IHRSA 2014: New product preview

SNEWS previews a dozen new products and brands debuting at this week's commercial fitness trade show IHRSA that could translate to the retail level.

IHRSA 2014 gets underway this week, March 12-15, in San Diego, with the trade show portion of the event running Thursday and Friday, March 13-14.

There will be 375 exhibitors covering 190,000 square feet of space at the San Diego Convention Center, making it one of the largest in the event’s history.

While the show is centered on the club and commercial world, there are plenty of new ideas and products that filter down to the home retail market.

SNEWS put out the call and sifted through exhibitor listings to help identify some new brands and debut products attendees should check out at the show:

>> DMX Fit (in Trixter booth - #4724) is a first-time exhibitor not to miss at IHRSA. We told you about Dave Schmidt and the company’s debut DMX Strength machine on Monday in SNEWS. They look to evolve resistance training and Schmidt, a physicist by training, promises to shake up things in the cardio category, as well.


>> Dynavec (#4650) enters the resistance-training world with the looks of more traditional strength equipment, but the motorized resistance offers more than one plane of motion. Its Multi-Directional Resistance Systems provides hip, torso, and ankle resistance exercises.


>> Torque Fitness (#4458) expands, or rather contracts, its X-Lab series of functional training bases with the new X-Lab Edge base for small-group, simultaneous functional training workouts of 2-4 people. With a compact footprint requiring only 6.5-by-6.5 feet, it fits into a corner or against a wall and could prove popular with small local gyms and studios. It has anchor and attachment points for battle ropes, ball targets, dip stations, plyo-steps and heavy bags. Up to six large accessory trays can hold medicine balls, kettlebells, dumbbells, and there’s also an integrated holder for an iPad to help with instruction.

>> Cascade Health and Fitness (#4449) comes to IHRSA with former Lemond Fitness founder and CEO John Post to head up its new line magnetic-resistance group exercise bikes — the Cascade CMXPro and the CMX ProPower, which are built with no friction parts to wear and tear. The ProPower model comes with technology to measure watts, heart rate, level of resistance, speed, cadence, calories, time and distance.


>> Trigger Point Performance (#3658) rolls out a new educational course, aimed at deepening the understanding of self-myofascial release techniques and benefits using foam rolling. The 4-hour course was developed to meet the needs of health and fitness professionals who want to understand the benefits of foam rolling techniques and how to instruct athletes and clients, said Brynne Elliot, Trigger Point Performance director of professional education.

>> StrongBoard Balance (#757) – builds off the growing balance/stamina/strength trend in fitness with its StrongBoard Balance, a multi-spring board that helps promote greater muscle activation and tendon agility by using your body weight for resistance during full-motion exercises.


>> Brewer’s Ledge (#4834) debuts The Laddermill ascender, a variable-angle ladder machine. Users can vary the speed of the wall through resistance without motors. Inclining and overhanging angles with built-in auto-stop technology provide safe workouts.


>> Joyride Games Oy (#4512) also targets climbing workouts with its Climbstation (competition to Brewer’s Ledge other product, the Treadwall) — a cross between a rock wall and vertical treadmill without the need for high ceilings, harnesses, or ropes.


>> Escape Fitness (#3158) makes its IHRSA debut and it will be hard to miss the colorful fitness playground. The British functional and cross training supplier brings fun to its products and booth, and promises a full schedule of interactive activities and contests at IHRSA. That includes trying to jump atop a “three-tiered tower of power” of the brand’s Plyosoft boxes and flipping its durable, yet soft TiyRo tires.


>> GP Industries Inc. (#3046) introduces new urethane bumper plates (a big need at cross fit studios) that are more durable and longer lasting than rubber. Plus, with a lower bounce-back, they are safer to use.


>> Intek Strength (#4058) also brings new urethane bumper plates to show at IHRSA.

>> Hydrorider (#822) products will only really sell in your store if a lot of your customers have swimming pools at home. Its exercise bike and treadmill are to be used in water. At IHRSA 2014, the company debuts its Acqua Pole for water pole exercises.


>> Big Ass Solutions (#535) manufactures “big ass” fans to cool and circulate air, particularly important at fitness facilities. We’ll admit, the name drew us in, but there’s opportunity here as the fans (there are mobile options too) could also prove popular with smaller, local garage gyms and studios that may not even have an HVAC system.


Beyond specific products, be sure to take note of the continuous evolution in fitness equipment console technology. As we reported at the Health & Fitness Business Expo back in September, brands are increasingly moving toward consoles that work with consumers’ smartphones, tablets and mobile apps — sometimes replacing the console altogether. Plus, the ability to update touch screen consoles with infinite workouts and programs through the cloud, is allowing brands or gyms to remain connected and relevant to their customers’ fitness needs.

--David Clucas