The Poweriser is the newest alternative to the standard Stairmaster that has been a staple of workout rooms for years. For those who want to work their way up before strapping one on, pogoing might be just the ticket.
If your weekly workout routine has become so routine that you don’t look forward to it anymore, you’re in luck. The newest alternative to the Stairmaster is a set of jumping stilts that will allow you to jump as high as five feet into the air, and run as fast as 20 miles per hour, with strides as long as 10 feet.
The Poweriser is a cross between pogo sticks and stilts. They attach to the legs directly below the knees, and a boot straps onto your shoes. Each boot has a footpad with snowboard-type bindings and a fiberglass leaf spring. There are different models available, for both children and adults, ranging in price from about $250 to $500 or more. The Poweriser was modeled after a German product, PowerSkips, which were designed to mimic the jumping motions of kangaroos.
Powerising quickly became an extreme sport as soon as athletic fanatics realized what the equipment would allow them to do. Powerising experts can do flips, splits, and fancy tricks in mid-air, between leaps. Extreme athletes have developed entire routines of aerial ballet, thanks to the agility afforded them by the Poweriser. For those who are less daring or those with a fear of heights, Powerising is still an excellent workout for the whole body when used for walking and bouncing.
Another new exercise aid that has grown rapidly in popularity in recent years is pogoing. Although pogo sticks were introduced commercially all around the world in the early 1900s, the activity remained just kid’s play until a couple of years ago. Skateboarding pro Andy MacDonald had bounced on pogo sticks as a child growing up in Boston, but as he grew into his teen years, the pogo sticks were no longer strong enough to carry his weight.
At the 2001 Gravity Games in Rhode Island, MacDonald was introduced to a prototype of a high-tech adult pogo stick designed by Bruce Middleton, a physicist. The demo was a crude wooden and aluminum mock-up, that used stacks of elastic bands instead of metal springs for propulsion. Middleton had already shopped his design to SBI Enterprises, the company that owns the original patent on the pogo stick, so MacDonald decided to join their ranks to design the final model. In 2004, the first Flybar 1200 debuted to the public.
The Flybar is powered exclusively by body weight and leg strength, so the height and power of the pogo jump depends on the person’s physique. According to SBI, the 800 model can bounce a 180-pound rider about 4 feet into the air. The Flybar 1200, which is used by more advanced stunt pogoers, can reach heights up to 6 feet and higher. Perhaps, the best thing about pogoing is that the workout can burn 400-600 calories per hour.
Pogoing is quickly taking its place alongside other new and fun fitness trends, such as pole dancing, boxing, cardio striptease, and other types of exercise routines intended to lure people back into the gym with the promise of something innovative and definitely not boring. According to Cedric Bryant of the American Council on Exercise, “What fitness centers are looking for are these unique activities that might have an element of fun to them as a way to unseat the sedentary and to offer people more variety.” And after all, if variety is the spice of life, then variety can keep your workout spicy too.