The growth of personal training and functional training, plus a concerted effort on the part of club operators to reach out to the senior citizen market, has caused an increase in the space allotted for accessory use.

In March, Christine Thalwitz, director of communications and research at ACAC Fitness and Wellness Centers, Charlottesville, VA, checked out the accessories on display at the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) show in Los Angeles. She says the products reflected the shift in the industry to functional training.

“In our clubs at ACAC, we’re getting ready to really dedicate space to functional training,” Thalwitz says. “We realize with a lot of these pieces of equipment, you really need space, especially if you’re doing small group training or multiple trainings. You need the floor space and the open floor space to be able to accommodate [sessions with accessories].”

Adam Zwyer, the director of marketing and operations for SPRI Products, Libertyville, IL, also has noticed that more clubs are allowing more space for functional training.

“In years past, it seemed like there was a big trend into all machines,” Zwyer says. “It was the treadmills and the ellipticals and the bikes—they ruled the gyms. And they’re all great products. But people were going, ‘I want to work out with this [medicine] ball or I want to use a tube,’ and they were doing it between the aisles of the [machines].”

Two products SPRI had on display at the IHRSA show were the Roll Out Ladder and Braided Xertube, which consists of four tubes woven together into a braided band. The Roll Out Ladder, which SPRI sold out by the second day of the IHRSA show, resists bunching and is designed not to skid on indoor surfaces.

Power Systems Inc., Knoxville, TN, displayed its Versa-Tubes, available in 60-inch and 48-inch lengths, at the IHRSA show. Power Systems also is a distributor for the new SmartBar from Les Mills International, Auckland, New Zealand. In addition, the company is expected to launch a new tubing resistance product this year.

Bosu, Canton, OH, has a new Pro Balance Trainer with a dome that is reinforced with an added 1 1/2 pounds of material and a glossy finish. Bosu claims that the product could last three to four years, says Thalwitz, who adds that Bosu’s Ballast Ball Pro has a lot of potential applications in a club setting.

“As a trainer, you’re really wanting to get into your clients’ world and understand what are their needs at either work or in life or in the sports they play,” Thalwitz says. “There is such a wide range of tools, and it’s really neat to find some that have those versatile applications.”