Feature Article - March 2006
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Command Performance

Sports performance training offers fitness facilities some room for improvement

By Margaret Ahrweiler

Fitness industry follows?

In some ways, performance training has taken off as a corollary of the growth of personal training. According to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), personal training has grown from 4 million clients in 1999 to 6.2 million clients in 2004.

Performance training also represents one way the fitness industry is responding to the needs of its clients, says IHRSA's Brooke Correia.

"It's niche marketing on the part of the industry," she says. "People respond to fitness so differently, and people are coming at exercise from so many ways, this is just one way they can succeed."

In turn, the fitness industry is beginning to take cues from performance training.

"This is carrying over to the fitness industry as a whole," Durkin says. "The way we train our normal, everyday population might not be quite the same—you won't see everyone jumping onto a 30-inch box—but people everywhere can certainly train with better movement in mind."

More progressive-minded trainers have begun boning up on body mechanics and exercise physiology, using performance training standards and tactics to preach a gospel of maximizing physical capabilities, Durkin adds. The popularity of core training traces back to sports performance guidelines, he adds.

Finally, the fitness industry will embrace performance training more thanks to its appeal to goal-oriented adults in more solitary athletic pursuits, such as golf and triathlon training, note performance pros. Many facilities, including Sports Performance Advantage in Appleton and the Velocity centers, offer golf-specific programs and triathlon groups.