HFB 2013: CrossFit and outdoor workouts drive fitness equipment trends

Outdoor equipment and items for CrossFit boxes, or gyms, will take center stage at HFB.
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The fitness buffs are coming back to Vegas, and they’re bringing all their cool new toys.

CrossFit and outdoor fitness are the driving trends in equipment this trade show season, which kicks off with next week’s Health and Fitness Business Expo at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

HFB “is a good way to get a feel for what the [trends] are around the nation and world in our industry,” said Adam Kutler of the Omaha, Neb.-based retail store Body Basics.

Companies such as Stamina will offer tough products to stand the test of time and weather, and other companies will offer products for the CrossFit community. CrossFit accessories, in particular, are all the rage.

Plenty of publications have reported on the rise in interest in outdoor exercise. Events like mud runs and obstacle course races are top consumer trends right now, according to the Active Network.

Consumers are looking to work out outdoors, and to satisfy that desire, cities across the country are introducing outdoor fitness areas in select parks. Most notably, Los Angeles’ Department of Recreation and Parks implemented “fitness zones” at parks throughout the city that feature outdoor fitness equipment for free public use.

While some companies focus specifically on outdoor fitness — for example, Greenfields Outdoor Fitness, Outdoor-Fitness and Landscape Structures — now traditional fitness companies are making a play for that business.

Stamina (#H310) brings its Outdoor Fitness Power Tower (MSRP $499), which has workout stations for push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, tricep dips and vertical knee raises. All Stamina outdoor fitness equipment is manufactured so it maintains its bright color and won’t deteriorate in variable weather conditions. The Power Tower is built with heavy-gauge steel and stainless hardware.

StaminaOutdoorPowerTower

Fitness zones at parks are being publicly funded by cities throughout the country, according to USA Today, so Stamina seems to have the right idea.

Not all strength equipment is meant for the great outdoors.

To target CrossFit and functional training enthusiasts, Fitness Master, Inc. (#H515) launches products in its Athletic Performance Equipment line, including its Heavy Weight Sled and Small Sled.

“The APE athletic performance equipment line of products are designed for those who consider themselves true athletes, for those who want to take their game to the next level,” said Ed Banasky, FMI vice president.

Sleds have been around for years, but CrossFit has given them notoriety as agility and strength-training products. The way sleds work is that users stack weights on the sled, tie a harness to it, secure the belt at the other end of that harness to the user, then the user does things like resistance sprinting or lateral movements like shuffles and sidesteps.

Strength equipment isn’t the only category courting CrossFit business. Rowers are currently the only cardio equipment pieces in many CrossFit boxes. Bodycraft (#H113) will bring new additions to its line of rowers. It’s taken its successful commercial VR500 and put a few spins on it to offer good and better models. The best counterpart, Bodycraft Owner Alan Gore said, will be launching later this year.

“We’re rounding out the category,” Gore explained. “We’re energized about the category.”

The new rowing machines are the “good” VR200 (MSRP $799) and the “better” VR400 (MSRP $1299).

MBeam

Accessories that offer a user a full-body workout with just one item are popular.

Modern Movement (#H739) brings its M Beam (MSRP $269, photo left), which offers a lateral movement that's become popular over the past few season. It’s a cross-shaped platform with wheels on the bottom that allow it to slide side-to-side along a fixed track.

Another all-in-one workout comes from newcomer Triletics (#H332), with its portable Cardio Band (MSRP N/A) that can be hooked up to any cardio equipment for a full-body workout, or used alone for resistance training.

“You can take this [Cardio Band] on a business trip or on a vacation,” said Michael-Paul Anthony, spokesperson for Triletics. “The possibilities are endless when you get into Triletics Cardio Bands.”

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