From virtual reality to connected rowing machines, these products are at the cutting edge of fitness technology.
Getting fit will never be easy. The work will always be the work. But if technology has anything to do with it, workouts in the not-too-distant future will be more fun, more focused and more effective.
The COVID-19 lockdown demonstrated the power and potential of remote training, but studio sessions in your home are just the start.
From gamified virtual-reality exercise experiences, to artificially intelligent coaching, we’re at the start of a fitness revolution changing the way we train.
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Wattbike Atom Next Generation
The Wattbike is a popular weapon in the war on comfort zones, and the 2020 incarnation of the Atom – the more home and wallet-friendly ride – is closer to a future where the indoor training experience better mimics grinding the high gears on your nearest climbs.
The fundamentals remain: the overall design, weight and footprint is exactly the same, at 40kg and 100cm x 50cm. But an electromagnetic resistance motor makes for a smoother and more realistic road-feel ride, with quicker and crisper automatic and manual resistance changes.
It’s easy to move with precision through the 22 gears, while flywheel and crank-angle sensors read data 1,000 times per second for pinpoint accuracy.
The 0-25 per cent gradient provides as much pain as you’re willing to suffer, and wrecking your quads on the virtual hills in smart training worlds like Zwift and Trainer Road is simple with full connectivity ANT+, Bluetooth and FE-C support.
You have to bring your own screen, but there’s a built-in handlebar stand that makes locking on a smartphone or tablet a cinch.
Unlike some, the Atom comes pre-built and practically ready to ride out of the box, with a wonderfully simple four-step set-up.
Tweaking the cycling position is easy, with thankfully very little wielding of allen keys. You can also add your own pedals and handlebars to customise your ride.
You don’t have to stick on a VR headset to turn a workout into a game. Corner’s connected boxing trackers are the latest wearables to join heart-rate-based workout tools like MyZone in adding a competitive edge to the gym floors of the future.
Corner’s compact trackers strap to each wrist to give you seven hours of real-time drill data, revealing how hard you’re working and how well you’re hitting. You get punch type, speed, power and intensity, all sent in real time to your smartphone.
You can also follow on-demand sessions or do solo training, but if you want an extra edge that ability to compete with other brawlers worldwide is excellent for added motivation.
Supernatural for Oculus Quest
$19 per month, getsupernatural.com
Only available in the US but coming to the UK soon, this VR set-up brings gamified fitness into your front room with daily trainer-led, on-demand, full-body workouts set in epic virtual landscapes like Machu Picchu.
Workouts based largely on bodyweight drills are calibrated to your height, arm span and squat depth, and you can add heart-rate monitors for extra intensity data.
Black Box VR
Price on request, blackbox-vr.com
This gym-based virtual-reality training system uses a headset, hands-free VR controllers and a custom resistance cable machine to create an immersive experience, combining fantasy gaming with real-world drills.
You become a workout warrior completing familiar exercises – with your body as the controller – to smash through enemy gates and destroy crystals. The stronger you lift, the more powerful the attack.
From $1,750, carbontrainer.com
A slightly different spin on the fitness mirror, Carbon’s artificially intelligent training aid is designed for those focusing on strength training.
Motion-tracking technology monitors your reps, volume and technique, charts your progress and automatically generates plans and workouts for you to follow on that stunning 43” 4K LCD touch-screen display.
From $1,495, mirror.com
This window into future home workouts caters for train-along drills that use bodyweight but also supports equipment-based workouts with dumbbells, kettlebells and resistance bands.
You can access live and on-demand classes, book real-time remote personal training sessions and follow goal-focused programmes, such as weight loss or marathon training.
Half gaming accessory, half core-burning balance ball, Icaros Cloud is an inflatable, connected training tool that hooks up to a smartphone, tablet or VR headset.
It lets you dive (sometimes literally) into a world of online games, all cleverly designed to use digitally tracked movement to train balance and strength.
Where else can you fly through snowy mountain tops while blitzing a full-body workout?
In the future we’ll all get ripped at home under the guidance of virtual trainers. And this wall-mounted interactive display and digital weight combo is the first step.
Lift up to 90kg with reps, sets and range of motion auto tracked. And never have to manage the anger of seeing other gym-goers fail to re-rack their weights again.
Taking Peleton-style train-along sessions onto the water, this connected indoor rower uses a 22” colour touchscreen display and impressive front-facing speakers to transport you from your home gym into live rowing workouts with other athletes on the waterways.
The computer-controlled electromagnetic drag mechanism adds to the real-world rowing feel, and the whole thing stores upright if you’re short on space.
Bowflex SelectTech 560 Dumbbells
Most of us don’t have room to stash a whole suite of dumbbells at home. These clever space-saving weights offer a solution: cramming a complete rack of heavy metal into two compact, Bluetooth-connected selectable irons.
Weights range from 2.3 to 27.2kg and they also ping your sets, reps and weights to an accompanying app.
Words: Kieran Alger