Futuristic fitness tech to take your training into the next century

Train like Marty McFly with the latest in digital-age fitness equipment
The best fitness tech for smart workouts

The way we work out has been transformed by tech. From yoga to boxing, virtually every type of exercise now has a wearable or sensor-laden gadget that’ll monitor performance, offer coaching and help you improve your technique.

Sticking on a chest strap is now a common way to make group sessions more fun and competitive; if you can’t be bothered to trek to the gym, you can join boutique-style workout sessions from the comfort of your front room and you can even get training plans that adapt to how well you performed in your most recent sweat session.

Whether you’re pushing for PBs or just working hard to stay healthy, you can now get the kind of data and insights that were previously available only to the athletic elites. It’s not just about performance either, plenty of products help with motivation too. And the good news is that the technology is getting better all the time.

But don’t just take our word for it, here’s the latest crop of tech that’s out to make your fitness efforts more effective and ultimately more fun.

SmartRope LED

Buy now: Tangram Factory (US) / Amazon | From $79.95

Best fitness tech: Connected kit for getting in beast mode

Ok, so all you really need to do some skipping is a long piece of cord, but in the age of tech fitness why would you settle for that when you can have an LED-embedded SmartRope that displays your fitness data in mid-air as you work out?

That’s right, with the rope in motion, 23 LED lights create a ‘projection’ of your fast-foot vitals right where you can see them with stats including your jump count up to four digits and calories burned. The data is also sent via Bluetooth to smartphone app so you can track your progress and improvements.

The app itself also includes some interval training sessions for those looking to step things up a gear, social leaderboards so you can compete with friends and awards for when you hit your goals. A 2-hour charge will give you enough juice for 36 hours of toe-tapping – which should be enough for any would-be Rocky.

BlazePod

Buy now: Blazepod (US) / Amazon (UK) | From $279

If you like your workouts fast and furious, then the Blazepod flash reflex training system might be the perfect addition to your everyday routines. The system of interlinkable pods features lights that can be set to flash at intervals, transforming any session into a race against the clock. A bit like a visual version of a bleep test that can be applied to any set of drills, you can sit BlazePods on the floor, strap them to bars and basically position them around any equipment within a 40-metre range.

The partner app offers a range of drills to follow, but the system’s versatility means the drills you can do are limited only by your creativity. Ideal for things like corner-corner sprint sessions, timed box jumps and even stretching sessions, they’re excellent for improving hand-eye coordination, agility, speed, stability and strength.

There’s also a group training mode that lets you challenge your mates for a bit of friendly competition. Each pod gives 12 hours of workout time from a single charge.

TheraGun Liv

Buy now: Theragun (UK) / Theragun (US) / Amazon (US) | $249

Best fitness tech: Connected kit for getting in beast mode

What you do for recovery is as important as how hard you work when you’re exercising. Failure to take care of your body can easily result in injury. Luckily tech has stepped up to the mark with the tools to make R&R that little bit easier. This cut-down version of the Theragun – the original percussive therapy device – is a bit like having your own portable sports massage specialist.

It may look a bit like a drill but the powerful pummelling head has been carefully designed to deliver 40 percussions per second and up to 30lb of force, making it incredibly easy to do a bit of DIY on knots and tight spots whilst on the move.

It’s the ultimate weapon for rehabbing grumbling muscles, tending to injuries and speeding recovery, particularly if you travel for events, but it can also be used as a pre-workout primer, to get muscle groups firing before you smash out those squats and deadlifts in the gym.

JAXJOX KettlebellConnect

Buy now: JAXJOX (UK) /JAXJOX (US) | From $299

Kettlebell drills are a regular in HIIT and bootcamp-style workouts but unless you live in a massive pad, it’s unlikely you’ll have room for a whole set of them at home. Step up the space-saving JAXJOX KettlebellConnect.

This smart kettlebell not only squeezes six selectable weights – 5kg to 19kg (12lbs - 42lbs) – into one smallish unit, but it also packs sensors that track your reps, sets, weight, and rest time for every swing and lift.

The weights might make this more suitable for beginners, but there is, of course, an app that offers guided kettlebell workouts and you’ll get 14 hours of bell busting from a single charge.

Activ5

Buy now: Activ5 (US) / Amazon | From $129.99

Best fitness tech: Connected kit for getting in beast mode

If we told you that you could put a gym in your pocket you might think we’d necked a dodgy recovery shake, however, this pebble-sized training tool lets you do a huge-rang of isometric-based strength exercises wherever you are.

Inside the pebble are sensors capable of reading and withstanding high levels of pressure and once you’ve paired it with a smartphone or tablet, there’s an app that unlocks more than 100 seated and standing guided drills that use body force alone to get you into shape. There are challenges and coached sessions targeting key areas such as abs, upper body, hip flexors and a wide selection of 5-minute workouts for quick-fix fitness on-the-go.

Some of the sessions have a gaming tilt, where the pressure you exert controls objects on the screen. There’s one shark hunt game, for example, where you’re challenged to apply just the right amount of force at the right height in the sea to swallow down some fish. It also works off three standard AAA batteries to give you 6-12 months of isometric action.

Corner Boxing Tracker

Buy now: Corner (UK) / Amazon (UK) | £89.99

Ask anyone who’s thrown jabs and crosses flat out for 3 minutes and they’ll tell you just how much respect they have for a boxer’s cardio fitness. Whether you’re interested in gloving up for general fitness or you fancy a tilt at Anthony Joshua, Corner’s boxing trackers turn your heavy bag sessions into cold hard data so you can see how well you’re hitting and how hard you’ve worked.

Corner’s two small sensors fit comfortably under your boxing wraps – or in a set of special wristbands that come included – and keep tabs on your punch type, speed, power and intensity firing all that data in real-time to your smartphone.

There’s a really useful workrate readout that lets you spot whether you’re tiring later into a round as well as a few neat little tricks that make the whole setup easier to use, like tapping your gloves together before you begin a session.

The sensors are also sweat and water resistant and you get 7 hours of time at the bag or in the ring from a single charge.

Stryd with Wind Detection

Buy now: Stryd (UK) / Stryd (US) | $219

Stryd was one of the first sensors to pioneer the idea of tracking running power – a metric that’s arguably more useful for monitoring your running output than heart rate or pace. The latest generation of the tiny footpod – which looks much like a marathon timing chip – now comes with added insights to help you pace smartly in any conditions, including wind.

It’s actually the first run tracker to measure the impact of the wind on your running and now gives real-time recommendations on how to adjust your efforts when you’re faced with a head or tailwind. It can even tell you if you’re in the drafting zone, a position you’ll see elite runners get into behind other runners to reduces air resistance that makes life a little easier on the legs.

Stryd covers a lot of the regular running stuff too, with distance and pace plus feedback on your form and your fatigue. You also get recommendations on power targets for different race distances based on your current fitness rather than wishful thinking. All of which can help you optimise the effort you exert and ensure you don’t go too hard and bust or too slow and miss your target time.

Main image credit: JAXJOX

Tags:   Workout
Tagged   Workout