In days of yore, all you needed to amp up your fitness was a wooly mammoth to run away from. Exercise was a part of daily life for hunters and gatherers, so hominids didn’t need kettlebells to carve out their abs. Nor did the Ancient Greeks—they acquired their biceps in the military centuries before the first book about physical pursuits was written by Cristobel Mendez. The fitness industry as we know it today began when a muscle-bound guru named Macfadden invented the first wall-mounted “muscle developers.” In the disco era, jogging and jazzercise were trends du jour.  If the burgeoning gym sector could make exercise fun, surely the entire world would join the dance party. Exercise trends are wont to pass, so as the Nineties dawned in all their pleather splendor, fitness centers were revolutionized yet again.

Training in the Eighties

Stair masters, elliptical cross trainers, and exercise bikes targeted muscle groups with razor-like precision. In those days, aerobic fitness and strength training were divided by a giant fitness center wall, and ne’er the two could meet. The approach was as inefficient as it was time-consuming, and gym brands only muddied the waters by designing increasingly complicated machines. If an exercise machine could play movies, count burned calories, and butter your morning toast, the industry sold it.

With time comes education. The more scientific understanding the fitness industry has gained, the better it’s become at toning wobbly bodies. Before 2010 dawned, centers focused on five areas:

These approaches were supposed to be a shortcut to larger muscles, but as the years progressed, scientists discovered that short, intense bouts of movement could target both long and short-term endurance. Fitness fiends could cut their workouts in half without suffering any negative effects. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) revolutionized the modern-day fitness center. Even Olympic athletes were doing it. Studies show that high intensity bursts increased power output by almost 10% while improving movement efficiency.

As HIIT entered public consciousness, the industry sought out inventive ways to pack power into their workouts. Wearable technology was an obvious solution. Tabata training followed closely behind, so pylo boxes became a requisite inclusion in every athletic training center.  Pylo power caught on fast, giving trainers the variety they needed to tone their bodies holistically. Add body weights, box jumps, and split squats, and you’re well on your way to fitness freedom. Pylometric boxes turn the body into a weight, allowing trainers to combine aerobic and strength training in a higher intensity workout. The higher the equipment, the harsher the training. The simplicity of it is elegant, but you can’t achieve stability with a pylo box alone.

The Emergence of the Athletic Training

Unlike Jazzercise, HIIT couldn’t be limited to one room at the back of the gym. It required too much space and had too many enthusiasts for that, so the fitness center of yesteryear transformed into an athletic training center replete with high-tech flooring and every pylo box design you could dream up. The sheer intensity of HIIT demanded a new approach to turf. Non-slip surfaces aren’t enough because the design of the surface determines the kind of strength and endurance achieved. Pylometric training on a firm surface reduces muscle soreness and even damage, but accidents must be reduced as well. Today’s centers must improve explosive power via the most effective surface, and a gym mat simply won’t do anymore. Opti-Fit approaches HIIT as an artform, carrying fitness into a distant future years ahead of its time.

For more information on designing todays fitness centers, contact one of Opti-Fit’s fitness professionals.

Newer trends in athletic training revolve around advancements in science and the ethics of the business. No longer are the days where it is acceptable for a coach to yell at their team to make them better. New methods of athletic training are allowing coaches to build on the work of scientists and other coaches to create more competitive teams and better overall athletes.

Evidence-Based Practice

Coaches learning from science and other coaches experience is called evidence-based practice. As parents demand that coaches do better for their children and fans continue to cheer for their favorite teams; coaches are looking to up their game by looking to other professionals in the industry.

The best evidence-based practices are most commonly found by reading peer-reviewed industry journals, as well as reading about the experiences other coaches have. Taking advantage of professional strength and workout equipment dealers can be of service as well.

Companies that offer consulting services can get your training program up to par by exposing you to new uses of equipment you already have, or helping you to choose appropriate new equipment. If you are already in the process of looking for additional equipment, plan to extract the knowledge your sales representative will have on new training trends for athletes.

Specialized Training

Specialized training means that coaches need to focus on each individual being coached. Each athlete needs to be guided to perform corrective and preventative exercises that fit them, their position on the team, and any injuries they may have endured.

Specialized training can be associated with building the strengths of each warrior on your Final Fantasy squad. This is also applied to athletes in solo sports like running or swimming. These exercises are meant to enhance a players strengths and to help them overcome anything that may be getting in the way of further developing those strengths.

Injury Management

Coaches are more proactive about injuries. More and more coaches are instructing athletes to get massages, do yoga, see chiropractors, or engage in physical therapy. This is a big change from sending children home and telling them to “ice it; we’ll see when we can get you back on the field.”

Having coaches more engaged in the injury healing process generally ensures that children will get the best care, and have the best season they can. Evidence has shown, that doing so is better than leaving it to the parents.

Active Concussion treatment

This one falls under injury management, but deserves a category to its own. Concussions, especially in school children are being taken much more seriously. Coaches, pediatricians, and parents are becoming aware that a full protocol really needs to be followed when it comes to handling concussion injuries. Concussions can be dangerous for anyone, especially children with developing brains.

There are many online protocols for cases where a child has sustained a concussion injury. The most important piece to injury management is understanding where you may be lacking knowledge and looking to reputable resources to fill those gaps.


The major developing trends in athletic training are to use evidence-based practices, specialized training, and to learn injury management techniques. Networking with other coaches is a great way to learn how better follow these trends. Look for meetup groups in your area, or talk with other coaches online.

A professional equipment retailer can help you to set up your gym to emulate some of the best training gyms around the world. You may not even need new equipment, just realize a new way to use it. Contact Opti-Fit today for a free consultation about the gym you are using to train your athletes. The more knowledgeable we are about new trends, the more competitive and healthy our teams and kids will be.