Commissioned by the parent company of well-known exercise names Bally and Everlast, a group of BYU students designed a wave of new products that could help make more time to achieve all those New Year’s resolutions about exercising.
The students from the Industrial Design program presented them to a representative of their sponsor, EB Brands. These proposals are the culmination of the students’ semester-long effort to enhance workout experiences for different categories of consumers, such as fitness enthusiasts, working mothers, young professionals and senior citizens.
In many cases, students’ products are designed to save time, such as Meggie Carter’s “Armed and Ready” sleeves, which slip comfortably onto a user’s forearms. The weighted sleeves can be worn under a shirt throughout the day and provide continual resistance for the arms.
The students also designed products to meet plenty of other needs: portability for travel, smoother integration with other aspects of fitness routines, multi-functionality and adjustment for aging muscles. One such product is the Bandbell, created by junior Emron Henry.
“My design is a new product that combines variable weight with mobility,” Henry said. He designed the Bandbell with several resistance levels so it could replace multiple pairs of dumbbells, saving consumers money as well as a lot of space and weight.
Because it weighs only about 10 pounds, Henry said, the Bandbell would appeal to someone who travels regularly. “It could be easily packed away in a back pack or a car.”
Other students’ designs include the Speed Ring, a lightweight and portable replacement for a boxing speed bag; the Slackline, a mini tight rope for sharpening balance indoors; and the Duo 180°—a combination of an ab roller and pushup grips.
As Henry and his classmates brace themselves to land jobs as designers, Henry says success depends in part on a skill he and his peers learned during this project: communicating well with both product consumers and corporate clients.
“I would say this project has really opened my eyes when it comes to the importance of interviewing people to find the real problems,” Henry said. “Interviewing people is awesome because you can see things from their perspective and the problems become more obvious, and, at the same time, the solutions seem to present themselves.”
Without others’ perspectives, “I would have just used my own assumptions.” Henry said. “It is important to become very good at interviewing if I want to be successful in this career.”
In addition to working with people who would actually use his products, Henry appreciates having the opportunity to work with client EB Brands, a relationship set up by his professors Bryan Howell and Richard Fry.
Dan Kinsbourne, senior vice president of marketing for EB Brands, visited BYU after the project. After hearing each student's presentation, he suggested ways to improve the product, often drawing from specific experiences during his career in fitness product design.
Of the projects, Kinsbourne said, “There’s a really broad variety of concepts addressing a lot of consumer needs, and out of it came some ideas with potential.”
When he returns to EB Brands in Connecticut, Kinsbourne said he’ll give two or three of the designs a shot. “They’ll go into a product evaluation process that may give a couple products a chance to be commercialized.”
Writer: Nat Harward