Strenx by GYMWATCH - Smart strength training to go!
|Price:||$149.00 & FREE Shipping. Details|
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- The fitness tracker analyzing your workout and watching out for you during your workout
- Create your own individual workouts and get audio-visual live feedback
- Record and control your workout progress
- 900 different exercises are trackable – for the gym, at home and for your workout on the way
- The whole Gymwatch StrenX is made in Germany
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GYMWATCH has developed a sensor to measure strength and motion across fitness exercises, including machines, free weights and bodyweight. The sensor records the full range of motion of an exercise, determines every strength component, all repetitions and detects incorrect exercise execution to help ensure exercises are performed properly and desired fitness goals are reached.
Top Customer Reviews
The unit itself seems well put together. The straps provided are comfortable and it is easy to charge (once you can get the rubber stopper out of the charging port). However, even before going into the gym the lack of overall polish starts to show. Turning the Gymwatch off is tricky. The instructions (more on THOSE to come) say that you should hold the button under the Gymwatch symbol down for 10 seconds which will disconnect the Gymwatch from the app and shut it down. Disconnect it sure, shut it off? Not so much. So far it's taken me 3-4 tries to shut it off and I'm still not sure what the exact trick is. Connecting to the app is a breeze, just understand that you are connecting to the actual app, not the bluetooth on your phone. Don't sit there staring at the bluetooth screen in your settings like I did the first time.
Which brings up those "instructions" I mentioned earlier. There isn't much there, to put it nicely. This isn't an overly complicated device, but the directions could certainly be a little more clear. I have a feeling some of the clarity issue comes in with the translation from German. The real issue with the lack of direction isn't really relative to the Gymwach itself, but the app.
Here's where everything really falls apart. The App is...really bad. I hope to come back and revise this review after a few more outings. I hope I am being overly critical and it's just getting used to something new. I don't hold out much hope for those hopes. The app looks good. Plenty of pictures of exercises and the overall look is professional. However, in practical use it simply falls apart.
You can't create a workout (Template in Gymwatch App speak) within the app. You have to do that from the web portal and it is as difficult to work with as is the app. I tried creating 3 different workouts yesterday. I ran into issues almost immediately. Something a simple as naming the workout had issues (even when I created my own name it would default once saved to "My Workout /date/". This may seem like a small thing, but if I am trying to lay out an entire program of workouts that I create, it becomes very difficult to know what is what when they all have the same name. I thought I was in luck when trying to enter in sets as I wanted to enter in ranges (6-8). No such luck. The app allowed me to change the sets to ranges, but once saved, all of the set counts reverted to whatever the default count had been (15 or 12 in most cases). I will now have to try again using discrete numbers for sets to see if these transfer.
Using a template had its own issues. Though I was positive I had chosen Lbs as my unit of measurement, as soon as I started my first workout I found out that the app was set to Kg. There was no way for me to change this on the fly. I had to finish (and save, no option to ignore) the workout I had just started so I could go back to the settings and change to Lbs. I also had the "Continuous flow" setting checked which moves you to the next set automatically after your rest time is over. This has the potential to be great, but as of yet I have not found an intuitive way (button press anyone?) to pause the workout. This means that I was racking weights when the App started telling me to start my next exercise. For now I will try my next workout with this setting unchecked.
The above problem lead to missed sets as there was no way to go back and restart a set. There also appears to be no way to add a set on the fly. This lead the entire workout to feel cramped with no room for any kind of spontaneity or ability for change. If you have ever tried to follow a workout plan to the T in a somewhat crowded gym, you can appreciate how this lack of flexibility can be aggravating.
You also have to understand what the device/app means by "starting position". I did my first set of bench presses getting constant "Wrong Execution!" notices because I thought starting position was with the weight still racked. At first I figured this was more a "me" issue, but I've since found that you have to think about this more than I would have expected, especially with machines. Even after figuring this out I received more "Wrong Execution" and "Partial Rep" notices than seemed reasonable. I am also not entirely positive that the app wasn't counting extra reps.
Use of the Gymwatch seems simple enough. Press the button when you are ready to begin the exercise and a voice prompt will tell you to get into starting position. Shortly after it will tell you to start, "Let's Go!". Once you have completed your last rep, press the button again to start your rest period. Sounds simple. Unfortunately the last part seems a bit clunky. I received "Wrong Execution" and "Partial Rep" notices on most of my last reps because it isn't practical to immediately press the button after the last rep. It seems to me this device should be smart enough to recognize this, but maybe that is wishful thinking on my part.
I have been waiting to try this device out since it was announced. To say I am disappointed is to put it mildly. I will continue to work with the GYMWATCH over the next week or so to see if some of these issues can be ironed out or worked around, but I have a feeling that some major improvements to the app are needed before this is going to be even a remotely useful device. The thing that worries me most is I haven't found what appears to be a good avenue to discuss these needs with the company. They have a website, facebook, a blog, etc., but I'm not seeing much conversation. Having seen other reviews with many of the same concerns I've posted, I'm curious how I am not seeing some back and forth with the company and its customers. Hopefully they are working hard behind the scenes to improve on these issues.
The first thing you need to do is download the iOS or android(not available until after 01-30-15) apps on your phone or tablet. The Gymwatch sensor will only work with some iOS devices. The iOS devices include the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, iPhone 6 or higher, iPod touch (5th Generation or higher), iPad 3rd Generation, iPad 4th Generation, iPad Mini, iPad Air, iPad mini with Retina Display or Higher. Android devices must be running Version 4.1 Jelly Bean API level 16 or higher.
After downloading the app you are going to need to charge your Gymwatch to at least 20% and then update the firmware to the latest version. Once charged to 20% you can connect the device to your phone or tablet. This is very easy on iOS devices and only requires you to press the connect button on the app and then hit the one button on the sensor. This is a small company and they have been updating the product as users report bugs. The firmware update only takes 7 to 10 minutes and you will find more details inside the box about how to properly update the firmware. It is a very easy process to update the firmware on this device.
This device is not like a typical step/sleep activity tracker. The indiegogo campaign stated that it does track steps and cardio exercises, but the Gymwatch shines in tracking your gym workout activities. This device does not track heart rate, but it was indicated that you will be able to connect a heart rate sensor to it sometime in the future. It was initially reported that the device would support Bluetooth 2.1, Bluetooth 4.0 LE(low energy) and ANT, but I no longer see any indication that ANT is supported. That could mean that those Garmin heart straps you have will most likely not work with this device. I believe that I read in the Gymwatch forums that Bluetooth 4.0 LE heart sensors will eventually be supported. Currently, the device does not show step counts anywhere in the app. Sleep tracking will also not be supported. There is no LED or LCD display on the device and any and all activity data must be viewed on the apps or eventually the web portal.
The iOS App Experience - Software Version 1
The app experience is where this device could use some help. In Gymwatch's defense, they are working on weekly updates to the app. The iOS app is currently in version 1.1.1 and it leaves much to be desired. It is initially difficult to figure out what to do first and how to start a workout. After playing around with the app for a few minutes, you can figure it out but it isn't a seamless experience. You can't set up a workout plan on the app to re-use for future workouts. I found out that feature will be released when the web portal is made available. The web portal is due for release any day now, so that should add functionality that is needed. In the app(iOS version) you can select several exercises and run through a program for that day only. The app has exercise preview animations and speed & range of motion indicators. The app also displays the number of reps and partial reps that were performed for each exercise. At this point, the app doesn't really give you any other real-time information. Other information about force, velocity and power can be seen post workout and after you add the weight that you lifted. I didn't really like the way the post-workout information was displayed. I would like to be able to view and review historical data with charts and graphs. Currently, the information is presented for only a single workout and only provides limited analysis of your workout. I don't think that many of the data fields promised have been turned on yet. I did not see any 1 rep max indicator in my initial tests. The app does offer some cool audio feedback to count out reps and let you know if you performed an exercise incorrectly. They really need to focus the app on ease of use, a quick start mode, giving more relevant data analysis and more historical data to view your strength and fitness progress.
Currently, the device and iOS app do a great job of counting reps and sets. Selecting each exercise is a little bit of a pain, but the developers are currently working on a revision to the iOS app that will offer a more automated workout experience. In an upcoming iOS app update, you will no longer have to select each exercise individually. This automated experience will be released in the first version of the android app on 01-30-15(*This was delayed until sometime in the 1st week of February).
In my limited tests with this device, I found it a fun little gadget and I enjoyed the audio feedback*(*iOS app only) that it gave me during my workout. As long as you have the sensors positioned in the correct spot, it does a great job of counting reps and sets. The key thing is to place the sensor(s) in the correct position. Several of the pictures online show the Gymwatch Sensor on the upper arm, but many exercises require you to place the sensor on your forearm. The same is for upper or lower leg exercises. You have to pay attention before you press start on the app screen or on the sensor. The app shows you the correct spot to place the sensor before your start an exercise. I made the simple mistake of placing the sensor in the wrong position. When placed in the wrong position the screen and audio feedback will let you know that you performed the exercise with the "Wrong Execution".
It would be cool if they could integrate the API with Fitocracy, Map My Fitness, Strava, Garmin Connect, iOS Health Integration or Google Fit. No 3rd party apps are currently supported at this time.
I will update this review as new app updates and device firmware are released.
*** UPDATE - 02-01-15 *** Sneak Peak at the Android App
The android app was delayed, but Gymwatch posted a short demo video to YouTube that showed most of the features currently available for the first version of the app. This is one of the first times that an android version of a fitness app might be better than the iOS version. The only thing missing from the android version that I saw available on the iOS version was the RANGE OF MOTION bar. This could be available in the app, but maybe I just did not see it in the short demo video. The app automatically recognizes exercises without the need for any pre-selection process. The only thing that you need to do is place the sensor in the correct position. The android version displays more post-workout data than the iOS app does currently(as of Feb. 1st). Once you enter the load(weight lifted) it gives you the total time, total reps, load (for exercise performed) , work in joules, power in watts, force in newtons , velocity in m/s, 1 rep max weight, total volume of reps for the exercise and the number of reps. The demo did not provide any app audio, so it isn't clear if it still provides audio feedback of number of reps performed, speed or range of motion feedback. This version of the android app looks very promising.
*** UPDATE - 02-15-15 *** Android App Update and Upcoming Features
The android app was released a few weeks ago and updated again more recently. The android version of the app now auto-recognizes reps and sets along with the metrics mentioned in my 02-01-15 update. The app and sensor work well together and I did not have any reps that were over or undercounted.
I did have several issues with the android firmware update that I did not experience with the iOS update. The Gymwatch team did post a video to their You Tube page describing how to overcome this issue. Even after watching the video, I still had issues updating the firmware. It could be because I had already updated the firmware once when it was paired to an iOS device.
The android app has a clean simple design and it quickly shows you where to place the band to track specific exercises. The most basic functionality of counting reps and sets works like a charm, but the groundbreaking live feedback and training features have not yet been released for the android app. The audio feedback and range of motion analysis features will be released in a future app update.
I really like the Workout History section where a rundown of your different exercises, reps and additional metrics are displayed. They added an updated 1 rep max algorithm that is more accurate than the initial estimate that the app was providing. I wish they offered an additional historical section for each exercise individually that could be exported as a CSV file. Visually, I would like the option to see additional metrics displayed in either graph form or numerically. I assume that most of the things that I want will be made available whenever the web portal is released.
Rowing, Crossfit and Walking/Running will not be supported in the iOS or android apps until later in the year. If I understood correctly, several of these categories will have their own standalone apps released throughout 2015.
WHAT DEVICES ARE COMPARABLE TO GYMWATCH?
I was recently able to compare the Gymwatch to a friend's Push Strength Device and app. Push Strength appears to be Gymwatch's closest competitor in regards to features and hardware. Push Strength does not allow for two bands to be used simultaneously like the Gymwatch does on the iOS app and the Push band is using only Bluetooth 2.1 rather than both Bluetooth 2.1 and 4.0 low energy that is supported by the Gymwatch Sensor. The Push Strength device also offers a web-based portal but it costs around $10/month or $100 if you pay in advance for an entire year of access. I think the Gymwatch could be the ULTIMATE GYM PARTNER if they incorporated some of the features of the Push Strength app and web portal. Push lets you select training focus and I believe that Gymwatch is working on similar features. Push Strength is doing some amazing things with Velocity Based training and it seems like the Gymwatch Sensor hardware and software are capable of incorporating the same features in the Gymwatch. I really liked that the Push app gives you recommendations to add or decrease weight after each set. These are features that will be released in future updates of the Gymwatch device and software. Gymwatch released a roadmap that includes information regarding adding some additional functionality and the TRAINING PARTNER FUNCTIONS.
I'm looking forward to this device becoming a training partner and I am sure that it will be a feature rich product by the end of 2015. I hope they focus on releasing features that focus on the gym experience first and prioritize the features that will allow them to compete with and surpass what the Push Strength band can do right now. I could really benefit from some coaching features and form analysis to go along with the rep and set counting. I could also benefit from an explanation of what the metrics mean and how I can use that information to fine tune my training program.
Also, I would like the team to enable 3rd party heart rate sensors from within the app and graph my heart rate over the span of my workout. I read that the team plans on incorporating only Bluetooth 4.0 heart rate sensors, but it is also capable of supporting ANT.
If you only want to track/log your workout, this device does a good job of logging workouts right out of the box. Over the next 10-12 months, this device will become more of a gym/CrossFit partner and trainer. These features will be rolled out slowly and the iOS app will eventually support HeathKit and the android app will support Google Fit.
The software gets better after each update, but they are building a new type of technology that will take time to mature. This device had been under development for more than three years before it was brought to market. The Gymwatch is not a toy, so the development process will take a substantial amount of time if they want to get these features right. We will have to give the team time to add features and services.
I am going to continue to test Gymwatch with my workouts, so feel free to ask any questions.
*** Update 05-08-15 ***
I had to remove a star due to customer support related issues. Gymwatch is very difficult to get a hold of via the regular support channels or social media. I've reached out multiple times to get a timeline of when the web portal will be fully supported for both android and iOS. I've had this device for quite a long time and have encouraged many friends to purchase the device, but they kind of dropped off the planet when it comes to responding to customer questions. There have been no significant app updates in several months and that makes the product difficult to stand behind. The device, app and web portal feel very beta and I can only imagine that will take a long time to get to the point where I will want to use this device regularly for workouts. At this point the device just gets in the way and slows down my workouts. The data/metrics provided do not assist me in creating better workouts or give me information that will help me improve. I was willing to give them time to slowly improve the product, but I recently ordered the Push Strength device and have starting using it. Push is always 'pushing ' out updates and improving the app and ecosystem of the product. I will check for Gymwatch app updates in the coming months, but i may abandon the product if there isn't some major improvements. My excitement about this product is gone in the three months since my last update.
*** Update 08/30/15 ***
Gymwatch commented and took responsibility for my customer service issues and have taken a stance to take care of any customer service issues. I added back a star to the review because they seem sincere.
In the recent weeks the android app has seen some significant updates and it is quickly moving in the right direction. My only concern is that you have to invest 10 to 20 minutes to learn how the app works, but that is the case for any app that you plan to use. You can't just update the app and quickly get started until you learn how the app works. Once you create a workout, it is fairly easy to quickly start a workout. The new app recognizes nearly any gym exercise that I attempted. The most recent android app update shows you a glimpse of the potential of this device. I am very excited about what the next update will be. I would only suggest that the developers somehow let you switch from exercise to exercise a little quicker.
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I have been weightlifting for a good 15yrs now and i’m tech nerd so naturally I love idea of incorporating technology into my workouts.Read more