Analysis of Beast, the quantifier for weight training in the gym: this is how it works

Someone once said that "what cannot be measured cannot be improved". Someone else who was working developing wearables You must have heard it and saw the reef in the quantifier accessories for athletes. And it is that for a few years more and more have appeared wearables aimed at the world of sports with which we can keep track of our kilometers traveled, calories expended, race rhythms and a host of other facts about our workouts.

If you look, most of these wearables They are aimed at cardiovascular sports: we have them in abundance for runners, cyclists, even swimmers ... And what about strength sport? Is it so difficult to quantify a weight training? It seems that, at last, lovers of iron lifting will be able (to measure) and improve our workouts with accessories such as Beast. This is how it works and how it helps you.

Basic characteristics

Beast is a small sensor of a size similar to that of a wristwatch (one a little large) that we place on the forearm to be able to quantify our workouts in free weight. In exercises for which we need bars or dumbbells, the sensor is placed on the forearm through a wrist strap, while in exercises with our own body weight (such as pull-ups or push-ups) we must place it in the back area through a vest specially designed for it (if we do not have the vest, free way to the imagination: I hold it between the straps of the sports top). In the case of training with pulleys, we must place the sensor on top of the plates that we are going to lift.

The sensor itself measures 20x19x40 mm and has a weight of 38 grams: it is light and does not bother when carrying it on the forearm. It has a fast charging lithium ion battery (a couple of hours is enough to fully charge) that gives it an autonomy of 8 hours of operation: the ideal would be to charge it once a week and be able to use it for all our workouts . It is charged through a USB cable that we can connect to the computer or to the current through an adapter.

The sensor has a led light that tells us if it is charging and if it is working (we turn it on through a small switch on one of its shorter sides). It does not have any screen, so to use it we will need to download the free app associated with the sensor. Once downloaded to our mobile (available for Android and IOS), we only have to associate the sensor via bluetooth (it does it automatically) and start training: we will see in real time how we are training at the same time we perform the exercises. Through its gyroscope, accelerometer and magnetometer, the sensor measures the speed of the lifts in our training. In addition, the sensor is magnetized to secure it to the different supports or even place it on the bars or dumbbells, although it is recommended to wear it on the wrist.

To see how our session has been once we have finished training, we must enter the website with our personal account: there we can see all the details of the different exercises, series and repetitions that we have done during our training, with graphs of our progress.

What is it like to train with Beast?

On the left, bar speed measurement in real time. On the right, summary after finishing the series: you have to put more load to reach the desired speed.

But what does Beast measure? Essentially the Beast sensor measures the speed of the survey we perform, as traditional encoders do. The substantial difference between an encoder (which the powerlifters, strength athletes and many professional athletes) and this sensor is that the Beast is very small, we can carry it and use it personally for all the exercises we want, while an encoder is much larger, it requires a computer on site To view the charts, it can only be used in some exercises (the basic vertical lifting essentially) and it is not within the reach of all pockets.

Basically what Beast is is an encoder adapted to the general user of the gym: it has a lower price (249 euros on its website) and we only need a mobile phone to download its app to be able to see our progress immediately while we are training (To see the complete graphs and all the training information we must access the web, although they are working so that these data are also accessible via the app).

Of course, the traditional encoder has a smaller margin of error than this sensor, but it can be used to record our progress and to maximize our gains in training at the user level.

And why is the speed of our surveys important?

The Beast sensor is based on the velocity based training (VBT) or speed based training. But is it really important to know how fast we lift a weight? The short answer is yes: the speed with which we lift gives us the key to know if the weight we are using is correct for the goal we want to achieve in the gym. And now we go with the long explanation.

VBT helps us determine our 1RM

On the left, real-time survey power measurement. On the right, a graph that indicates what objective we have focused on during training.

We are usually used to working with a certain number of sets and repetitions depending on whether our goal is to gain strength, hypertrophy the muscle or define it. Also, depending on our objective, we must take into account the weight we must lift, which is generally measured in percentages of our 1RM or maximum repetition.

The sensor helps us to establish our 1RM safely by measuring the speed of the survey

The first problem appears when we want to establish our 1RM to, from there, determine the weights that we must move in each exercise. Not only is it not a simple task, since it requires time that many times we do not have, but also for beginners it can lead to an injury and must be measured under certain conditions (after a good rest, without signs of stress and with a good mental preparation, since the psychological factor is important). To this we must add that we would have to renew that measurement of our 1RM in each exercise every little time, since the variables are not the same every training day.

Through the measurement of the speed with which we move the bar in a certain exercise we can establish our 1RM in a very simple way. The relationship between strength and speed of the lift is inversely proportional: the more kilos we want to lift the slower we will. Knowing this, depending on the speed with which we raise the bar, we will be training our muscles for a different purpose.

The closer our lifting speed gets to the zone of absolute force (between 0.15 and 0.35 meters / second), the closer we will be to our 1RM. This is easy to do with a sensor, even every day if necessary, and in all the exercises we want, not just the basic ones.

The VBT tells us what weight we should train according to our objective

on the left, summary of the 4 training series. On the right, graph with the summary of the power of the surveys.

We don't train at the same weight if we want to gain more strength than if we want to hypertrophy the muscles, and the load we work with is sometimes difficult to determine. By measuring the speed of the lift we will ensure that you are always training with the right weight, whatever your goal in the weight room.

Before starting to train, the Beast app asks us to tell you what our goal is: to improve our speed, increase muscle power, achieve hypertrophy, improve our maximum strength or simply record our progress. Once we have told you what we want to work and how much weight we are lifting in a certain exercise, the app registers the speed with which we move the bar and tells us if we have to remove or put weight to reach the lifting speed ideal for that purpose.

At the end of the series, the app tells you if you should increase or decrease weight depending on whether your objective is to work on strength, hypertrophy, speed ...

This happens in real time: we see it on the screen of our mobile while we are up. For example, I place the mobile on one of the legs of the squat rack, prepare the bar and the discs, tell him to start the countdown (he has a countdown of 5 or 10 seconds to give you time to remove the bar and stand) and start to lift. In each repetition we can see on the screen at what speed we are lifting and if we are doing it with the correct weight for our objective.

This is interesting also if we consider that our conditions are not the same every day when we go to train. Surely it has happened to you that one day you easily squat 60 kilos and the next day you are not able to lift 40 kilos: it can be due to many reasons such as rest, diet or the simple fact of not being psychologically prepared. When working with the sensor based on speed we will only have to change the weight until we reach the correct speed in the lifting and thus we ensure that we are working in the desired range day after day.

The VBT helps us to improve the technique of our lifts

Another use that we can give to the training based on the speed of the lifts is to check if we carry the correct technique throughout the movement. We always assume that technique is much more important than the kilos you gain, both to maximize profit and to reduce the risk of injury (a bad technique in any exercise for a long time is usually a safe injury). It is a good time to remember that the ego is not measured in kilos.

One of the key moments when technique can fail is when to start the concentric phase of the lift (when starting to lift the weight in a squat, for example). The Beast sensor records speed throughout the course of our movement, making it easy to see if we relax at some point in the movement.

Plan workouts through the web

On the left: this is what a previously planned training on the web looks like in the app. On the right: different exercises already pre-loaded in the app.

Gone are the days when we went to the gym with a notebook and a pen where we had our workouts pointed and where we kept track of the weights we were moving. Now practically everyone uses a mobile application (or the notebook app) to target it, and with Beast we can do it through the application itself.

To plan our workouts in advance we just have to go to their website, register with an account and start selecting the exercises we want to do in the next workout, including series and repetitions. In addition to all the exercises that the website itself proposes, we can also add those that we consider necessary.

We can carry out weekly planning with different training sessions for the different days of the week. We will only have to indicate on the web what day we want to do each of the training sessions and we will have them available in the app. When we get to the room, we just have to open the app to see what exercises we have to do today, with how much weight, how many sets and how many repetitions, and start lifting.

Beast, Xataka's opinion

The Beast sensor helps us maximize the results of our training, guiding us on the weight we must use to reach our goal. It also helps us establish what our 1RM or maximum repetition weight is and if our lifting technique is correct throughout the movement.

A good wearable for those who already know how to train and want to maximize their earnings

Is it useful for training? Undoubtedly yes; but it would be necessary to specify to which public it is directed. Obviously it is a good help for people who already know how to train (they know the technique of the exercises and they know how to execute them correctly) and who want to improve their gains, reaching the objectives in a faster way (because you will train better and properly) and safer (the app tells us when we should raise or lower the weight we are lifting). Obviously it is also a great help for personal trainers, who can sharpen much more with the training of their students, guiding them towards their goals.

For the average user of the gym it can be a good form of motivation: the fact of recording each one of the training sessions and seeing how it improves every day is a plus when it comes to approaching the gym to train, but I would not see it for nothing necessary.

Personally, I really liked training with this wearable: It is the first I have tested in terms of weight training quantification and I was pleasantly surprised to see the data of my lifts in real time on the screen of my mobile. I will definitely continue using it.

The Beast sensor has been released for testing by Beast Technologies. Can inquire our policy of relationships with enterprises

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