Bryan Green is President and CEO of Advantage Fitness Products, a company dedicated to the planning, design, supply and ongoing care of specialized fitness and wellness environments worldwide. For information regarding Advantage Fitness Products, visit www.AFProducts.com or call (310) 559-9949.

There’s been a lot of buzz recently about acceleration training, also commonly known as whole-body vibration or vibration training. It’s become one the more rapidly emerging and expanding fitness categories in quite a while. As with any new modality, there are a variety of benefits and challenges that health and fitness professionals should consider before making the investment in acceleration training devices:

1. Versatility. Acceleration training products are training devices that can bridge the divide between fitness and wellness. Considering how much emphasis the industry is now placing on wellness and longevity measures, this becomes all the more valuable. A significant amount of science and first-hand professional experience support acceleration training’s ability to yield fitness benefits, such as increased strength, flexibility, weight loss and bone density, while simultaneously providing beauty/wellness benefits, including cellulite reduction, skin enhancement, detoxification and even deep-tissue massage. Acceleration training devices also can be used as an effective and efficient warm-up tool. Many elite pro and college sports teams have replaced their conventional stretching regimens in exchange for 60 to 90 seconds on an acceleration training device.

Opportunities. There are several opportunities in regards to acceleration training:

  • Increased revenue. Acceleration training elicits anywhere from 25 to 50 muscle contractions per second. This volume of muscular activity allows full training sessions to last no longer than 15 minutes (not including rest periods between sets), three times a week. Shorter training sessions mean trainers can schedule more daily sessions, resulting in increased revenue. Furthermore, card-key software allows clubs to sell time-based packages to members, providing another means of increased revenue.
  • New Markets. For years, health clubs have searched for ways to penetrate the fitness-conscious senior market. Acceleration training presents an alternative for seniors due to its low-impact, non-invasive nature and its significantly shorter training sessions. Acceleration training also provides a unique option for anyone reluctant to try conventional training, whether they’re professionals strapped for time, obese individuals without realistic training alternatives or even sedentary individuals who won’t engage in higher-impact training methods.
  • Increased Retention. Adding a new product category to your facility sends a clear message to members that your facility isn’t resting on its laurels. New innovations keep your club and its members on the cutting edge and keep them coming back enthusiastically. And if your club doesn’t offer acceleration training, another club will.

Challenges. While the versatility and benefits are significant, there are challenges that should be considered before committing to this new modality.

  • Significant Costs. Acceleration training products don’t come cheap, ranging in price from $7,000 to $12,000, so you’ll need to make sure you’re fully committed to acceleration training to maximize the potential return on this investment. The means of recouping the investment are there, but to realize them takes nothing less than full commitment.
  • Staff Training. Acceleration training devices aren’t self-explanatory and require concentrated staff training before introducing them to your members. Without adequately trained and educated employees and trainers, maximizing member use and related revenue potential will be a tall order. While most manufacturers offer training programs that provide continuing education credits recognized by leading training associations, they aren’t free.
  • Member Training and Management. Even if your staff is fully trained in acceleration training methods and applications, there still is the challenge of training club members. A simple instructional poster just won’t get it done. As with any other modality, improper use can result in over-training or generally negative experiences for members, who should be effectively trained before being allowed to use acceleration training machines independently. In addition, product use needs to be managed to ensure that untrained members aren’t using the products. Many manufacturers offer card-key software that limits use to those members who have been trained and have purchased acceleration training session packages.

These are just some of the aspects of acceleration training that should be considered before making a commitment at your club. Acceleration training has a wide variety of fitness benefits and appeals to a wide array of audiences. However, there are considerable challenges. As with any new product introduction, a true commitment success can yield significant returns. Just make sure you’ve done your homework.