Let’s face it – new equipment can definitely bring a breath of fresh air into your facility or programs. Perhaps you have recently gone to a fitness trade show and been so impressed by the latest “toys” on the market that you want to bring them ALL back to your club. Wanting them all, but trying to decide which ones will be cost effective AND keep the members happy can be a daunting task. What do you look for? Something that is brand new to your facility or something you can seamlessly integrate with your existing equipment? While it is easy to fall for the shiny and new, what will be the BEST choice for the participants in your programs?
One of the latest trends to hit the market is Hydro-Inertia® training with water filled products such as the Kamagon® Ball and the Surge®. Trainers and instructors use these products to enhance strength and endurance as well as the balance, stability and reactivity components of fitness. They are also extremely useful in improving proprioception and kinesthetic awareness. One of my favorite features of these products is the ease of varying the challenge of the exercise, just by changing the amount of water inside. You don’t need an entire line of different weights (i.e., dumbbells) taking up space; just vary the amount of water to increase or decrease the challenge! If you are a personal trainer that travels from client to client, house to house, take into account how easy it is to transport this type of equipment – just add water!
Another benefit to incorporating the Kamagon® Ball and Surge® into your programs is the stealthy way that Hydro-Inertia® enhances a workout by engaging the core. Everyone wants to work the core! Due to the dynamic properties of water, the entire body has to respond to the water actions. The core is activated as you REACT to the demands of the ever-‐changing environment that is being created. Think of it like “controlled chaos” – the workout can actually feel different every time, even when the exercises are the same. Because of the great variety of exercises, these products seamlessly integrate into small group training, circuits or HITT classes.
So you bought the new “toys”. Now what? How do you introduce and integrate them into your facility and classes? How do you deal with members exclaiming, “Where is the stuff I am used to!”
The trick of turning “toys into tools” is education. Attend a workshop or conference session that teaches you how to properly use the equipment. It is essential to learn not only how to use the product with good form, but how to care for the product as well. Get solid information on how to integrate these to tools into existing classes without overwhelming the members. All the new tech and gadgets aren’t worth anything if we don’t create an environment of success for our clients and class participants. One of the first things I like to do with a new piece of equipment is a familiar exercise or drill get a feel for the new equipment with a movement pattern that is already comfortable. You don’t have to create a three-‐ring circus every class, every time. As instructors and trainers, I am willing to bet that WE get bored way before participants do! Keep it simple. Introduce new things in stages. Let participants feel successful and keep it fun!
Pam Benchley is a Hedstrom Fitness Master Trainer for BOSU®, Kamagon® and Surge®, and a provider of many other workshops including Stages® Indoor Cycling, balance training, and functional/active aging training. Pam currently serves on the faculty at the State University of New York at Fredonia and is a competitive triathlete.