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New devices, programs for fitness training

October 5, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
If you look back at exercise trends you'll think of things like high-impact aerobics, step classes, spinning, and mind-body workouts like yoga and Pilates. So what's next in the world of fitness?

In fitness, there's no shortage of moves and machines to keep us interested in exercise. Considering where we're going and where we've been, what is old is new again.

"Where is it going? It's going back to the old basics. Hard work," said Todd Durkin, Under Armour Training Council.

Sports gear company Under Armour expanded into training systems for athletes and desk jockeys alike, using old-school moves and tools like ropes for good reason.

"Grip strength is important for all people. Functional fitness. There's ways that we can pull the rope, we can jump the rope," said fitness trainer Peter Twist. "There's lots of cool ways to be able to challenge, overload and confuse the human machine."

One way is with a Smart Muscle Board in combination with a stretch band, a hit with test athletes.

"All of them have used it successfully. None of them have perfected it," said Twist.

The concept is to challenge the body while enjoying the process.

"The tools are science-based -- they're serious tools -- but unless someone feels like they're playing and playing a sport, then they're probably not going to stay with it," said Twist.

"On one end of the spectrum we have seniors programs for people literally in their 90s," said Randy Hetrick, creator of TRX Training. "On the other end of the spectrum we've got the world's baddest athletes."

Total Resistance Exercise, or TRX, maintains its popularity by using body weight to stretch, strengthen and burn calories.

TRX classes are a sellout, and now there's a YouTube-type website to give users cool workout ideas.

"At Getwiththemovement.com there's an entire universe there of people who are coming and putting their own workouts up and sharing it with others," said Hetrick.

Upper-body cardio workout Kranking remains hot, as does the dance sensation Zumba.

Celebrity Mario Lopez tried vibration sensation Power Plate that recently added upper-body strength straps.

And hitting the streets to mimic elliptical trainers is the ElliptiGO.

"It's great for anybody who wants low-impact running outside," said ElliptiGO spokesperson Anamaria Nino-Murcia.

Gin Miller, who invented step aerobics in 1986, presented the Moga Mat, which helps those needing props or support to feel safe on a yoga mat. Her take on fitness today?

"We're making fitness programs that are fun, things that people want to do, things that are simple. Things that get a lot of bang for the buck," said Miller. "We're making it accessible for everybody."


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