This year, NZ will celebrate its 29th anniversary in
business. While it isn't a typical milestone anniversary, staying
in the game for nearly 30 years is a pretty significant
accomplishment. Think about it, we survived '80s hair bands,
parachute pants, side ponytails and so much more. See what Maureen
Petrasko, President and CEO of NZ Manufacturing had to say about
the company during the Q&A session below.
Q. How did NZ begin? Who founded it and what
inspired them to do it?
A. Chris Hughes, a mechanical engineer for
Boeing and a master swimmer, founded the company in 1985 after he
noticed a need for resistance products for in-water training. As
time went on, swimmers began making recommendations about existing
products and suggesting possible new products, helping the line
evolve and grow. Chris saw opportunities for the new products in
other markets and expanded the lines to include MediCordz® and
Q. When did you first become involved with NZ?
A. I had just started a consulting
business, and Chris was one of my first clients. During the period
of time that we worked together, I was offered an opportunity to
acquire the company. I decided to go for it, and it turned out to
be a great decision and an even better adventure.
Q. What was one of NZ's greatest successes?
A. Fifteen years ago, we introduced the
Drag Belt Tow Tether, and that really took us by surprise. It was a
hit from the beginning, and it's still one of our Best Sellers in
the StrechCordz® line.
Q. Have the products changed much over the
A. Adding the Safety Cord to some of our
products about 15 to 20 years ago was a significant change. This
addition provided an extra element of safety to coaches and
Q. What are NZ's plans for 2014?
A. We started moving into other markets
last year like water aerobics and water fitness, and we found that
our products fit well in those markets. This year, we'll be looking
at adding more products that can be used for applications like
water-resisted walking or running.
Q. Why have you kept the products "Made in the
A. When you're working with athletes, you
want to be sure that you have high quality products that won't fail
on them. You lose some of that control over the product when you
Q. Can you describe a time when NZ overcame a challenge
and exceeded expectations?
A. Every Olympic year, we are inundated
with orders to fill. We make it a point to never back order
anything. Since we handle the entire process from manufacturing to
shipping at our headquarters in Tallmadge, we're able to live up to
Q. What has been most rewarding for you as the owner of
A. I can't name just one thing. I've
been able to go to amazing places and meet amazing people, from
Olympians to professional football players. But, it's really
rewarding to see everyday users take our products and use them to
accomplish a dream like swimming the English Channel. It's a
privilege to be a part of that, even if it's only in a small
NZ has big plans for 2014. We're jumping headlong into our
thirties by introducing new products, attending new conferences and
keeping our customers, our company and ourselves in great
"Dr. Nicholas Romanov, my father and the
founder of the Pose Method®, has been coaching athletes of all
levels since 1974. Whether he is working with
amateurs or Olympians, he uses the Pose Method® to optimize
The Pose Method® teaches athletes a key Pose or several key
Poses that are repeated throughout the movement. In essence, it's a
way to develop the proper form or technique to optimize movement
and avoid injury. Elastic bands are at the core of many exercises
in his books, and over the past 15 years, StrechCordz® have been
Dr. Romanov's resistance training tool of
I have been working alongside my father for many years now,
and I know he prefers to use StrechCordz for a few different
reasons. He likes the resistance they provide and their quality.
Both of these factors need to be considered as Dr. Romanov often
trains Olympic athletes. The tubing needs to provide adequate
resistance to be effective for that level of client, and it also
needs to offer consistent resistance over a period of extended
An important indication of quality is the durability of the
product. I can't remember one ever breaking on us. We've found that
other products made from cheaper materials tend to fall apart. It
becomes a very dangerous matter when an athlete is doing resistance
exercises and a tube snaps, so durability is a key
Dr. Romanov most commonly uses the StrechCordz with Leg Straps
because of the product's versatility. When teaching athletes the
Pose Method® for running, he places the straps around their ankles
and has them stand in the Running Pose. This requires them to stand
on one leg, the support leg. The other leg is in the figure four
position alongside the support leg. The tubes pull against their
legs, making them more keenly aware of their body positioning to
prevent them from overreaching and leaving the foot behind the
body, both very common technique errors in running.
He also uses the product during technique coaching for
swimmers. He puts the leg straps around their wrists to provide
resistance while they're practicing their strokes. This subtle
resistance helps promote optimal form while reinforcing proper
motor patterns as well as building their sport-specific
StrechCordz with Leg Straps provide athletes with just the
right amount of resistance to promote a certain level of awareness
that is conducive to their success in implementing the Pose
Editor's Note: Severin Romanov is the Chief Executive Officer of
Pose Method, Inc.
As a company, NZ Manufacturing is always looking for new ways to
address the needs of our existing customers and to broaden the
range of customers that we serve. Recently, we re-evaluated one of
the best sellers in the StrechCordz line, the Drag Belt Tow Tether.
Seeing the great demand from swimmers, coaches and trainers for the
product, we explored ways to reach others who might benefit from a
few minor alterations to the current chutes being
The result was a larger chute (30 in. /76 cm) for use during
in-water resisted walking and running. This additional size makes
the Drag Belt Tow Tether a useful tool for those participating in
aquatic fitness and rehabilitation programs. Beyond that, the
larger chutes also provide training advantages to triathletes and
lifeguards. Both groups need to pass through water that is too
shallow for swimming, and they need to do it quickly
Just as the 8-inch (20 cm), 12-inch (30 cm) and 16-inch (40 cm)
chutes increase endurance and strength in swimmers, the 30-inch
chute improves these same areas for users as well. Training with
the additional resistance provided by the larger chute will allow
triathletes and lifeguards to get through shallow water more
quickly and with less fatigue. This one tool simultaneously
addresses timing and endurance, two vital factors for the sport and
occupation that can determine overall success.
The larger, 30-inch (76 cm) chute for the Drag Belt Tow Tether
is in the process of being developed and will be released soon.
to see a video of a sample 30-inch chute in use. To learn more
about this new chute size and the Drag Belt Tow Tether, email email@example.com.
Click here to view all of the current chute
Editor's Note: The 30 in (76 cm) chute will be available
November 11 for purchase on www.nzmfg.com.
"True Athlete Performance has created a reputation in the
athletic training industry for working efficiently with large
groups and full teams for any court or field sport. In fact, this
summer we'll be working with 18 high school football teams
throughout the northern Virginia and southern Maryland
We primarily run preseason and offseason training clinics
where we teach athletes to move efficiently by focusing on drills
that improve running technique, first-step explosiveness, change of
direction and power.
Since 2009, we've been using NZ Manufacturing's TurfCordz®
products, including the padded waist belts and 8-foot safety cords,
for athletic training. The cords are perfect for large group
settings because they can be transferred easily from one athlete to
the next. We don't want to waste a lot of time standing around
because we want to keep the athletes moving throughout the session.
Because of their transferability, we can run a great training
session for a full team with as few as six cords.
The cords offer a different approach from other training
equipment such as sleds that require pushing and pulling but don't
focus on technique. TurfCordz not only provide the specific type of
resistance needed to improve technique, but they also keep a
consistent level of resistance throughout their length. They don't
tighten up in certain spots like other cords sometimes do.
From the athletes' perspective, it's an effective training
tool. When we're working with a team, we motivate athletes by
telling them that they'll be using cords in the next session. The
athletes know the workout with the cords will crush them and
they'll be exhausted at the end, but they also like to feel
themselves getting stronger and more powerful. Other equipment we
use involves jumping over objects or developing coordination in
other ways, but the only way to build power is to work against
resistance. That's exactly what TurfCordz offer.
A few of our drills using TurfCordz include resisted
running, where one athlete, wearing the belt connected to the cord,
attempts to run as a partner walks behind and provides resistance.
Another type of drill is when both athletes wear belts and are
connected by a cord. One holds his ground, while the other runs or
shuffles out five yards and controls his movements back to the
After we complete the athletic training of a team, we often
recommend the TurfCordz products we used during the sessions to the
coaches. We can't speak highly enough about the quality of the
equipment, and we know that the athletes will benefit as they
continue to work with the TurfCordz to improve their explosiveness
and develop power."
Editor's Note: Matt Diener is the Vice President of Operations
for True Athlete Performance and is a Certified Strength and
Conditioning Specialist. He has a background in basketball,
baseball and football, including playing as a defensive back on two
NCAA Division III National Championship Football teams at Mount
Union. See videos of True Athlete Performance training groups using
We often present our products as excellent resistance training
tools for the athletic community, and they are. But, they aren't
limited for use by athletes.
Anyone looking to improve their overall fitness can benefit from
resistance training with TurfCordz® and StrechCordz®.
Wayne Larsen is a fitness director and partner at One Fitness
Camp, a weight loss and fitness resort in Park City, Utah. In his
guest blog below, Wayne explains why our resistance bands are an
easy way to start or return to exercising.
"As a fitness director, the most rewarding part of my job is
seeing people build confidence as they learn how to maintain a
healthy lifestyle and lose weight. Participants at the One Fitness
Camp stay from one week to three months, and during that time,
they're introduced to many exercise options from yoga and spinning
to snowshoe hiking.
One of our classes, Band Burn, is completely centered on
working with TurfCordz and StrechCordz products. Cords offer a
simple, moderate way to begin exercising with resistance, and
people are often surprised by how many exercises can be done with
Typically, we use them in a circuit model with individuals
doing 3-5 different exercises, using controlled movements for 15-20
repetitions of each and moving quickly between them to maintain an
elevated heart rate. We've also incorporated StrechCordz Drag Belt
Tow Tether with modified, larger chutes for some aquatic resistance
exercises like in-water running or jogging, and we've used
TurfCordz Jump Belt in our boot camp program.
StrechCordz and TurfCordz are extremely versatile in terms
of workouts and intensity levels. The same product can provide very
different levels of resistance depending on foot positioning and
cord extension. They can be used for simple exercises, but we've
also found that the general public enjoys doing some athletic
drills because then they begin to feel more like athletes
Our camp can be a life-changer for many people, but in the
end, the true success of our camp is measured when they put these
practices into place at home. Resistance cords are a great option
for those who travel or can't get to the gym because they are
portable and don't require very much space to store. Getting the
most out of the cords comes from having the knowledge needed to use
Editor's Note: Wayne Larsen is a Certified Strength and
Conditioning Specialist from the National Strength and Conditioning
Association with more than 20 years of experience as a fitness
trainer. He is also a Certified Coach of the American Sports
Education Program (ASEP).
"I've been a
chiropractor for 13 years, and I've used MediCordz for
nine of those years. When I found
MediCordz, I noted
that they had a very usable approach for the exercises
our patients performed, so I decided to incorporate them
into our office protocols. I believe our patients find MediCordz
easy to use, and better yet, they enjoy the results.
During a two-year residency with a group that
specialized in correcting spinal curvatures, I saw how resistance
bands could be used to do just that. We were restoring the
spine's curve for many of our patients by combining
asymmetrically applied or mirror image chiropractic
exercises and spine traction.
A light resistance had to be applied to the small intrinsic
muscles of the spine to strengthen them, while the traction
corrected misalignments more effectively than a quick
adjustment. With this approach, we typically saw a 20 to
50 percent restoration towards
normal structure in 80 percent of our patients.
Simply stated, MediCordz are very effective. They do exactly
what science says is necessary; they provide an even, symmetrical
load on the small muscles of the spine.
In 2004, I co-developed a machine called UTS (Universal
Tractioning Systems). It took the tractioning capabilities of six
machines and combined them into one. It also included an exercise
component, and I approached NZ Manufacturing, the makers of
MediCordz, because I wanted their products to be the resistance
bands for that part of the machine.
In addition to the bands in UTS, I use the MediCordz Wall
Mount Kit and Head Harness. They are an easy, convenient way to
provide essential rehabilitation to patients. They're cost
effective and take up minimal space. These last two points are
important for patients, who purchase their own kits to use at
Editor's Note: Dr. Jason Jaeger is the director of a
three-chiropractor group at Aliante Chiropractic & Integrated
Health in Las Vegas, NV. He has a fellowship and is an Instructor
for Chiropractic Biophysics. He served as the Nevada State
Representative to the International Chiropractic Association (ICA)
in 2008-2009, and he is currently the Alternate Delegate as well as
Secretary of the FACTS Reseach & Guidelines Committee for
"Warming up for a triathlon can be problematic. Competitors
want to prepare their bodies for the strain they're about to
experience from swimming, biking and running. One drawback is that,
sometimes, you can't get into the water to warm up for the swim.
That's why StrechCordz® are an integral part of my warm-up
StrechCordz with handles are swim-specific tools for
strength training, but you don't have to be in the water to use
them. When I can't physically swim before a triathlon, I use
StrechCordz on dry land to warm up.
I swim five days a week, and I use StrechCordz five days a
week. They're part of all of my training. The exercises I can do
using StrechCordz improve both my strength and speed in addition to
helping me warm up at races. They're also useful for over-speed
work, and they help improve my stroke and efficiency in the
The resistance I get from using StrechCordz is similar to
using weights at a gym. Instead of piling more weight on a machine,
I change my position to increase or decrease the resistance of the
tubing during my workouts. When my yellow resistance level stopped
being challenging, I moved up to the green resistance
After nearly 20 years of swimming and competing in
triathlons, StrechCordz continue to have and hold a place in my
training because they are so adaptable. They transitioned across
sports as I brought them along with me from my career as a swimmer
to a professional triathlete. StrechCordz helped me reach my
potential as an athlete, and that's why I like them for other
Some people might look at the price of a StrechCordz product
and think 'Why would I pay $30 for elastic resistance tubing?' I
would encourage those individuals to buy a StrechCordz product.
Used diligently, they will improve efficiency, speed, power,
strength and endurance for any user. It's a small price to pay for
a big personal improvement to the athlete in all of us.
A word to the wise, though: StrechCordz are made for
professional athletes and provide much more resistance than you
might imagine. When you select a resistance level, err on the side
of caution. You can always increase reps if need be, but a tube
that's stronger than you won't do much good."
Andy describes one of his most reliable exercises with
"I use it for a standard free style smooth stroke. I attach
the StrechCordz to a pole, fence post or backstroke flagpole,
making sure the attachment is higher than my head. Then I bend at
the waist until my upper body is in a horizontal position, and I
practice my free style swimming with fingertips pointed down,
emphasizing high elbow all the way through the top of the stroke
through the finish."
Editor's Note: Andy Potts is an Olympic triathlete, two-time
winner of the USAT Triathlete of the Year award and 2007 Ironman
70.3 World Champion.
StrechCordz® introduced its latest product this month with the
Stretch and Mobility Strap. It was developed as a new dual stretch
strap with one strap made of nylon webbing connected to a stretch
The Stretch and Mobility Strap is designed for stretching that
generates isometric contractions to achieve greater flexibility.
Its elastic side allows users to ease into a stretch until the
static webbed side is engaged. Once this point is reached, the
static strap facilitates deep stretches. It has applications in
aquatic therapy, rehabilitation and fitness programs as well as any
resistance exercise program.
This strap can be used with resistance exercises, yoga practice
or running. Cyclists and triathletes can also work with this strap
to improve flexibility. This multi-purpose tool is a valuable aid
for those who need to stretch more.
The Stretch and Mobility Strap is sold through an international
network of dealers serving professional trainers, therapists and
fitness facilities, and at many retail and online sporting goods
stores. It is also available direct at www.StrechCordz.com. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for
more information or ordering details.
"When you're training professional athletes and Olympians,
you need products that can withstand the most rigorous athletic
demands without diminishing in effectiveness or compromising the
safety of athletes. In my fifteenth year of coaching, and after
having been a professional speed skater myself for 13 years, I've
found that TurfCordz® resistance training products meet and exceed
Our speed skaters use the Modular Sprint & Speed Belt, a
TurfCordz product that allows them to build muscle in their hips
and legs while honing the technical points of their turn mechanics.
We use three cables in the black resistance level (25-24 pounds)
attached to the belts between skaters five to six days every week
during training. If we're not utilizing the product for training,
then we're using it to warm up.
Under that kind of daily strain, the cables still last
anywhere between 3-5 years, and it's very rare that we have a cable
break on us. If we do, TurfCordz has implemented safety features
within the rubber tubes to lessen the chance of injuries, including
Safety Cord, which prevents a broken cable from snapping forward
and hitting the user.
The Sprint & Speed Belt also functions as a teaching
tool because if skaters aren't leaning forward in the proper
position, the cables pull their hips out of position, preventing
them from delivering as much power to the ground. The consistency
of the elastic within the product is another major advantage of
TurfCordz. It doesn't break down quickly, allowing skaters to rely
on that stretch within the tubes to learn how to control their
That level of quality is clearly noticeable. When traveling
abroad to compete, we've had some European teams approach us to ask
what we're using. After seeing the products, I've even been asked
to place orders for the same products for them, and I am more than
happy to do it! As a skater and as a coach, the quality of
the product is what keeps bringing me back to it after 20 years. It
was top notch then, and it's top notch now."
Editor's Note: Ryan Shimabukuro is the National Long Track Team
Coach for US Speedskating. He was a member of the National Sprint
Team in 1991, 1995 and 1997. He's coached two Olympic Gold
Medalists and one Bronze Medalist.
"As a professional athlete and personal trainer, I use a
variety of exercise tools for my own strength training and when
working with my clients. Among the mass of training products
available, NZ Manufacturing's TurfCordz® brand of resistance
exercise products has made a strong and positive impression on me
over the past four years.
I use TurfCordz products during the off-season for endurance
and strength training. One way I use them is to incorporate
resistance tubing into supersets with free weights. The resulting
"burn" is something that lifting weights alone can't provide. I was
so impressed with the results and product quality that I began
using TurfCordz products with my personal training
Many of my clients are busy businessmen and soccer moms who
don't always have time to go to the gym. They need a solution that
we can work with together and that they can use for home workouts.
TurfCordz products are easily transportable and can be used in
small spaces indoors and outdoors for a great workout. They are
sturdy, durable and versatile. And they are safe.
No professional athlete wants to be injured while working
out, and no personal trainer wants a client to be injured. The
safety features built into TurfCordz products are notable. Their
metal connections, safety straps and overall design seems much more
professional than those cut-to-size exercise bands and tubes that
require users to tie on attachments before working out.
Knowing that TurfCordz products have these safety features
gives me the peace of mind to use them in high intensity workouts
without worrying about a tube breaking and slapping me or a client
in the back of the head. I really haven't seen any other resistance
exercise product that is its equal.
In today's competitive market, customer service is often the
deciding factor for determining what makes a good company. NZ
stands behind its products, and that makes me confident that I can
stand behind them too when I am using them myself and with my
clients. In fact, I think so highly of NZ Manufacturing and its
products that I am going to become a distributor."
Editor's Note: Derek Wabbington is an all-star power forward for
the Arizona Scorpions in the American Basketball Association.