Stay-at-home orders, medical quarantines and government-sanctioned lockdowns have forced much of the world to limit their time outdoors. Sales of fitness equipment have gone up 170 percent since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic and, according to Research and Markets, the demand for smart exercise equipment has been especially high.
Tonal, a weight training startup, has created a comprehensive piece of smart exercise equipment—so comprehensive that the company claims it can replace an entire gym. The system includes a AI-powered device that’s about the size of a flatscreen TV plus a series of smart accessories, including a bench, handles and mat.
The device offers up to 200 pounds (~90 kg) of resistance for strength training exercises, and the smart tech, system of magnets and algorithms adjust along with the user. After taking a strength assessment, Tonal automatically adjusts the weight settings to correspond with the type of exercise. If the device can sense a low level of resistance towards the end of a workout set, it’ll decrease the weight.
A “personal trainer” models the movements, ensuring proper form throughout every step of the exercise and even offering feedback. Using the screen, people can do cardio workouts and yoga along with a trainer to reach their fitness goals. Through Tonal’s monthly subscription programme and smartphone app, hundreds of guided workouts, programmes, and coaches are available for users to choose.
The company is planning on expanding the device for physical therapy applications. In collaboration with the acclaimed Mayo Clinic, Tonal is executing a clinical trial, the results of which should be released early next year. Tonal has also been installed in several hotels, including the Four Seasons Palo Alto, JW Marriott Anaheim, and the Waldorf Astoria Boca Raton Resort and Club.
According to Venture Beat, Tonal asserts that hundreds of professional athletes have used its equipment. Many renowned athletes have also invested in the company, such as Serena Williams, Stephen Curry, Bobby Wagner and Michelle Wie.
The price of a home gym is not cheap, and Tonal’s system is no different. According to Reviewed, the price starts at $2,995 plus tax. Once delivery and installation ($250), accessories ($495), and subscription fee ($49/month) are added, users will pay over $4000 for Tonal’s first year in their home. A financing plan of $149 for 36 months is also available, which is equivalent to some high-end gym memberships.
Robert Scott Lazar
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