Local Studio Donates Strength Training Machine to Jesse Brown VA Medical Center

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Hardpressed, a personal training studio located in River North, recently donated a strength training machine to the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, located in the Illinois Medical District. The machine, an MX-4 designed by Rogers Athletics, provides paraplegic veterans in particular with a method of strength training that fits their abilities.

“Most [equipment for those in wheelchairs] is tailored towards cardiovascular training. There isn’t too much geared towards strength training,” Nik Rodriguez of Hardpressed, says. “Rogers created this machine build specifically for individuals in wheelchairs. It took a couple of years to develop, and we thought it was a really cool thing. It’s the same [brand of] equipment we use in our gym, and we thought it’d be cool dot do a fundraiser to donate one of these to the VA hospital in Chicago so local paraplegic veterans could utilize it.”

The MX-4 includes elements that allow for rows, chest press, shoulder press and a cable column for pulldowns. The plate-loaded machine eliminates the need to manually load the machine with weights and its accessible design fits wheelchairs.

“It allows them to exercise and work out independently,” Rodriguez says. “This machine allows them to do some of the things they used to do by themselves that they haven’t been able to, to regain a sense of independence.”


Though Hardpressed initially set out to raise $20,000 for the machine, the gym ended up raising $40,000 and later this year plans to donate another MX-4 to a VA hospital in San Antonio. With approximately $7,000 more, Hardpressed will be able to donate a third machine to another location.