When It Comes to Functional Training Equipment, Versatility Is Everything

Optimized for small group training and solo workouts alike, the Connexus line from Matrix serves as a full solution for gyms taking the necessary step of integrating functional training into their offerings

In 2007, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) cited functional training as a top trend in fitness, and now, nearly two decades later, it remains.

Every gym and fitness facility must make room for functional training for the long term, and those that do it thoughtfully and intentionally will win.

“Functional training continues to grow and consumers have come to expect smartly designed spaces that fit their progressing needs and desires,” says Becky Jalbert, Global Product Manager for Personal & Group Training for Matrix.

Facilities must create versatile spaces that support both self-guided and coached workouts seamlessly, with user experience and efficiency as top priorities.

This optimization of space is the focus of the newly enhanced Matrix Connexus line.

From wall or corner space to show-stopping centerpieces, the series provides a fit for every solution, space and goal.

“The intuitive and versatile designs of our Connexus Series bring complete flexibility to functional training,” says Jalbert. “Our spaces support quick transitions between exercises and a limitless range of movement variety, as well as centralized storage that offers instant access to accessories, effectively elevating training for members.

And Jalbert is certainly in a position to know. As a trainer and instructor of twenty years, she brings a boots-on-the-ground perspective to her 16-year role at Matrix.

“I’m in the gym training people every week, which gives me a tremendous opportunity to witness how the products get used,” she says.

Becky Jalbert (credit: Matrix)

Launched in 2015, the Connexus line was designed to fully optimize small-group functional training.

Jalbert explains the thought that went into its design.

For the coached experience, the ability to see all participants is critical,” she explains. “Trainers need to be able to assist with form and progress or regress movements for individuals, so site line is essential while of course providing a great workout for users.”

She points to the product’s ability to shift and accommodate different users on the spot, and also fast turnaround as other key factors.

“We think about repeatable stations and being able to set up and clean up quickly,” she says. “All of this plays a key role in providing an exceptional group training session and that’s what creates a sense of community.”

credit: Matrix

Jalbert says that Matrix is also always looking to evolve.

“We are plugged into NSCA, NASM, ACE, IDEA and others and we constantly seek out customer input as to how people train and interact with products today, versus in the past, because it does change,” she notes.

In that vein, Connexus has evolved its line to accommodate.

“These days, stations and workout spaces need to be flexible to facilitate both group and self-guided functional training workouts, so we have developed four new units to better support both,” Jalbert adds.

This includes the Connexus Functional Trainer, Hub, Edge and Crest. The Connexus Functional Trainer offers a combination of heavy cable resistance and access to training accessories. The Connexus Hub combines a single adjustable pulley and centralized accessory storage. The Connexus Edge incorporates multiple attachment points with configurable designs to allow the connection of multiple bays against a wall or back-to-back arrangement, and the Connexus Crest combines two adjustable pulleys and centralized accessory storage designed for underutilized, small spaces.  

“We thought a lot about the details of the frame,” she says. “Accessories used to be housed on a cart, and we have moved them to the frame right where the user needs them. We added more attachment points to support different usage and made access to the pull-up bar easier for people of different heights, and we added the facilitation of cable-based movements.”

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credit: Matrix

Another evolution in training, Jalbert says, is the use of smart devices during individual workouts.

“I think COVID drove people to become even more dependent on their phones to feed them workout content and that trend has stuck,” she explains. “Our frames now have device storage so people don’t have to put their phones on the floor and continually reach for them during their workout.”

The stations also have magnetic placards to offer even more exercise guidance.

Interestingly, Jalbert says there was a steadfast focus on keeping things simple with the new iteration of products.

“A common pitfall of operators when choosing equipment is to get overcomplicated,” she says. “Some product companies offer so many options, gyms can end up with an outcome that feels intimidating and even chaotic.”

Therefore, Connexus is purposefully user-friendly and straightforward.

And the line is intentionally versatile not only for the user but for operators. With configurations that work against a wall, in a corner, or as the hub of the facility, Connexus has it covered and can expand to fit the ever-changing needs of the space and members.

In the end, Jalbert says the Connexus line delivers on three things: storage, function and flow.

“These are thoughtfully crafted workout stations that heighten proficiency and efficiency for both users and operators,” she says. “As functional training continues to develop and advance, gyms and users need products that are flexible, well thought out and versatile, and that is the heart of what Connexus is.


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