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Life Fitness | FlexStrider Elliptical X-Trainer

Life Fitness | FlexStrider Elliptical X-Trainer
FLEXSTRIDER™ by Life Fitness (a variable-stride cross trainer) 

2014 International Design Award (IDA) 
Bronze 2014 Good Design Award 
Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design 

As an avid fitness specialist and a design authority with fitness equipment, the following project was new invention for Life Fitness and pushed the limits of design, engineering and innovation. The FlexStrider™ variable-stride cross trainer was designed primarily for commercial gyms and health clubs. This unique category of variable-stride cross trainers has emerged to let exercisers change stride length on the fly and choose a workout that feels the most natural. The smooth motion of the FlexStrider™ makes it easy to use and inviting for exercisers looking for a total body workout. Through extensive research, design and development of the FlexStrider™, this workout machine was able to capture the natural movements of running, walking, and jogging with very low impact to the user. Body movements have been researched and mimicked on the machine through rigorous bio-mechanical studies for a natural feel which can allow the user to reach up to a 36” stride during a run.

 The high-tech Discover™ tablet console allows the user to combine a digital lifestyle with their workout experience. This generation of the touch screen console redefines the workout experience with the most advanced technology used in the fitness arena today. The 16” integrated LCD touch screen features an abundance of entertainment options, enhanced interaction, internal connectivity and much more. There are multiple advantages of using the Discover™ console technology on the FlexStrider™. Facilities can manage the product assets, customize workouts by trainers and entertainment through internet presets and TV channel editing. By personalizing the machine exercisers display workout settings, workout tracking and sharing, and social interactions with peers and trainers. 

The aesthetics and proportion are driven through function and form factors created by an established design language (Elevation™ product line) within the Life Fitness brand. Inspiration came from the need for aesthetic excellence to attract exercisers and strengthen the club owner’s brand. Strong function and form inputs came from a new mechanical drive system that generates (variable) elliptical motions required by the different workouts. The mechanical structure and components created new patent-protected solutions, especially for the large moving swinging arms, for an extremely smooth feel. The design also pushed boundaries of steel manufacturing, requiring new high-tech machinery for combing hard and soft-way tube bends on single part. 

In addition to visual dynamics, the FlexStrider™ offers pragmatic affordances for cross training enthusiasts and gym staff in these ways: 
• Durable metal finishes and plastic shrouding to protect against cleaning agents, sweat deterioration of frames and components, lowering maintenance costs 
• State of the art Bio-mechanics were integral in creating an elliptical path that mimics the natural motion of the body and in turn, a very natural exercise experience 
• Advanced Console Technology- console has internet connectivity, product personalization through a LFconnect app, interactive courses, video watching, and IPod®, IPhone® and Android™ smartphone integration built in 
• Over-sized Pedals- assists users in adjusting foot position comfortably with no slippage of feet. Narrow spacing between pedals for minimal hip shifting which reduces lower back stress during workout 
• User interface- low pedal step up height for best user ingress and egress on and off the machine with easy start up motion 
• Grip Design- enhanced soft urethane shape allows user to position hands into three general workout positions; top pull, power grip and heart rate 
• Resistance Controls are located on the moving arm grip to adjust intensity without disrupting workout 
• Energy Output Tracking- FitPower™ software displays the energy output of exercisers by factoring in RPM’s, resistance and stride length 
• Heart Rate Monitoring- hand sensors located on moving arm and bullhorn grips for monitoring during workout. Polar® telemetry is also provided for hands-free heart rate monitoring 
• Motivating Workout Variety- workouts automatically adjust resistance to keep users in their target heart rate zone. Goal based workouts allow users to set personal goals on the machine Finally, a strong business strategy has brought a brisk increase in revenue. Since product launch this year, sales have surpassed initial forecasts by at least 200 percent. Advantages for Life Fitness: 1) A strong brand presence in the variable-stride cross trainer arena 2) A well-established distribution channel and loyal customer base has made the transition to the FlexStrider™ natural and easy as in the machine itself.
Product Design Awards
2014 International Design Award (IDA) - Bronze
2014 Good Design Award - Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design
PR & Development Video
Free-motion machine - Renderings
Life Fitness - FlexStrider
Color, Materials and Finish (CMF) Documentation
Design Intent - Phase 1 Prototype
Marketing Videos
Life Fitness | FlexStrider Elliptical X-Trainer


Life Fitness | FlexStrider Elliptical X-Trainer

FLEXSTRIDER™ by Life Fitness (a variable-stride cross trainer) 2014 International Design Award (IDA) - Bronze 2014 Good Design Award - Chicago A Read More