There's been kid's strength equipment, and there's been kid's strength equipment. But mostly they've just been smaller versions of adult stuff.
Hoist has taken a huge step in coming up with a nine-piece circuit of kid's equipment that is, well, simply more.
The feel is different, the ride is different, and the movement is different -- all designed to make them more attractive and more fun for the kids who will use them. Created for those about ages 9 to 14 (or 4-foot-4 to 5-foot-9 tall), the machines were developed in consultation with physicians and physical therapists who work with kids, said company spokesperson David Salisbury, who was inviting select audiences into the back room of the Hoist booth at the IHRSA show last week to take a look at the line.
Safety -- Cover shields keep the back of weight stacks protected, but there's more. All stacks are designed to have a quarter-inch space between each weight when they are in the lowest position. Why? So curious little fingers don't get smashed, that's why.
Concept -- "We're not trying to make bodybuilders out of children," Salisbury said. The machines are designed to condition joints and soft tissues, not just pump up muscles.
Aesthetics -- So why aren't they pretty colors instead of plain whites, grays and blacks? So kids don't consider them toys, we were told. "We've created a certain amount of seriousness here," he said. That's also so kids grow up viewing exercise as a serious part of their life while being taught to enjoy the routine itself.
Movement -- This is where it gets fun. The seats themselves are "rides," and move forward and back, or up and down, even moving upward and tilting backward slightly so you feel like you're on an amusement park ride rather than in a dull weight room. "We hope they'll learn that exercise is fun," he added.
Hoist is also closely monitoring the line's sale and use. Clubs and other facilities such as schools will only be allowed to purchase the entire set (list: $21,412 without wheels) and then only with a package of education and instruction on its use and proper biomechanics. First deliveries are this week to circuits pre-sold to schools in Utah.
SNEWS View: We could have hung out in this kid's room all day working out. Our first reaction: Why can't adult equipment move like this? The tilting and sliding brought a smile to your face and made you feel more active as you accomplished the move. Ride 'em, cowboy! Sort of like an E-ticket ride (OK, we're dating ourselves, but if you know what we mean, you are too!). The poster said it all: "The greatest thing to happen to kid's fitness since recess." The company is working with the National School Fitness Foundation to provide the circuits to schools with the help of grants. Schools should love this: They get education and the machinery for a reasonable price. The package allows even those who don't know a lot to introduce kid's fitness quickly and easily. This is a win-win.