Gary Jones, founder of Hammer Strength, has more than 30 years of experience in the fitness industry. He began his career in 1970 with strength equipment manufacturer, Nautilus, where he was responsible for inaugurating low-friction selectorized equipment and the first leverage machines. After 15 years at Nautilus, he forged out on his own to create an entirely new line of exercise machines -- Hammer Strength. His innovative designs and dedication have made Hammer Strength the world leader in plate-loaded equipment. Athletic Management asked Jones to share his views on Hammer Strength and strength training.
AM: How did Hammer Strength come into existence?
GJ: I wanted to create strength equipment that mirrors human movement and gives users the safest, most efficient and satisfying workout possible. For about three years, we researched body movement and muscle ability and made countless consultations with doctors, chiropractors, sports doctors and top athletes. To help in the production process, we programmed an elaborate Computer Aided Design (CAD) Solid Modeling software that uses a three-dimensional model. Geometric calculations on arc, weight, and balance result in biomechanically correct strength training products that are unique to Hammer Strength. After we finalized our extensive research, we launched Hammer Strength into full production in April 1989.
AM: Why was the company named Hammer Strength?
GJ: We chose the name Hammer Strength because we wanted the equipment and the image of the company to be hard core and heavy duty.
AM: What makes Hammer Strength unique?
GJ: The patented Iso-Lateral movement lets muscles move through unique ranges of motion that are biomechanically natural. Since the body does not move in perpendicular planes, the arcs replicate the body's movements. Our Iso-Lateral machines are designed to build functional strength by combining unilateral movement with converging or diverging arcs, making the resistance for each limb independent. These machines also give exercisers the option to move one limb at a time, or alternate limbs, increasing exercise variety and ensuring more balanced results. The machines provide multi-joint, compound movements while providing support and safety for the supporting structures, such as the torso and back.
With our Ground Base technology, we take the concepts of Iso-Lateral technology a step further. This unique technology allows exercisers to train with their feet on the ground, encouraging total body stabilization, better balance, and greater functional workouts that maximize everyday as well as athletic performance. They provide a safe and controlled training environment for both explosive sport-specific strengthening and for individuals who want to improve their ability to perform activities of daily living. In the feet-on-the-ground position, the user's entire body is able to respond to the exercise exertion and gravity naturally, spurring strengthening of corresponding muscle groups and enhancing coordination.
AM: What changes have been made to the Hammer Strength line since the company's beginning?
GJ: In 1999, we added benches and racks and Hammer Strength Motion Technology Selectorized (MTS) to broaden our offering. Our benches and racks line consists of more than 25 Olympic, Free Weight and Body Weight units. All the products feature a sturdy, bolt-together design and are constructed of the same durable components as our plate-loaded equipment. MTS machines incorporate the biomechanical integrity of Iso-Lateral movements with the ease and efficiency of weight stacks. There are no complicated adjustments or learning curves, and the dual weight stacks preserve the integrity and smooth feel of the independent arm action. We continue to expand both the benches and racks line and the MTS.
AM: How did Life Fitness' acquisition effect Hammer Strength?
GJ: Life Fitness' acquisition of Hammer in November 1997 was extremely beneficial. By providing outstanding resources and personnel, Life Fitness helped us increase our global reach, enhance our products, and improve our ability to bring new products to market. The additions of benches and racks and the MTS line are perfect examples of how Life Fitness' resources allowed us to improve our offerings. Since the acquisition, we have remained a separate and distinct product line of Life Fitness, with the product design and production still handled in Hammer's original Falmouth, Ky. plant.
AM: How many patents and machines are currently in Hammer Strength's offering?
GJ: We currently hold 25 patents for innovative features and have more than 60 different strength training machines.
AM: Who is Hammer Strength's target user?
GJ: Our patent design features make us the premier exercise manufacturer for athletic markets including professional sports, colleges, and bodybuilding, but equally deliver optimal workout results to beginning and advanced exercisers.
AM: What types of new equipment does Hammer Strength have in store for the future?
GJ: We're constantly enhancing our existing products and we continue to listen to our users to learn more about what they want. We will continue to develop innovative strength products that our users have come to expect.