Industry leaders share their favorite fitness accessories and equipment.
Everyone is always looking for the latest and greatest accessories and training tools. But with a plethora of options on the market, how can you make the best decision and find what will work for your members?
We sat down with three gyms to discuss what fitness accessories/equipment their trainers love the most, and which accessories they believe will gain popularity post-COVID-19.
For Greg Maurer, the vice president of fitness at Workout Anytime, there are five fitness accessories/pieces of equipment his trainers currently love:
- Theragun. “We love it because it provides an easy-to-use system that generates immediate changes in mobility, helps control muscular pain and stiffness, and improves performance during the workout when used between work sets,” said Maurer.
- Power Systems Covered Resistance Bands. Specifically, the bands with handles are a hit with Workout Anytime’s trainers because they resist breakage, last longer and are safer, allowing trainers to use them for many types of exercises.
- Ultimate Sandbag. Maurer said the sandbags provide ideal unstable loads that result in direct functional transfer to real- world activities and sports using much lighter loads than barbell equivalents.
- Octane Fitness AirdyneX Bikes. The bikes are extremely easy to use. They provide an ideal HIIT workout or station within a functional class and are easy to move through a facility.
- Matrix Magnum Glute Trainer. “This is the best of this category,” said Maurer. “It’s easy to use, space efficient, requires less load because of a long lever arm, allows for weight and resistance band loading for the ideal loading profile, is easy to enter and exit, and is highly safe.”
While there are various fitness accessories that are making an impression at Workout Anytime, PRO Club, with three locations in the state of Washington, prefers to stick to the basics.
“Right now, our group fitness instructors are loving the good old-fashioned dumbbells,” said Staci Alden, the group fitness director and educator at PRO Club. “We use Perform Better Hex Aerobic Dumbbell Packages in our studios. It is a versatile piece of equipment that participants in-person and at home attending class virtually can use.”
The ability of using equipment both in and out of the gym is what is leading Alden to believe the TRX Suspension Trainer will continue to gain popularity as a staple post-COVID-19. “I’m sure more consumers are buying them as they continue to try exercise at home and on the go,” she explained.
Versatility and functionality are exactly what Urban Fitness in Bozeman, Montana, looks for when selecting fitness accessories and equipment. “Kettle bells are really versatile and functional pieces that can add unique movement patterns to the work outs,” said Eddie Davila, a co-owner and operator. “The TANK by Torque is just a great tool to use that works on both strength and cardiovascular fitness in the same workout with just a flip of the resistance levers.”
Other pieces of equipment and technology heavily used at Urban Fitness include Myzone and Rogue Echo Bikes.
“Myzone is an excellent engagement and retention tool,” explained Davila. “Our members and staff love the interaction, feedback and the accountability the tool offers. The Echo Bikes are convenient to use for HIIT programming to quickly get repetitive bouts of cardiovascular exercise into the workouts and to create fun challenges among team members.”
While these pieces of equipment are currently working for Urban Fitness, Davila said accessories that can easily be transferred outside will gain popularity once the industry is on the other side of the pandemic. The utilization of equipment that is easy to use, cost effective and transportable will also continue to grow. “There is considerable interest still in home and outdoor workouts,” he said. “While that may never replace the fitness experience within a traditional brick-and-mortar facility, the freedom and accessibility of using accessories easily will continue to be attractive.”
For Maurer, there are three fitness accessories he believes will gain popularity in the coming months.
- Inertia Wave. “It’s an amazing product that provides incredible benefits that exceed that of battle ropes,” said Maurer. “Unlike battle ropes, the elastic system recoils so the user is getting eccentric and concentric overload. They work the entire body and are one of the best HIIT workouts out there. They are very small, portable and can be used anywhere.”
- Blood Flow Restriction Training. “This form of training — B Strong and Kaatsu — has extensive proof of concept,” explained Maurer. “It works and allows users to experience all the benefits of strength training with greatly reduced loads, which is very beneficial for people recovering from injury and the aging population who cannot safely lift with heavy loads. Kaatsu — the original form is from Japan — has been used extensively with literally all populations, from deconditioned cardiac patients to elite athletes and the research is there to prove it.”
- X3 Bar and Harambe Systems. “The X3 Bar by Jaquish Biomedical and Harambe Systems use flat, circular resistance bands and leverage their tremendous utility,” said Maurer. “They provide ideal loading in an extremely safe way. They are the wave of the future.”
Whether you are looking for accessories or new equipment, you will not be short of options. Connecting with other facility users and asking your members what they want is the best way to ensure you’re getting the most out of your investments.