Update your gym or studio with these tried-and-true favorite fitness tools, as well as some emerging fitness equipment and technology.
Whether you’re the owner of a large gym, a small-studio entrepreneur, a mobile personal trainer, or a yoga or Pilates specialist, a basic tenet of keeping your edge sharp with clients is to shake things up frequently enough that they (and you!) don’t get bored. Certainly, that means changing your programming regularly, but it also means looking at your equipment with fresh eyes and considering some new tools for experimentation—all while being judicious about your budget.
Thinking of investing in a “workhorse” staple like an upright cycle or a new balance tool to challenge boomer clients who crave functional longevity? Get a running start here with our take on the tried-and-true favorites as well as emerging stars. With all the innovation in our vibrant industry, it’s impossible to give an exhaustive list of what’s available to you today, but we hope this starter revs up your imagination and inspires you—and your clients—to try something new this year.
A is for Assessment
The foundation of your client relationships and of the accurate measure of progress over time is a thorough initial assessment. Carefully measuring baseline numbers for several health and fitness markers will give both you and your clients a means to track and evaluate your programs. How else can you really know they are working? Metrics are magic! Done right, assessment can serve as your best retention tool. After all, who doesn’t love to see progress, and who wouldn’t come back for more success?
• TOOLS OF THE TRADE: skinfold calipers, tape measure, scale, food diaries/food-tracking apps, camera, sit-and-reach testers, postural assessment grid, heart rate monitor, training timer, pedometer, jump testers
NOTE: All of the major certifications have courses devoted to detailed training in this area.
B is for Balance, Body Weight, Bars
Quality movement is born of balance. Without a stable core and keen proprioception, movement becomes inefficient and can be plagued by compensations that evolve into injuries. There are countless balance tools to enhance clients’ overall fitness, as well as their joint stability, proprioception, strength, neuromuscular coordination, agility and quality of life over the long haul.
• TOOLS OF THE TRADE: BOSU® Balance Trainers, stability balls, stability disks/pads, rockers, wobble boards, balance boards
For another “B,” don’t forget to use body weight for balance training (and pretty much everything else, too). Body-weight training in the presence of a sharp, creative coach means little to no equipment is necessary.
• TOOLS OF THE TRADE: TRX® Suspension Trainer™, Lebert Equalizer®, Halo® Trainer
The third “B”: Bars—not the kind you belly up to, but the type you “chin-up” and “pull-up” to—should be a staple in every club and studio. Old school rules!
C is for Core
If we believed what consumer fitness magazine covers seem to be telling us, core would be 100% about six-pack training. But true pros know this barely scratches the surface. Yes, you can do abdominals-specific work as part of your core regimen, but don’t forget the many other muscles in the lumbo-hip complex whose combined function gives our total bodies power, strength, spinal stabilization and postural control. Core training is full-body movement.
• TOOLS OF THE TRADE: ab roller, stability balls, bands, tubing, medicine balls, slam balls, Core-Tex®, ViPR PRO®
D is for Deceleration
Speed is the factor that separates the proverbial wheat from the chaff when it comes to elite versus average athletes. But sports don’t happen in a straight line. Cutting, faking, quick starts, stops and pivots—they all come before reacceleration. To help your athletes slow down with control, the key is to challenge them with an array of deceleration props and tools.
• TOOLS OF THE TRADE: agility ladder, cones, hurdles, rings, bungie assemblies, stopwatch/timer, matrix-drill mats, chutes, weighted vests, reflex balls
E is for Explosive Training
We usually associate development of explosive power with training athletes, but daily life demands quick bursts of power as well. Common explosive exercises—plyometrics, vertical jumps, power cleans, squats, weighted/dynamic step-ups, overhead walking lunges, uphill sprints—train large muscle groups with progressive load. Match specific training protocols to clients’ goals and get people moving in the patterns for which they will ultimately harness the power.
• TOOLS OF THE TRADE: plyo boxes, bungie cord and belt combos, weighted vests, power sled, vertical jump trainers, chutes, resistance harnesses, slide boards, dumbbells, kettlebells, sandbags
F is for Functional Longevity, Flooring, Floor Mats
Trends associated with the boomer generation in the world at large always happen in a big way, and it’s unfolding like this in fitness, too. Older adults want to be fit and enjoy their next chapter with gusto—and they are actively seeking guidance on how to do that. The opportunity to specialize as a functional longevity specialist is massive; are you ready?
• TOOLS OF THE TRADE: low-impact resistance equipment, flexibility and mobility tools, hand/grip strength, balance (see B), resistance training, agility and reaction training, water fitness equipment
NOTE: Look to the major certification organizations for courses on specialty training of older adults.
For flooring, floor mats and G-Z equipment, see “Build a Better Club or Studio” in the online IDEA Library or in the February 2019 print edition of Fitness Journal. If you cannot access the full article and would like to, please contact the IDEA Inspired Service Team at 800-999-4332, ext. 7.