Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.



About Human Kinetics

Our Company

Our Corporate Structure

Human Kinetics is organized into four divisions, each with a purpose of producing publications or educational programs. Human Kinetics publication divisions include Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (HPERD); Journals; Higher Education and Professional; and Consumer.

Many departments at Human Kinetics contribute to the success of each division: administration, finance, human resources, marketing and sales, operations, publication and education development, and technology.

Playing basketball in the courtyard
Playing basketball in the courtyard

Our Culture

Ownership in our work and respect for our staff and customers provide the foundation of a culture that embodies shared commitment to the success of HK. How we conduct our business sets Human Kinetics apart from companies who might offer similar informational products. Human Kinetics is employee-owned under a U.S. Employee Stock Ownership Program. Human Kinetics is committed to remaining independent and sustaining its mission of serving the physical activity field. All staff members contribute to the company’s growth by taking initiative, being accountable for their actions, and actively participating in the future of the company.

Human Kinetics’ aggressive product output demands a productive staff, but the corporate mission of helping people lead healthier, more active lives also permeates the atmosphere at the Champaign headquarters. Fitness classes and exercise equipment draw employees to the workout room throughout the day, and rain-free days ensure pick-up basketball or tennis games in the courtyard. Other employees frequently join together to walk, and most take advantage of healthy subsidized meals in the HK Café.

Employees are empowered to run committees that address community service, wellness, and social aspects of the company. Staff volunteers also run the annual Not Your Average Joe relay run/walk benefiting local charities held at Crystal Lake Park in Urbana. Additionally, management maintains a dialogue with employees by meeting regularly with an employee advisory committee, whose members represent the entire organization.

Our Services

Human Kinetics leads the world in providing information related to physical activity. That information takes many forms: textbooks and their ancillaries, consumer books and journals, online courses, software, and audiovisual products. The information touches the lives of millions of people worldwide who are interested in some form of physical activity. Those people include college students and professors, personal trainers, rehabilitation specialists, athletes, coaches, physical educators, nutritionists, parents, and sedentary people who want to become active.


Our History

In 1973, Rainer Martens, a kinesiology professor at the University of Illinois, attended the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity Conference, and he wanted to publish the proceedings. Finding no interested publishers, he and his wife, Marilyn, recognized a need and created Human Kinetics in 1974.

Three years later, Human Kinetics hired its first employee and published Physiology of Fitness, still a leading professional fitness book in its sixth edition.

The leading publishers of the day saw a decline in physical education and began abandoning the field. Rainer saw an opportunity and decided, with only limited resources, to fill the niche.

Human Kinetics grew by reinvesting earnings and expanding into new areas such as coaching education. In 1984, Human Kinetics began publishing educational resources for the YMCA, doubling the company’s sales. The following year, Rainer left the university to work full-time at Human Kinetics. That same year, Human Kinetics acquired Leisure Press, a sport and fitness trade publisher. As sales and opportunities grew through the years, Rainer launched International Offices in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.

By 1990, Human Kinetics had sales of $6 million and 80 employees. Human Kinetics expanded beyond print to publish video, software, and online education products by reinvesting earnings in new technology. At the start of the new millennium, Human Kinetics had grown to over $20 million in sales and approximately 250 employees. In 2005, Rainer Martens sold Human Kinetics to his employees as part of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan. Today, worldwide revenues top $37 million and, with over 200 employees, Human Kinetics publishes more products—including books, journals, videos and courses—than any other publisher serving physical activity disciplines.


Our Authors and Partners

Human Kinetics is the premier information provider to the physical activity field. We have achieved that status not only because of what we do, but in how we do it. We select authors and partners with the highest authority and respect in their industries around the world. In fact, over 25% of our authors are from outside the United States. Our authors include professors from the most prestigious university programs, championship coaches and trainers, internationally renowned researchers, and credentialed practitioners in every facet of physical activity.

We partner with the most respected organizations that serve physical activity fields on several continents, including The Cooper Institute, top scholarly institutions, and the highest-caliber professional and Olympic organizations, Human Kinetics’ partnerships ensure cutting-edge product development and effective information distribution.

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