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david.margrave
August 16th, 2007, 12:27 AM
Does anyone remember the 'bio bench'? They had me use one at swim camp years ago when I was too young to lift weights. What is a comparable piece of equipment today?

knelson
August 16th, 2007, 12:31 AM
The Vasa Trainer.

JimRude
August 16th, 2007, 12:34 PM
During my years at Cal in the mid 1980s we benefitted from using the "speed circuit" developed by Evan Flavell and Isokinetics, Inc. It incorporated several "swim benches" and other isokinetic apparatuses...

Evan is still going strong in the Bay Area, and I believe the Bears still use the speed circuit, too.

Brian Stack
August 16th, 2007, 04:44 PM
During my years at Cal in the mid 1980s we benefitted from using the "speed circuit" developed by Evan Flavell and Isokinetics, Inc. It incorporated several "swim benches" and other isokinetic apparatuses...

Evan is still going strong in the Bay Area, and I believe the Bears still use the speed circuit, too.

Back in those days I worked for Evan and his partner at a commercial version of the speed circuit called "FitLab" 15 stations in 30 minutes. The perfect dryland training for swimmers. I loved that BioMetric Swim bench too, great for strength building at pace with accomodating resistance. We'd do the circuit as a points competition, Evan programmed a computer to monitor your energy output while on the circuit, and we'd compare scores. Bengt Baron, and Jim Corbeau were two of the staff there, Jim was a manager for a while too. Miss that workout. I hear Evan is still servicing the benches and builds one or two every now and then.

thewookiee
August 16th, 2007, 06:13 PM
Brian,

Would you please share the circuit with us? Sounds like it is very intense and helpful.

Thanks,
John

Brian Stack
August 16th, 2007, 07:50 PM
Brian,

Would you please share the circuit with us? Sounds like it is very intense and helpful.

Thanks,
John

Sure was intense, but you'd have to buy a number of machines to duplicate it.
Each station lasted two minutes, a work interval of 1:40, plus a :20 rest to allow a switch of machines. There was a beep timer to let folks know when to switch.
The circuit started with a 2:00 stretch (short, I know), then on to the swim bench that scored, then on to an exercise bike modified to score on the circuit. The fourth was a Concept ll Rowing machine which was modified to score. The fifth station was a treadmill, but it did not score, we used this for active recovery. Station six was a Nordic Track configured to score also (steep learning curve on this one!), from there we went onto an original Stairmaster with the rotating stairs, it also scored on the computer. Then we had a wall mounted mini gym, a pull down exercise, great for working on a fly pull, it scored. A climbing machine was next, it did not score but it wasn't exactly recovery either. It was one of those thingies with two foot rests and two hand holds so you used both to climb, 1:40 on that was a long time.
A recumbent cycle was next in the circuit, built by Evan for the circuit, it scored. The next machine was a customized swim bench altered to provide a kayak paddling workout, another bear, and it scored too. Number twelve was another treadmill, non scoring, for cool down. The last three stations did not score and were exerciser's choice, we had another swim bench, rowing machine and stairmaster for the rest of the cool down.
At the end of the circuit the computer would print out your workout values by machine and total, then we'd compare scores to see who was buying!
Scoring was done in kilopond units(?) it seemed like only engineers understood what it really meant, but hey numbers are numbers right, and we had a score. Evan would reassure us by telling us to instruct the clients that it was a measure of work, or the energy they produced while working out. We also had Heart Rate Monitors on the walls at every third machine for the HR folks (there were tri-athletes then too!)
There were two locations and both were humming, but the rising rents on prime real estate took their toll and FitLab folded in the mid 90s.
It was a great workout!

Brian Stack
August 16th, 2007, 07:51 PM
The Vasa Trainer.
Not so much with the standard Vasa Trainer, but the Ergometer Vasa looks to be very similar.

david.margrave
August 25th, 2007, 01:01 AM
Maybe a cheap option is a used 'total gym'.

Not as capable as a vasa trainer they say http://www.vasatrainer.com/index.php?page=Vasa%20Trainer%20is%20better%20than %20Total%20Gym

But you don't see vasa trainers for $50 at yard sales or on craigslist.

david.margrave
October 6th, 2007, 05:33 PM
I scored a used 'sensible gym' (generic total gym knock-off) for $80 on craigslist. The one I got has the bar for stacking on extra weight if you want to.

A lot of the exercises you can supposedly use it for are kind of contrived. But it seems to be good for seated rows and lat pulls. So we'll see. The results, if any, will speak for themselves!