The Fitterfirst intermediate (shown left) and advanced (lower right) soft boards are a slightly different take on balance board training. The intermediate version is similar to a rockerboard design, with a half-cylinder leg underneath that acts as the fulcrum to create an unstable tilting movement. The advanced version has one high center leg, similar to a balance pod, that permits movement in any direction.
If you were to compare using the soft board to a traditional wooden board, you might think of what it is like to water board vs. skateboard. Wooden wobble boards respond to user movements in a very specific directional way while the soft boards elicit more variable fast-twitch reflexes in a 360 degree range. Fitterfirst’s active sitting products, such as the Evolution rolling physioball chair, the 3-D Swopper stool and Muvman sit/stand chair, are also worth a look!
Tomorrow we’ll see what’s going on at Gopher Performance!
What’s new: Now offering products by the Burn Machine, Fitness Wholesale features the Universal Barbell and the Speed Bag. What’s unique about these products is the 360 degree rotating grips. The ability to rotate your wrists while using the Universal Barbell opens up a whole new range of barbell exercises. The bar itself weighs 22 pounds, and it comes with a set of weight clamps so that you can add plates if desired. There is also an asymmetrical sliding counterweight in the center that will keep the user attuned to balance and stability throughout the range of motion. The Speed Bag mimics the punching motion of a conventional speed bag workout in a portable, handheld unit. The Speed Bag is available in 4, 8 and 12 pound weights, and by all accounts, the 12-pound unit is tough! The device has potential for both athletic training and rehabilitation. In fact, the American Physical Therapy Association has endorsed the 4-pound unit as a good alternative to traditional upper body ergometer machines. The Speed Bag is wheelchair friendly and can be used in reclining, seated or standing positions.
Up next—Fitter International!
BOSU says tongue-in-cheek that if the dome of your BOSU Balance Trainer is purple, you are the proud owner of a collector’s item—and that it is time to upgrade to the new Pro Balance Trainer. (Blue dome owners, that may go for you, too, if your BOSU gets heavy use!) Common signs of excessive wear include constant loss of air, misshapen appearance, or loose or missing platform feet on models that have them. The new Pro Balance Trainer dome is reinforced with an added 1.5 pounds of material and has a glossy finish, which should make it withstand more use and look newer longer. The non-skid platform provides great traction without rubberized feet and is non-marking. With average use, BOSU predicts that your Balance Trainer should last 3 – 4 years.
Lift, shift & shake: The BOSU ballast ball has a lot of potential applications in a club setting. Loose filling inside the ball adds several pounds of weight and provides audible feedback and dynamic resistance while in motion. When at rest on the floor, the weighting keeps the ball from rolling away. For beginning users, less core strength is needed for many exercises commonly performed seated or lying on the ball, so it can provide a nice first step before progressing to a traditional stability ball. For more advanced users, an expanded repertoire of strengthening and core exercises is possible because of the added load and stability on the floor.
Tomorrow we’ll go for the burn with Fitness Wholesale!
New products at Body Solid included premium bumper plates, a bumper plate rack, and plyoboxes. The bumper plates are made with recycled materials and stainless steel bushing. They are thinner than most bumper plates, which allows more of them to be loaded onto bars or weight carriage systems. The plyoboxes, available in 6″, 12”, 18″, 24” 30” 36” and 42”, are bolted pieces rather than welded frames, which helps keep the cost down. The plyoboxes ship unassembled.
Tomorrow we’ll bounce on over to BOSU!
Several BeBalanced products—the wedge, beam (shown here) and two different-sized pads—are great for facilities that incorporate rehabilitation services or active aging programs. They provide a moderately unstable surface, which is helpful if your client is not ready for work on highly unstable surfaces. The mats, which are made of antibacterial, closed-cell foam, absorb impact gently and evenly. Depending on the type of flooring you have, you may need to put another full-length, non-slip mat underneath to ensure that the products do not shift on the floor.
Tomorrow we’ll take a look at what’s new at Body Solid!
Aeromat has a new, dual surface club mat. One side is smooth and the other side is textured, so one mat suits either preference. It is available in a variety of sizes, including 3/8”, 3/4” and 5/8” thicknesses.
In addition to mats, Aeromat has a full line of balance products. One of the specialty items they offer is an air-filled wedge with a pebble-textured top and smooth bottom. The wedge can be used to ease back pain and reduce the discomfort of prolonged sitting, as well as provide an unstable surface for various standing or seated balance or rehabilitation exercises.
Tomorrow we’ll look at Airex’s BeBalanced products. Stay tuned!
This year at IHRSA 2012, I scouted out fitness accessories for Club Industry. The array of accessories on the trade show floor reflected the industry’s movement towards functional training. While there was a lot of overlap among many of the larger vendors, there were some differences in the products they offered. There were also several unique items that caught my eye. Each day for the remainder of this month, I’ll post some of what I saw. If you currently use any of these products, I’d love your feedback about how they’re working for you.
My list included the following vendors:
I love that Dr. Regina M. Benjamin, the US Surgeon General, “gets” that barriers to exercise come in all forms. Sometimes seemingly minor inconveniences can create major obstacles! Read her plea for health over hair in this article from The New York Times.
Lessons Learned from “Jumping Jack”
If ever a fitness guru walked the walk, it was Jack LaLanne. He swore off sweets at age 15 and began a lifetime of daily exercise and healthy eating. With disarming candor and chirpy exuberance, LaLanne poked and prodded the American public into following his example. Always willing to dish out some tough love, he became known for his pointed “LaLanneisms”:
- If it tastes good, spit it out.
- If man makes it, don’t eat it.
- Don’t exceed the feed limit.
- Ten seconds on the lips, lifetime on the hips.
- Your waistline is your lifeline.
- Eat right and you can’t go wrong.
- Better to wear out than rust out.
- First we inspire them, then we perspire them.
- Exercise is king, nutrition is queen. Put them together and you’ve got a kingdom.
- Your health is like a bank account—the more you put in, the more you can take out.
- I can’t die—it would ruin my image.
Jack LaLanne was the poster boy for successful aging. While marveling at his life, I was reminded of a book by Dr. Walter Bortz—We Live Too Short and Die Too Long. Bortz makes the point that longevity without quality of life is merely aging. In order to age successfully, our health span should match our life span. Bortz writes, “Others have described life span as a bell-shaped curve, growing to fullness and richness, only to decline into age and dependency. I deplore the decremental model, preferring instead to think of life as a ‘square-edged’ existence—passionate and forceful to the end.”
The red line represents the gradual decline in health many sedentary individuals experience as they age. People like LaLanne, represented by the blue line, run full steam right up to the end. Though most of us will not match LaLanne’s extreme regimen of healthy eating and daily exercise, plenty of studies show that eating well and exercising on a regular basis is also associated with higher quality of life as we age.
Perhaps the most important LaLanneism is this: “The only way you can hurt the body is not use it. Inactivity is the killer, and remember, it’s never too late.” Let’s continue “Jumping Jack’s” legacy, both leading by personal example and by encouraging our friends, families and clients to adopt healthier lifestyles.