Our fitness facility just purchased a ski fitter machine and a body blade. What is your opinion of these fitness tools? I've seen the ski machine and think it can be a great piece of equipment, but haven't heard/seen much about the body blade. Your opinions for both tools are greatly appreciated!
Any "tool" when used with in the scope of an appropriate plan of progression can be a good one, and vice-versa. The Fitter can have many applications other than what it was built for. Take a look at the Fitter exercises in the PTontheNET Library of Exercises, listed under Core Exercises, MB, Bands, Rollers, etc. These are in the prone position. The "Fitter crunch" is a Sagittal plane exercise, the "Fitter side-to-side" is a Frontal plane exercise, and finally for a Transverse plane version of the exercise one could place the Fitter board at a 45 degree angle beneath them. Reps and tempo (speed) will be dependent on the goal and abilities of the individual and should never exceed what can be CONTROLLED. A prequel to these exercises would be PRONE ISO ABS, SIDE ISO ABS, and PRONE ISO ABS WITH ROTATION. (Once again see PTontheNET's Library of exercises.)
The "Body Blade" again may have a place in the progression(s) of an individual especially in CORE/BALANCE training. Activating the Body Blade while performing various CORE exercises (i.e. quadruped, supine on BALLS, PNF patterns, etc.), as well as various BALANCE exercises (i.e. double/single leg progressions - balance, squats, squat touchdowns, deadlifts, PNF patterns, etc.), can aid in increasing recruitment and intensity.
THE KEY IS TO REMEMBER TO USE MICRO-PROGRESSIONS - ONLY WHAT CAN BE CONTROLLED!
In the very near future we at PTontheNET will be showcasing our completely revamped exercise library with many new exercise progressions - with both the Fitter and Body Blade - to better explain and demonstrate many of the techniques that have been discussed as of late, so be watching!