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“We believe we are in a position to impact sports performance just as Apple changed the world with the I-phone and I-Pad.”

Since first launching in 2003, VertiMax has established itself as one of the premier innovators in the development of branded sports performance technology and equipment for professional athletes, aspiring athletes, and athletic trainers.
VertiMax has secured numerous patents regarding its proprietary training technology, which integrates a series of resistance bands into simple mechanical devices which in turn radically improve elastic training technology by removing the negative drawbacks of conventional elastic bands. The Company believes its proprietary solution to be an advanced methodology that represents a significant improvement upon currently available commodity product offerings predicated upon elastic bands.

Vertimax

BusinessInterviews.com: How did you come up with the concept behind Vertimax?

Michael: After I left college in 1987 and moved to California, I started playing competitive beach volleyball. I played Wide Receiver on the University of Florida football team. I felt that two man beach volleyball would be a good fit because I could cover a lot of court and it just seemed most appropriate since I could move pretty fast and jumping was involved. Even though I had good speed and could squat over 600 pounds, I quickly realized I had a terrible vertical jump. I could only get about 16 inches out of the sand, and coming off solid ground, I could only jump about 24 inches. It dawned on me that something was really wrong – how could I run so fast, have so much leg strength and not be able to generate enough force to get more than 24 inches off the ground? It just didn’t make sense. I thought about how I developed my strength in the weight room:

• I mainly performed slow moving heavy lifts in the gym in order to get stronger.
Then I thought about how I utilized my strength when I jumped:
• When I jumped I basically I asked my body to generate force as fast as possible and,
• I additionally had to apply that force to something (like the ground) when it was moving more than 7 miles per hour away from me.

I’m a Darwinist. I believe our bodies adapt to how we train and it quickly became obvious to me that how I was training in the gym (a) had very little to do with what I was asking my body to do when I jumped (b) & (c)! If you want to generate force quickly and apply that force to objects allowing them to accelerate to high velocities, then you have to train that way. Unfortunately weights have a lot of mass and they resist acceleration. It’s really tough to get them to move fast, and once moving, they don’t stop very easily. Those are three things that stop high velocity resistance training, so I had to figure out a way to load myself with resistance and train at high speeds but not have to deal with mass or inertia. The answer was elastics.

Although, you could apply good amounts of resistance to the body with elastic bands that are virtually weightless, elastic bands had some serious drawbacks. Most importantly, when athletes tried jump training with elastic bands tied between their waist and the ground, the bands would go slack or limp every time they squatted down to jump. No useful resistance would be generated at the start of the jump where it was most important, and then as they began to jump upward and those short bands started to stretch twice their normal length, the applied resistance would increase exponentially. As a result, the athlete was completely destabilized because gravity doesn’t change in the middle of our jumping motion, it always remains constant. I figured out that if I used really long elastic bands 20 to 30 feet long and put them on pulley systems in a platform so they could retract all the way to ground level, I would solve two of the main problems with elastics:

• Once the athlete set the resistance on the machine I created and attached the bands to their waist, they would never go slack when they squatted because the bands would automatically retract into the platform and stay tight applying resistance all the way down to the fully squatted position.

• Since the bands were about 30 feet long, when the athlete jumped 25 inches or so when training, they were only stretching the band about 7% of its total length instead of 200% of its total length when using 16 inch training bands tied to the waist.
VertiMax was born, and within a few weeks my vertical went from 24 inches to over 32 inches. Word of the device traveled quickly in the Manhattan Beach area which was the Beach Volleyball capital of the world, and before long I had numerous professional volleyball players training in my back yard on the device. ESPN showed up one day to film the first player to eclipse 100K in earnings in a single year in the sport training on it. I patented VertiMax that year, and over the years it has transformed to a more sophisticated jump training and speed training system used by many of the best jumpers and fastest athletes in the world to further develop their performance.

BusinessInterviews.com: Can you provide an overview of why you believe that VertiMax delivers superior performance?

Michael: It’s really pretty simple. VertiMax allows athletes to apply significant loads to just about any critical sports specific high-speed motion. Using elastics and a mechanical design to keep elastic tension from increasing radically during training movements, it allows athletes to accelerate at super high speeds against the resistance and also achieve high training velocities when performing the resisted reps. This type of training develops an elusive trait all athlete want which coaches have coined “Speed Strength”. That’s the dual abilities to (a) generate force quickly and (b) apply that force to objects moving at high velocities to make them go even faster. Due to the lack of training tools, it’s the (b) part that most athletes do not train properly for which is why we have so many athletes that exhibit great strength but do not move fast and sometimes are not very explosive.

BusinessInterviews.com: Can you talk a bit about the inspiration behind the two new products you have coming out and how they have the potential to change the way athletes train for speed development?

Michael: The Vertimax has been a great success at the higher levels of pro and collegiate competition as well as the sports rehab industry. When something is used that much by so many people, you naturally get requests for things they would like the product to do that it currently doesn’t. The VertiMax currently exists as a (4 foot by 5 foot) or (4 foot by 6 foot) platform. Even though it has wheels to roll it around, it takes up a lot of floor space if you’re a small physical rehab office and it is not very portable. The most repeated requests we receive from user groups was a need for a device with the same functionality but required only minimal floor space and needed to be portable. Hence, two new products known as the Evolution Wall Mount Unit and the Portable Raptor Speed Training Module weighing about 18 pounds (which is mountable to fences at sports fields) were born. We are really excited for these two products to hit the market. We believe we are in a position to impact sports performance just as Apple changed the world with the I-phone and I-Pad.

BusinessInterviews.com: Why do you think that there has been so little innovation when it comes to the sports conditioning arena?

Michael: I think technology has become so sexy these days (and rightfully so) but it has also led many companies to focus heavily on developing electronic measurement products that provide a lot of information on what’s going on with an athlete’s body during and after training. That’s not a bad thing, but I believe trying to implement electronic technology into new measurement products has certainly skewed innovation away from developing new training technologies that directly impacts strength and speed development.

An analogy that I often use when speaking to people that want to develop measurement devices is, “if you want to develop a great product to provide bio-feedback on an athlete for the purposes of improved training, great. But understand, if you have a field full of athletes and on that field you have one booth selling the ability to measure bio-metrics when training and the other booth is selling speed and great vertical jump performance, just about every athlete is going to be lined up at booth number two buying speed and vertical jump performance.” If you want to develop products people want and need, then your focus on innovation should be directed appropriately.

BusinessInterviews.com: What are some trends in the sports and fitness industry that you’re excited about?

Michael: I actually believe the bio-feedback trend utilizing electronic measurement devices is heating up and is certainly going to be exciting and benefit a lot of people in many ways. Based on what I do, I’m more excited about developing trends that are going to have a more direct impact on sports performance by creating training tools that allow athletes to train in ways never before possible.

BusinessInterviews.com: It’s remarkable that over 50% of the NFL and almost half the NBA teams and about 70% of major Division I programs have adopted the VertiMax training system into their conditioning programs. How did you initially attract the attention and interest of the NFL and the NBA and get them on board?

Michael: I did what a lot of start-ups with a new product do. I strategically gave some units away to organizations and individuals that would be in a position to generate more sales if they liked the product. I also had a number of NBA and NFL coaches agree to buy the system if I came out and personally checked them out on the unit (which I was happy to do.) Once we started selling the product, the athletes were so excited with what it did for them they did the talking. Now, about 80% of our sales are referral based sales. We have current and retired professional athletes in virtually every sport call and buy the system on a weekly basis now.

What is probably more fascinating and unexpected to me is that our number one buyer for our $3000 model is now a parent with child athlete averaging about 12 years of age. I didn’t expect that when I first designed VertiMax as a single man, but now as a father of a 9 and 6 year old playing sports, I understand. We have sold over 11,000 systems to date and have not had a single system ever returned by a customer, which I feel says a lot about what VertiMax has been able to do for athletes.

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