If there is one thing a global population became very good at this past year, it’s exercising at home. Imagination and creativity fuelled the motivation to stay active. Whether it involved coffee table books as weights, plastic plates as sliding discs, or ropes for skipping. Where there is a will, there’s a way. Many sports stores reported not being able to keep up with demand, leading to empty shelves and significant product delays. This translated to a spike of 170% of fitness equipment being purchased.
More innovative forms of fitness have also had a look in. Peloton’s immersive bike riding experience, the Mirror, and now Vitruvian is the latest exercise devices vying for a spot in the home. These ‘smart’ devices are concentrated on delivering high-performance, creative, and individualised workouts to help meet fitness goals. The trainer is exported to the living room, garage, or bedroom to guide the practice and keep you accountable for fitness needs.
The fitness device, Vitruvian, has been developed by physicist and previous high-frequency trader, Jon Gregory. These qualifications have given Gregory the know-how to incorporate math, technology, and functionality into the product. The sleek 20kg step has two attached cables, each capable of lifting around 100kg. The cables can be used for squats, presses, curls, lifts, and more.
The personalisation is guided by an algorithm which measures output capacity and delivers real-time resistance depending on the user’s ability. The device can detect if you need more or less resistance and alter the weight as needed. It is also programmed to sense injury and prevent harm. For example, if you are having trouble with a rep, the weight will automatically lessen to reduce strain. This is an element of safety that doing static weights cannot provide.
The other benefit of a ‘smart’ device is that, unlike a home-gym where you need different equipment of various weights, this is an all-in-one, multi-purpose fitness program. For example, the V-Form Trainer by Vitruvian can alter the weight of concentric to eccentric phases of movement. An example being, doing a push-up is going against gravity, which is concentric, and coming down to the floor with control is eccentric. The eccentric function of the device keeps the tension in the muscle, which is hard to achieve with static weights. This functionally improves strength, conditioning, and burns more energy than conventional weights. Conveniently, you don’t need to switch to another weight if you want to take it up or down a notch.
The common thread among the ‘smart’ home workout devices is that they are able to emulate the experience of the gym without having to leave the house. There is a thought that trainers may become obsolete, but that is contrary to belief. These devices require many different trainers to pick and choose from, who are there for motivation, and to lead various classes, just in another format.
These devices also mean big business. Founder, Gregory, explains that it took 10 years of tinkering with the technology to get it just right. In the last 24 hours of a pre-sale, over 100 of the V-Form trainer devices were sold, which exceeded Peloton’s ‘early bird special.’
We can probably expect further innovation in the tech fitness space as more customers use the product. This will help to answer the many questions exercise physiology still has. The main question being, what is the balance between volume and intensity of resistance training to achieve desired results efficiently? For every session, data science retrieves insights and allows the algorithm to adapt dynamically.
Just like we’re adapting to change, so can how we move our bodies to keep us feeling healthy and active.
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