Every athlete searches for a training tool or coach that will give them an edge. Sports tech has long been part of athletics, but it’s come a long way from wind tunnels and video recordings. Newer options are personalized, letting the athlete and coach assess fitness and performance. But most of us aren’t training for the Olympics or a world championship. Still, it’s nice to be able to take advantage of the technology that can help us get in shape, motivate workouts, and teach proper form. Today’s blog looks at some of the impressive sports tech available to weekend warriors and the average athlete.
Fitness Trackers & Watches
From tracking sleep to timing laps, fitness trackers are the most widely-available and well-used piece of sports tech. Some trackers are very basic. If you have an iPhone, you have a step counter. That app with the little heart that’s labelled “health”? It’s counting your steps and some other basic info. An app is the simplest fitness tracker out there and an easy entry point for sports tech—there are even some good free ones. More complex trackers range from a modest investment to hundreds of dollars. The pricier ones usually include built-in optical heart rate monitors and GPS. Cost is one consideration, but the tracker you choose really depends what you want to track and how you want to track it. Are you willing to let an app do most of the heavy lifting or do you want be able to glance down at an easy-to ready watch display? Do you care about recording your heart rate and sleep cycle or do you just want to count steps? Finally, is the tracker being used for a specific activity like swimming, cycling, or running? Once you decide the features you want, you can narrow down your choices and start reading some reviews to see what tracker suits your needs and budget.
A rowing machine may seem like one of the least complicated pieces of gym equipment out there, but the latest models take rowers from meh to cutting edge sports tech. Rowing is a really great option if you want a low-impact, full body workout. Arms, legs, and abs are all engaged when you’re in the seat. With a smart rowing machine, you have access to instructors who teach you proper form while breaking down technique. A screen provides the connection to scenic outdoor rows or video-game style competitions. The video component helps your workout speed by while you get coaching prompts. NordicTrack and Pelonton are just two of the well-known fitness companies with smart rowers, while the Hydrow Rowing Machine has an HD touchscreen to pull up on-demand rows and live classes.
If your old treadmill is being used as a clothes rack, maybe its time for an upgrade. The connected treadmills of today can automatically adjust your speed and incline as part of an immersive workout. It’s a pretty cool trick when you can take a nature hike with an instructor while your equipment literally ramps up. The downside to a treadmill can be the amount of space it requires. Yes, some fold away or stand up when not in use, but you’ll still need the space for your workout. And don’t forget headroom! Treadmills work well if you have a ground floor option for set-up, but apartment dwellers may anger neighbours.
Check Me Out!
Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the fittest of them all? Smart mirrors are a concept that sounds a little spooky, but they’re actually a pretty cool piece of sports tech. They work like a regular mirror, until you log on for a class. Then, you can see the instructor and your own reflection during a sweat session. This piece of tech may be the closest thing to being in a gym that you can experience from the comfort of your own home. Live and pre-recorded classes are available and the trainer can provide feedback on your movements or the mirror may be equipped with advanced motion-capture technology. You’ll need a fitness subscription to take advantage of workouts and instruction that range from yoga to weight lifting. Depending on the mirror, an app could be required or many have touch-screen capability. The future looks a lot like the (wo)man in the mirror.
Swing Into Fitness
Kettlebells are a piece of equipment that’s become quite popular in the gym setting. These weighted bells have been around for a surprisingly long time. If you’re looking to get some kettlebells for a home-based workout, there are smart versions that are more than just oversized paper weights. One of the smartest examples has to be the JaxJox Smart Kettlebell.
One disadvantage of a traditional set of kettlebells is the amount of space they command. The JaxJox version is a single pair of weights that can be adjusted from 5.5-19kg in mere seconds. What sorcery is this? you may be asking. It’s actually part of an integrated weight base that the kettlebells sit on. An LCD display on the equipment lets you select from six weight options and adds or subtracts plates to produce the perfect heft. Use the weights for workouts available on the JaxJox website and pair with the app to track your workouts and receive tips and advice. Motion sensors in the kettlebell record your movements and provide real-time metrics. Who said weight-lifters aren’t smart?
Smart Jump Ropes
Jump ropes are another old-school piece of gym equipment that’s been upgraded thanks to sports tech. Digital jump ropes keep track of things like rotations, calories burned, and time spent working out. They come in different weights and rope lengths, although both can be adjusted on many models. For those of us who tend to tripped up by the rope, there’s a cordless option. In fact, many smart jump ropes can be used with or without a rope. Most of the cordless configurations have a short cord with a ball on the end to simulate the rope swing and track rotations. Some handles have a digital display showing the user what they’ve achieved and an app can track your workouts.
As the weather continues to improve, you may be looking for a piece of sports tech that gets you outside. The Slinger Bag is an updated version of a tennis ball launcher. The advantage of this bag, which began as a Kickstarter campaign, is its portability. Weighing in at just 15kg, this bag runs on a battery that will last up to five hours on a full charge. There’s a remote control to operate speed, frequency, and rate of balls. The bag holds 144 balls and launch speeds range from 16-73kph.
Sports Tech & Video
The latest sports tech can help prevent injuries, motivate workouts, and track your progress. There are so many great options that cater to people who enjoy at-home workouts or can’t access the gym because of the pandemic. And we love how new ideas are cropping up all the time. The Slinger Bag is a great example of how a video can help investors see the value of your product, helping to launch a business. Key West Video has worked on a number of crowdfunding videos and can offer advice and services if you have a sports tech idea you’re trying to get off the ground. Call us today for a free quote.