Life goes on for Bobby Hinds, Lifeline founder

From the pages of In Business magazine.

Eighty-three-year-old Bobby Hinds has sold his Lifeline, the company he built over the past 40 years, so now it’s time for the indefatigable fitness fanatic to retire, right?


Hinds has been the driving force behind Lifeline USA, acquired last month by Pivotal 5, not because he founded the business, but because he was in charge of product development. Develop he did, and develop he will do. 

He boasts that his 40-year-old company became the Apple Computers of the fitness business, and his equipment is in the process of revolutionizing physical therapy with Lifeline spinoff Kiio. Why not? He’s already revolutionized fitness with his company’s portfolio of resistance training equipment, which features the use of rubber cables, or tubing, instead of weights. 

Such “functional fitness” is an area where Hinds has been particularly productive, with fitness equipment that increases resistance in “linear fashion,” thereby producing better results. “Pumping rubber is significantly better than pumping iron,” states Hinds, who still works out for one hour each day.

Along the way, he’s rubbed elbows with celebrities, athletes, and astronauts who used his equipment in space (where weights don’t weigh much). He’s set jump-roping records (63 revolutions in 10 seconds, so fast the rope seemed to disappear) and demonstrated jump-roping on The Tonight Show (McLean Stevenson was guest hosting for Johnny Carson). And in perhaps the ultimate honor for an athlete, he’s appeared on millions of Wheaties boxes. 

Hinds is now preparing for a well-deserved honor, his forthcoming induction into the Fitness Hall of Fame, an acknowledgement of all the design work he’s done and all the things he did to promote fitness. To be in a hall with people like Jack LaLanne, Charles Atlas, and Arnold Schwarzenegger floors him, but there’s no doubt he belongs. 

And there are still business interests. As part of the Lifeline acquisition, Bobby and son Jon, proprietor of the Monkey Bar Gym, will stay involved in a consulting capacity.



Hinds still serves on the board of Kiio, a physical therapy spinoff of Lifeline, and he’s even in the nuptials business with Sugarland, a wedding venue 20 miles west of Madison that bears one of his nicknames, Sugar.

“It is hot, hot, hot,” he states, demonstrating his gift for promotion. “We’re booked up to three years in advance.”

That means he won’t “86” his business career, even at age 86.

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