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.
It seems that the economic slowdown has trickled into fitness equipment sales. Information from a Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA) press release states that sales dropped from $4.7 billion in 2007 to $4.2 billion in 2008. “The fitness industry was not immune to the side effects of the tough economy,” said SGMA president Tom Cove. “But because people are aware of the importance of a regular physical fitness regimen, we expect the fitness industry to regain strength as the economy heals.”
Instructors: Are you getting maximum use out of the equipment you have? There are numerous approaches to designing a group exercise class using equipment. The first thing you want to do is take inventory and know what you’re working with. Make sure you fully understand the intended purpose of the equipment and can communicate this effectively to members. Then look around and make a mental note of how much space you have to work with. Will members have enough room to execute movements properly?
Before you teach your next class, take a look around. Have you noticed how crowded the studios have become? Not so much with people, but with equipment! What are we supposed to do with all that stuff? The thought of incorporating even a few items can be overwhelming. Well, help has arrived at last! We’re going to look at integrating equipment into two popular class formats: strength training and interval-based workouts.