Gym equipment of the future

How you'll be working out in the future

The internet is bursting with fitness, weightlifting and body building advice. There are countless gym and fitness-centric magazines, blogs and forums for your consumption. Today, there are more gyms, fitness suites and sports arenas than ever before. This surge in popularity could perhaps be attributed to our sedentary lifestyle; due to cars, public transport and office jobs, we’re just not moving about as much as our ancestors did. Or perhaps it stems from the celebrity culture’s pressure to be thin and beautiful, or from the media’s scaremongering about strokes, heart attacks and the most recent causes of cancers in people who don’t exercise enough.  

Nowadays, there are so many gyms that they are often in competition with each other. In order to gain the most members, a gym must have the best equipment, and it sometimes becomes an arms race between competitors to provide their clients/members with the best and most modern equipment. This competition could fuel the advancement of gym equipment technology. There are already some impressive machines out there, and they are just the beginning. This article is a creative look at what the future gyms could offer their members. And by future, we don’t mean just ten years from now; we’re looking more like one hundred years from now. It is a creative exercise, looking at what is already possible and what might be possible in many years to come.

Robot Sparring Partner

robot sparring

Whether you take part in combat sports such as boxing and Muay Thai to keep fit, or because you fight competitively, it is often difficult to find a sparring partner that will work out at the same time as you. This is why there are so many varieties of punching bag or dummy – the wing chun wooden dummy is a great example of a structure that tries to simulate not only the resistance of a person, but the limbs and stance of them also. With the increasing capabilities of robotic technology, it’s not unrealistic to expect some crude robotic training partners in the near future. Whether they resemble the boxing robots imagined in the film, Real Steel, or a sort of punching bag with limbs, only time will tell. Certainly, in a more distant future, completely human-shaped, robot sparring partners is a likely eventuality.

One issue that might arise is health and safety. How advanced would the intelligence technology be? How dynamic or cruel might the A.I mind be in a combat scenario? Many movies, such as West World, Terminator and the Matrix have explored this issue. Could a robot hold their punch if they had the opportunity for a killing blow? Perhaps there could be a safe word or a difficulty setting on the robot. It would be a fantastic way to practice our combat skills without hurting anyone, and it would be a lot of fun – there’s no denying that.  We’d just need to make sure and that the robots don’t take over the world…

Gravity Manipulation

As weight is simply the relationship between a body’s relative mass and gravity, it is appealing to want to lower or raise someone’s weight for training purposes. The advantages of altering gravity, we think, will result in the Hyperbolic Gravity Room and the Anti-Gravity Room.

Hyperbolic Gravity Room

Hyperbolic gravity room

A current way to raise the weight of a person is to increase their mass. This can be achieved by attaching weights to the user’s wrists and ankles, or perhaps even using weighted clothing. This is a form of resistance training and it is useful for muscle growth and weight loss. But there are some health concerns, as the weight is not distributed evenly throughout your body and can lead to injury.

A better way would be to develop a Hyperbolic Gravity Room where we increase gravity’s downward force as opposed to increasing the actual mass of the person. This way, the force would be applied evenly to the entire body. One concern would be that the increased gravity would put stress on your internal organs and tissues as well as simply your muscles – so great care would need to be taken to avoid serious injury.  The benefits, though, could be astronomical. Most keen weightlifters view compound exercises as the best way to gain strength. A compound exercise is one that works out multiple muscles; the more it works out, the better the exercise. It is why squats and deadlifts are so revered amongst serious gym-goers around the globe.  A Hyperbolic Gravity Room would provide us with the ultimate compound exercise. Just imagine spending a couple of hours just walking around weighing twice your weight. Then imagine how fast and strong you would feel under normal conditions. Below is our interpretation of what the Hyperbolic Gravity Room would look like and some of the activities you could do to work out in it.

Anti-Gravity Room

Anti gravity room

Save getting naked or chopping a body part off, it is impossible to lower your body mass momentarily for a specific workout. So we need to lessen gravity’s pull instead. The easiest way to do this is to get into a pool of water as, according to the Archimedes Principle, the water pushes up and counteracts the downward pull of gravity. But water also limits our movements, slowing them all down. What we want is an anti-gravity environment where we can move freely. This is where the future meets the present, as we have devices that can already create this antigravity effect, such as the Anti-Gravity Treadmill. This device works by controlling air pressure and lifting the user ever-so-slightly and it can simulate an experience where the user only weighs 20% of their normal weight. So although it’s not literally anti-gravity – it’s as close as we can get at the minute in a gym environment. The design originates from NASA, but it has been utilized to aid in the rehabilitation of people recovering from serious illnesses and injuries.

The logical and likely progression of this technology will lead towards anti-gravity rooms. Other than the obvious help this could provide physiotherapists, it could also prove to be a useful tool for long distance runners as it allows the person to exercise their cardiovascular system whilst applying almost no impact to their joints, tendons and muscles. This will allow them to run for much longer whilst avoiding injury. There is also the option of anti-gravity sporting arenas. Anti-gravity squash or rugby could be extremely fun to play and watch. Also, a low gravity environment might spice up leisure activities such as yoga or Pilates.

The Futuristic Spinning Class

futuristic spinning

Spinning classes are popular in a lot of gyms. People tend to like them because it’s a shared experience where they are spurred on by a collective effort and by the instructor’s encouragement. Cycling is also low impact, which is ideal for anyone who is overweight or has weak or damaged joints. The idea behind a good spinning class is to get your heart rate up and keep it there as long as possible. The class is usually kept interesting and challenging by alternating the speed of the pedalling and the resistance of the pedals (this simulates cycling up hills or over difficult terrain).

In the future, the ideal spinning class will have a much more dynamic stationary bicycle, that tilts forwards and backwards, as well as side-to-side. Many treadmills already tilt upwards to simulate running up a hill – this idea could be applied to a stationary bike on several 360° axes (the concept, admittedly, was inspired by the The Vitruvian Man). This would revolutionise the spin class, as the stationary bicycles would tilt and turn, working out the riders’ cores as they bend and lean to compensate for this. This would also provide them with a more immersive and enjoyable experience, and if the aim of the gym is to attract and keep as many members as possible, then a futuristic spin class with the hypothetical Vitruvian Bicycles is definitely the way to go.

Equilibrium Gym Suit