A new fitness product that won the Rutland-area part of the Fresh Tracks Road Pitch earlier this year is entering the manufacturing process, following a successful crowdfunding campaign.
Clustas, created by Rollin Rachele, is a portable weight-training system meant to provide a fitness option for everyone, including disabled people or those rehabilitating from injury.
Rachele and his wife, Jude Smith Rachele, who is the chief operating officer for Clustas, are originally from the United States but spent many years in Europe before moving to Vermont. They now live in Sunderland.
The seed for the Clustas idea was planted after Rollin Rachele’s mother was in a serious accident, and he wanted to create something that would allow her to safely exercise while she was undergoing rehab.
A long time after that, the idea for a new invention just “clicked” in his mind, as he watched somebody use a dumbbell he was waiting for at a gym.
The Clustas system includes an assortment of soft-covered balls, which have tiny iron balls inside them, allowing the user to add weight by sticking them together magnetically. The shape of a ball makes this fitness tool very user-friendly, Rachele said.
“It’s an extension of your limbs, rather than ‘I’m holding a dumbbell,’” he said.
The Clustas system comes with several accessories that provide different ways to use the Clustaballs, making it easier for a person to run and exercise with them, or to add them to other workouts they already do routinely.
The whole kit fits easily into the ClustaRuck, which “can be lifted like a heavy sandbag and can even double as a bench for reclined lifting,” as the website states.
Each ball weighs just over 2 pounds, however, there is a lighter version that weighs half as much, to make it easier for children and for individuals who are disabled or recovering from injury.
Rachele describes his creation as a “set of dumbbells in a bag” — which makes it a lot easier to transport than traditional weights. With that, it’s an attractive option for people always “on the go,” who may struggle to find the time to exercise.
The couple launched the Kickstarter campaign in early fall. From Sept. 20 to Oct. 24, it raised $13,291 from people worldwide, which was enough to fund the first round of manufacturing, according to Jude Smith Rachele.
Currently, a manufacturer in China is making the first orders, however, Rollin Rachele said they eventually want to have some of the manufacturing take place in Vermont. It depends on what’s financially feasible, he noted.
Rachele also pointed out that the Clustas business is going to be a global one, and so having two manufacturing locations would be advantageous for the company.
Additionally, Rachele wants to form partnerships with local schools, to bring the Clustas product into fitness activities for students. He said the product could also be a great way for student athletes to work out with and help special-needs students.
For more information about the product, visit www.clustas.com.