast cancer research.
For each mile logged on the treadmills in October (National Breast Cancer Awareness Month), the organization would donate money
to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The program was a
success: 250,000 miles were logged, resulting in a $50,000 donation.
As signs of recovery start to show in different sectors of the American economy, fitness facility and studio owners are still taking stock. Faced with tough economic times, some owners, directors and managers are still putting off or scaling back on new equipment, leasing rather than buying, or purchasing used or remanufactured equipment
Despite the kettlebell’s rich history, dating back at least to the 1700s, there are many people who have not yet heard of this tool. Only recently has the product caught the attention of mainstream fitness folks. Fitness pros and enthusiasts, both men and women, ranging from young to not so young, nonathletes to superstars, are starting to find use for the cast-iron tool that has its roots in Russia. The kettlebell may not be a new product, but creative programming using the age-old device is certainly “swinging” into action.
Stories of failed exercise equipment leading to injury have been making headlines. Recently the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a voluntary
recall of 3 million fitness balls, for example. According to a press release, manufacturers received reports of balls bursting while in use. “Many of the injuries that occur with stability balls come from a poor-quality product [not made to handle] repetitive use in the gym,” states Abbie Appel, IDEA presenter and author, and Resist-A-Ball® master instructor.
In recognition of breast cancer awareness month last October, gyms across the country plugged in special pink treadmills from CYBEX®. The equipment manufacturer’s goal was twofold—to raise awareness of the disease and to promote the importance of exercise as a preventive measure. CYBEX also donated funds to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) for every mile logged on the pink 750T treadmills during the month. “This is an example of wonderful corporate citizenship,” stated Myra J. Biblowit, president of the BCRF.