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Strength: Strong Connections

CV kit has been fully connective for some time, but with the rise of the hybrid gym goer, what are strength suppliers doing to meet the demand for a fully connected offer?

Published in Health Club Management 2021 issue 5
Connecting all areas of the gym floor allows staff to set goals and create training plans for clients / photo: Precor
Connecting all areas of the gym floor allows staff to set goals and create training plans for clients / photo: Precor

ClubIntel reports that 72 per cent of global operators now offer on-demand and livestream workouts – up from 25 per cent in 2019 and with tech giants such as Apple, Samsung and Google getting involved, the demand for hybrid is only set to grow.

Consumers are demanding a connected offering that allows them to track all aspects of their in-gym workouts, side by side with their training outside facilities.

We spoke to suppliers to see how they’re adapting their strength offerings to meet this ever-growing demand for connectivity.

Precor
Steve Carter
photo: precor

“A fully connected gym floor is no longer just nice to have, it’s essential,” says Precor’s Steve Carter. The company’s networked fitness solution, Preva, combines with Advagym by Sony, to give gym-wide digital connectivity across every piece of kit and area of the gym, from cardio to strength.

Advagym is a console-free solution. Users tap a sensor puck with their mobile to see how-to videos and receive guidance on recommended weights and numbers of reps. The tempo display on the app – which can be edited by a PT if they want to add a variation – ensures they’re completing the movement safely. The app then logs the exercise.

Preva captures workout data from CV kit and syncs with the Advagym app, giving users an entirely connected experience. Sensor pucks can also be displayed in other zones – for example the strength area or outside a group ex studio – so exercisers can receive workout guidance and log activity throughout an entire facility.

“Connecting cardio, strength and all other areas of your gym floor, allows staff to set goals, create training plans and track progress – a fully joined up approach that’s vital for offering a results-based customer experience,” says Carter. “Because Advagym is a console-free experience and everything happens on a user’s phone, there’s no change to the aesthetics of the machines and no issue that screens will look out of date before the kit reaches the end of its life span.”

Advagym also allows operators to analyse data on kit usage and the number of repetitions each machine is doing and adjust the gym floor accordingly. It also sends notifications if kit isn’t running smoothly, so managers can take action to minimise member dissatisfaction.

“This is the way the industry is going; gyms must have a platform offer that interacts with members both inside and outside facilities. Connectivity is the future,” says Carter.

Because Advagym is a console-free experience, everything happens on a user’s phone
With Preva and Sony Advagym, users tap a sensor with their phone to see how-to videos / photo: Precor
Matrix Fitness
Chris Brown
photo: Matrix

“The Ultra Series includes an Intelligent Training Console to guide a fully-connected strength experience,” says Chris Brown of Matrix. “This helps newcomers get started or strength enthusiasts really challenge their limits. Users can set their benchmark weight and define training goals to begin a personalised progression programme, which helps them reach their goals.”

The Matrix Intelligent Training Console provides eight to 12 weeks of guided, personalised, progressive strength workouts. It connects strength with a facility’s existing digital ecosystem, helping create a complete, unified exercise experience. The customisable interface represents a gym’s brand with every set, creating another touchpoint to interact with members and build engagement.

“It’s easy to connect to our Personal Trainer Portal, Workout Tracking Network – which lets members capture data from favourite fitness apps on one customisable interface – and Asset Management solutions via wifi or ethernet,” says Brown. “Asset Management offers a 360-degree view of all strength equipment status on virtually any internet-connected device, alongside insightful reporting capabilities.

“The Console also works with RFID and for members, it includes a Workout Snapshot function, so they can review past sessions and track overall progress, providing quantifiable results to keep them motivated,” he explains.

Users can set their benchmark weight and define training goals to begin a personalised progression programme
The Matrix Intelligent Training Console provides personalised workouts / photo: Matrix
Technogym
Luke Townsend
photo: Technogym

“We’ve created Biocircuit Free, a fully-connected strength training solution offering a personalised workout experience to help users achieve their goals,” explains Technogym’s Luke Townsend. “This concept enables operators to maximise single strength stations while offering a wider variety of exercises to members.”

Biocircuit Free is a fully-connected digital experience – members sign in to their chosen piece of kit, which allows them to set and save their set-up, plus test and track their workouts via their Mywellness account.

This pre-exercise set-up includes adjusting the seat position and offering a range of different goal-specific workouts and additional advanced training methods.

Each time the member signs in, Biocircuit Free adjusts to their profile, suggests they start where they left off or offers alternative training options.

“Biocircuit Free offers four key pillars,” says Townsend. “Its ‘personal training without a trainer’ setting is the first time artificial intelligence has been applied to a strength training experience.

“The ‘Technogym Coach’ records compliance with each workout and gives a score, which if completed three times in a row, triggers an offer to progress the workout. The ‘coach’ encourages members during workouts, and – by understanding compliance – gradually adjusts training and recommends different progressions.

“It’s a fully connected strength training circuit with no need for supervision that evolves based on consistency and compliance,” says Townsend.

Biocircuit Free is the first time artificial intelligence has been applied to a strength training experience
Members sign in to Biocircuit Free to pick up where they left off last time / photo: Technogym
Biocircuit Free gives users a score on each workout and progresses accordingly / photo: Technogym
eGym
Kerstin Obenauer
photo: eGym

“We’re a pioneer in digitally connected strength equipment, releasing our first software-driven strength circuit in 2010. Today, our Smart Strength Series sits at the heart of our fully connected ecosystem,” says Egym’s Kerstin Obenauer.

Egym’s Smart Strength Series has gone through several hardware evolutions to ensure the physical experience continues to match the quality of the programming, performance feedback and motivational functionality. The intelligent circuit automatically responds to the bespoke ergonomic and training needs of individuals using an RFID chip.

Every workout is logged, with regular performance tests ensuring the programme remains progressive.

“Our Smart Strength Series integrates with the Egym Smart Flex connected mobility circuit and our Fitness Hub, the gym floor centrepiece that enables contactless onboarding, as well as a number of third-party fitness trackers, cardio equipment brands and body analysers,” says Obenauer. “Our digital stores collate information and present it back to trainers and users in an easy-to-understand format, via an app. This enables a single point of access to collated training from multiple sources, at any time, from anywhere, creating a complete wraparound training experience, supported by, but not limited to, the four walls of a training facility.”

The intelligent circuit automatically responds to the bespoke ergonomic and training needs of individuals using an RFID chip
The Smart Strength Series integrates with many systems / photo: egym
Keiser
Paul Dudley
photo: Keiser

“We’ve created a fully connected metrics system, which combines the performance monitoring capabilities of our equipment with the power of cloud-based neural networks, to provide an advanced fitness and performance platform,” says Keiser’s Paul Dudley.

“Keiser Metrics captures performance data from our strength equipment and incorporates biometric and activity data to generate an accurate model of each workout. This is then passed to an artificial neural network, which detects trends and divergences from normative datasets.

“Once enough data has been gathered, the system begins to provide suggestions and detect potential injury triggers. Offline session caching allows access to past workouts when an internet connection is not available,” says Dudley.

“Keiser Metrics allows users to have a single source for all data, fully encompassing data from third party apps.”

Once enough data has been gathered, the system begins to provide suggestions and detect potential injury triggers
Keiser Metrics combines all data in a single location for users / photo: Keiser
Pulse Fitness
Richard Sheen
Photo: Pulse Fitness

“Ensuring operators have a fully-connected offering has been a priority and when we launched our premium strength line, it was our must-have element,” says Richard Sheen of Pulse Fitness.

“The range comes with a 10.1-inch android training partner that guides members through reps, weight, range and speed of movement – tracking and recording activity.

“The consoles also act as a coaching guide, offering static instructions and video demonstrations.”

Pulse Fitness offers QR codes on its strength equipment, allowing members to track exercise data and access instructional videos.

Pulse’s strength equipment is also fully connected to its new app – called Trakk – which allows operators to set personalised goals and stay connected to members, wherever they choose to work out.

For members, Trakk offers workout and goal tracking and acts as a personal training tool.

“This completes the fully connected circle, accurately recording member data on cardio, strength, and cable machines, while also providing an asset management tool for operators across our product portfolio,” says Sheen.

Strength equipment is fully connected to the Pulse Fitness Trakk app which allows operators to set personalised goals
Pulse Fitness consoles act as a coaching guide / Photo: Pulse Fitness
Users are guided through reps, weight range and speed of movement by the system / Photo: Pulse Fitness
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