Strength Training Fuels Popularity of Multi-station Units

Equipment manufacturers are riding the strength-training wave with new multi-stations, plate-loaded machines, and functional frames.

As the interest in strength training grows, and as the understanding of the many benefits it offers increases, it’s attracting more fans among women, seniors, children, and others.

Manufacturers, always sensitive to demand, are responding by supplying new, improved, and more sophisticated strength-training options, encompassing multi-station units, plate-loaded machines, and functional-training frames.

Multi-stations Continue to Please Gymgoers

“Multi-stations continue to be appealing because they accommodate popular exercises, such as the lat pull-down, low row, and triceps press,” says Jeff Dilts, the vice president of product development and innovation for Core Health & Fitness.

“Multi-stations continue to be appealing because they accommodate popular exercises, such as the lat pull-down, low row, and triceps press.”

Jeff Dilts, Vice President of Product Development and Innovation

Core Health & Fitness - Vancouver, WA

Plate-loaded machines, an economic alternative to single-station selectorized pieces, also enjoy a firm foothold in the weight room. Consider, for example, Core’s new Glute Drive. This unit, which isolates the glutes and develops power via a hip-bridge motion, “was specifically designed to solve the issue of trainers and exercisers taking Olympic bars off bench presses to perform hip thrusts,” says Dilts.

“And,” he adds, “it meets the demands imposed by a small footprint at an affordable price.”

Attending to club operators’ concerns about cost, effective space utilization, and strong curb appeal, companies are innovating intensely with respect to functional frames, which facilitate small-group training (SGT).

More Cost-effective Possibilities

“We’re seeing frames that offer more possibilities than ever—for training, programming, and storage—for every type of facility,” observes Matthew Januszek, the co-founder of Escape Fitness. “They’re space-efficient, visually impressive, and act as the heart of a functional-training area.” Typical of the breed is Escape’s new HIT HUB.

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Frames such as the new X-Create, from Torque Fitness, are studies in versatility. “We have systems that can be placed along a wall, center-space units that can be utilized from both sides, and bridge systems that can span a room, while still providing an open floor space beneath the bridge where exercisers can work out,” says Tom Baumler, the head of product development at Torque.

Customization a Strategy for Success

Attachments such as stall bars, battle rope anchors, and an endless rope drum offer countless opportunities for customization.

Customization—the ability to fulfill customers’ unique requests—has become another standard by which suppliers are assessed. Dilts notes, by way of example, that Core Health & Fitness has designed custom multi-station units—including 14- and 21-station configurations—for clients such as Crunch and Gold’s Gym.

“Health clubs should be strategic with respect to how they fill their space, evaluating the benefits, training options, and level of engagement that they provide members,” says Baumler. “Multi-stations, plate-loaded machines, and functional frames each have much to offer.”

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This article was a team effort by several IHRSA experts.