Kinetic energy

Fitness First, located in Dubai’s Ibn Battuta mall, is the first commercial gym in the Middle East to be kitted out with Kinesis, the latest evolution in exercise equipment from Technogym. Club manager, Tony Howett, explains why to Leisure Manager

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By  Sarah Gain Published  June 5, 2006

|~|KinesisL.gif|~|It’s not just an amazing looking piece of kit — it’s also very high tech and effective, claims Howett.|~|Kinesis is a Greek word meaning movement, and fluid, natural movement is at the heart of the latest line of resistance training equipment from Technogym. Juxtaposed with rows of treadmills and banks of free weights, the Kinesis Wall at Fitness First at Ibn Battuta mall in Dubai is intriguingly new age, yet surprisingly unthreatening. As the first commercial gym in the Middle East to have the Kinesis equipment installed, Fitness First is pleased with the way the unusual-looking machines have been received by the gym’s members.

“People might scratch their head at first, until they see someone actually using the Kinesis equipment, or until a trainer gets them involved with some exercises on it,” admits Tony Howett, fitness nanager at Fitness First. “As soon as an instructor has shown them a few key points and explained the theory behind it, however, they can’t get enough of it.”

The Kinesis wall comprises four modules of resistance equipment, called Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta, which all incorporate cables on a three-dimensional pulley system that moves through a complete 360-degrees to allow the user to move freely. Each cable module has been designed to give users complete workout of all parts of the body with the use of two innovative, patent-pending systems exclusive to Technogym.

The Technogym Full Gravity technology makes it possible to control the level of resistance for each movement. Meanwhile, the 3D Pulley System, which is made up of sliding cables, enables the user to perform flowing, rectilinear, diagonal and circular actions, without the cables becoming tangled or interfering with any parts of the body, even when performing more forceful movements. Each cable has a handle that can be easily adjusted, sliding up and down the cable to enable the wrists to move freely. The cables are also independent of one another, each with a single weight pack that can be adjusted by the user.

Technogym has paid particular attention to the design of the Kinesis Wall, hiding the bulk of the machines behind wooden panelling to create a sleek and spacious feel. The company installed the equipment at Fitness First as part of the initial fit-out, prior to the gym opening in January this year, and for Howett it was vital that the Kinesis machines were set apart from the rest of the gym equipment from the outset.

“I had seen a Kinesis Wall installed in another gym in Asia, and there it had basically been stuck out of the way. It was tucked away at the end of a row of treadmills in a busy gym. It didn’t look like anything special and it wasn’t getting used,” he says. “I realised that it was important to make a clear distinction between the Kinesis equipment and the other machines.”

Therefore, Fitness First made the strategic decision to create a designated and defined “Kinesis space”, partitioning the equipment off and using branding and posters to really set the area apart.

As a result, the Kinesis equipment is now the focal point of the entire gym. “We chose Kinesis because it is cutting edge, so it was very important that we gave it the ‘wow factor’ it deserved. When people come up the escalators outside the gym it’s straight ahead of them, and it looks so intriguing that it catches everyone’s attention,” Howett explains.

“It’s not just an amazing looking piece of kit — it’s also very high tech and effective,” he adds. “Kinesis is evolving away from the typical fixed resistance, seated machine. Instead it positions the user inside the machine. The machine follows the user’s movement rather than the other way round, making it possible to train the body the way it moves in everyday activities — it’s functional training.”

Functional training allows users to improve their balance, flexibility and strength by moving through a complete range of motion, using the resistance of external weights and at the same time using the body’s core, stabilising muscles during each movement. Exercises can be performed using specific muscle groups at varying levels of difficulty, and these exercises can be combined into fluid routines. The machines can also be used in workouts targeting fat loss and cardiovascular training.

Being so versatile, it is possible to create specific programmes for different types of sport training on the Kinesis Wall. The equipment is particularly effective when used to create workout programmes for martial arts, for example, as class members can all perform the same movements simultaneously on the different modules, allowing the trainer to check the quality of their execution. In contrast, the equipment can also help with physiotherapy and rehabilitation following an injury, as trainers can work with an individual user, guiding them through sequences of exercises that can improve the neuromuscular control of muscles over different movement planes.

“It’s a very versatile piece of equipment. One person can do circuits on the machines and get a full-body workout in 30-minutes, if that’s what they want to do. On the other hand, you could have a class of four people all using it at the same time,” says Howett. “As a trainer, it’s a great tool.”

The Kinesis equipment is suitable for everyone to use, from complete beginners to elite athletes, and all Fitness First members have the opportunity to try it out. For those who just want to experiment, instructors are on hand to offer advice. Alternatively, the instructors will conduct a more detailed orientation of the equipment and develop bespoke training programmes depending on the individual user’s fitness goals.

Before Fitness First opened, TechnoGym sent Howett to its headquarters in Italy to take part in a comprehensive training course to become a Kinesis “master trainer”. He was then able to pass his practical and theoretical understanding of the equipment on to the rest of the team at the gym, teaching the other instructors how to get the most out of the equipment.

“There are over 250 different exercises you can do with this equipment and while some of them are very simple, there are also more difficult and complex exercises that users have to work their way up towards — it’s very important to get the progression correct,” says Howett.
“Users definitely benefit a great deal from having a trained instructor show them the ropes, so to speak!”||**||

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