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About Human Kinetics

Who We Are

Human Kinetics leads the world in providing information related to physical activity. That information takes many forms: textbooks, books for consumers, instructor support materials, journals, online courses, video, digital products, and more.

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 Corporate Structure

Human Kinetics is organized into three divisions, each with the purpose of producing publications or educational programs. These divisions are the Academic Division, the Journals Division, and the Trade and Professional Division. (For more details, visit our Divisions page.)

Many departments at HK contribute to the success of each division, including administration, finance, human resources, marketing and sales, operations, product development, and technology.

Our Values and Commitment to Diversity

At Human Kinetics, our values guide our culture and are reflected in the behaviors we require in our work:

We learn and adapt so we can solve challenges. We figure things out.

We treat each other and our customers kindly. We trust and appreciate.

We hold ourselves and each other accountable to high ethical standards. We commit and deliver.

We support and encourage each other's contributions. We collaborate.

We work hard to accomplish a lot with the time and tools we have available. We persist.

We manage resources as if we own the company, because we do. We take responsibility.

At Human Kinetics, our people are like our products. No two are alike. And we prefer it that way.

Human Kinetics is committed to working intentionally to make our products and our workforce a more accurate reflection of the diversity we see and appreciate all around us in our own local community.

As the information leader in physical activity, we believe we can contribute to the elimination of harmful systems and practices in the publishing and physical activity communities, and we will work hard to create positive change.

To help us achieve our diversity & inclusion goals, our Anti-Racism & Anti-Discrimination Committee works to identify and complete initiatives related to product development and acquisitions, employee learning opportunities, and community outreach and partnerships within our local community.

To learn more about our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, please visit our Diversity Statement.

Our Culture

At Human Kinetics, our mission is to increase the knowledge, enhance the performance, and improve the health and fitness of all people around the world by developing and delivering authoritative information about physical activity and sport. To excel at this mission, we have built our business on four pillars: expertise, partnerships, service, and process.

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

Our aggressive product output demands a productive staff, but the corporate mission of helping people lead healthier, more active lives also permeates the atmosphere at our headquarters in Champaign, Illinois. Treadmills, free weights, and fitness equipment draw employees to the workout room throughout the day, and rain-free days might have staff playing pick-up basketball, pickleball, or tennis in the courtyard. Many people also take advantage of healthy subsidized meals in our cafeteria.

Employees are empowered to run an Employee Ownership Committee, which strives to foster appreciation and to establish a shared sense of purpose for all staff by developing stronger connections and access to quality education, training, and resources. A cross-department working group called the Customer Experience Team (CX Team) works to incorporate a culture of service across HK by collaborating to ensure that information is easy to find, products are easy to use, purchasing is hassle-free, and our customer and technical support is exceptional.

Think Human Kinetics sounds like a great place to work? So do we!

To learn more about career opportunities and sign-up for new job posting notifications, please visit our Career Opportunities page.

Our Giving

HK gives each staff member a paid day off to volunteer with nonprofit organizations that they wish to support.

At our headquarters in Champaign, IL, staff have used their Mission Day Time Off benefit to participate in many volunteer group activities. They've assembled furniture that is sold at Habitat for Humanity's ReStore. They've done outside clean-up for properties owned by our local Developmental Services Center. They've assembled tens of thousands of race packets for the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon. They've donated winter clothing, toiletries, snacks, and other items to fill backpacks for clients who use the local soup kitchen. They've helped organize and staff a Fitness Olympiad for the local chapter of the Boys and Girls Club. They've built and continue to maintain a Little Free Library in our neighborhood.

Many of our staff work from their home offices across the United States, and they contribute to their local communities as well. From grounds clean-up at a domestic violence shelter in Kansas City, volunteering at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, or supporting Go Vote Indy, our remote staff give back to their local communities.

HK also provides economic help for community organizations. Over a period of 25 years, HK hosted an annual 5k race, supplementing the money raised to donate $175,000 to local charities supporting homeless individuals, people leaving abusive situations, and our crisis nursery center.

Additionally, through generous staff donations and the use of our on-site cafeteria, Human Kinetics has delivered over 800 meals to people served by three organizations: C-U at Home, Men's SAFE House, and Courage Connection. To learn more about our hot meal initiative, please click here.

To view pictures from our partnership events and to learn more about these organizations, please visit our partners page.

Human Kinetics' History

In 1973, Rainer Martens, then a kinesiology professor at the University of Illinois, attended the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity conference. Recognizing the need to disseminate the conference proceedings but finding no interested publishers, he and his wife, Marilyn, created Human Kinetics in 1974. Three years later, Human Kinetics hired its first employee and published Physiology of Fitness (later titled Fitness & Health), still a leading professional fitness book and now in its seventh edition.

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

Human Kinetics grew by reinvesting earnings and expanding into new areas such as coaching education. In 1984, HK began publishing educational resources for the YMCA, doubling the company's sales. The following year, Dr. Martens left the university to work at HK full time. That same year, HK acquired Leisure Press, a sport and fitness trade publisher. As sales and opportunities grew through the years, Dr. Martens launched international offices, and the company continues to maintain an office in Canada in addition to the headquarters in Illinois.

By 1990, Human Kinetics had sales of $6 million and 80 employees. HK expanded beyond print to publish video, software, and online education products by reinvesting earnings in new technology. By the start of the new millennium, HK had grown to over $20 million in sales and approximately 250 employees. In 2005, Dr. Martens sold HK to his employees as part of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan.

In 2020, Dr. Martens wrote a very special book chronicling the events and influences in his life. Written for his family and friends, as well as for professionals in the physical activity field and his colleagues at Human Kinetics, Rainer's Story shares his journey both personally and professionally. His book is available as a free download on the Human Kinetics website.

Today, with approximately 200 employees worldwide, Human Kinetics publishes more products—including books, journals, videos, and courses—than any other publisher serving physical activity disciplines.

This short video recounts the major events of HK's history.