Sportsmith Blog

Battling Rope

If anybody knows about strength conditioning, it’s John Brookfield. John is a Guinness Record holding strong man, who has done some amazing feats in his life. He’s done such things as pull a 24,000 lb. truck a full mile and use a 50 lb. Sledgehammer for over an hour, hitting a tire about 30 times a minute. Obviously, John also knows about stamina conditioning as well! He’s also an author of four books on strength conditioning and is the inventor of the Battling Rope and it’s associated exercises. So, you can rely on the fact that when you use a Battling Rope to exercise and condition yourself, you’re using a product that will do what it’s intended to do, since it’s inventor knows what he’s doing!

The concept behind the Battling Rope is quite simple, as all great inventions are. It’s simply a long length of rope that’s either attached to a wall or doubled up and slipped over a metal pole. You exercise by using a sort of whipping motion with your arms. The idea of these exercises is to build strength, yes, but it’s a strength that has a lasting power. It’s all about duration. The undulating motions use muscles rarely used in the arms, back, and abdomen, and since you do these motions repeatedly over and over, in time it will build incredible stamina. This is stamina that you can count on in hard situations, be it sports or other physical activities.

The exercises are fairly unique. As you work out, you will find that you both push and pull simultaneously, as well as performing isometric exercises. This builds hard strength and stamina in the most efficient way in the shortest amount of time. Weight lifting builds strength, too, but nothing can give you the sustainable strength that using a Battling Rope can. The system will also build incredible grip strength, as John has one of the strongest grips in the world (he has ripped 100 full decks of playing cards in half in under three minutes, if that’s any indication as to how strong his grip is).

SPORTSMITH carries three lengths of Battling Rope, in 40’, 50’, and 60’ lengths. These ropes are 1 and 1/2" thick and are made of durable polyester, with a rubber boot at the end to prevent unraveling. If the proper usage instructions are followed, they will last you a very long time indeed. For more information on battling rope click here.

Currently, the military has recently taken up using the Battling Rope to condition it’s elite operatives for missions that might involve them using their physical strength and stamina under long term conditions. Law enforcement agencies have also began using the Battling Rope to better condition their officers, and many professional sports teams have been using the Ropes for some time now, as have Mixed Martial Arts fighters. With a pedigree like one of the world’s strongest men as it’s inventor, the Battling Rope is a unique item, and one that’s sure to be around for a long time to come.



Tools that you will need:

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • 4mm Allen wrench
  • 8mm Allen wrench
  • 9/16 socket or hand wrench
  • Long flathead screwdriver

Make sure the unit is unplugged and the power is turned OFF. Remove the upright tube caps. Remove the front shroud. Remove the finger guards from the sides. Loosen the bolts on each side of the rear roller by 10 turns each. Remove the roller. Pry up the tension arm and remove the small belt from the pulley. Remove bolt from front roller mount and remove the front roller. Remove the 4 deck bolts. Carefully remove the deck and belt. Remember to log the maintenance in the treadmill’s console. For more information about this video click here.


Top 10 Benefits of Using Kettlebell Training

Kettlebells are weights, which resembles a globe with a handle. It has its origins in ancient Greece and it made its way into Russia many centuries ago. However, its popularity as an exercise tool was very recent in the western world.

Top fitness trend for the year 2009:

Kettlebell training was named as one of the top ten fitness trends for the year 2009 by the Council on Exercises (ACE) and still maintains its rising popularity among fitness lovers. For those who are looking for the right fitness tool, Kettlebells could provide the answer. However, making the decision to use Kettlebells should be done with proper understanding and following are the top 10 benefits of using Kettlebell training as a routine workout.

Top ten benefits of using Kettlebell training:

*Total body workout

The design of the Kettlebell with a displaced central gravity would mean that the user has to stabilize the Kettlebell using multitude of muscles and joints. Thus, each swing, press or a lift using a Kettlebell would invariably workout several muscle groups including the stabilizing muscles as well as joints.

*Efficient exercising tool

Its efficiency would be another benefit of Kettlebells and could be attributed to the ‘ballistic nature’ of Kettlebell training exercises. Swings, snatches, clean and jerks would make the body move as a single unit and therefore would be more efficient than traditional weight bearing exercises.

*Building core strength

In order to maintain better fitness and good health, one needs to have a strong and a healthy core.  Kettlebells would provide just that and according to the plane of motion, the core strength would develop on the same direction. This would mean that, everyday activities such as bending and lifting could be done without a hitch and one would never have to feel sore after such a lift.

*Improved endurance

Kettlebell training will enable a person to gain strength as well as stamina. Thus, it improves the endurance level of a person far superiorly to other cardio exercises, which may not be able to give both at the same time, or to the same extent.

*Improves mobility

Kettlebell design and its training routines will increase muscle flexibility along with muscle strength and joint stability.

*Builds better posture

Kettlebell training would enable a person to strengthen the back muscles from head to toe which is essential in maintaining a better posture and to avoid those nagging aches and pains. It will not only enable better performance during sports activities but would also help in the day-to-day activities as well.

*Fits in with a busy schedule

Kettlebell training sessions are usually shorter than traditional exercise routines although it can achieve the same result.  Thus, it would be ideal for persons with a busy schedule whom would not be having time to visit the gym or else to spend time on several exercising machines to build fitness.

*Compact, portable and safe

Kettlebells can be stored in ones bedroom and would not take much space during its workout. At the same time, as Kettlebells come in different sizes and it includes many different training routines, individuals of any age would be able to make use of it without worrying about adverse outcomes.

*Efficient fat loss

Kettlebell training would provide different methods of burning body fat and this would include, increased metabolism due to ‘explosive movements’, building of muscle mass which enables fat burning throughout the day, and hormonal effects due to total body movements.

*Fun and enjoyable

Many exercise routines and equipment would make the person bored and would be less enjoyable with time. However, with its short exercise routines and variations, Kettlebell training would be fun filled and enjoyable to many.

The benefits of using Kettlebells are endless and its superiority has been proved with time as well as through research. With its rising popularity, one could be assured that it would remain a top most fitness trend for many years to come.


ACE Study Reveals Kettlebells Provide Powerful Workout in Short Amount of Time – press release

For more information on kettlebells click here.


Put Safety First In Your Gym

When exercising, it is important that you make sure you have all of the proper first aid equipment to ensure the safety of your health.  When working out, your endorphins are flowing, your heart is going a mile a minute, and you’re feeling the best you ever have.  However, things can go wrong no matter where you are working out or what kind of exercises you are doing.  It is always more beneficial, however, to work out with other people in case a situation presents itself where you need help from someone else.  For gym owners, it is important that they stock up on the necessary safety items for their current and future customers.

Some of the first aid supplies that gym owners will want to make sure they have include ice packs, elastic bandages, antiseptic, pain relievers, surgical tape, and gauze.  Alongside all of these items, many gyms make it a point to have a defibrillator in stock as well.  A defibrillator is an electronic device that administers an electric shock to the heart through the chest wall, in an attempt to restore the normal rhythm of the heart.  Going into cardiac arrest during a workout is, unfortunately, not uncommon.  Whether you are doing aquatic fitness exercises or aerobic step workouts, there is always that chance that your heart might not be able to take the amount of activity you are putting it through.  Therefore, having an Automated External Defibrillator is a crucial element that every gym facility should make sure they have readily available.  It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Exercising and eating right is vital when trying to take care of your body and your health.  However, sometimes the effects that stress and poor habits have on your body, can weaken it, causing unexpected injury as well as cardiac arrest.  It is suggested that you consult with your doctor before doing any type of straining physical activity, so keep that in mind as well before you jump on that next treadmill.  Having these supplies and more, available in your gym, is a beneficial step to take to ensure everyone’s safety.


Drive Belt Replacement for the 95Xi Crosstrainer

About This Video

Drive Belt Replacement Instructional Video for LifeFitness 95Xi Crosstrainer Elliptical


Strength Products for Trainers: Dumbbells, Kettlebells, & Resistance Bands

As fitness professionals, you know the importance of incorporating strength training into a workout regimen. With that being said, you also know not everyone is willing to hop under a bench press or settle under a squat rack. And while these tried-and-true exercises are often associated with strength training, they’re not the only options.

A number of health professionals are introducing clients to alternative forms of strength training.  Instead of bench presses and dead lifts, they’re using free weights—dumbbells and kettlebells.  And some are even taking it one step further.  They’re forgoing the use of physical weights and opting for resistance bands.

As it turns out, a number of people trying to whip themselves back into shape prefer these methods of strength training.  They’re not as daunting, especially for those who are out of shape or elderly.  Dumbbells and kettlebells offer more varied usage than, say, a bench press.  With dumbbells an individual can perform exercises that hit pectorals, biceps, triceps, forearms, and a number of muscles in your shoulders and back.

When individuals use dumbbells, kettlebells, and resistance bands, they have more control over their workout.  They get the strength training they need without enduring some of the hardships, like injuries, associated with the more common methods.

For more information, be sure to view our strength training products page.


How to Replace the Drive Belt for a LifeFitness 95T Treadmill

Tools that you will need:

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • 8mm Allen wrench
  • 9/16 socket or hand wrench
  • Long flathead screwdriver

Unplug the treadmill and make sure the power is OFF. Remove the upright tube caps. Remove the front shroud. Remove the finger guards. Loosen the bolts on the rear roller by 10 full turns each. Pry up the tension arm and remove the belt from the pulley. Remove the front roller. Reinstall new belt and reassemble everything according to the steps in the video.