Health & Fitness Business ’09: What’s shaking in vibration and other non-traditional gear

Now that we told you about new stuff and highlights in traditional equipment from the Aug. 6-7 Health & Fitness Business Show in a series of stories, we don’t want you to miss all the other product that sometimes hides in 10-x-10s. The vibration-training category has been shaking up a whole lot of product, and in between the normal treadmills, home gyms, weight plates, ellipticals, yoga mats and stability balls, there was a smattering of other equipment and product that, depending on your opinion, was also worth looking at.
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Now that we told you about new stuff and highlights in traditional equipment from the Aug. 6-7 Health & Fitness Business Show in a series of stories, we don’t want you to miss all the other product that sometimes hides in 10-x-10s.

If you missed any of our other reports, you can find our overall assessment of the show on Aug. 11, highlights from the cardiovascular offerings on Aug. 17, and a report about the strength category on Aug. 24.

The vibration-training category has been shaking up a whole lot of product; we counted eight on the floor, but there could have been more.

In addition, in between the normal treadmills, home gyms, weight plates, ellipticals, yoga mats and stability balls, there was a smattering of other equipment and product that, depending on your opinion, was also worth looking at.

“The retail landscape has changed,” said Mike Curry, representing ProfenHp analgesic cream at the show. “You need to look at other things that will bring in people to the store. You can’t just put out a $4,000 treadmill.

“You have to get the cash register ringing,” he added. “You’re paying for the overhead anyway.”

Vibration training

Although we saw Star Trac’s consumer division step out of the category, others have leaped in. On the floor were trainers of one sort or another from Bremshey, DKN, Fitness Master, LifeSpan, Nitro, Power Plate, Teutonic Sales and WAVE. Considering there were only 65 booths, that’s a high overall percentage with eight showing such product. All but Power Plate and WAVE were in the range of normal home product pricing, or less than about $2,000.

Power Plate representatives told our SNEWS® reporter there was nothing new but to look for something in October (www.powerplate.com), while WAVE representative Sterling Matheson was promoting a profit center for stores where they could offer in-store training on a drop-in basis for a monthly fee. WAVE’s high-end equipment (www.wavexercise.com) goes for $5,000, $9,000 or $12,000.

Among the lower-priced home pieces, Bremshey had a new vibration plate that was called … um…. Vibration Plate (MSRP $1,299), and LifeSpan continued to offer its $999 VP1000 model.

First-time exhibitor Teutonic Sales debuted three new models, one of which (the Zen Pro 5400) we already wrote about in our Aug. 24 strength coverage from the show. In addition to the Zen Pro 5400, Teutonic unveiled its Zen Pro 3900 (MSRP $1,000 - photo to right), a price-point model with a slightly smaller motor, a basic LED display, and smaller footprint to more fully address the home market and, company president Steve Lindenau told us, the aging market that can realize tangible benefits from the use of vibration at home but may not need or want all the bells and whistles. www.teutonicsales.com

All that other jazz

Of course, fitness can be defined as more than just a treadmill or set of weights and, for that broader definition, there are other products that could come in handy.

Creative Playthings – East Coast-based manufacturer of high-end kid’s wooden swing sets and play areas was on-hand with literature and photos to communicate what it feels is a synergy with the fitness industry with its company’s goal to increase kid’s fitness. Its goal was to simply meet more retailers and possible partners, we were told. www.creativeplaythings.com

Gibbon Slacklines – Indeed we were a bit shocked to find the dudes of climbing lounging barefoot in hammocks in front of a normally pretty conservative fitness crowd. But once we got over that -- and since we know the fitness benefits of slacklining -- we were most curious if there’d be any interested retailers. Slacklines are a bit like a tightrope in the way you move, walk and balance across them and on them but they aren’t tight. The bounce and looseness mandates more core and muscle use. Climbers train on them regularly and also use them as pure entertainment after climbs. The Gibbon folks have a couple of models with retails of $80 to $100. Think schools and kids on this one and don’t preclude the possibilities. www.gibbonslacklines.com

Profen HP – Although feeling a bit out-of-place, we weren’t sure the company representative Mike Curry should have been. Anybody who works out will on occasion feel a little twing or sprain, so why wouldn’t a topical analgesic cream be something to consider? According to the company, the cream, which contains both ibuprofen and a homeopathic aid called Arnica, is used in other countries but aren’t as common here. The 2-ounce tube retails for $19.95, and retailers can get free shipping and a display when they order 10 tubes. www.profenhp.com

TeeterHang-ups – Continuing up the short aisle, we found Teeter, a standard at many fitness shows. Its EP series inversion tables (photo to right) now have ventilated backs and a webbing back pad so it moves and flexes with you for more comfort. Plus, there is a system for more easy adjustment and assist during inversion. www.teeter-inversion.com

Thumper massager – Over next to Teeter and across from Profen HP was another newcomer to the show who stressed they were all catering to the “after-care” market, i.e. the things that someone who works out may need afterward or between workouts. The Thumper Massager was not your everyday massager, no siree… At $149 MSRP, the Sport Personal Massager was a winner. It literally “thumped” into your back and brought the SNEWS team members who tried it to their knees as their back and shoulder muscles were relieved of tension. The company has been around since 1984, we were told. www.thumpermassager.com

--Therese Iknoian

The SNEWS® team of seasoned reporters covers a trade show to seek out product highlights, indications of a trend (to a product category, a company or the industry) or products that are new to the market. In our post-show reports, we do not write about every last piece of gear or equipment we have seen, although, promise, we have most likely seen nearly everything. Even if not in a show report, you never know how information may be included in a future report, trend watch, product review or story. If you have any comments or questions, please email us at snewsbox@snewsnet.com.

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