Ourindustry has proven that peopleloveto exercise in groups. Today'smoreprogressive health clubsandworkout facilities are makingdramaticchanges in their layoutsandalso in their target markets tooffertheir members opportunitiestoget the most bang for their buckwithcutting-edge and effectivegrouptraining programs. MonkeyBarGyms and most CrossFit affiliateshaveshown that a building full of strengthandcardio machines is not necessary for extraordinaryworkouts.

Aswe all know, Suspension Training is one of, if not the hottest trainingmodalitiesin our industry. When these devices first came out, their popularitystemmedfrom their versatility and portability-- they provided themeansfor a comprehensive workout almost anywhere. With that beingsaid,most facilities are just not designed to provide a location or anchorpointsfor this style of equipment; that portability was just not necessaryina gym. A few manufacturers have created different types, styles andsizesof anchoring apparatus (rack systems) to enable clubs to offer SuspensionTraining.*The downside to some of these rack systems is thattheyare only good for hanging TRXs, Jungle Gyms and the many othersuspended-typepieces now available in the market. Even fewer manufacturershavetaken it further and created rack systems that offer moreversatilitybeyond suspension. As TRX has proven, their S-frame is a greatwayto allow multiple users to work out using the same type of trainingequipment.Now, we're seeing the idea taken a step further to create variousstationswithin a group training environment.

TheFTS rack system offered by PurMotion houses anchor points for suspensionsystems,ropes and even bodyweight training in various compactuser-friendlydesigns. Along with their designs, they've created their ownproprietaryproducts that work excellently with their rack systems. PurMotionisa brand name offered by various resellers.

PowerSystems, another well-known equipment supplier, recently createdseveraldesigns known as the Space Station that allows many users toworkoutat one time. Included in the Space Station are anchors points forsuspensiondevices including training rings and heavy bags, as well as dipstations,pull-up bars, monkey bars, step-up platforms and training ropestationsthat can provide workout opportunities for up to 24 people at onetimeall on a single rack.

Aswith PurMotion and Power Systems, many other manufactures offervariousdesigns to fit space and budget requirements for its customers. Oneofthe most unique qualities of rack systems by all manufacturers is that inalmostall cases, floor space underneath is still available when training is notbeingconducted. This allows the club or facility to maintain usable spaceduringdowntime.

Nodoubt you'll be seeing these devices becoming more and more commoninclubs. As an owner, you'll have to decide if a rack system is a good fitforyour facility; as a trainer, you'll have to be familiar with how the systemworksand how to create a group training program around it. To get youstarted,here are a few frequently asked questions about whether a rack systemisa good fit for you or your facility:

What can these rack systems do for my facility?
These rack systems can be set up in spaces that are notcurrently utilizedby other equipment and in some cases they are designed to beset up outdoors.This means there is no need to change the flow of traffic orthelayout of your current floor plan. Some clubs have foundthat this is thesingle most influential action they've taken that has setthem apart fromtheir competitors.

Is this a good fit for my clientele, both male and female?
Rack systems can offer a tailored workout for both men andwomen. Menmay see these workouts as more "masculine" or moresimilar to the workoutsthey experienced when they were in high school or collegeand willbe more likely to participate in training on a regularbasis. This frees upthe weight room during busy seasons or times. Conversely,women maysee these exercises as a challenge and begin to take theseclasses to varytheir workouts.

How will I see return on my investment?
Many facilities provide these trainings on a fee basis. Thismeans that amember pays an additional fee to take the training classesutilizing the rack.If you currently offer boot camp classes, the rack givesyour boot campers aplace to play. A rack also frees up your group fitness classroom or even theweight room floor.

Most club owners can easily spend upwards of $10,000 on a treadmillora couple of pieces of selectorized strength equipment, whichonly allow fora single user to train at a time. Rack training allows forup to 24 people atone time working out for the same amount of money and thatincludes all ofthe ancillary equipment necessary to workout. And evenbetter, if they are"paying to play," you'll see your return oninvestment very quickly. There arealso sizes, styles and types to fit the tightest budgets.

What benefits do they offer to individual trainers?
If you've ever thought about doing group personal trainingor boot camps,the rack system could be the perfect choice for you. Yourclients are alreadyaccustomed to paying for sessions or weeks. This gives you aspace to utilizeeven in your garage or back yard. This could eliminate theneed to pay rentat a club or local park. No more traveling from place toplace -- your clientscome to you because you are separated from the competition.

There are many companies now making rack systems availableto theircustomers: companies such as Rogue Fitness, Sorinex,PurMotion, TRXand Power Systems to name a few. As previously mentioned, itis highlyrecommended to do your homework to determine the best racksystemfor your particular scenario and needs. Good luck andwelcome to a newera in training!

Asnice as it would be to be able to purchase every piece ofequipmentthat you want, in reality you have to consider yourlimitationsand decide what equipment will be most valuable toyourtraining. You should conduct a needs analysis similar to theonebelow to help with your choice:

  • Space: How much square footage do I have available for a rack system? Will I need to move current equipment? How and where will it be mounted? Should I purchase a rack system that can be downsized or enlarged?
  • Budget: Rack systems will typically range in price of $1,500 to $10,000. Based on your current membership or client base, what fees will you charge to cover this expense? What size best fits your budget? Does a larger size equal more members or more expense?
  • Function: How many members or clients can utilize this rack system? How many stations or activities can be performed? What equipment is necessary to make it functional?


B. Daryl Shute, M.Sc., CSCS*D has worked in thefitness industry for over 20 years. Daryl holds BS andMS degrees in exercise physiology, and is a CSCS*Dwith the NSCA. He is a national presenter at variousSports Performance and Fitness conferences throughoutthe country. Daryl is the Education Manager atPower Systems.

*The phrase "Suspension Training" is a registeredtrademark by TRX.


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