Sprung for Sproing: SNEWS tests the ‘reinvention of the treadmill’

How do you improve on a classic? Sproing thinks it has the answer.
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SNEWS tested what’s been dubbed the “reinvention of the treadmill” — the Sproing — at IHRSA yesterday and lived to tell the tale.

Amid a sea of black and gray products in Las Vegas was Sproing's little orange booth. It was tucked away at the northeast edge of the trade show floor, but the petite booth size and remote location didn’t seem to matter. During the Thursday morning workout, people were buzzing about, getting short personal training sessions on the product with NFL trainers.

“Are you ready to rock and roll?” asked Reggie Scott, head trainer for the St. Louis Rams. 

The SNEWS team is always ready to rock and roll. Scott told us to hop on the soft, air-filled surface, handed us a harness, then hooked the harness to the back of the Sproing via a bungee cord.

He told us to start marching in place and gradually increase to a running-in-place motion. Before we knew it, our stationary exercise (the platform doesn’t move on the Sproing, rather you lean forward and run in place, remaining upright thanks to the bungee cord) had us sweating like we do on our morning run. 

We then began to do lunges, side steps and running backwards. Scott adjusted the surface to be as soft as sand, and our muscles worked harder, so we started sweating a little bit more.

After just 12 minutes, we were sweating like we’d run our usual five miles. And we were quite pleased. 

Scott told us he’s had a few Sproing units in his facility for seven months and particularly likes the fact that his athletes can maintain their fitness even when they’re rehabilitating from an injury.

“There’s a much quicker acceleration of return to play,” Scott said. He added that his athletes, who are particuarly in tune with their bodies, are naturally skeptical of any new equipment he brings into the workout room, but were quick to embrace the Sproing after the first few workouts. 

Sproing’s CEO Paul Toback said it’s been a good show so far.

“We have been absolutely packed,” Toback said, taking a brief break from explaining the product to a visitor. 

Toback has dubbed his masterpiece, conceived by him and brought to life by his business partner and Chief Technology Officer Steve Lenz, the “reinvention of the treadmill.”

Even though the platform does not move, it allows runners to run leaning forward and get an aerobic workout without the impact of regular running. It also makes for a proper midfoot strike versus a heel strike, and decreases the likelihood of injury. 

The crew brought a prototype to IHRSA in 2011, but this is the real deal, Toback said. It comes equipped with two strength stations so users can do both a cardio and strength workout with two different sets of resistance bands.

The piece (list price $7,900) has two surfaces — the air-filled surface and the beach surface. The beach surface can be added to the unit for $600. The surfaces pop out like couch cushions to make switching simple. 

Its footprint is not much larger than a regular treadmill, which Toback said makes it ideal for clubs and facilities that have members who can’t run and need to replace a few treadmills.

“We think it has a lot of opportunity with sports teams and athletic rehabilitation facilities,” Toback said, adding that many NFL teams already have units in their workout rooms. Plus it’s good for facilities that cater to “seniors who want to run but, say, the belts move too fast. It’s good for everyone from the average member to elite athletes.”

--Ana Trujillo

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