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Moorhead company provides weight-lifting machines used by US athletes at London Games

Dave Karlstrom, founder of Moorhead-based Cormax, stands next to one of the company's bench weight-lifting machines similar to one the company sent to England, where it will be used by Olympic athletes. Dave Olson / The Forum

A weight-lifting machine that is the brainchild of a Moorhead man will help world-class athletes stay in tip-top condition during the Olympic Games in London.

The Performance Centre at Loughborough University in England, a training center for Olympic athletes, recently purchased a bench machine from Cormax, a company founded by Dave Karlstrom, who until a few years ago grew sugar beets on his family's farm south of Moorhead.

Karlstrom and his brother, Kent, now rent out the farm so they can focus on Cormax, which maintains an equipment showcase in a weight room in the lower level of Edge Fitness, 3501 8th St. S., in Moorhead.

Dave Karlstrom, 57, said Cormax machines are uniquely designed to achieve maximum muscle speed by allowing users to "throw" weights in an explosive burst of effort without the danger or worry that heavy weights will fall on them.

Key to the design is a hydraulic cylinder that safely lowers weights back into place.

Karlstrom began building bench presses a few years after graduating from Moorhead High School in 1973, using a welder in the workshop of the family farm.

The equipment caught on with local high schools, and over time, Karlstrom refined his designs.

Today, his company offers three products, all based on a "ballistic" approach to lifting weights that Karlstrom says enhances "fast-twitch" muscle reaction.

Clients using the machines include the Indianapolis Colts football team, the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team, the University of Texas swim team and high schools across North Dakota and Minnesota, Karlstrom said.

He described the Performance Centre in London as a premier athletic facility used by the best of the best, and said Cormax's reputation is spreading worldwide.

"We just got a couple of emails, one from Brazil and one from South Africa. These are people who want to sell equipment," Karlstrom said.

While the attention is nice, Karlstrom said he's more interested in what his machines can do for young athletes.

"My daughter trained on it in high school," he said.

"When you see the benefits for high school athletes, when they can train like a world-class athlete and just the level of athleticism they can get from it? To me, that's even more fun," Karlstrom said.

For more information about Cormax machines, visit the company website at

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555

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