A new exercise machine described as “kranking” was created for upper body workouts. Since the “Krankcycle” came on the market in 2009, it has become popular at health clubs. While previously such a machine would be used only for rehabilitation of those who could not exert their lower bodies, today it is accepted equipment for group exercise classes. Noting its popularity, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) decided to test the intensity of a Kranking workout and its capacity to burn calories.
Jonathan Goldberg, better known as Johnny G., revolutionized indoor exercising in the 1980s when he introduced the indoor cycling machine. After indoor cycling or “Spinning” became hard for him to perform due to health reasons, he invented the “Krankcycle” for upper body exercise. It is different from the “Upper Body Ergometer” — which also works by pedaling with one’s arms — in that it allows a person to stand and pedal. It also allows for various movement patterns, which may increase calorie burn. This study tested the maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max) during exercise, a measurement of physical fitness. It also compared changes in heart rate and calories burned using the Upper Body Ergometer and the Krankcycle.
* Experts in exercise research conducted the study with 12 volunteers between 20 and 30 years of age. Each volunteer used a Upper Body Ergometer machine to establish a baseline for various parameters. Their maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max) and heart rates were constantly monitored, as well as their impressions about the difficulty of the exercise.
* The volunteers then spent 30 minutes in a standard Kranking class. Here they followed the instructor, who directed them through different tempos and techniques.
* As before, heart rate and the perceived ratings of the volunteers as to the difficulty of the exercise were monitored.
* The results showed that 269 calories were burned during a 30-minute long Kranking exercise. This was calculated based on the mathematical relationship between the heart rate and oxygen consumption, formulated during baseline studies with the Upper Body Ergometer.
* The average heart rate of the group was close to 154 beats/minute. The volunteers spent most of their 30 minutes at a heart rate more than 70 percent of HRmax (the maximum safe heart rate).
* The volunteers indicated that they found this workout a difficult one, with an average rating of 12 on a difficuty scale of 6 to 20.
The Krankcycle comes with a Suunto heart rate monitor. There was a great difference between the mathematical calculation of the calories burned (269) and the estimate of the Suunto monitor (393). The researchers suggest that the mathematical formula was determined based on Upper Body Ergometer baseline readings. Krankcycle may burn more calories, because of its facility to exercise while standing. Suunto may therefore be a more accurate estimation. During the 30 minutes, the heart rates sometimes went beyond HRmax. This could be dangerous for those with heart problems.
Most of us, including runners and cyclists, do exercises that work only our lower bodies. As we almost never use the arm muscles to the same extent in everyday life, Kranking results in a noticeable difference in muscle gain. It also helps build endurance and burn calories effectively. This is a cardiovascular activity that gives a workout for the whole body. This study shows that the Krankcycle fits the criteria for being beneficial as a good cardiovascular workout. For athletes taking a break from cycling or running, and for people who are unable to use their lower bodies, Krankcyle provides an effective alternative.
For More Information:
Publication Journal: ACE FitnessMatters, March/April 2010
By Blake Boyer; John Porcari, PhD; University of Wisconsin, La Crosse