Pneumatic Resistance is All The Rage, But Why?

In a time not that long ago…

Back in the 80’s and 90’s, the first prototypes for pneumatic cylinders were made for exercise equipment. Since then, they’ve created a strong, steady, and innovative industry shift, to fitness centers worldwide.

Why is that?

In short, pneumatic resistance exercise equipment is just better.

—Let us explain.

Pneumatics simply mean compressed air. The motion in pneumatic machines, carry the muscle contraction through air resistance, rather than having an individual pump stacks of iron. Pneumatic machines, then, are the closest one can get to true isotonic exercise. Isotonic exercise is when a muscle is contracting against a constant load. It’s really hard to do this with will power and muscle control alone. When working on a pneumatic machine however, the machine does the control part for the user. Easy-peasy.

5 Reasons Pneumatic Resistance is the Best

  • No inertia

This is a good thing. This means that the user won’t swing backwards or forwards out of place. No joint strain. No random tweaked pulls that lead to pain or injury, just a smooth motion.

  • Real control over resistance

The stability of the resistance is maintained by the machines, no slips, no minute shifts of weight. This total control reduces or eliminates the strain effect on joints and connective tissues. This is very important when working with a population with a higher degree of injury or strain already, such as falls.

  • They’re safer

Keeping your community members feeling good, motivated, and enjoying life, keeps senior centers in the business of supporting wellness, rather than simply avoiding or recovering from injury. When an active adult is going strong and then suffers a pulled muscle from a machine, it can take a long time to recover. This time can lower motivation, increase fear and strain, and put additional pressure on staff.

Instead of that unfortunate scenario, pneumatic machines don’t have any moving stacks or wires, to slip, entrap, or otherwise.

  • Speed

Older adults can train at the speed they would normally perform. As pneumatic resistance is consistent, the stabilizers (specific muscles and joints) remain active as the resistance begins to increase. The muscles need to engage through the whole range of motion, in a range of velocities. This smoother movement means less injury and greater stability at the same time.

  • Independence

Residents can operate the machines themselves with just the push of a button. This supports and encourages independence. It also reduces the need for guidance and assistance from staff.

Senior Specific Exercise Centers

“[Senior workout] programs have significantly reduced hospital and emergency room visits for members by using specific pneumatic resistance exercises to improve strength and gait, which prevents falls and other mishaps.”

-Dr Sheldon Zinberg

It isn’t surprising that the first in the fitness world to catch the healthy trend, were the leaders in the industry. Professional sport teams, the U.S. Armed forces, the Olympics, exercise and physical therapy facilities, and senior living centers got on board first. Others followed suit, but not everywhere can afford the higher quality equipment. Often, it’s the senior centers that get missed, when they may arguably benefit from it the most.

There’s still a lot of competition to provide fitness programs to older adults, but most of this is from fitness clubs in general, not those catering to the senior population. These clubs can do a good job, but they miss the mark simply by generalizing the equipment and space for everyone, and it actually isn’t. Right away, the entire layout and structure of most clubs can be intimidating, overwhelming, and leave beginners, and those in rehab, feeling lost.

HUR Gets Involved...

HUR started out just wanting to help seniors get, and stay, fit. They wanted to help frail, weak, or injured seniors become truly active adults. They wanted to help already active adults strive for even more. They wanted to help them all build and maintain their strength to continue to enjoy and enhance their life at every age and ability.

They had to do their own research to come up with the best to meet those goals. Otherwise, why bother?

They came up with the concept of  “Natural Transmission.” (If interested, click on the link to see a more detailed informational video). In general, the Natural Transmission design activates the natural motion in the muscle groups being used. The resistance is modified by attuning to the muscle’s natural generation of muscle force. The pressure on the limbs can be reduced so greatly that limbs can even be moved passively. Whether the user needs a walking device, a wheelchair, is recovering from injury, or training for a 10k. The equipment is safe and effective for everyone.

The Importance of Zero Loading Weight

Sadly, zero loading weight is concept missed in many brand prototypes. That is, of the other brands that exist, that make pneumatic machines. (Unfortunately, there aren’t many!) It’s more common for machines to go up 5.5 pounds at a time. That’s a huge difference. This means all those small gains are lost. It means the very frail to frail, weak, or injured, may not even begin.

HUR eliminated this issue by specifically manufacturing their equipment so that it starts with a zero loading weight. The user can then increase by as little as a ¼ pound at a time. Residents can observe their performance improving quickly. Just small gains can be built upon, quickly contributing to a more accelerated curve of performance enhancement. There is less risk of injury, including falls. It’s the ideal machinery for those in rehab. They can start training sooner and more effectively.

Sounds a whole lot better, doesn’t it?

Better, Safer... and Gaining Ground!

Just because pneumatic resistance is better and safer than traditional machines, it doesn’t mean it’s everywhere it needs to be. Until then, HUR offers the solution.

They understood early on, that aging adults needed the right tools to enter the New Age of Strength. 70 is the new 50. —HUR is making sure of it.

Strive on.

Learn more about HUR's strength training solutions