Keiser has been designing exercise equipment for over 30 years and today makes everything from treadmills to indoor cycles like the Keiser M3i Indoor Cycle and the Keiser M3 Plus. It all began when co-founder Dennis Keiser was asked to engineer a new type of exercise equipment. It involved designing a variable resistance machine, the first of its kind, for a leading manufacturer. After completing that project he continued focusing of this aspect of fitness equipment and then, along with his brother, Randy, founded Keiser Corporation in 1976. After that, Keiser’s trajectory has only been up and they have a solid reputation of making great strides in the exercise and fitness industry as well as tackling the physical aspects of aging.
Today, Keiser is not simply a company of engineers and designers. They’re innovators. They continued with weight stack resistance equipment for a while and then moved onto hydraulic (water) resistance and magnetic resistance (as in their indoor cycles). However, their most notable innovation was their development of pneumatic variable resistance training, the first of its kind. Instead of loading up physical weights the equipment uses compressed air to change how hard the exerciser has to work. This technology is unique to Keiser and so far has shown a definite advantage over traditional exercise equipment design.
While Keiser does provide their equipment both commercially and for personal at home use they are not just a company focused on physical aesthetics. In fact, they seem to ignore the usual facets that most fitness equipment suppliers focus on; losing weight, bulking up, etc. Sure you can use their equipment for this, but their pneumatic systems have shown to increase the rate of improvement.
The key is the nature of air resistance. Air is a gas but acts like a fluid and this gives pneumatic exercise equipment its top advantage; there is reduced shock loading on connective tissue and joints. Studies have concluded that the rising rate of sports related injuries are not just caused by age or technique, but because of traditional weight stack machines. The weight load can be increased in smaller increments.
A key to Keiser’s success is thinking about common problems in new ways. Additionally, Keiser does not just produce products to sell and ignore everything else, nor do they simply take the research of others and apply it. Keiser has an active role in actual research. To date they have been involved in over 80 peer reviewed, published research studies on exercise and aging.
Keiser’s research has shown that ‘power’ is the key to enhanced human performance, and not ‘strength’. Power, also known as ‘speed strength’, is the ability to create as much force in as short a time as possible, while strength has no time factor at all. Think hitting a golf ball versus a bench press. You can do a bench press at any speed and it will not change the output, 1 bench press. But this does not apply to golf, if you take a slow swing the ball will not go as far as if you do the action as quickly as possible.
Power is important, not only in athletic ability, but has also been shown to improve our ability to perform daily activities as we get older. And this is what Keiser’s main focus is, the relationship between exercise and aging.
Clinical and Government Applications
While Keiser has a strong focus on improving the quality of life for older adults the same advantages of their equipment that applies to this segment of the market also applies to those using this equipment for clinical purposes.
Keiser is also unique in that they have partnered with many government departments to improve the functional training of its employees. They have developed specialized equipment particular to each training requirement. One example is the Force Machine provided to fire-fighters. The machine has the exerciser stand on a platform on a track, the exerciser then mimics the action of a sledgehammer or axe throw, often used in this occupation, to move themselves along the track to its end. The target performance level is to get to the end of the five foot track in 20-25 strikes, the amount of effort usually required in forcible entry situations.
Equipment and Technology
Although Keiser does have a unique focuses on aging, rehabilitation and functional training that sets them apart from most exercise equipment suppliers, they do offer a full suite of all standard fitness equipment for both strength and cardio such as power racks, press machines, pull machines, treadmills, and Keiser M3 Series indoor cycles. They also offer stretch apparatus for post-workout flexibility.
Keiser also has an impressive range of technologies for monitoring and testing. The Air420 performance test is designed to determine the resistance that the exerciser needs to work to achieve maximum power. The ECHIP can be plugged into any piece of Keiser equipment and is unique for each exerciser. It remembers your previous training on the machine which makes it great for tracking progress but also for remembering seat and height adjustments.
Overall, Keiser is an extremely innovative company that doesn’t rest on its past success. They’re continuing the fight to bring new people and fresh ideas to the world of fitness. On behalf of all of us, let’s hope they stay on this track.