LoveToKnow welcomes Dr. Dave Kraus, the inventor of the the StreetStrider elliptical cross trainer to discuss the unique exercise machine. The StreetStrider is a mobile elliptical device that can also provide green transportation. Learn about how Dr. Kraus developed the StreetStrider and the fitness benefits of the exercise device.
About Dr. Dave Kraus
Fitness expert Dr. Dave Kraus is the inventor of the StreetStrider elliptical cross trainer and president of StreetStrider International, LLC. Dr. Kraus taught science for years on the faculty of the University of Alabama at Birmingham and has been published in a number of scientific publications. His lifelong interest in fitness, science background and spending 20 years traveling 20 miles to work by bicycle led to the invention of the StreetStrider. He recognized a need for combining the benefits of both biking and elliptical workouts in one device.
StreetStrider Interview with Dr. Dave Kraus
Dr. Dave Kraus's personal experience with biking to work and working out on stationary elliptical machines inspired the invention of a device that provides the total body workout of biking with the more low impact benefits of elliptical trainers.
What Is the StreetStrider?
LoveToKnow (LTK): What exactly is the StreetStrider and how does it work?
Dr. Dave Kraus (Kraus): The StreetStrider is an elliptical cross trainer on wheels designed to use the excellent motion that you get with a stationary elliptical cross trainer to propel yourself down the road. The elliptical path of your feet on the StreetStrider's foot platforms drives a crank system much like a bicycle crank, providing torque to the rear hub either by a chain sprocket connection or directly via a chainless hub, depending on the model. Reciprocating arm motion of the strider poles connected to the strider skis (on which the foot platforms rest) adds an additional 30% more torque to the rear wheel. Because the arms and legs are used together for propulsion, steering is achieved by a lean-to-steer mechanism - leaning the vehicle to one side causes the wheels to be steered in that direction. In this way, the upper and lower body muscles are used for propulsion and the core body muscles are used to steer the vehicle, providing an excellent cardiovascular, low impact, total body workout.
LTK: How does the StreetStrider differ from riding a bike or using an elliptical machine as a workout?
Kraus: The StreetStrider provides a natural, weight-bearing, jogging-like exercise that is ideally suited for humans, as we are designed for jogging. In fact, StreetStriding is even better than jogging because it is low impact and full body, providing exceptional cardiovascular benefits. The ability to carve while steering the StreetStrider gives the exhilarating sensation of skiing downhill, so the fun factor is substantial, providing motivation to maintain StreetStriding as part of a daily regimen.
A bicycle, although an efficient means of human-powered locomotion, is propelled almost exclusively by the legs, so it does not offer the same full body workout as the StreetStrider. The cyclist's posture, although providing minimal air resistance, is anatomically quite stressful due to pressure on the soft tissues of the groin and the ulnar nerves of the wrist, as well as sharp unnatural angles of the vertebral lumbar and cervical regions. In addition, cycling is not weight bearing, while the StreetStrider is.
Stationary elliptical cross trainers, while providing jogging-like exercise suitable for the human anatomy, are designed with a large inertial flywheel for smooth, constant motion. Once this flywheel is rotating, it requires less effort to maintain the rotational momentum of the flywheel mass, allowing the indoor elliptical rider to reduce upper body work. Core muscles are not used for steering or stability, as they are with the StreetStrider. In addition, there is no adventure or fun associated with a stationary device.
The Invention of the StreetStrider
LTK: What inspired you to invent the StreetStrider?
Kraus: As a professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, I rode my bicycle to work almost 20 miles a day for nearly 20 years, mainly because I liked the physiological efficiency of bicycling and the low carbon footprint. But our bodies are not designed for the cycling posture, with the uncomfortable bike seat, hunched over back, and bent wrists and neck. During the rainy months when I worked out in the gym, I discovered the elliptical cross trainer when it came on the scene about 10-12 years ago. These were the most popular pieces of equipment in the gym, and they gave the best overall exercise, very much like cross country skiing. But I didn't want to be stuck in the gym. So I decided to make a few tests for balance and torque development, and came up with the idea of the StreetStrider, which was called the Elliptical Traveler in my original patent application. With the help of my patent lawyer, I submitted the application in 2005 and we got the patent in 2010.
LTK: What is the story behind the StreetStrider ETX 8r and its connection with the hit TV show, The Biggest Loser?
Kraus: As we were developing the StreetStrider, we realized we had a device that provided an effective and healthful exercise with low anatomical stress yet a high calorie burn rate. Because of our desire to help reduce the obesity epidemic, we approached the producers of The Biggest Loser (BL) show and engaged in discussions with them, as well as the contestants, about trying some of our first prototypes. They were immediately attracted to the concept and requested that we work together to develop a StreetStrider model that could support the contestants' weights. We worked with the BL show for approximately 4 seasons to assure that the design could sustain the contestants' weight during vigorous workouts. As a result of our combined efforts, the current StreetStrider ETX 8r model satisfies the development goals: it gives individuals up to 400 pounds a safe, extremely beneficial exercise to help them achieve their weight loss goals while having fun, which is most important.
LTK: How can people use StreetStriders for green transportation?
Kraus: According to the Sierra Club, nearly half of all car trips in the United States are three miles or less; more than a quarter are less than a mile. To reduce carbon footprint, these trips could easily be made with the StreetStrider. Aside from a helmet, no special clothing is necessary to ride a StreetStrider, and it is fairly easy to achieve 10 mph on level ground. When StreetStriding, you are upright and elevated, with excellent visibility of your surroundings, plus everyone can easily see you. By outfitting the StreetStrider with baskets or a cart, you can carry groceries, laptops or even kids, so the StreetStrider is perfect for green transportation.
Advice for Using the StreetStrider
LTK: What advice do you have for a beginning exerciser who wants to use the StreetStrider to get in shape?
Kraus: When beginning exercisers want to use the StreetStrider to get in shape, we first ask them if they are able to use a stationary elliptical machine - this will indicate if their range of joint motion is adequate. If so, we show them the how-to-ride basics. Many people learn how to ride the StreetStrider in less than 5 minutes, and even customers who do not ride bicycles and are not regular exercisers often become comfortable with StreetStriding in a matter of 15-20 minutes. Then we advise the customers to start out with short strides, including practicing in open, level parking lots. After becoming familiar with their StreetStriders, many customers are amazed at how fast their performance and endurance levels increase.
LTK: Can people of all fitness levels use the StreetStrider?
Kraus: People of all fitness levels have found that the StreetStrider provides excellent exercise, notably even the best exercise some of them have ever tried. It's been successfully used by all kinds of people, from overweight individuals trying to avoid bariatric surgery to world class athletes looking for alternative performance conditioning. The StreetStrider has also been used by people of all ages, including even nonagenarians, who want to maintain a healthy, fit lifestyle.
For More Information on StreetStrider
To learn more about the StreetStrider, visit the official website. Customers can purchase the cross trainer at the site or find dealers that sell the device at locations throughout the USA and internationally through the site's "Find a Dealer" locator map feature. People can also demo the StreetStrider with sales affiliates at the StreetStrider LA Fitness and Demo Center in Venice Beach, California - 310-491-7975. The company also offers StreetStriders for sale at the operational headquarters in Fresno, California - 559-892-1943.
Thank You Dr. Kraus
Thank you Dr. Kraus for the interview and introducing the StreetStrider.