DENVER — Sometimes you never know what may turn up at a trade show. Last month in Denver at the Health & Fitness Business Expo & Conference, a show aimed at specialty fitness dealers, a number of new and prototype commercial machines could be found, even though it seemed few were looking.

While there were several booths with commercial cardio equipment including Sports Art, Vision Fitness and The Nautilus Group — which debuted two new Schwinn Evolution Indoor Cycling bikes, the Schwinn Evolution and Schwinn Evolution-SR — perhaps the strongest innovation is coming from strength manufacturers.

Tuff Stuff, based in Pomona, CA, was attracting a great deal of traffic to its booth with its newest offering, the Power Spot.

Made of 2-inch × 3-inch 11-gauge tubular steel, the Power Spot looks like a Smith machine, until you take a closer look. The Power Spot is a self-spotting dumbbell machine that allows the user the freedom to work out with heavy dumbbells without the need of a partner or spotter. This is achieved by locking dumbbells into two separate rotating handles that glide horizontally up and down on linear bearing shafts and bearings on each side of the machine. A secondary two-foot linear shaft also attached to each dumbbell handle will allow the dumbbell vertical movement altogether giving the user the same 360-degree free-floating movement as if the dumbbell were unattached.

For those looking for a little more freedom with their strength workouts, Impact2 Fitness Systems previewed two pieces of club-level items.

The item attracting the most attention was the B250 3-Way smart rack bench. It is a flat-incline-decline bench that “delivers” the uprights to the lifter by sliding a carriage to the appropriate position. The uprights are made to allow a lifter to grab a dumbbell from a racked position, which eliminates the need to have the weights handed to them — or jerking dumbbells into place.

Also strengthening out its line was Hoist Fitness, which added to its HD product line with the HD-1900 personal pulley system. The HD-1900 has a unique L-shaped corner design and small footprint and offers two independent proprietary Silent Steel graduated weight stacks, totaling 135 pounds each.

“I'm very excited about this latest addition to the Hoist HD product line. The HD-1900 fits nicely into our existing product offering and is superior to similar pulley gyms on the market today,” Hoist Vice President Randy Webber says. “The Hoist design team has worked to develop a piece of fitness equipment that satisfies our consumers' requests, but also enhances the overall work-out experience through fluid motion and design.”

So while you are gearing up for Club Industry 2002 next month keep in mind that these and other vendors will have plenty of products to see and try out throughout the year.