Treadmills, ellipticals and dumbbells have staked their claim as traditional strength and cardio fitness staples, but some unique products on the market are trying to take a piece of that claim, often entering health clubs through the group exercise room. Although varying in price, many unique cardio or strength products can be purchased for less than traditional pieces of equipment and have more varying applications in fitness facilities.

Cost-effective options such as Kangoo Jumps can serve more clientele per dollar than a single piece of gym equipment, says Jill Boyer-Holland, Kangoo Jumps director of education and training coordinator in the United States. Based out of Switzerland, Kangoo Jumps were introduced in the United States a year ago as low-impact rebound sport shoes that reduce impact shock.

“A single piece of cardio equipment is going to cost $3,000 to $4,000, and only one person can use it for one hour,” Boyer-Holland says. “That’s 12 people on one piece of equipment. Whereas if you took 10 pairs of Kangoo Jump boots, that is 10 people per hour and 120 people potentially [per day] for the same dollars spent. There is very limited gym equipment for $1,195 that 10 people can use simultaneously 12 hours a day.”

Unique products are most commonly introduced to members in group exercise classes because even though the learning curve may be low for many of them, members usually still need to be shown how to use them, says Quanita May, master trainer on the Freestyler, Surrey, British Columbia, which uses bands attached to a base for functional training. Once introduced to the product, members often will purchase their own to use at home.

From licensing to training, the programming, dynamic and education that are packaged with a product can popularize it even further by not only ensuring users are using the new product accurately but by adding excitement about the product for users.

Educating Members

Chuck Herman, director of sales and distribution at FIT One, Canton, OH, which developed the BallBike, uses the company’s website, Facebook page and YouTube channel to educate facilities about how the bike is being used and the dynamics that the bike offers. FIT One offers in-services to facilities that purchase the BallBike as they continue to develop a certification for the product for group exercise instructors and personal trainers.

“We believe we have something of a niche product and having that certification further adds validity to what this product will bring to the table for any type of facility that decides to make that investment,” Herman says. “We want to have a proprietary instruction that really educates the users and the people that are going to be educating their end users. It’s about having proper form and technique and really making the experience one of a kind.”

However, certain products, such as Nexersys, do not need this packaging because its interactive experience teaches, challenges and leads users to their fitness goals by providing personalized feedback through a simulated personal trainer.

“When people don’t have the time for a personal trainer or the financial capacity to have one every time they work out, Nexersys is the machine that interacts with them like a personal trainer would,” says Terry Jones, chairman and CEO of Nexersys, Austin, TX. “Unlike a television on a treadmill, which is just there to disguise the boredom and lack of interaction, the Nexersys replicates that personal training interaction with the user.”

Although traditional strength and cardio fitness staples have their place in fitness facilities, through group exercise and personal training, these unique and innovative products are finding their fit in health clubs as well.

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