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HFB 2013: New equipment combines two functions in one product

Manufacturers offer time-pressed consumers options to work both cardio and strength, or work two separate muscles with one product, in the latest offe

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These days consumers are used to convenience and multi-tasking at every turn from smart phones to gourmet coffee in a jiffy.


They don’t expect anything less of their fitness equipment.

At this year’s Health and Fitness Business Expo in Las Vegas, many manufacturers showcased products and prototypes that work two separate muscles, or work both cardio and strength at the same time.

“People are crunched for time and they want to get two things done at once,” said Karl Thomas, founder and inventor of Triletics Cardio Bands.

Vectra brought five unnamed light commercial prototypes to HFB that combined two functions each: an inner, outer thigh machine; squat and calf raise; multi-press and shoulder press that can be used flat or at an incline; a seated leg extension and hamstring curl; and an up, down pulley.

The dual-function machines are a “less crowded segment,” said Vectra’s Bill Miller, the U.S. and Canadian region sales manager. The five new pieces are a take off the VX-DC Assisted Chin Dip Machine the company launched in 2012 that can be used to do chin-ups or dips.

“It’s a logical extension,” Miller said.

A majority of the combination products SNEWS encountered paired strength and cardio.

ChairMaster, a new product invented by John Post under the Cascade Health and Fitness banner, specifically targets the lucrative baby boomer “active-aging” market. At first glance it looks like a technical reclining chair but upon closer inspection one finds that it becomes a recumbent bicycle with low-impact resistance cables so users can work on strength and cardio at the same time.

“All customers have parents who, for the most part, could use more exercise,” said John Kennedy, vice president of Cascade Health and Fitness.

Last year we saw a prototype of Avanti’s CG3 Cardio Gym – which is essentially a stationary cycle with an imbedded tablet and a single weight stack. The final product, which folds up into its own closet that can easily be stored away in a more aesthetically pleasing manner than other fitness equipment, was on display at this year’s HFB.

HFB newcomer Triletics showcased its Cardio Bands, lightweight, portable resistance bands that can be clipped on any treadmill, stationary cycle or elliptical to have a combined cardio and strength session.

An injury forced Triletics’ Thomas to start using resistance bands. Physical therapists told Thomas he had to tie the bands to something heavy to do his exercises and so he tied them to his treadmill.


“I thought, ‘Maybe I can walk on this and do resistance training,’” Thomas said. So he developed the product to come in two different sizes.

With classes like Les Mills Bodypump gaining popularity in gyms, people are working barbells into their cardio workouts. Body-Solid is responding to the trend with its GCRPack Cardio Barbell Set. Though intended for group exercise, with a rack that holds weights at 2.5-, 5- and 10-pounds, plus 10 bars, individuals can purchase the items a la carte.

–Ana Trujillo