Adding wheels to a workout puts a fresh spin on exercise

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A new trend in fitness adds wheels to workouts for strength, cardio and balance. (KABC)

At Crunch Gym in West Hollywood this group is giving the Axle Rotational Force class a spin using two wheels and an axle - that all told weighs about 11 pounds.

Marc Santa Maria, the national group exercise leader for Crunch, says it's surprisingly challenging.

"The wheels move and rotate so it's going to force your body to rotate and find its full force and strength in all different planes of movement," said Santa Maria.

Just enough weight to provide a wide variation in movement when doing strength, but certainly provides a challenge when doing cardio!

"Body hurting, that's what it is," said Karmel Bas of Los Angeles.

So the workout offers a lot in the way of cardio and strength but it's the balance that Marc says will get you.

"We focus on the front of the body. You look at your chest, you look at your face, you look at your arms, but the back side: the hamstrings, the lower back all of it, needs just as much attention. This piece of equipment forces you to do that," said Santa Maria.

In addition the wheel height acts as a bit of assistance to help novices when performing movement on one leg. It allows the exerciser to build on their balance - something sorely missed in most workouts.

"It can support you for certain key exercises. All levels can do it," said Santa Maria.

Axle was invented by two fitness pros working with NBA athletes who found that more core rotational exercises were needed to keep players strong and balanced.

But Crunch developed this group exercise class for their gym goers.

And the concept is new and growing. The Pilates Wheel, created by two LA fit pros, offers a similar concept for home use.

Their program features two wheels and a custom hand or foot bar that comes with attachable bands with varied tensions to provide strength and core balance. The idea mimics a Pilates reformer type of workout.
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