Article reprinted from the March/April 2017 issue of Fitness Business Canada magazine.
by Kathryn Korchok
Technogym’s innovative equipment benefits everyone from world-class athletes to residents in disadvantaged communities
Nerio Alessandri always dreamed of building something.
When he was 22, he designed and built the first piece of equipment that would become Technogym, a global fitness and wellness brand today sold in over 100 countries. And during the course of the company’s 34 years, Alessandri has also built champions.
The Italian-based company has been the official equipment supplier for the last six Olympic Games, including the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics. The company also supports and partners with some of the world’s top soccer teams, America’s Cup sailing crews, European basketball teams, and Formula 1 racing teams, including Team Ferrari and Team McLaren.
The Olympics connection
Last summer in Rio de Janeiro, Technogym equipped 15 Olympic fitness facilities—including the main 21,527-square-foot training centre in the Olympic Village and other warm-up and prep stations located at specific competition venues—from tennis to golf to aquatics.
The company supplied more than 1,400 pieces of equipment, each fully integrated into the company’s mywellness cloud digital platform.
Its “Connected Wellness” experience combined product and digital innovation, and the Technogym Ecosystem —an intuitive and comprehensive platform connecting fitness equipment, the mywellness cloud platform, apps and wearable devices—enabled athletes to train, track their training achievements, and monitor their performances anywhere and anytime.
Technogym endorsed an elite team of athlete-ambassadors, including tennis star Rafael Nadal and Jamaican-American track and field star and Olympic medalist Sanya Richards-Ross. It also provided 50 master trainers to help athletes obtain maximum benefit from the equipment as they prepared for their Olympic performances.
How did Technogym become an exclusive equipment supplier to the Olympics and develop a reputation amongst athletes as a champion-builder?
“Innovation has always been a key element behind Technogym’s growth,” says Alessandri, company president and founder. “Innovation, of course, is pivotal for the best athletes in the world, who are used to training with the highest levels of technology and equipment.”
Some of Technogym’s latest innovations introduced to athletes during the Rio Games included:
In addition, Technogym supplied a complete set of products for strength and power training.
Science and academics combined
“Technology and innovation have greatly affected the way Olympic athletes carry out their training,” says Alessandri. “In the past, training was more closely connected to specific sport disciplines, so athletes used to train mainly on their fields of action or on the track, for example. Today, the possibility of collecting data and of measuring training through devices and software has led to more-scientific and measurable training methods.”
As records have been smashed and performances upped to new levels, training methods, technology and knowledge in the world of sports has evolved—not keeping pace but leading the way. Training is highly scientific, both in the choice of equipment and in training methodologies. In the world of sports, high performance is not only the result of rigorous training, determination and perseverance, but also of correct planning from a scientific point of view.
The Technogym approach has long incorporated the knowledge and expertise of a scientific, academic and medical advisory board from around the world.
On the Technogym campus in Italy, a team of more than 200 professionals, including sports doctors, physiologists, physiotherapists, engineers, industrial and IT designers are committed to the development of prototypes and future solutions aimed at high performance athletic training and rehabilitation.
Alessandri, who was educated as a industrial designer and trained as a gymnast, has always insisted on beautiful design that not only encourages the athlete to train but also elevates the function of the equipment.
“When talking about the design of new equipment, a scientific approach has three pillars: biomechanics, physiology and ergonomics,” he says.
Attention to the biomechanics of new equipment means a lower risk of injuries and accidents while training. Attention to physiology means that each athlete’s performance is carefully evaluated and assessed according to specific tests or parameters onboard the machines, in order to precisely monitor the training process. And attention to ergonomics ensures that the interaction of the athlete with the machine is comfortable, smooth and precise, ensuring optimal performance and lessening possible injury.
“Indeed, the performance of Olympic athletes and professionals has been positively affected by these improvements,” says Alessandri.
Leaving a legacy
But the best Technogym success story always comes after the Olympics. Because when the athletes go home, the equipment stays.
The company donated 600 pieces of equipment to the local people after the Games, as part of its “Let’s Move for Rio” social campaign which supports disadvantaged communities in Rio, encourages regular people to get involved in exercise, sport and wellness, and inspires local soccer players, runners, gymnasts and swimmers to pursue their goals.
After all, where do the next superstar athletes come from?
“The Olympic Games represent a great occasion to promote, at a global level, the concept of ‘sport for all’ and to encourage physical exercise in general,” says Alessandri. “So the Games are a unique opportunity for us to convey the wellness lifestyle, which is the soul of our philosophy.”
Kathryn Korchok is a journalist whose work has appeared in major newspapers and magazines in Canada and the U.S. She specializes in health, fitness, lifestyle and business writing. Contact her at email@example.com.