Even though bodyweight training is growing more popular, the use of fitness tools in exercise sessions still remains in vogue.
Not only that, fitness functional tools are becoming more popular, particularly in small-group training sessions, said Mr Tan Hai Yong of Eco Lifestyle Fitness, a distributor of fitness products.
Some examples of these tools are the ViPR, Bosu, SandBell and Dynamax (medicine) ball.
The SandBell, a soft, disk-shaped neoprene bag filled with sand, and ViPR, a long, hollow plastic log that weighs between 4kg and 20kg, have been in the market for about five years, he said.
The Bosu, a fitness training device that looks like an exercise ball that has been cut in half, has been available here for a decade, while the Dynamax ball, a medicine ball or a weighted ball that is also known as an exercise ball, has been in the market for almost 30 years, he said.
Such tools are typically used in gyms and by personal trainers.
They can help one to train the body more efficiently and, as a whole, in all three dimensions of space (up, down and side-to-side twisting). It is how we move in real life, said Mr Tan Hai Yong.
Mr Keith Tan, managing director of Aileron Wellness gym said these tools help users with day-to-day movements, such as squatting, sitting down or reaching for something on the bookshelf, and so on. He has been using functional fitness tools at his gym since he opened it in 2010.
The tools make training more fun and exciting, he said, and clients are able to see the results of their workouts in a shorter period of time.
Trainers at True Fitness use the Bosu and medicine ball to maximise the effectiveness of their clients' workouts, said a spokesman for the fitness chain, which has eight gyms here.
"Almost any workout can be made more challenging with the use of a Bosu ball," he said.
"As it requires you to use more muscles to stabilise your body, it means that your workout will be more intense and you will burn more calories."
Kettlebells, which resemble cannonballs with handles, are another functional fitness tool. It is an old invention which has become very popular in recent years.
Mr Muhamad Redzuan Jab Nasir, managing director of Integrated Training Institute, which offers kettlebell certification courses, said the demand for kettlebell training in Singapore has seen a "steep increase" in the past four years.
Indeed, the Virgin Active gym in Raffles Place is about to start Kettlebell training classes this month. Its fitness manager,
Mr Izzuddin Tahir, said kettlebells - unlike dumbbells which train an isolated group of muscles, such as the biceps - are good for a total body workout.
Virgin Active also has plans to start SandBell classes in the middle of this month, he said.
Here are some functional fitness tools used by trainers here:
(Sources: Virgin Active, True Fitness, Aileron Wellness and American Council on Exercise)
This article was first published on April 9, 2015.
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