Gym equipment can also be smart

We have tried the first multipower machine with automatic loading of weights. It makes you tired just like conventional machines. There is no magic. Yet it promises training efficiency that can be higher than 30%.

There is something worse than joining a gym and not going: joining a gym, going regularly and having the same physique after a year and half. At first, no one knew I went to the gym because it was too soon to say. Now no one knows I go because I have been going for so long. I thought I would use a personal trainer, but then I was worried I would lose the few followers I have on Instagram if I filled it up with phrases like “never give up”. So, I decided to go to Smarttone in Crevillente, Alicante, to try the first multipower machine with automatic loading of weights. This gym equipment has a bench and an arch surrounded by weights, as well as the possibility to do endless exercises, but all automatically. It works with a touchscreen. Someone who thinks that you can’t leave your phone plugged in all night entrusts their physique in technology.

Nexa, the name of this machine, has a Formula 1 design rather than a prison bench press look, while also guaranteeing efficient and safe training. You get tired the same. There is no magic. But it guarantees 30% quicker muscle progression. The key is in the eccentric phase, in other words, the load when lowering the bar. On conventional machines, the weight is the same (I already worry about getting my headphone cable tangled around the discs, without thinking about changing them), but Nexa allows the load to be increased for the negative contraction of the muscle. This can be done freely from the two touchscreens. 20 kilos can be programmed, for example, for bench press (chest exercise) for lifting and 25 kilos for lowering the bar when the arms contract.

The first time is scary. So much that I thought I was going to get stuck and we would have to cancel the trial and go for a rice with snails for lunch earlier than expected. Yet Nexa has a safety function. No matter how much weight is programmed, the bar cannot get stuck. “Experts or 70-year-olds can train on this machine”, explains Juan Pedro Alonso, the engineer who has developed Nexa and the owner of Smarttone, the manufacturer with its head office in Crevillente. 

Regulars at gyms usually have the help of a colleague when lifting the bar on the last reps that take them to the limit. Nexa has this function incorporated. If it perceives a user’s strength is not enough to finish, it helps them out. “Both eccentric contraction and reaching muscle failure is essential for hypertrophy”, explains Juan Pedro. 

Resting is also key to gain muscle. “People waste a lot of time”, he mentions. In my neighbourhood gym, I am distracted even when they put a volleyball match on the television. Nexa ensures that the 30 seconds or corresponding time between each series is a complete rest. “You don’t have to get up to change discs after each exercise”. You sit and wait. “Weights are programmed at the beginning”, he indicates. Discs can be handled incorrectly which can lead to injuries. Nexa loads weights automatically. You just have to wait and rest. 

  • Design and screens

The two touchscreens, which allow users to preestablish exercises, allow an instructor to create training plans. “If these machines were in gyms, personal trainers could work with 50 people instead of 10”, Juan Pedro tells me. “And these services would be cheaper”, he adds. 

Motivation is necessary when exercising. The machine has lights on the loading side and timers on the screens to guide users when training. Nexa gives you points for each exercise and corrects you. The information is saved in your user profile. It helps to assess progress. “We have taken a lot of care in the design. The chrome steel cylinder weights are a big change”, he states. Maintenance is not complex. “The machine is connected 24 hours to us. We can control any incident from our office”, Juan Pedro explains. What they cannot control is what the users eat. “It is 80% or 90% important in training”. Another year and half without any changes. 

See video.