Why Plate-Loaded is a Big Part of the Strength Training Family Tree

Hammer Strength has evolved to include all sorts of rugged equipment, but Gary Jones founded the company on the power of plate-loaded. And it didn’t start with just a few pieces of equipment. Nope, Jones created more than 50 plate-loaded machines to offer plenty of choices for exercisers. Jones offers some insights about the line that the Hammer Strength legacy is built upon.

Plate-Loaded Equipment at the University of Cincinnati

Why did Hammer Strength start with plate-loaded?

The analogy I use is that a child learns to crawl, then learns to walk then learns to run. We looked at the plate-loaded machines as just an introduction into our eventual business plan to build selectorized machines. But we were developing the new technology of ergonomics applied to exercise machines—IsoLateral converging and diverging motions. We had so much success there that we actually never got to the selectorized machines.


What’s your favorite machine?

The machines that I’m most excited about are the (plate-loaded) Ground Base machines. Because that’s the true essence of functional motion. That natural application of force is almost always while you’re in motion, and that’s what the Ground Based machines allow you to do.

Ground Base evolved from the athletic base that said, "When we're on the field we’re not on a chair, we’re not laying down. We do this standing." It was called Ground Base because you’re based on the ground. That’s how you naturally apply force.


Plate-Loaded Chest PressWhy are there nearly 50 different plate-loaded machines?

When you go to a steak restaurant, they’ve got chicken, they’ve got fish, they’ve got a whole variety of items. That variety is important. Different athletes wanted different machines for different motions. An important part of our business was to figure out how to rapidly evolve and make different versions of machines. You can go to any company in the industry and ask to buy their bench press and they have one. When you come to Hammer Strength, we have three.

No two bodies are the same. No two sports are exactly the same. So we have different varieties of machines. That’s an important part of improving the performance of an athlete on the field.


What was the early response to Hammer Strength’s unique offering of so many options?

Customers would want to open up a gym and would want to buy say 12 machines. We would convince them to come to our showroom. Every time we walked down into the showroom they’d see 50 different Hammer Strength machines. When the customer walked in with a list, two things happened. The (original) list went away and it always got bigger.

We’re a business in business to make our customers happy. We did that by offering choice.