Alex Klein & Raj Umayavan: A Duo Creating the Best Functional Training Apparatus on the Market
The Rotators Shield is a versatile, cutting-edge and revolutionary piece of exercise equipment. Specifically designed to provide a full body workout, this all-in-one multi-action device that challenges every level of fitness. An efficient and dynamic tool, the Rotators Shield can be used for a full-body workout as well as to help rehabilitate the ‘rotators cuff’ muscles. It’s the best functional training apparatus on the market to offer both sports conditioning and physiotherapy. Personal trainer Alex Klein partnered with lawyer and entrepreneur Raj Umayavan Yadhunanthanan to create the Rotators Shield. In an exclusive interview with Beyond Exclamation, the co-founders talk about the beginning, the journey and the vision of the company.
What inspired the inception of The Rotators Shield?
I was a personal trainer with a range of clients, starting to notice common shoulder problems throughout the gyms I worked within, I set out to create a rotators cuff device that anyone could use to strengthen their shoulder movements without having to use any old methods, because if they worked I wouldn’t have needed to design anything. After consulting Raj about my idea, we decided to join to make the perfect partnership, with my fitness and business skills and Raj being a lawyer and entrepreneur.
What were the initial challenges that the company faced and how did you overcome them?
We faced many challenges with RS, the first hurdle was the fact that my design would not physically work, I had envisioned 2 separate wheels that would connect at the centre, as the user turned one wheel, the other would turn against them acting as resistance, but to make this and to be handheld was actually making things more difficult than they needed to be.
Raj and I spent countless hours back and forth with designers to create a product that not only has the effectiveness I wanted, but so much more.
Another challenge we faced was the busy schedules we both had, creating a new business whilst already building careers is not easy by any means, however we made it work as the belief for the product is unstoppable.
Tell us more about rotators shield.
The Rotators Shield (RS) is a new, smart way to address the fitness and rehabilitation needs within the fitness and gym environment. Our patented design, with advanced customisable resistance, provides a well needed solution for muscle groups neglected when training, along with the ability to exercise the full skeletal body.
The RS changes the way one would hold a traditional plate. Instead of gripping the outside rim, with no customisations, the RS encourages a central placement of your wrists. This is due to the way the handles are placed equidistant to each other, as well as their placement at the centre of the RS. This creates a heavier feel with the same weight, due to the gravitational pull on the outer wrist making the exercise more isolated.
The RS allows the user to place customisable weights to the outside of the shield. The RS provides varied levels of resistance and workouts depending on where the weights are fitted around the circumference. Using configurations of 1kg and 2kg supplied weight, we can add 3kg on the right side and nothing on the other. The result being an unbalanced wheel. This is great for providing a customised resistance for each side and also very helpful with rehabilitation needs and exercises.
The RS takes rehabilitation to a level where no fitness product has been. The RS has testimonials from esteemed members of the medical industry on its ability to rehabilitate the Rotators Cuff muscles. Athletes, everyday gym goers and individuals who engage themselves in any form of manual labour are at a risk of developing Rotators Cuff injuries. Currently, the solution for anyone suffering from Rotators Cuff injuries is either pills or injections, combined with physiotherapy. Not only is this solution a temporary fix for an existing problem, but it is also uncomfortable for the user and relatively expensive. Providing the Rotators Cuff is not torn, in which case surgery may be needed, the RS has been proven to help rehabilitate the Rotators Cuff back to its original form, from a benign state of injury. The RS has been tested by a multitude of experienced medical professionals in order to certify its claims.
The RS ranges from a minimum weight of 5kg up to a max of 25kg. The RS uses a gravitational pull system, so a 5kg plate will feel much lighter than a 5kg RS. This is in order to use each Kg to its absolute potential. It is suitable for a full range of users strengths and abilities, from professional to amateur, with an emphasis on correcting distinct imbalances as users meet their fitness goals.
Give us a brief of the exceptional services of the company?
. All boxes are branded with RS branding
. RS has been rigorously tested
. We are helpful with design and figuring how many RS a gym will need
.A service we pride ourselves on is that we always reply, email or call us and we will answer, when RS started, we emailed and called many fitness studios to get some feedback, to which over half did not reply, we both want to give the customer or anyone the knowledge that we respond and take all enquiries seriously.
. We also provide free weight covers for the commercial version if any should break, however they are very strong!
What are the unique features of the company that sets you apart from competitors?
At Rotators Shield we didn’t just want to make a fitness product, we wanted to start a revolution within the fitness industry. We started the journey with the vision of helping people with minor Injuries, this led us to the medical industry, where we became the first commercial fitness product to be rigorously tested and certified by medical professionals. We have testimonials from various specialists in their respective field, which we feel no competitor currently possess.
The Rotators Shield is a bold, innovative product. Rotators Shield is a truly dynamic apparatus due to the way it can be customised. Individual 1kg and 2kg can be added to 10 compartments spaced around the Rotators Shield’s circumference. This provides different levels of resistance and workouts depending on where on the apparatus weights are spaced and fitted. Rehabilitation for specific injuries and muscle weaknesses can be targeted thanks to a multitude of weight and balance combinations. The Rotators Shield ranges from a minimum weight of 5kg up to a max weight of 25kg and is suitable for a full range of users strengths and abilities, with an emphasis on correcting distinct imbalances as users meet their fitness goals.
The Rotators Shield changes the way you hold a traditional weighted plate. Instead of gripping the plate on it’s outside rim with no additional configurations, the Rotators Shield has handles that encourage a more centralised placement of your wrists. The Rotators Shield can therefore dedicate customisable levels of weight to the outside of each arm, using configurations of the 1kg or 2kg weights supplied. For example, we can add 6kg on the right side of your grip, creating an unbalanced force on one side – great for providing a customised resistance for each arm.
Tell us about the vision of the company.
The Vision of RS is to be worldwide in every gym space, we feel that this product would greatly serve the industry on the gym floor. We want this product to help millions of people get fitter, and prevent shoulder problems. Rotators Shield is currently accepting pre-orders.
The plan currently is to show gym owners and fitness industry professionals how great the Rotators Shield really is! Using our medical testimonials, and the extensive work put into Rotators Shield, by the relevant doctors, we aim to enter the NHS as a medically certified product. Of course this will take some time for us but we believe that we can help people with rehabilitation and injury prevention, as currently there is no product like ours on the market.
What are the significant changes that you have observed in the fitness industry over the years and how has Rotators Shield contributed to this change?
Keeping it current, we are going through an extremely strange time right now with coronavirus, fitness centres all over the world have had to close, and re-open with a more appropriate environment. We know for many gyms this has proved hard as equipment has been required to be separated such as spacing between cardiovascular equipment.
The RS can be of great use during these times as it allows gym users to spread out, and only need one product to complete the whole workout if need be. The RS allows for a much more socially friendly environment whilst we are still fighting coronavirus globally.
As the Founders of The Rotators Shield, what are your major roles and responsibilities? Also tell us what inspires you to innovate?
Our major roles have been visiting gyms all over the UK to spread awareness and gain feedback on the RS. We are constantly working to improve design, all feedback matters from the gym goer to personal trainers and gym owners.
We have been involved with every movement within the development of the RS, from design to testing to manufacture, we pride ourselves on always doing it ourselves, and if we can’t, we will get involved anyway.
Our inspiration to innovate sparks from Alex’s desire to create something he felt was necessary to the industry in which he was working, a product to help not only his clients but anyone training to get fitter or prevent injury. We feel the common gym is outdated and needs new ideas.
What are your goals for the next few years and how does The Rotators Shield plan to extend its services globally?
Our main focus right now is to create a smaller RS for home use, after much market research we found that a cheaper, smaller device would be beneficial for those who do not belong to a gym and do not get access to proper equipment. The smaller RS will also be great for portable use with personal trainers and anyone wanting to get fit from their home.
We had planned to attend fitness events and shows however all were cancelled due to the corona virus! We are hoping 2021 is a better year for the world and we can really showcase the RS.