Fitness Hardware has recently developed a new exercise equipment, Advanced Bodyweight Leverage Equipment (ABLE) which uses bodyweight and freedom of movement for challenging workouts whether you are an elite athlete or beginner at home.
So Women Fitness Team decided to join Luke Brown, Inventor of ABLE and founder of Fitness Hardware in an interesting conversation on developing a brand new exercise equipment and introducing it to the market.
Developing a new exercise product
Step 1: Proof of concept prototyping.
When I first came up with the idea for ABLE, I was witnessing a “back to basics” approach to working out. Bodyweight focus, crossfit and lifting raw weights like kettlebells and truck tires were gaining popularity. At the same time, I recognized the efficiency of pushup platforms already available on the market and decided that if I could take a base concept like a pushup platform but give it multi-directional movement and the ability to also use it on the feet, the result would be something innovative and unique to the industry. I drew up some sketches and convinced an engineer buddy with a workshop to help build my first pair. They were rough, with wooden frames and lacrosse balls as rollers, but they worked well enough to give me confidence to continue pursuing the concept.
Step 2: Industrial Design and Engineering.
My next step was to hire an industrial designer to add styling and bring my rough drawings to life in Solidworks – a widely used design software. We used 3D printers to create physical prototypes that we could paint, touch, feel and ultimately test. These were a strong improvement over the workshop version, but still needed some work. My wife introduced me to a work colleague who was an industrial designer looking for side projects. After a short time working together, I realized I needed his experience on the team. Luckily, he accepted my offer to partner and together, we designed, 3D printed and tested 15 or so variations of ABLE – making improvements to the function, styling and manufacturability at every opportunity.
Step 3: Intellectual Property.
Once I felt we had our product fairly close to being finalized, I met with a patent attorney to file patent paperwork to properly protect our invention.
Step 4: Branding, Marketing and Focus Groups
I’ve spent over 10 years in marketing and branding so to me, this is the fun part! Bringing any product to life with the right name and logo is a unique challenge and ABLE was no different. I worked with a local creative agency to brainstorm business and product names eventually landing on Fitness Hardware as the company name and ABLE as the name for our product. We had a “Eureka!” moment when the ABLE name also worked as the acronym for “Advanced Bodyweight Leverage Equipment.”
Developing logos was next on the list, and once we confirmed our selections with our small but growing fan base on social media, we rolled the brand images and product images onto a new website to showcase the concept. I then introduced ABLE to a number of friends and training partners in focus groups and test workouts. With the product and the brand finalized and great feedback from our test workouts, I was ready to start pre-marketing and testing ABLE with athletes.
Testing it out with Athletes
My wife and I were both Division 1 athletes who are, even years later, still passionate about fitness and an active lifestyle. She is also a yoga instructor who runs the occasional yoga / fitness bootcamp. So luckily, we have access to a number of workout partners, mixed martial artists and ex-athletes who were eager to try something new.
I recruited a number of personal trainers and also a group of less athletic colleagues for a series of group workouts. It was important to ensure ABLE was functional and appealing not to just advanced athletes, but to the novice crowd as well. I trained one individual twice a week for 4 months at 5:30 am. His passion and excitement for ABLE was invaluable for testing new moves, putting thousands of reps on the prototypes and tracking his results and fitness progress from week to week. At the same time, I formed a partnership with one of the first personal trainers I introduced to the ABLE. He agreed the product was a winner, and I realized I could gain from his experience developing workout programs, certifying the safety of moves and rounding out our team’s technical knowledge around functional training programs.
Introducing the product to the market
We plan to introduce ABLE into the market with a crowdsourcing campaign like Kickstarter, essentially pre-selling the product to fans, which allows our team to prove the market for ABLE before having to commit to the costly investment in tooling or raw materials. We have shot and are currently editing a great video to show off ABLE’s unique functionality, we are promoting our concept through social media and traditional media outlets. With enough exposure, we’ll reach our funding goal, start manufacturing the product immediately and launch an ABLE mobile app that generates daily workouts and allows users to compete remotely against others and benchmark their fitness progress. Once we have our first production run units, we’ll put them into the hands of athletes and trainers everywhere. Next, we plan to attend fitness and wellness shows to show off the concept, drive awareness and push direct sales through our website.
Our projected launch date for the Kickstarter campaign is April 18th. This will be when our campaign goes live, and fans can pre-order the product for the first time at a discount from the planned retail price of $129 / pair.
What makes Advanced Bodyweight Leverage Equipment (ABLE) a fantastic fitness equipment for fitness enthusiasts?
ABLE is a total body workout solution that allows a user to build strength, mass, flexibility or focus on sport specific training all with a simple pair of platforms that you can carry anywhere. What makes ABLE so unique is multi-directional movement allowing for an incredible number of angles and moves that target the chest, shoulders, back, abs, core and even the legs with our Toe Lock feature. In addition to the ABLE hardware, we’ve launched a move library that is already live at www.FitnessHardware.com. The simple web based filter app allows a user to filter workout moves by skill level: Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced, or by muscle group to find workout moves that motivate and challenge you regardless of your skill level or training focus.
ABLE can be used on almost any smooth surface, indoors or out. Great for home fitness programs, ABLE is totally scalable – from beginners who can perform moves from their knees, to advanced athletes who can support their full body weight or add weight with a vest for additional challenge. ABLE – Advanced Bodyweight Leverage Equipment.