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The 8 Best/Maddest/Coolest Things We Found At FIBO

Held annually in Cologne, FIBO is the world's biggest fitness expo. Unbound is there – and these are our highlights so far

Neck massagers, exercise machines, limb rejuvenators… we saw it all and more at FIBO. Fitness technology has come on leaps and bounds and we’ve seen the future. Here are our top picks from the show.

1. Vacugym Professional

What IS that thing?
At first glance it appears to be the lovechild of a dodgem and a treadmill. After a bit more investigation, we can reveal it’s actually a high-end, high-intensity home workout device.

You swiftly feel the effects of the workout and it will turn the heads of the mega rich

What’s the science?
Once you close the back door and attach the vest you wear over the top of your T-shirt, the Vacugym Professional uses vacuums to increase resistance and infrared beams to turn up the heat. The result is a workout that multiplies the effects of exercise, leading to quicker results.

Is it the future of fitness?
No. You do swiftly feel the effects of the workout and it will turn the heads of the mega rich, but it’s just too expensive to have mass-market appeal. Don’t be too down, however. You can always recreate the sensation by ramping up the heating and asking your other half to blast the Hoover in your face while you jog on the spot.

vacugym.de

2. BioNeck Original

Unbound writer Stu looking a bit worried about his massage

What IS that thing?
It’s a soothing neck massager that heats up to 55°c while recreating the sensation of a Shiatsu (finger pressure) massage.

What’s the science?
It depends which setting you choose. Shiatsu mode offers deep muscle relaxation. Vibration mode relieves muscle tension. Heat and shiatsu mode digs into your deep muscles while soothing them with warmth. And heat and vibration mode banishes muscle tension while calming aches with warmth.

It gives the deepest massage of any ‘strap-on massage device’ we’ve ever tested

Is it the future of fitness?
Plus points: it gives the deepest massage of any ‘strap-on massage device’ we’ve ever tested, and it isn’t limited to the neck and shoulders (the wireless design means it can also be strapped round your lower back or legs). Minus point: it seems like the sort of thing you’d get as a present, use twice and then store in the garage.

beste-collection.de

3. Suples Fit Ball

What IS that thing?
It’s a medicine ball with funky straps that allow you to wear the gym essential as a backpack. Or, you know, throw it around more efficiently.

Don’t be surprised if you see people chucking this about a gym floor near you soon

What’s the science?
The straps both increase the length of time you can grip a medicine ball for and allow you to make faster and more dynamic movements while holding it. This increases the cardiovascular element of the workout, which leads to superior fitness.

Is it the future of fitness?
We can’t see musclemen deserting their dumbbells for this gizmo, but we can see someone developing a good fitness class around it. It’s also perfect for people who want to develop both strength and speed. Don’t be surprised if you see people chucking this about a gym floor near you soon.

suples.com

4. Balance Training Unit

What IS that thing?
You took the words out of our mouth. It appears to be 50 Shades of Neigh – a cross between a horse and something your local dominatrix would strap her slaves into.

Makers believe it can help people recovering from injury

What’s the science?
Sit on, get whipped, giddy up, Bob’s your fitness uncle. Just kidding. It actually uses concepts taken from the worlds of rehabilitation, fitness and Pilates to improve strength, coordination, flexibility and balance. Makers believe it can help people recovering from injury, people trying to improve their posture and athletes training for horse riding, Pilates, skiing and surfing.

Is it the future of fitness?
While there’s no doubt it is fun, we just can’t see this fitting into your local Fitness First. We can, however, see it making a big impact in rehabilitation centres and top-end horse riding training academies.

btutraining.com.br

5. Weyergans Vacumed

Unbound ed Joe’s massive mechanical robot arm was proving a tad cumbersome

What IS that thing?
It’s a “passive, biophysical vascular training machine for performance optimisation”. Basically, you put your arm inside for half an hour and a rubber cushion inflates and deflates around it, with the pressure almost cutting off your blood flow. Used after a workout or when injured, this speeds up the recovery process. There’s also a really big one – the Vacufit – that you can get both your legs in, if you’ve gone and spangled them up.

What’s the science?
According to the brochure, “Intermittent vacuum therapy applies alternating negative pressure and positive pressure. The result is better circulation, better capillarisation, and the central nervous system is also simulated.” So there.

It’s good enough for Cristiano Ronaldo, who apparently has one in his house

Is it the future of fitness?
Being neither injured nor fresh from a workout, we couldn’t tell you for certain – although there was an injured guy on crutches who’d just spent 30 minutes in the Vacufit, and he did say that his legs felt better. It’s good enough for Cristiano Ronaldo, anyway, who apparently has one in his house, the wee scamp.

vacumed.de

6. The Boxmaster

What IS that thing?
It may look like an ’80s synthpop band’s drumkit, but it’s actually a boxing training station. Not marketed solely at face-punchers, it comes with a various interval-training programmes designed to work you both aerobically and anaerobically (while Eye Of The Tiger repeat-plays on your internal jukebox, obvz).

It’s certainly more varied and satisfying than hoofing away at a swinging punchbag

What’s the science?
Each of the numbered pads is on a spring system, which means they have a slight ‘give’ on impact, replicating the feel of punching a focus mitt, and greatly reducing the risk of injury.

Is it the future of fitness?
It’s certainly more varied and satisfying than hoofing away at a swinging punchbag. If you like your workouts to be stress-bustingly aggressive, maybe sweet-talk your local gym into investing in one of these.

Startrac.com

7. Shapemaster Seated Climber

Stu tests an exercise machine for OAPs, gets puffed out

What IS that thing?
It’s an exercise machine aimed at the elderly, injured or disabled. Rather than relying solely on person-power to move it, the Shapemaster is gently motorised, allowing the user to expend only as much energy as they’re comfortable with. Imagine a weights machine crossed with power steering.

Imagine a weights machine crossed with power steering

What’s the science?
As the brochure says, “Users can work passively or actively, depending on their ability. Because they don’t have to provide the motive force, they do not have to overcome intertia to use the equipment.” It may sound like a big ol’ cheating waste of time, but expending maximum effort on the tougher settings was actually pretty hard. Either that or we’re just incredibly weak.

Is it the future of fitness?
Shapemasters already feature in many gyms, clinics and old people’s homes, which explains how your nan keeps beating you at arm-wrestling.

shapemaster.co.uk

8. JBG 2 CryoSpace

What IS that thing?
It’s an honest-to-God cryogenic chamber, of the kind that eccentric billionaires freeze their bodies in in the hope of being revived in the far-flung future. You stand in it for anywhere between 30 and 90 seconds as liquified nitrogen plummets the temperature within the chamber down to as low as minus 170°C. Bit nippy.

Sadly, we weren’t allowed to have a go as the company weren’t insured to let randoms get blasted with freezing death-gas

What’s the science?
The short-term exposure to very (very) low temperatures causes the body to respond with intense vasoconstriction, followed by a widening of the blood cells, which results – it says here – in increased blood flow, nutrient absorption and tissue oxygenation. All of which makes you fitter.

Is it the future of fitness?
Sadly, we weren’t allowed to have a go on it, as the company weren’t insured to let randoms at FIBO get blasted with freezing death-gas. But we’re going to go ahead and predict that, even if the Cryo Space proves to be the greatest fitness invention since the medicine ball, the whole ‘minus 170°C’ thing probably gives it a somewhat niche appeal.

jbg2.com/kriokomora

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