A POPULAR piece of equipment used in many modern gyms is the grappler – and it was designed by a fitness fan from Wrexham.

A single rope is pulled through two pulleys and five minutes on it is the equivalent of 15 minutes rigorous exercise.

Dave Savage, 51, designed the equipment, which apart from being used in gyms is also used by sports stars, clinics and the Royal Marines.

It was Dave’s attempts to get on TV’s Gladiators show that gave him the idea of the machine.

“I knew I had to climb a rope in the show trials and I had never trained on ropes,” he said.

“I came back home and thought I should make a machine to train on.

“I did not get on the show but as least I successfully designed the machine.”

The grappler is now manufactured at an engineering works at Shocklach, near Malpas.

The machine requires you to pull down on the rope and has various settings to suit all levels of strength.

Dave, who lives in Gresford, said it is “excellent for the heart and general fitness.“

Dave has had it patented for the UK and now has 500 machines installed at all Total Fitness, JJB and DW leisure clubs, fire stations and medial centres and has a number in Germany, France and America.

Users of the grappler include former world boxing champion Ricky Hatton, Manchester City football stars and Ben Parkinson, who survived a Taliban bomb blast in Afghanistan but suffered horrendous injuries and uses the machine in his comeback fitness training in the specially adapted gym at his home in Doncaster, South Yorkshire.

Dave is managing director of Mako Creative of Gresford, with fellow directors Alan Jones from Summerhill and Richard Tomlinson, of Holt, who also work on numerous aspects of design.

Dave is currently working on other exercise equipment which he predicts will upstage the grappler.