Looking for some upper-body cardio? Krank it up
Go into any health club,” Jonathan Goldberg says. “You’re not going to see anyone cruising around in a wheelchair and having a good time.”
But Goldberg has plans to change that with his Krankcycle. It’s a machine that lets you turn a flywheel with your hands instead of your feet, making cardio conceivable for people with lower-body injuries.
It’s a simple idea. Similar hand cranks, usually called upper body ergometers (or UBEs), have been fixtures in the rehab world for years. But Goldberg gussied up the standard equipment so that it’s more adjustable and the arms move independently, allowing for a variety of movement patterns. “And it looks like it’s something from outer space,” he adds.
Most importantly, however, he’s introducing it to gyms around the world as the next innovation in fitness. That has some real weight, given that Goldberg is better known as Johnny G, the guy who invented Spinning. When he launched cycling in a group exercise format more than 20 years ago, it was a revolutionary notion — in many ways.
With Kranking, which had its formal debut last year, Goldberg says he’s making an even greater contribution to the industry and society. “It realistically expands the scope of possibilities for individuals who couldn’t participate before,” he says.
Even for individuals who could, there are clear benefits from the equipment. Goldberg points out that the other pieces it joins in the cardio section of a club — treadmills, steppers, recumbent bikes — are all lower-body intensive. “Very little work by the average person is done by the upper body,” he says.
But if you’re cross-training by adding a Krankcycle to your routine, you’re giving extra attention to your biceps, triceps, chest and upper back, which helped the Krankcycle earn high marks in an American Council on Exercise study released a few months ago. (Participants also burned an impressive average of nine calories a minute during a half-hour Kranking class.)
Because most people aren’t as accustomed to using those muscles, and certainly not in that rotation motion, Goldberg admits there’s an initial awkwardness. “But then when you get the flow, you can go on a journey,” says Goldberg, who adds you’ll soon have the same sensation riders get on his bikes.
Just like the Spinner bikes, Krankcycles feature a resistance knob you turn to up the intensity. So, in class settings, each person can feel comfortable to work at his or her own level of ability, which Goldberg says is key to making “inclusive fitness” not just a buzzword, but reality.
That hits home for Goldberg, who hasn’t been able to exercise as strenuously since being diagnosed with a heart ailment in 2004. But a disability won’t prevent him from exercising, and if he has his way, it won’t stop anyone else, either.
Details: www.krankcycle.com .