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Low-Impact, High-Intensity


Ultra-intense workouts have been popular over the past several years, from boot camps to HIIT. Club members want to work harder and faster to get the most ROI. As time for exercise is squeezed more, intensity has increased.

While these challenging workouts can deliver results, many also involve significant impact on the body, with running, jumping, leaping, hopping and other power moves. Although high-impact work is valuable for strengthening the muscles, bones and joints, it can also lead to injuries due to repetitive stress.

Ultimately, exercisers should aim to balance high-impact work with lower or no-impact sessions to limit excessive stress on the body, reduce risk of injury and keep the body strong and better able to perform over a lifetime.

Most clubs include low-impact or zero-impact equipment in their cardio offering, but they should ensure that members know how to take advantage of all the programs available. Low-impact doesn’t have to mean low intensity. Exercisers can still work hard, provided they use these machines to their full potential.

For low-impact, high-intensity workouts, the more options for crosstraing, the better, including:

1. Elliptical machine: Standing, seated and lateral models give members variety and different challenges while they work the entire body for greater intensity.

2. Cross trainer: Alternate motion machines incorporate various movements, such as climbing, to tax muscles differently and increase difficulty.

3. Stairclimber: Lifting the body weight over and over is tough. Period.

4. Rower: With the proper intensity and pace, this is one of the hardest seated workouts, where all muscles are involved.

5. Air bike: These total-body machines deliver infinite resistance, so they work as hard as the exerciser drives the pedals and handlebars.

6. Upper-body ergometer (UBE): Whether standing or seated, the UBE isn’t as easy as it looks, and it’s a great way for exercisers with limited lower-body functionality to crank up the intensity.

Fitness staff should be familiar with how each cardio machine works and all the programming choices. Most premium equipment includes interval training, interactive heart rate workouts and HIIT so that exercisers can work more vigorously. Club members may not investigate all the workout options on their own and usually will simply resort to manual for a steady-state session, which may ultimately limit their interest and progress.

Having fitness staff actively demonstrate to members the multiple options on their favorite machine, or introduce them to new equipment, can make a valuable difference in terms of an exerciser’s motivation, adherence and results.


Ryan Simat is the general manager at Octane Fitness. For more information, contact the company at octanefitness.com or sales@octanefitness.com.

Ryan Simat

Ryan Simat is the general manager at Octane Fitness. For more information, contact the company at octanefitness.com or sales@octanefitness.com.

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