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Breakthrough Australian Invention Disrupts Strength Training Tradition


Date: xx April 2020 | Release Date/Time: Immediate


New fitness technology from Australia could help gym goers get better results with less time and effort. FLEX, a wireless barbell activity tracker, uses laser technology to measure strength training activity and displays users’ results live on their smart device.

Specifically built for barbell exercises, FLEX counts every repetition during a workout and measures a number of metrics, including power and range of motion. 

Importantly, the device also measures the speed of an exercise, which means users can introduce Velocity Based Training, more generally called VBT, into their gym programs. 

Where traditional gym programs allocate weights and repetitions to be completed, VBT makes speed the primary measure of effort and effectiveness. The method can supplement or even replace the traditional ‘reps and sets’ approach used by most people to create their gym programs.  

VBT methods have been used for decades by elite sports teams and olympic level athletes. It has not made as much impact on amateur athletes and mainstream gym goers due to the high cost of reliable technology. 

FLEX is the only product of its kind to use laser based technology, and it is this innovation that makes it possible to produce a lower cost yet highly accurate product. 

FLEX is manufactured by privately owned Canberra company, Kinetic Performance Technology Pty Ltd. Founding Director, Evan Lawton, has been developing sports performance measurement technology for over 25 years and explained that, “Velocity Based Training has been around for at least two decades in the highest levels of sport right across the planet, so we know how effective it is”. 

“We have a product that will satisfy both elite and amateur coaches, personal trainers and individuals doing their own programs. Right now we have players from pro teams using FLEX in their garages while their sports are shut down. We’ve built our own social platform and people are connecting over their workouts where they might normally be together in the gym”, Lawton said. 

A growing body of research confirms that Velocity Based Training could be the future direction for strength training.

A recent study from the Australian Catholic University looked at using cutoffs based on velocity instead of repetitions to determine when an athlete should stop exercising. The study showed that by applying ‘velocity loss thresholds’ training quality, fatigue, and perception of effort can all be controlled. This would greatly improve the effectiveness of exercise programs, leading to greater improvements in strength, power, and muscle mass.

According to lead researcher, Dr Jonathon Weakly, “Velocity offers opportunities for individualising load to each and every athlete to best account for their personal levels of fatigue in the gym”.

“I’m genuinely excited by these results. This means we can account for all the factors that impact physical readiness, from stress, sleep, nutrition to other types of exercise someone might be participating in” he said.