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Perform Better: Performance Equipment Provider

Perform Better Really Does Perform Better!

If you are in the fitness industry –  whether you’re a gym owner, a personal trainer, a coach, a physical therapist, an athletic trainer or anything else that speaks functional training, fitness or rehab, and you need to find equipment, then Perform Better is the place to get it!

Experts in functional training, rehabilitation and sports performance, Perform Better will not only sell you any type of quality commercial grade exercise equipment, from a Total Gym Jump Trainer to a Lebert Equalizer Bar but they will advise you on which is the best equipment for your facility and they will also advise you on how to set up your facility and even design it for you!  Oh and they offer top notch delivery and installation services as well.

Jacob A. Guajardo

Jacob A. Guajardo

We recently caught up with Jacob A. Guajardo in the sales department of facility design to get the scoop on Perform Better and find out what they were up to these days.  He told us some interesting stuff.

“MFAC started as a heel cup manufacturer which most podiatrists around the world still use. From this origin, the company, led by Bill Falk, grew as a leader in the track and field community. Perform Better was established in 1992 and now is a leading provider for quality equipment for the fitness professional.  Currently, there are Perform Better divisions in Germany, China, Japan, and the Middle East. And they are still growing! Their main audiences are fitness professionals, college and professional sports teams, along with mainstream fitness enthusiasts. In addition, Perform Better offers a very unique educational platform which helps strength coaches, personal trainers and/or physical therapists become experts in functional training.”

Original Plan

Original Plan

Jacob got into the fitness industry 26 years ago while in college in Nashville, Tennessee. His first job was setting up various types of fitness equipment. When he moved to Massachusetts, he found a job setting up and delivering the same types of products for a similar company. After working for that previous company for 13 years, he moved to Perform Better sales and facility design and has been with them for over 11 years.

We asked Jacob about the facility design segment of the business and how the process worked.   Here’s what he told us:

“The staff at Perform Better brings a wide range of skill sets with some being former athletes and some of the staff still compete competitively. Every person in the company has been involved in athletics in some capacity which makes us a very well-rounded, trusted, and knowledgeable operation.

Regarding facility design, we started this service about ten years ago. Initially it was in a 2D format and was primarily used to figure out how we would layout turf or rubber or maybe give an idea of how a room could be laid out. Today the facility design team can create virtual products, provide 3D walk through movies of a proposed facility, and provide high resolution images for customers marketing grand openings or “coming soon” images.

3D Plan

3D Plan

The facility design process is very simple, yet effective:

We always like to start with a layout of the facility like this one from a recent install we completed.

This picture illustrates the initial idea or vision that the clinic had for the renovation of a local church.

Of course they met with the town building inspectors, builders and then presented it to Perform Better. We aided the customer by providing them with a conceptual drawing of their initial ideas (see the color 3D plan above).

Before and After

Before and After

Luckily the customer was local, so I was also able to attend meetings with anyone from the clinicians to the building personal, architects and the contractors. I was able to view the facility prior to design and was able to modify the design on the fly when a problem came up.”

Jacob continued with photos, “this one shows a before and after.  Well, more a “during” installation and after, for this very cool physical therapy/sports performance clinic.  You can see there’s quite a transformation.

The facility design department has grown to have 4 full time designers, meaning 4 people that know how to use the program, but every sales person on staff has the ability to help layout and give advice or lead buildout for all interested customers. The bottom line is facility design is just another way we can continue a conversation with a potential customer and then they be able to use our design when communicating to their investors, clients or staff.”

Jacob continued, “We’ve recently started to put together an online interactive map.  It shows locations of facilities we have designed over the years which we think is pretty impressive if you are looking to see how experienced we are.”

Perform Better Interactive Map

Perform Better Interactive Map


Perform Better also offers is a series of specialized Functional Trainer Summits across the US that are designed to provide trainers, coaches and therapists hands-on expertise through a combination of speakers, lectures and learning experiences by many top professionals in the industry.

Here’s a video showing a recent Perform Better 3-Day Functional Training Summit in Long Beach, CA.


New Microsoft PowerPoint Presentation

Watch the Video!


Perform Better have established themselves as the “go to place” for fitness, rehab and education.  Staying at the forefront of customer service, a Facebook Review couldn’t have put it better, “When you deal with Perform Better, they try to make sure it’s a good experience each and every time.  It’s great to see companies that do well by doing good!


Understanding Total Gym Progressions Part II

Combining Pullover Crunch, Reverse Lunges, & Chest Flies for the perfect routine


Understanding Total Gym Progressions


Some clients like to be tortured … in a good way of course! Others look to their trainer to provide the best workouts, with the best exercises to achieve their desired goals. Then there are those clients that struggle to make their session and want to talk the whole time avoiding another boring squat! 

Regardless of the type of client you work with, the same struggles hold true for all, and that is to provide the best exercise challenges suitable for each client at their fitness levels.  The workouts developed need to evolve so that the client’s interest, motivation and achievements, continually progress with success.

Progression is a strategy that is developed to allow your client to advance in his or her own movement skills.  This is an important concept to understand since every client has different goals and training needs as well as his or her own set of strengths and weaknesses.  What is challenging for one may be easy for another. 

Once a skill or task is mastered, something needs to be changed to continue to advance.  This is where proper progression becomes an art form.

Progressing An Exercise

Listed below are the primary ways to progress an exercise.  These methods each have their own progressions within themselves, but if you understand how each one affects the other and that slight changes can alter a movement to obtain a skill, then you will be able to effectively execute the appropriate progressions for your clients when they are ready to advance.

> Incline adjustmentincreasing or decreasing the incline

> Speed – performing an exercise faster vs. slower.

> Body Position – altering the body’s position challenges different muscle angles.

> Sets & Reps/ Sequences/ Style – These factors enhance the workout challenge.

> Add Uni or Bilateral Movements- Changing an exercise from both limbs to working one at a time not only adds an increased strength challenge but it also allows focus to be placed on the weaker side while using core stabilizers.

> Incorporate Compound Movements – Performing two exercises at once challenges multiple muscle groups simultaneously and saves time.

Adding these dimensions to your clients’ workouts may be a successful game changer.

Total Gym Progression Tips:

The Total Gym offers so many variations when it comes to progressing an exercise.  Here are some ways to progress a basic exercise to a more challenging option:

Adjusting the incline for increased resistance

Increasing or lowering the incline changes the feel of an exercise.  Typically, a higher incline is more challenging for extremity work, and a lower incline is more challenging for core work. 

For example, performing pull-ups with a high incline is more challenging due to the gravitational load and direction of pull.  The higher the incline for this exercise, the harder the exercise.  The Total Gym can provide assistance for those clients needing strength development by allowing the client to successfully perform the exercise at a lower level.

Changing the anchor position

Adjusting the hand/ leg stance position during specific exercises can challenge an exercise.   Changing the anchor placement of weight distributed on the glide board by a seated, kneeling, high kneeling, or standing position can also challenge an exercise.

For example, performing a seated row in the middle of the glide board at a low level is less challenging than performing the same exercise from a kneeling stance at the top of the glide board at a moderate incline.  It requires more core stability and balance to adjust from a seated to a kneeling position. 

Added Resistance

Adding external resistance along with the Total Gym provides an extra challenge for your core, balance, coordination, and strength.  Always perfect a client’s form from the simplest level before adding an extra “fitness toy” or external resist.  Creativity is great, but if it hinders a client’s form, then the purpose is defeated.

For example, performing a reverse lunge on the Total Gym challenges core balance, stability, and strength.  When adding extra resistance or a movement skill that follows the basic reverse lunge, more muscles are recruited, coordination plays a role, and effective execution of the exercise is still the primary goal.  Intensity can always be added, as long as a client is ready for the challenge.

Analysis of each exercise needs to be done in order to progress your client appropriately during their workouts.  This is what will make all the difference for a successful session each time.

Basics to Progress

Let’s discus 3 excellent exercises you can progress during a workout by adding a variation for an increased challenge.  Pullover Crunch, Reverse Lunge, and Chest Flies are a great combination of exercises to work the entire body while focusing on a specific area.

Each of these exercises shows a series of ways to progress ranging from beginner to advanced.  Try incorporating these exercise progressions with your client according to their strength level. 

Pullover Crunch

  • Supine
  • Legs at 90 degrees
  • Straight Legs

Reverse Lunges

  • Closed Glide Board, Stationary Lunge
  • Open Glide Board
  • Pulses

Chest Flies

  • Seated
  • Kneeling
  • High Kneeling
  • Static equilibrium

These are a few examples of how to simply progress a basic exercise.  From understanding the basics, you can always add in your own progressions to create more challenges.

A personal trainer has many responsibilities to execute safe, effective and efficient training sessions to clients.  Being knowledgeable of the basic exercise principals allows progressions to occur when a client is strong and ready.  It is important to understand these modifications, variations and specifics to each exercise to accommodate clients properly by layering an exercise with proper advancements.  It’s always amazing to see the simplest exercises to be some of the hardest to perform.

Inspire and challenge your clients each session by going back to the basics and layering the exercises from there.

Best Always,


About the Author

Maria Sollon ScallyMaria Sollon Scally MS, CSCS holds a Masters Degree in Performance Enhancement/ Injury Prevention and Kinesiology. She has obtained numerous certifications in various areas of fitness and is a national conference presenter. Maria specializes in Pilates, Performance Coaching, and Corrective Exercise Techniques and Kettlebells. She is the creator of the Plyo Pilates Method and has developed a series of amazing workout DVDs. She is a Master Trainer for Total Gym, Resist-a-Ball, Body Blade, Peak Pilates, Kettle Bell Concepts and is a free lance writer for Fitness accredited magazines, news letters, and fitness blog sites. Maria demonstrates her knowledge each day and uses her dynamic creativity throughout her specialized line of work. (purchasable workout videos) (workout clips)


Total Gym Elevate Circuit – FAQs

Total Gym Elevate Circuit Frequently Asked Questions

Total Gym Elevate Circuit

Total Gym Elevate Circuit

In an effort to streamline our processes, we’ve created an FAQ blog where we answer the questions we receive the most on the Total Gym Elevate Circuit.  We hope this will help you get the information you need.

What is the difference between the Total Gym Elevate Circuit and other circuits of its kind?

The Total Gym® Elevate Circuit™ is the ONLY bodyweight circuit on the market.  This means that the exerciser is using a percentage of their bodyweight as resistance working against gravity, on an adjustable incline.   The Total Gym Elevate Circuit has been specifically designed as a set of machines to complement each other so as to work the entire body in 30 minutes.  The circuit is comprised of six pieces: the Total Gym Core Trainer, Leg Trainer, Press Trainer, Pull-up Trainer, Jump Trainer and the Row Trainer.

Total Gym Core Trainer

Total Gym Core Trainer

How does bodyweight training benefit my members?
Functional bodyweight training is a very effective way to build muscle while adopting a more natural range of motion that improves athleticism quickly and effectively. This type of training benefits every “body” as it is designed to mirror the way a body actually moves. The Total Gym Elevate Circuit applies the unique concept of incline bodyweight training as the method of resistance, rather than the traditional weighted resistance, most fitness equipment is built upon.

What are the individual benefits to the exerciser?

Users can perform exercises they may have not been previously able to do.  An example of this would be performing an unassisted pull-up. Because the Total Gym Pull-up Trainer is built on an incline, users lift a percentage of their own

Total Gym Leg Trainer

Total Gym Leg Trainer

bodyweight, starting at approximately 35 percent, and gradually working up to 65 percent – eventually building sufficient strength to perform the pull-up, unassisted. Many of the exercises on different units can be progressed in the same way.

Additional benefits:

>  Functionally strengthens to enhance daily performance.

>  Simple, approachable and easy to use.

>  Accommodates all fitness levels and ages.

>  Variety of machines and exercises offer a fun and stimulating workout.

>  Low impact on joints

>  Ergonomically designed to perform the exercise correctly.

How is the Total Gym Elevate Circuit best used in my gym?

Simple and intuitive to use, the Total Gym Elevate Circuit is ideal as a self-serve circuit on the gym floor. Each machine has an on-board placard detailing how to perform the circuit and the exercises.  There are over 90 exercises and variations that can be performed making the circuit fun and engaging.

The Total Gym Elevate Circuit is also perfect for small group training and personal trainers can benefit from incorporating the circuit into their own sessions or as part of another circuit.  The Elevate Circuit is a great tool to introduce clients to a functional style of training and to bridge the training gap between selectorized equipment and functional cages.

Can all my members use the Total Gym Elevate Circuit?

Total Gym Press Trainer

Total Gym Press Trainer

Yes, exercises can be progressed or regressed to accommodate ALL fitness levels and ages.  Because almost each unit supports the body on a padded foam rolling board, the Elevate Circuit is very safe for all ages, including children (ages 7 and upwards) with supervision.

Why would my members use the Elevate Circuit over other equipment in my facility?

For the member, apart from getting a great workout in 30-mintues, the Total Gym Elevate Circuit provides a unique experience when compared to selectorized or plate-loaded equipment. Why? Users move up and down the incline rail on a padded glideboard. People report that the “in-mid-air” airborne-type experience feels like they are on a “ride” which makes the workout a lot of fun.

Using a percentage of a person’s bodyweight, where the body is supported makes for a more comfortable workout as well as offering up progressions in a gradual way.  This allows for less injury and stress on the joints, but be rest assured, members will really feel the burn when they raise the resistance levels.  Some units accommodate additional variable bungee resistance for those who really need it and people report that they can really feel their muscles working.

Another positive experience factor involves bringing people together; allowing them to be more social in the gym setting, or a small training program setting.  Selectorized machines are very isolating and though people work out with others in the cage, it tends to get extremely competitive or intimidating.   The Total Gym Elevate Circuit is simple and easy to use, so members can feel empowered quickly.

Total Gym Pull-up Trainer

Total Gym Pull-up Trainer

You say the circuit is simple and intuitive.  How do I know my members will be able to use it on their own?

Each unit has an on-board illustrated placard, clearly detailing how to perform each exercise in the circuit and how to perform the circuit itself.  Once the member has familiarized themselves with a few exercises they will be able to perform the circuit in 30-minutes.  If an exercise is too difficult for them, they can easily lower the incline on the unit, or do less reps.  Each unit is ergonomically designed to perform the exercise correctly.   

The placard also includes a QR code that can be scanned for video clips of additional exercises – here

How do my Personal Trainers benefit from the circuit?

The Total Gym Elevate Circuit makes it easy for the personal trainer and the client to fully benefit from the session.  For the personal trainer, the Elevate Circuit facilitates over 90 exercises from basic to challenging which keeps the client fully engaged time after time.  The units are easily adjustable to accommodate the most high-spirited athlete and the deconditioned person alike, which for the personal trainer is a huge benefit that takes the guess-work out of complicated scheduling, as all different ages and fitness levels can be booked into the same session.

Total Gym Jump Trainer

Total Gym Jump Trainer

How much room will I need to allow for the Elevate Circuit

The Total Gym Elevate Circuit has a relatively small footprint taking up only 225 square feet of floor space for all six units. 

Each piece can be used as part of a circuit or individually. The equipment can be grouped together or blended with other equipment. Note that if you put the Core Trainer with an ab-crunch machine, clients will quickly see which one is more beneficial and diverse:  the same with the Leg Trainer replacing all three machines:  glute, quad and hamstring.

Where is the best place to put the Elevate Circuit in my gym?

The Total Gym Elevate Circuit can be installed on the weight training floor or in the functional training area and members can self-serve.  Open area placement is also advantageous because members look in on Personal Trainers in small group training or 1:1 sessions and once they see the success of the class, they too sign up, promoting additional revenue.

How much does the Total Gym Elevate Circuit cost?

Total Gym Row Trainer

Total Gym Row Trainer

The Total Gym Elevate Circuit is aligned with what gym owners are looking for to keep their members coming back and for the low investment of around  $10,000 for all six pieces, they can refresh their gym with the latest equipment guaranteed to drive sales while satisfying member needs for a workout that is fun and engaging.

For more information contact Ralph Ruggiero at / 858-764-0078.


Open and Closed Chain Exercises on Total Gym

When to Use Open or Closed Chain on Total Gym?

Simply put, open chain exercise is where one end is fixed while the other end is free. Raising the arm up overhead or knee extension are open chain exercises. A closed chain exercise is when both ends are fixed. For example, push-ups and squats are closed chain exercises. Open chain exercise is easier to implement when isolating a single joint. For example, the elbow joint is isolated with biceps curl and the knee is isolated with hamstring curls. In rehabilitation, when weight bearing, strength and range of motion are impaired or injury is acute, open chain exercises may be easier to implement. With that said, open chain exercises can place greater shear, stress, on a joint, making closed chain exercise more desirable.

Wide Rear Fly - Open Chain

Wide Rear Fly – Open Chain

Closed chain exercises increase joint stability, decrease acceleration forces, and increase muscular activity to help resist large forces. Due to nature of the exercise, closed chain exercises tend to incorporate more joints. For example, a squat involves movement at the ankle, knee and hip. A push up involves movements at the wrist, elbow and shoulder girdle. Due to increased muscular and joint activity in closed chain exercises, stability in a joint may be enhanced. Thus, in rehabilitation, closed chain exercise may be a more ideal exercise in clients with instability. Note instability may be present with swelling or post injury as in the case of a knee ligament tear.

If weight bearing is not restricted, squats may be an optimal way to help with stability and increase range of motion. In a fitness training, closed chain exercises are a great way to address a multitude of muscles in a small amount of time.

Lunge - Closed Chain

Basic Lunge – Closed Chain

Closed chain exercises can also provide a great way to increase weight bearing on to bones, which is important in the prevention of osteoporosis.

Understanding the Rationale

So when constructing your workout or rehab routine, what should you do more of…open chain exercise or closed chain exercise? Unfortunately, it is client dependent. However, if you can understand the why behind a philosophy then you can decide what exercises work for you. Note that most routines have a combination of open and closed chain exercise.  Here are some examples of exercises, general rationale and open or closed chain in nature.  To watch the exercises, click here.

Open.Closed Chain Exercises on Total Gym

About the Author

Elizabeth Leeds, DPTElizabeth Leeds, DPT, owner of Seaside Fitness and Wellness, combines her background in physical therapy, personal training and Pilates in her practice and teaching. As a pelvic floor physical therapist working at Comprehensive Therapy Services in San Diego, her passion for pregnancy and postpartum is seen in her mission to empower women with knowledge and understanding of their physical changes, and how to address them to prevent future issues. Additionally, Elizabeth is a Master Trainer and developer for Total Gym’s GRAVITY education.


How to Retain Gym Members with Circuit Training on Total Gym

Refresh your class in 2016 and retain members with circuit training

Every year, January starts with a great rush in the fitness industry as gym-goers burst with enthusiasm and New Year resolutions, but by mid March have they lost their interest?

A Total Gym/GRAVITY class is a  fresh way to keep your members engaged and interested.  The fun factor, rapid results and the health benefits of a half hour – 45 minute functional total body workout,  can maintain long-term loyalty and provide enjoyment that will keep members coming back through to next January.

Keeping a choreographed Total Gym/GRAVITY class exciting may sometimes be challenging.  Fun new exercises and workout tips keep your exercise repertoire stimulating and your members happier.  Here’s an easy circuit-style workout that new class participants or regular members will enjoy.  And it’s simple to implement!GTSinuse_300DPI

Set Up – What you Will Need:

Ideally, you will need eight GTS units (you can add more rounds if you don’t have enough units). Take a little bit of time to write or print out the exercises for each station and stick them to the tower on the unit. Even though you will likely demo the exercises before each round, by the time the participant gets to any given station they may have forgotten, so a visual cue will be very helpful.   To familiarize yourself with the exercises please refer to your Foundation Manual (that you received when you took the course).

How Long the Workout Should Last:

  • 45 seconds per station,
  • 15 seconds transition time = 8 minutes per round.
  • 4 Rounds = 32 minute workout.
  • (Add warm-up and/or cool-down of 10 minutes = 42 minutes total)

How to Configure Your GTS Machine Stations:

  • Station 1: Set up for Squat – no pulley
  • Station 2: Set up for Biceps
  • Station 3: Set up for Torso Rotation – use Adjustable Glideboard
  • Station 4: Set up for Hamstring Curl
  • Station 5: Set up for Row
  • Station 6: Set up for Chest
  • Station 7: Set up for Triceps
  • Station 8: Set up for Overhead Press – with Press Bar

Round 1

Station 1: Regular Squats

Station 2: Bilateral Bicep Curls – Palms Facing Up

Station 3: Torso Rotation – Kneeling – Left side

Station 4: Bilateral Hamstring Curl

Station 5: Low Row – Palms Facing Each Other

Station 6: Chest Press – Palms Facing Down

Station 7: Tricep Press Down (Lying Supine)

Station 8: Overhead Press

Round 2

Station 1: Squat Jumps

Station 2: Bilateral Bicep Curls – Palms Facing Each Other (Hammer Curls)

Station 3: Torso Rotation – Kneeling – Right side

Station 4: Bilateral Hamstring Curl with Sit-up or Crunch

Station 5: High Row – Palms Facing Down

Station 6: Front Raise – Palms Facing Up

Station 7: Overhead Triceps Press (Lying Supine)

Station 8: Plyometric Overhead Press

Round 3

Station 1: Unilateral Squat Jumps (One Leg, Alternating)

Station 2: Biceps Static Equilibrium

Station 3: Torso Rotation Oblique Small Twists – Kneeling – Right Side

Station 4: Unilateral Hamstring Curl – Right Leg

Station 5: Surfer (Kneeling Optional)

Station 6: Chest Fly

Station 7: Overhead Pull Down – (Lying Supine)

Station 8: Unilateral Press – Right arm

Round 4

Station 1: Plié Squat Jumps

Station 2: Unilateral Switching Bicep Curls

Station 3: Torso Rotation Oblique Small Twists – Kneeling – Left side

Station 4: Unilateral Hamstring Curl – Left leg

Station 5: Row (cable unhooked from glideboard)

Station 6: Unilateral Chest Press – Static Equilibrium

Station 7: Lying Supine – Iron Cross

Station 8: Unilateral Press – Left arm

Hot Tips:

For a newer group, you may need to add more time to each station and reduce number of rounds as there is more necessary explanation and setup/help. So instead of 45 seconds with a 15-second rest, you can increase to one minute of exercise and 30 seconds of rest/transition.

Stay tuned for more exciting ideas for your classes.



Acclaimed Strength Coach, Mike Boyle talks about the Total Gym Jump Trainer…


Mike Boyle testing the Jump Trainer.

The Total Gym Jump Trainer is pulling some traction in the world of Strength and Conditioning!  Launched only last year at the 2015 IHRSA show in Los Angeles, the unit is exploding into the lime-light because not only is it reducing injury recovery time considerably, its use for bodyweight plyometrics is allowing users to perform squats when they may have not been able to on their own previously.

Acclaimed Strength and Conditioning Coach, Mike Boyle discusses this further in his blog on Bodyweight Plyometrics:

A Little About Mike Boyle:

Mike Boyle Strength & Conditioning offers the most comprehensive performance enhancement training, reconditioning and personal training in the nation. MBSC’s results- driven approach covers every aspect necessary to achieve your goals, whether they involve sports performance, weight loss, or a healthier lifestyle. For the best in Boston area sports and personal training go to  For the best in performance enhancement information go to

MBSC was recently named one of America’s Top Gyms By Men’s Health Magazine and was voted Boston’s best personal trainers for 2011.


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