Precor Fitness Equipment: Treadmills, Crosstrainers and Bikes

PRECOR™: Approximately thirty years ago, after the engineering of a stationary fitness rowing machine by David Smith in his basement, one of the most respected, popular and successful fitness equipment brands was birthed. Spawning from Mr. Smith’s development of an ergonomically correct rowing machine in 1980, Precor has turned into one of the international leaders in the branding, design, production and marketing of fitness equipment. No more than 3 years after David finished the design of the rowing machine in his basement, he was joined by the bright and fitness oriented opportunist, Bill Potts. Mr. Potts brought his knowledge of electronic functionality to the table and sought out to integrate unique exercise programmability for users, as well as easy to read statistical feedback, into the exercise equipment Smith was designing. Mr. Potts believed that allowing people to monitor their stats such as speed, time, distance and other readouts, would increase the popularity of their workout equipment and make using gym equipment more enjoyable for the regular user. Ultimately, making the exercise equipment more interactive from a user perspective, intrigued people because they could monitor their results in real-time. Knowing how fast or long one would have to exercise in order to surpass their previous records, proved to be highly motivating and helped treadmills, stationary exercise bikes and rowing machines become more favorable through the eyes of potential buyers. Through the assistance of Mr. Potts, the popularity of exercise programming options in fitness equipment, and the popularity for Precor fitness equipment as a whole, began to take off. Once 1985 hit, several more additions had been made to the once one man band that was Precor; the Precor brand expanded to carrying treadmills, exercise bikes and rowing machines.

As momentum gained through popular reviews, it became clear that Precor fitness equipment was rated to be at the top of the industry in the near future. However, in order to be an industry leader in fitness supplies, Precor had to be a player in the national heath clubs and gyms. Without substantial sales to commercial fitness centers and gyms, it is hard to be a real player in the business of fitness equipment manufacturing in the United States. Therefore, proving the foresight of fitness experts true, in 1990, Precor entered the health club scene, with a series of commercial treadmills, built to withstand all day wear and tear, by people ranging from skinny to fat, and tall to small. There is a major difference in the structural integrity and mechanical capacities between commercial (health club) and residential exercise equipment. Whereas a solid home treadmill can be used at most up for up to four hours a day, a gym quality treadmill can be used for up to four times as long. Precor now had their own line of commercial treadmills. Precor now had a line of heavy duty gym equipment with the necessary the size, mechanical capacities, speed and structural integrity, to compete with the other leading brands in the fitness equipment industry.

The year of 1995 was another breakthrough year for Precor, as they invented the first elliptical cross-trainer and put it on the map in the form of their Precor EFX 544 cross-trainer. The Precor EFX 544 was designed with an adjustable cross-ramp and fixed arms. The adjustable incline ramp makes it easy for users to work out different muscle groups in their lower body through the simple adjustment of the angle on the incline ramp. The EFX 544 was so popular that Precor decided to continue their production of elliptical cross-trainers for usage in health clubs and homes. One of the first additions to the Precor line of elliptical cross-trainers was a cross-trainer with moving upper body arms. After already having the cardiovascular fitness industry in the palm, through the acquisition of Pacific Fitness in 1998, Precor made giant strides towards building a successful line of strength equipment. A result of this merger was the extremely popular Precor Stretch Trainer, that is a favorite of fitness trainers and gym patrons.

In 1999, Premark International, which was parent company of the Precor brand at the time, was bought out by International Tool Works. Soon after ITW acquired Precor, popularity for Precor increased, as their equipment become more affordable and focused on consumer needs. With a bigger bankroll and more steam built up, Precor was acquired by Amer Sports in 2002 as part of a 180 million dollar deal. Amer Sports coming into the picture resulted in Precor changing their primary goals. After years of revolving around industrial products, Precor’s new aim was to become an international distributor of a wider range of fitness equipment and sporting goods.

With all of the success and momentum that Precor had built open over the last 2 decades was great, but they still did not have a dominant and consumer friendly line of strength equipment. That all changed in 2004 when Precor established an Icarian line of strength equipment. Icarian strength equipment can be found anywhere from private home gyms to large health club franchises. The line of strength equipment itself has all home gym products ranging from bench presses, to multi-station and plate loaded home gyms, to weight racks and other strength training machines.

A very popular feature on the Precor cardio line of fitness equipment originated in 2004 as well. The cardio theater feature on Precor cardiovascular equipment, came as a result of their relationship with an entertainment technology firm, ClubCom. For example, if you are familiar with the Precor 956i Treadmill, it can be purchased with a cardio theatre attached to the display console. Having an entertainment center to use when you exercise has proven to allow some people to workout up to 75% more than they did on the same treadmill, without the cardio theater. The year of 2006 also marked the year that Precor introduced its Experience Series line and the Cardio Theater was an option for all Experience Series treadmills and elliptical cross-trainers. After gaining the support of consumers across the U.S., the Cardio Theater went on to win awards at the annual international product design competition, hosted by Business Week.

Around this time is when Precor struck a deal with the Hilton Family, that would make Precor gym equipment the main supplier of Hilton hotels such as the Double Tree, Embassy Suites and The Hilton. Catapulting Precor into the mainstream, the widely publicized commercial deal between Precor and Hilton Hotels, cemented Precor’s status as a premier brand in fitness equipment.

Several years after Precor began their quest to become an international player with strength based fitness equipment, the production amounts of their Icarian strength line increased by 300%. The year of 2006 also,marked the year that Precor introduced its Experience Series line and the Athletic and sporting good brands such as Wilson, Atomic, Suunto, Mavic and Salomonare are all different product lines under their parent company, Amer Sports Corporation. Precor fitness equipment is also owned by Amer Sports Corporation, who according to Precor.com, “is the worlds leading sports equipment company”. Since Precor has a mission to be “the most respected brand in fitness equipment (Precor.com)”, their relationship makes perfect sense.

A great majority of health clubs and gyms have Precor elliptical cross-trainers, treadmills, stretch trainers, exercise bikes and strength machines. Ultimately, the litmus test for whether or not fitness equipment is solid, is whether or not the fitness equipment in question can be found a favorite amongst members at health clubs and commercial gym facilities. In 2005 & 2006, Precor won the award for “Top Supplier”, from Golds Gym and Anytime Fitness. Since Precor fitness equipment can be found across the United States at almost every major health club, and is a consumer best buy award winner, we feel safe in saying that we place Precor in the upper echelon of fitness equipment.

Portable Fitness Equipment

Since I first began personal training in 1985 people have stated basically the same goals: To lose fat and gain muscle, improve athleticism, heal the body,increase movement skills, spend little money and train whenever and wherever they wanted. I am pretty sure you want the same, but there’s a problem. Maybe you travel, it’s hard to get to the gym, or maybe you don’t like the gym and/or you can’t afford to build your own machine laden gym at home? So what do you do? Well the answer has been here for over 30 years. The answer to true physical fitness is portable fitness equipment from the Monkey Bar Gym! Portable fitness equipment has evolved from the light resistance bands and ankle weights they use in aerobic classes. Today portable fitness equipment is literally all you need to get into the greatest shape of your life. Whether your goal is basic overall fitness, strength, conditioning OR high level sports performance you can get it all with portable fitness equipment.

How do I know this? It is all I have ever done and all that my dad Bobby Hinds has ever done. My Dad started the beginnings of portable fitness equipment with the beaded jump rope and training program in 1973, which sparked the Jump Rope for Heart program. He followed it up in 1976 with the first ever Portable Gym. Back in the day people thought my dad was crazy…still do , but he was way ahead of his time. He saw a huge need for people to stay in shape while on the road, traveling, working out at home or outside. He knew that not everyone wanted to workout on machines, or had the money, time or drive to workout in a gym or inside for that matter. So, he took it upon himself to change it and the fitness world has never been the same.

Today, portable fitness equipment can do everything you desire in your fitness training: YOU CAN get stronger, leaner, improve athletic performance, heal & prevent injuries, increase movement skills, spend little money and train anywhere you want, anytime you want!!! Portable fitness equipment can also allow you to follow an online training program, almost like having your own personal trainer! Because of all of these tremendous benefits, portable fitness equipment is a common term in the fitness industry. I feel my Dad and his company, Lifeline USA, are a huge reason for portable fitness equipment being such an integral part of the fitness industry today. I have always believed in portable fitness equipment, so much that I opened up my Monkey Bar Gymnasium in 2001. It is the first hard core strength and conditioning training facility in the country that uses ONLY portable fitness equipment!

“Full body anywhere, anytime training is all we do and all we’ve ever done” says Monkey Bar Gymnasium, Certified Natural Trainer, Jessica Rucker. “We teach movement mastery first and then add resistance via portable fitness equipment. Using Resistance cables, Kettlebells, Jungle Gyms, Med & D-balls, Jump Ropes, Power Push ups, Power Jumpers, Vertical Jumpers and Power Wheels all add more challenge to basic bodyweight movements, thus taking them to the next level. It’s clearly the main reason everyone who trains with us either online or at the Monkey Bar Gymnasium is incredibly fit”.

So what exactly is portable fitness equipment? Any piece of exercise equipment that you can easily pack and take anywhere in the world and get a tremendous workout. That is why my dad’s first Portable Gym’s tag line was “a gym in a bag”. Portable fitness equipment gives you a great workout, not just an okay one.

IT WORKS!! A workout with really good portable fitness equipment improves your strength (functional muscle), conditioning (leaner body), sports performance, agility, mobility, stability, strength and power. Want proof, At the Monkey Bar Gymnasium we AVERAGE 17 lbs of fat loss and 5.4 lbs of muscle gain over the first 60 days of training…did I mention, only using portable fitness equipment!

More Proof. On a recent road trip, Jessica and I brought along all of our favorite Portable Fitness Equipment, a Power Push Up, Jungle Gym, TNT Cable, Power Wheel, Power Jump Rope and even the new Lifeline Kettlebell. Yes, the Lifeline Kettlebell. This may not be a true piece of portable fitness equipment, but it is a heavier version, it still is portable and definitely is fitness equipment. On our road trip we really put all of the portable fitness equipment to the test.

Could we drive more than 3,000 miles & get great workouts at the same time? The answer was definitely YES!!Every hour we drove, we stopped and did a killer set with each piece of equipment. One hour we did a set of squat presses with the TNT Cable, the next hour a killer set of chins and rows with the Jungle Gym, the next hour 100 doubles jumping rope as fast as possible, the next hour 40 snatches each arm with the Lifeline Kettlebell. Honestly, it was amazing! Each set only took us 3 minutes! When we would get back in the car we felt incredible! We were totally energized and ready to go and looked forward to the next hour and what we would do. By the end of the day, we had without question, gotten a heck of a workout and we were both tired but very satisfied in knowing that we not only can do these workouts anywhere at anytime, but that working out with Portable Fitness Equipment is the best way to attain ultimate fitness.

The World is your Playground” workout anywhere / anytime (AA), indoors or outside!!!

Lets lay out a Backpack of Portable Fitness Equipment for you to workout AA!!

1) Jungle Gym: Pure bodyweight training: chin ups (assisted to kip ups), push ups, dips, rows, flys, assisting pistols /1 leg squats, leg curls, runners, core rollouts and lots more. One piece of equipment that can do full body training for strength & conditioning! Weight about 1.5 lbs, fits in pocket.

2) TNT Cable: Pure resistance training: squats, full extensions, cable cleans, presses, Russian twists, diagonal chops & lifts, resisted running & backpedaling, 1 arm punches, rows and lots more. Weight about 1 lb., fits in large pocket.

3) Power Jump Rope: Pure conditioning training: probably the single best tool for overall full body conditioning. Weight 1.5 lbs, fits in pocket.

We put them all together in the Portable Monkey Bar Gym. It even includes a comprehensive training DVD.

Add more fun to your BackPack with the following:

The Power Push up: Voted Best piece of exercise equipment by Mens Fitness. Can adjust from 20 to 270 lbs of resistance for your push ups. Weight 2.5 lbs., fits in backpack easily.

The Power Jumper: The Best Jump Training device on the market…and it’s portable! Get the Jump Training DVD, it’s great. You can do all lower body exercises with it too. Athletes average 6-8″ improvements over 12 weeks of training. Weight 2.5 lbs, fits in backpack too.

A Note on the Resistance Cables – 3 big points:

1) Non-Fixed ranges of motion – meaning you must react and balance the resistance, this improves motor function and performance greatly.

2) Progressive variable resistance – as cables lengthen they increase in resistance, creating an excellent balance as your leverage becomes greater, it becomes greater!

3) Adjustable resistance – in seconds you can lighten or increase the resistance. This means you can match bodyweight movements with precision resistance, can load or resist up to max loads thus giving covering all levels of strength training from endurance to power.

In general portable fitness equipment is in a league of its own. It’s accessible, light weight and convenient but yet can generate max resistance loads if needed or maximum challenge of exercise if needed, it literally can do it all!! With portable fitness equipment you never need to stop your workouts because of business trips or vacations and working out at home with $1,000.00′s of dollars of bulky equipment has become a thing of the past. Compare that with a mere $100 or so for all of the above listed portable fitness equipment. You can use portable fitness equipment to perform online training with any of the great sites out there, and achieve incredible results!