Conditioning tools Strength and Conditioning coaches know about and love
As an average gym goer you may only think treadmills, elpiticals, recumbent bikes and basically anything that is in your commercial gym, but there are so many better options out there that S&C coaches use daily to get their athletes in incredible shape.
Like anything in fitness commercial gyms are always years behind so be prepared to see these in your gym in the next 5-10 years.
The Airdyne maybe the best single fitness tool ever invented, brutally simple and brutally effective. The fan on the front provides infinite resistance, meaning the harder you pedal the more it grabs. It is low impact and your whole body gets a workout. We love doing intervals on it and the timed mile or half mile test is not for the faint hearted. Keiser do a similar machine that doesn’t make a lot of noise and works off magnetic resistance.
The versaclimber is a low impact metabolic tour de force, you may have seen one of these first in the movie rocky 4. Athletes performance love them because of the Cross Crawl motion produced when the arm and leg approach each other on one side of body while the opposite arm and leg separate on the other side. It has been demonstrated this natural pattern will more safely and effectively strengthen the para-spinal musculature.
The Jacobs ladder is a little bit like the Versaclimber and equally as tough. The athlete is at about a 45deg angle and they have to continually climb a ladder. This works the total body and hits the core musculature a lot more as the athlete is essentially crawling. This piece is self-propelled, you decide how quickly you can climb and whether you want to use just your legs or work your arms and legs at the same time. An added perk: The 40-degree angle means you don’t have to worry about ‘falling off’ or straining your back as you climb.
The slide board is essentially a slippy piece of wood with two kick boards that you skate from side to side on. You can also use these for leg curls and a series of other exercises. There is a bit of a knack to mastering the slide board and it won’t get your heart rate up near as high as other tools but Strength coaches love using them as an injury prevention tool for the groin and ankle as well as the fact it’s a non-linear tool, meaning it gets you fit in the “side to side plane” of motion.
The Woodway Curve Treadmill
This treadmill boasts a slatted system that reduces impact on joints, but unlike other treadmills the curve is a non-motorised, it is completely powered by the runner himself. The curve design enables the runner to run at an ergonomically correct angle and because the speed is controlled solely by the runner there is no maximum or minimum speed, this allows for specialised over speed training.