Functional strength training has been the buzzword in the category these past few trade show cycles, but brands are finding that the exercise isn’t for everyone.
The non-guided movements of the training can be intimidating for people who don’t really know what to do with the equipment — especially when using it at home or in an unsupervised setting like hotel gyms.
In response, more strength equipment manufacturers at Health and Fitness Business Expo in Las Vegas last week were introducing hybrid machines that incorporate functional training with the more familiar fixed-motion movements. Hybrids appeal to people of varying fitness levels and those who don’t want bulky home gyms, manufacturers say. Plus they are more intuitive to use.
“Not everybody needs to buy a functional trainer,” said Inspire Fitness’ Todd Schiessle. Recognizing this, the company redesigned its traditional fixed-movement M3 machine (MSRP $3,495) to incorporate functional training pulleys and corresponding accessories.
One of the coolest aspects of the M3 is the split bench press arm that helps even out a person’s workout. “Everybody has a strong and weak side,” Schiessle said. The split arms allow users to work on their weak side alone to bring it up to speed with their strong side.
Though not brand new, Torque Fitness showcased its H2 Hybrid Strength Trainer (MSRP $2,599), which also features traditional fixed-motion movements with cables used for free-form movements.
“Hybrids are a good option especially if you’re getting it for a family,” said Body-Solid’s Duane Abbott. The Body-Solid Fusion F600 (MSRP $2,595) features a guided chest press and cable pulley system.
Tuff Stuff National Sales and Marketing Manager Mike Ryser said the company is revamping its home and light commercial line to include more hybrids in future lineups.
“Functional training is driving business,” Ryser acknowledged. “The new home gyms will be a hybrid style. Many of them will have the cable driver combined with traditional fixed-arm press.”
These types of machines, Ryser said, are more user friendly and intuitive than functional machines alone.
Hybrid machines are a great home-gym solution for families, Inspire’s Schiessle said.
“They hit all levels of fitness,” he said. “Husband, wife and kids.”