Star Trac Elite CrossTrainer & Pro Stepper; Cybex VR3 Strength & LCX 425T Treadmill
Star Trac -- Elite CrossTrainer
STAR TRAC INVESTED two years of research and development, and had hundreds of user tests, 60 specific product requirements and 35 prototypes before releasing its Elite CrossTrainer, designed in conjunction with BMW Group DesignworksUSA.
The most outstanding feature in the Elite is SelectFit, an innovative system that's the first to integrate strength training into a cardio machine. With a push of a button, the user can choose a pulling upper-body motion to focus on the back and biceps, or a pushing upper-body motion to isolate the chest and triceps. Users can also disengage the upper-body arm motion to concentrate solely on moving their lower body. This can be a great bonus for older or new exercisers who need to start with a little less intensity.
With traditional ellipticals, the upper-body motion depends on the lower-body motion. The arms of the machine move along with the pedals regardless of the amount of force (or lack thereof) users provide with their upper body. SelectFit makes the Elite the first machine that allows users to vary their upper-body workout throughout the exercise.
A common problem with ellipticals is that the relatively wide spacing of the pedals can lead to motion that is uncomfortable, at best, and injury-inducing, at worst. The Elite's 3-inch pedal spacing helps minimize stress on users' hips and back, and keeps their strides more comfortable and natural.
High-tech users will appreciate the Elite's Pro Partner technology, which allows them to download and monitor their workout with a Palm-powered handheld to track and log workout speed, heart rate, calories burned and distance.
One of the more convenient features is a rear step platform and a 5-inch step-up height, which make getting on and off the machine safer and more comfortable. In addition, the large, cushioned Soft Trac shoes eliminate the common complaint of numb feet from using an elliptical.
distance between pedals: 3 inches
wireless data transfer: Pro Partner technology communicates via infrared (IR) beam with Palm OS software
Star Trac -- Pro Stepper
THE FIRST things users will notice about Star Trac's Pro Stepper are the ergonomically designed grip bars running the full length of the machine, and the Aero bar wrapping around the top of the display. This unique curve safely accommodates users of various shapes and sizes, and is the result of careful analysis of hand and body positions of stepper users. No longer will users have to contort their backs and shoulders in order to find a comfortable grip. That should save them from back pain and keep them exercising longer -- and actually get results.
But perhaps the most defining feature of the Pro Stepper is the wide variety of motivational workout programs. In addition to the fairly standard Quick Start, Fat Burner, Multi-Stage Fitness Test and two heart rate programs, the Pro Stepper adds Famous Steps and two muscle-specific workout programs. Famous Steps lets users scale nine different landmarks from around the world, including the Eiffel Tower, the Great Pyramid and the Empire State Building. The Glute Sculptor and Thigh Toner programs let users target specific muscle groups.
The oversized Soft Trac pedals with safety rims let even the most vigorous user feel safe and secure at any speed. At the same time, these same features make even deconditioned or post-rehab members comfortable and stable. Another safety and comfort feature is the rear step platform, for a safe, balanced entry to the low 4-inch step-up height.
Since the Pro Stepper was completely redesigned with the same look of the Pro Series cycles, cross trainers and treadmills, a new Pro Stepper will fit right in with the look and feel of a facility's current design if it already has (or plans to get) more Pro Series equipment.
Cybex -- VR3 Strength
THE VR3 is the latest in the line of resistance-training equipment from Cybex, and it features several biomechanical advances. Most of the pieces use an Easy Seat base, which is an enclosed seat base adjustment design with a gas spring assist. This lets users adjust their seat height without leaving the machine; they can do it with just one hand.
Another innovative feature is the patent-pending technology of the Range Limiting Device (available on the leg extension, seated leg curl and back extension). Limiting the range of motion of the exercise can help keep users with knee or back issues within a safer range of motion for their particular situations. Cybex' Range Limiting Device keeps the force curve consistent, regardless of the range users choose. In traditional machines that provide range limiters, this was once considered impossible. This means, regardless of the position users select, their starting position will always match the appropriate position on the cam. So the machine always provides more resistance where users are stronger, and less resistance where they're weaker.
Users will also love the greater and more comfortable range of motion of the Dependent Converging (in the Chest and Overhead Press) and Diverging Movement Technology (in the Row). These arcing movements more naturally replicate human motion, stimulate the target muscles more and minimize stress at the joint.
The weight stacks of all VR3 pieces are shrouded and completely enclosed for maximal safety. And say goodbye to the "half plates" that tend to disappear, or "donuts" that are never around when users need them. The patent-pending Second Generation Twist Select Increment Weight System lets users quickly and easily adjust their resistance 5 pounds at a time, with just a turn of a knob.
The Row combines a floor-level pivot and a clever, unequal-length four-bar linkage that gives users a near linear path of motion as in a cable row, but with variable resistance that closely matches the body's strength throughout the range of motion. The floor level pivot keeps the machine's profile low, and more uniform with the look of the rest of the VR3 line.
The most original piece is the Abdominal, which uses a patent-pending pelvic stabilization system with an adjustable foot brace, allowing users to "lock into" the hip pad. This design (also used on the back extension) encourages the user's hip extensors to help stabilize their pelvis. Instead of forcing users to move their spine at a single point to mimic the single axis of most abdominal machines, this design lets them flex the spine naturally, and makes the abs work more, while working the hip flexors less. The specially shaped hip pad, with its curved lumbar section, gives users greater range of motion, while the innovative input design promotes safer, more effective form without complicated adjustments.
Cybex -- LCX 425T Treadmill
IF YOUR facility is looking for a treadmill with a large running surface, but you don't have much space, the Cybex LCX 425T fits the bill. This small package boasts a commercial-sized (20 by 60 inches) running surface, while maintaining a compact footprint.
Beyond managing to fit so much in such a small space, the most outstanding innovation in this treadmill is the deck suspension system, called Intelligent Suspension 3. One of the challenges in treadmill deck design is making the deck soft enough to absorb the impact of running and landing, while keeping it firm enough for efficient and effective push-off. Most of the flex and shock absorption in the Intelligent Suspension 3 deck takes place at the point of impact. With traditional floating decks, however, the whole deck flexes (to some degree), and can give some runners a sense of instability. The Cybex LCX 425T's solid-steel construction, pulse-width modulation controller and 2.75-inch rollers combine for vibration-free workouts for all speeds -- up to and including the 11 miles-per-hour max.
The split-level console helps keep the user's accessories at hand, with a magazine rack, two water bottle holders and a CD/MP3 player holder. The handy upper display lets users select or scan between distance, total calories, calories per hour, METs, pace and heart rate, while the lower display provides time, incline and resistance level.
Users get variety from the array of programs available, including Pike's Peak; two Speed Interval programs; Hill Interval; Rolling Hills and Hills; in addition to the standard Quick Start, Manual, Heart Rate Control (with user-selectable target heart rate), Cardio and Weight Loss. Each program offers users 10 levels of both incline and resistance, and the live keyboard lets them change the program or settings or both without missing a stride. As an extra safety measure, each program provides a two-minute cool down to automatically reduce users' speed and elevation, and bring the heart rate back down toward resting levels.