Manduu, New Gym in East Memphis, Offers Electrifying Workout; Here’s What to Expect

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If 15 minutes of low-voltage electrical current flowing through your body once or twice each week could make your body look like you regularly spend six hours at a time lifting weights, would you give it a shot?

John Pettey is banking on you saying yes.

Last week Pettey and a group of investors opened Memphis’ first Manduu fitness center franchise, which promises to provide just that.

Manduu opens new location in East MemphisPettey learned of the high-tech gym when a friend in Nashville told him she worked out regularly at a Manduu location there and said she was watching her body transform.

Manduu opens new location in East Memphis (Photo: Manduu)

Over a few months, Pettey made five trips to Nashville. First, it was to check out the gym. Then, it was to meet with Manduu’s corporate staff to work out a franchise deal. On every trip he made another appointment to stop in for a Manduu workout.

“I lost 19 pounds of fat and added six pounds of lean muscle mass,” said Pettey, 70. “It might not sound like much for a 25-year-old, but it’s incredible for somebody my age.”

He opened the first Manduu location at 575 S. Perkins Road last week. A second will follow in October at 6515 Poplar Ave.

Light stretching plus a little electricity

The experience is tough to imagine if you’ve never tried it, but Manduu’s chief operating officer Wiley Robinson said new visitors to the appointment-only gym can expect to be in and out in less than half an hour.

That will be enough time to change out of your clothes and into high-tech Manduu undergarments that will measure every inch of your body to determine precisely how much fat and muscle you have. Once your health measurements are in, you’ll change again. This time, you’ll put on a full-body suit equipped with electrodes.

An instructor will lead you — and, at most, one other person — through a series of moves like bicep curls with tennis balls or abdominal twists or side stretches. While you move, electricity is coursing through your body in four-second intervals.

Pettey said the intensity of the electricity is adjustable. There will be some discomfort but it shouldn’t be painful.

In 15 minutes, you’re done.

Change back into your clothes, return the suit and you’re on your way. About 36 hours later, your body will be sore as if you spent hours in the gym lifting weights.

“After that you’re stronger and more flexible,” Robinson said.

While Manduu isn’t right for people with pacemakers, pregnant women and others who can’t participate because of other medical restrictions, Robinson said Manduu strives to be inclusive.

The suits can be adjusted to fit just about every body shape and Manduu has seen customers from 17 years old up to 92. Robinson said the average Manduu customer comes one to two times per week. He still recommends eating a healthy diet and remaining active.

“There’s no such thing as a magic bullet, but I tell you, it is a very powerful bullet,” he said.

A Manduu empire

Pettey said his franchise deal included sole rights to bring Manduu locations to Shelby, Fayette, Tipton, DeSoto, Marshall and Crittenden counties as well as Oxford, Mississippi, and Jackson, Tennessee.

If these first two locations do well, he and his investment group are considering expanding to 12 more cities, he said.

So far, the first location is exceeding his expectations. In the first four days of business, 40 people came to try out a free session. About half signed up for a package.

Memberships are sold in session packages that range from $59 per session if you sign up for 15 sessions to $39 per session if you commit to 60 sessions.

Desiree Stennett covers economic development and business at The Commercial Appeal. She can be reached at, 901-529-2738 or on Twitter: @desi_stennett.