F.I.T.T. - Kranking: the Next Revolution in Fitness
Shouldn't fitness be fun? If you look into the eyes of the athletes currently competing in the Olympic Games (and soon the Paralympic Games), it is easy to see the joy, excitement, and pure thrill of competition shining through them. These elite Olympic and Paralympic athletes have found the fun in fitness. But how many of us actually have fun in our daily workouts? A medal will not await us at the end of that group exercise class, but at least we are there, working out, making our bodies stronger and healthier.
|Various parts of the Krankcycle|
But for the 54 million Americans with a disability, fitness centers are often not a welcoming environment. For many individuals, there are few options for cardiovascular exercise if you are unable to utilize your lower body. Finding the fun in fitness becomes secondary to finding any available cardiovascular option to stay healthy. Having a disability and being healthy is not an oxymoron! And why should a person with a disability or an older adult with chronic knee pain have to sit in the corner of a fitness facility and use the solitary arm ergometer? Well thanks to Johnny G and his team at Krankcycle, the opportunities are not only boundless but they are cool, fun, and "have a soul", as Johnny G would say.
If that name - Johnny G (where the G stands for Goldberg) - sounds familiar, that's because you can now go to any gym and take a spinning class. Almost 20 years ago, Johnny G took indoor stationary cycling, which admittedly is only fun if you want to read the newspaper, to a new level when he created spinning. His new passion is the Krankcycle. According to Johnny G, "Upper-body rotational exercise will be the next revolution in fitness." The inspiration for the Krankcycle came to Johnny in 2002, when he attended a fundraiser for the Challenged Athletes Foundation. A young man who is a double-leg amputee was doing the 5-hour fundraising ride on his hand-cycle. Johnny asked if he could try the hand-cycle and was both liberated and fatigued after 10 minutes of arm cranking.
|An instructor leading a group Krankcycle class|
How does the Krankcycle differ from the standard arm cycle ergometer?
- Independent crank arms
- Narrower crank axis and shorter crank-arm length to permit higher cadences
- Floating flywheel and manual resistance to permit more subtle adjustments
- Adjustable headstock and self tensioning chain for greater variety in crank-arm height
- Elliptical bends in the frame to encourage sitting, standing, and increased movement options for creative choreography
- Smaller and easier to move, much like the spinning cycle
- Much lower cost
To put it simply, Johnny G and his team has found a way to make arm cranking fun and even more challenging in an energetic group environment or as a tool in personal training sessions for individuals of all abilities.
The next generation of Krankcycles being built by Matrix Fitness will be wheelchair-accessible and will be launched at Club Industry in Chicago, October 16-18, 2008. This new design will be available for purchase in 2009. If you attend the Inclusive Fitness Conference held in conjunction with Club Industry, be sure to stop by the expo. According to Jim Karanas, chief executive officer of the Kranking College of Knowledge, "Matrix is redesigning the Krankcycle to permit wheelchair access to maintain the spirit with which the Krankcycle was created." He welcomes feedback from people with disabilities on the design of the next-generation Krankcycle.
|Woman using a Krankcycle in a gym|
The educational community developed around Kranking, called the Kranking College of Knowledge, will be offering live continuing education at clubs around the U.S., plus online versions of all training modules to fitness professionals who are interested in bringing Kranking opportunities to their fitness facilities. Addressing the needs of individuals with disabilities will be a component of this training.
To find out more about the Krankcycle, go to http://www.krankcycle.com.
Let's hope that in the very near future, Kranking will be a staple in all gyms. This state-of-the-art, cool, and hip training method will provide a much-needed venue where individuals of all abilities can train together and have fun!
Photos: Don Petersen
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