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There are more and more 'fitness trackers' coming out everyday.
The majority of them can tell you how fast you run, what your heart rate is, how you slept, and many other things.
The problem is, there hasn't really been a device that correlates directly to lifting weights that wasn't overly complicated and too expensive for the average user.
Today however, there is beginning to be more devices coming out that are absolutely changing the various metrics that we use for measuring strength. One such device that I believe is going to lead the charge is the FORM Lifting Collar.
Just to start, I'd like to talk a little on the background of where the FORM Lifting Collar came about.
Scott Mahr is the creator and designer of the collar.
The idea essentially came about when Scott transitioned from fitness endeavors such as running and general endurance events and decided to get into CrossFit and weightlifting type training. What he realized is something that I've actually realize myself,
The only way we track progress in strength training is through the weight on the barbell.
That's pretty much it.
Everybody knows that if you're lifting 225 lbs. this week, and the week before you were lifting to 205 your essentially stronger (excluding all of the external factors that come into play such as your energy levels, mental strength, yada, yada, yada.)
Scott had the thought what if I created a device that was not only easy to operate, cheap, but it could track the hip drive used against the bar by tracking the speed as well as force applied.
And this my friends brings us to the present day FORM Collar.
I'm going to talk a little about the actual construction of the actual collar and how the module is attached.
The collar itself is simply a Lock Jaw Pro Collar that many of you are aware of and have used. These are the same colors that rogue sells rebranded, as well as the ones that are used in the CrossFit Games. It's a great collar that in my opinion is only second to the OSO Collar.
The actual module is simply screwed in from the backside of the collar. This is why I assume FORM decided to go with the Lock Jaw Pro Collar; you can screw into it easily.
The module is 3D printed currently, although this may change in the final production.
The module includes a light indicating whether it's connected to Bluetooth and also whether it's on the bar (indicated by blue and green lights.) There is also a port for a mini USB charging cable to connect because it is powered by a rechargeable battery.
Now moving on to the meat and potatoes. The app and how its connected to the module is SEAMLESS.
I was very hesitant when I saw the device, thinking that because of the bar traveling fast, and because it's a new device that the connection would actually break or it would be hard to make a connection. However, in my tests I had very little problems with it.
The app features many different settings including the type of lift that's being attempted (anything from snatches to benches.)
Often times with new apps they're very clunky and difficult to use. Because of their often unpolished style, it's almost impossible to actually have an enjoyable user experience.
This being said, the form lifting app is much more polished than would be expected from a first iteration. I'm sure they've gone through multiple testings and have had it out into some of the publics hands.
There are a few bugs that need to be ironed out such as slow loading at times and sometimes the connection to the actual color can be interrupted or things like that. However, I think with time and refinement these issues will be smoothed out rather quickly making for an even better user experience.
The way you use the collar is rather simple.
It's really that easy.
As I've stated the best thing about this is how seamless it is. And one thing that makes it even more seamless is the ability it gives you to do a lift, and within seconds it will tell you the maximum hip drive, the time it took for the bar to drop, how much rest time you taken since your last lift, and more.
You don't have to punch anything on the phone other than to change your weight if you increase in weight or to switch out the lifter. You can easily move into your next rep and it will continuously track the hip drive you're applying.
What I ended up doing was placing my phone on the floor in front of me, and banged out one rep every 10 seconds and watched as my hip drive faded over time.
Another way I used it was during squats. I would sit my phone near the rack and once I was finished with the lift, it would begin counting how much time had passed since my last rep. When it hit a minute and thirty seconds, I would do another set. BOOM!
In my mind, one of the best uses for this device is for coaches that are actually coaching the lifters on how to lift.
The device can not only track speed and force, but also whether the lifter is using proper form. For those that train without it coach, such as myself, being able to look at a phone and see whether I'm training with proper form or not based upon the bar path is something incredibly useful.
Although this device is seamless I think there's much more that could be done with it in the future. However, I think much of the updates can come in the form of the app and not necessarily just the module.
It's an awesome device that I believe is the starting point to something much greater.
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