More than 6,000 hours and 1,000,000 euros arrived through own funds, bank loans and the financing platform Kickstarter have been the time and money that Manuel Montes and his team have needed to create a training machine. A device that has become an object of desire for both professionals and sports lovers.
It all started in 2016 when this man from Vigo wanted to take another step in his battle against the disease of Parkinson that suffers and began to develop a device that would allow him to play sports anywhere and at any time. Its first prototype was based on the seat belts of old Seat Ibiza that he bought in scrap yards. “I replaced the tape with an elastic band and converted them into a basic exercise machine,” says Montes. An idea that he ended up discarding as unsafe and from which he turned to inertial technology, developed by NASA for its astronauts to do sports in zero gravity, which consists of a safer and more effective resistance strength training. The result was a small machine weighing only one kilo, which allows you to do more than 200 different exercises. “What was intended to be a tool became a way of training. The final concept was to get a machine that would work for everyone ”, explains Montes.
Manufactured in Ourense, in an automotive plastic injection company, it was launched on the market in July 2020. The 12 employees of Handy Gym have sold more than 1,400 units so far through its website and distributors, with a price average of 1,000 euros, depending on the model. Despite its young age and the problems posed by the coronavirus, “which has prevented its normal commercialization,” it is present in more than 60 countries, with the United States as its main market. Physiotherapists, personal trainers or athletes, some of the elite like Sandra Sánchez, karate world champion; Teresa Perales, Paralympic swimming medalist, or the Spanish rugby team are some of its clients. “The US Navy has also made a request to us for soldiers to train during their stay in the submarines,” says the founder of Handy Gym.
Until now, it has been, above all, sports professionals who have decided to buy this machine, “because of its price,” says Montes. For this reason, they have recently launched another, with similar characteristics, but intended for the most “domestic” athletes, with a price of almost 400 euros. A bet that has its own app and will soon be completed with a rowing machine. The journey that has earned him an income of 600,000 euros in just over six months, with a profit of about 40,000.