Consumer Corner: Forget the gym and clunky equipment. Bodyweight training the weigh to go

By MARCELLA S. KREITER  |  Sept. 26, 2010 at 5:30 AM
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CHICAGO, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- Hate the gym? Don't see the attraction in sweating with 100 other people? No room in the house for clunky exercise equipment?

Then use your own bodyweight.

Exercise has been touted as everything from a weight-loss tool to a dementia treatment, but for those who have invested more in potato chips than workout togs or for those with physical ailments, taking those first steps toward fitness or recovery can be overwhelming.

Matt and Donnie Gorsuch of Lake Villa, Ill., were in much the same boat. The couple -- he, 46, and she, 44, -- have six children and two dogs, and it had been a long time since they thought about fitness.

"We realized even doing a pushup was difficult," Matt Gorsuch told UPI. "If you can do only one or two, you're not getting much of a workout. So we started doing pushups off countertops, off the walls off a bench until we could do full pushups again."

They also held on to pieces of furniture when doing balance exercises but Gorsuch soon realized using the dining room chairs for step exercises was probably not a good idea, given he's 6-foot-5 and 300 pounds.

So they started thinking about a piece of lightweight exercise equipment that could be stored easily and provide the platform for various movements.

After 18 months of rumination and research, Power Platform Fitness Inc. has begun manufacturing the Power Platform, a 38-pound, 42-inch tall, 22-inch deep and 26-inch wide device that can support 475 pounds and fold to 4 inches high for storage. A wall-mounted unit folds to just 2-inches. The unit sells for $475 and comes with a movable platform -- a lightweight version for people who are performing rehabilitation exercises or a heavy-duty platform for athletes who want to do jumping exercises, with more add-ons in the works.

Gorsuch said the Power Platform replaces 10 other devices, the cost of which would run into the thousands of dollars -- and you "don't have to run all over the house" looking for things to aid an exercise routine.

Only a few units are out so far. Center Clubs in Libertyville and Gurnee have added the Power Platform to their offerings as has National University of Health Science in Lombard. Gorsuch said he is working on getting the units approved as durable medical equipment for use by Medicare recipients who have trouble moving from sitting to standing positions and vice versa for various reasons.

Of course, bodyweight training is nothing new. Various exercise programs have used it for decades, including television exercise shows like "Body Electric," as well as the military, the space program and Olympic athletes.

"Bodyweight training has always been around, but because of the unique challenges facing most people in today's new economy it looks like the practice will finally gain the mainstream acceptance it deserves," Donnie Gorsuch said in a recent news release.

A demonstration video is available at

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