Did you hear?... Smaller, portable equipment still the biggest hits at clubs, with trainers

Small and very portable equipment, such as suspension training systems, stability balls, dumbbells and balance gear, are still the most popular and pervasive at clubs and with trainers, according to a recent survey. SNEWS gives you a look at the results.

Small and very portable equipment such as suspension training systems, stability balls, dumbbells and balance gear still is the most popular and pervasive at clubs and with trainers, according to the 15th annual edition of the IDEA Fitness Programs & Equipment Trends Survey.

IDEA Health & Fitness, an association for fitness professionals, distributes the survey each year to club owners, fitness directors, and other fitness leaders and managers to find out what programs and equipment they find tops, as well as to put a finger on their pulse for trends.

“Every year, this report details the diversity of our clientele, the steady evolution of our training knowledge translated to programming and the ever-changing landscape of equipment offerings,” wrote IDEA in its Fitness Journal upon release of the recent survey.

The top 15 most frequently offered types of equipment, on a list of 25, are: stability balls (95 percent), resistance tubing or bands (95 percent), barbells and/or dumbbells (90 percent), balance equipment (87 percent), medicine balls (87 percent), yoga mats and equipment (85 percent), foam rollers and small balls (83 percent), weighted bars (82 percent), steps and platforms (81 percent), treadmills (76 percent), elliptical trainers (72 percent), pulley equipment (70 percent), recumbent cycles (67 percent), selectorized machines (66 percent) and upright cycles (63 percent).

Note that large machines did make it onto the list until treadmills in the No. 10 spot, with climbers, indoor cycles and others not seen among the top 15 ranking below that.

This year’s IDEA (www.ideafit.com) survey added heart rate monitors, pedometers and kettlebells to the list of choices in light of trends and already 43 percent said they offered kettlebells.

“While fewer than half the facilities surveyed offered these pieces of equipment,… kettlebells are predicted to increase by 74 percent of those who currently offer them,” the journal summarized.

As a part of the survey, operators and managers are asked to look into the future. Computer training/interactive programs were the No. 1 pick named as expected to grow (74 percent), while kettlebells matched that prediction in the No. 2 spot. Next up was “body weight leverage equipment,” or suspension equipment, with 66 percent expecting that area to grow. Of the top 10, three were software or computer-oriented, and two were large pieces -- No. 9 was indoor studio cycles with 45 percent expecting growth, and No. 10 was elliptical trainers at 42 percent.

“Although a decline has been observed in other large pieces of equipment, elliptical trainers and treadmills continue to be popular,” the journal noted.

The survey had responses from 157 business and program director members.

--Therese Iknoian


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