CONTENT BROUGHT TO YOU BY: SportsArt
Although treadmills continue to be the benchmark of the industry, total body training is giving a large population of gym goers a reason to get back to fitness. Not everyone is a runner, and the reasons vary widely: injury, body weight, body composition, sedentary lifestyle, or they just flat out don’t like to do it.
The class of ellipticals, alternative motion trainers and rowers afford an option to people otherwise unable to walk and run. The race is heating up in the industry to deliver products that offer the biomechanics of running without the impact. This is important to note because the human body has evolved to move in certain ways with walking and running being the most basic form of locomotion. If a piece of exercise equipment can deliver a total body workout with the natural feel and motion of running while offering the same caloric burn, then people will naturally gravitate toward it.
Early products that offered an alternative to running still only moved in the sagittal plane, and as we know, the body has all sorts of nuances that cause it to move in various functional modalities. With the rise in sports performance training, the industry is seeing development in products that explore the multiple muscles and planes of movement used in various athletic endeavors. Some of the most exciting products in development today speak to the needs of people looking to fitness not as a lifestyle in itself but as a means to enhance their true passion in other activities. These developments will eventually call for a new class of product called performance trainers.
The most important features on any cardio equipment going back to the dawn of the industry are any that can lessen the perceived exertion of the exercise and, frankly, anything that helps users more easily reach their targeted goal, be it time, distance, calories or otherwise.
Smart cardio equipment manufacturers accomplish this by fitting their total body equipment as closely to the user as possible. If a piece of equipment can be used with a minimal learning curve and that equipment matches to the human body’s natural biomechanical motion, then users can focus more on their goals and less on getting to know a product (or the feeling that something about the motion "isn't quite right"). It’s difficult for the human body to conform to fabricated designs of some cardio products, but products that have multiple points of adjustment can ensure that every experience on that equipment is a personal one.
Many gym patrons and trainers focus on the rigid form of doing 10 reps while using weight equipment, but what about the thousands of repetitions on a piece of cardio? Repetitive strain injuries such as bursitis and tendinitis occur after countless repetitions. Increasing the adjustment points on a product to enhance biomechanics can help considerably diminish those types of injuries.
High-intensity workouts require unique tools to achieve optimal results while performance athletes at all levels seek power and endurance to maximize their potential when it counts. Products that simultaneously combine linear and lateral motion, offer adjustable stride length and width plus variable plantar flexion, and allow upright or plank body position can offer a variety of workout options for exercisers. Cardio equipment that allows you to match the product to the user helps reduce repetitive stress.
As long as users seek variety in their workouts, there will always be room for total body equipment. As stated above, not everyone is built for running and walking. If manufacturers can deliver an engaging workout that burns more calories with less impact, then total body is here to stay.
I see a future where a piece of equipment offers more functionality and less sagittal movement for the whole body. It would have leg motion that incorporates abduction and adduction while substantially increasing the use of hip flexor, glute and tibial flexion. All that while delivering adjustable movement for the upper body to work with the near unlimited movements we can do in the shoulders, back and torso. It would be a product that has advantages for users ranging from performance athletes to casual gym goers and even medical and rehab. Finally, it could be fine-tuned to offer everything from total functional movement to singular specific motions for rehab capabilities.
Something like that could be a ways off, or may just remain a goal to aspire to, but the closer we get to it, the more people we can help get fit.
Dan O’Leary is the product manager for SportsArt. For more information on SportsArt and its adjustable cardio line, visit www.gosportsart.com. In addition to SportsArt’s ellipticals, the company offers two other total body products: the S775 Cross Trainer and the XT20 Trainer. The S775 Cross Trainer distinguishes itself from other products by conforming to both the biomechanics of the human body with its overall design coupled with several points of adjustment to fine tune the machine for different body types. The XT20 Trainer has been used in the medical and rehab markets for years and allows users to get a full-body workout without the strain of a weight-bearing exercise.