In the exploding space of fitness bands, Atlas may have discovered a niche – a fitness band which tracks weight training. Whilst most of these bands focus on encouraging you to do a little bit more – whether it’s getting off the tube one stop earlier to walk or climbing an extra flight of stairs or two a day. None of this does much to grow your biceps though, but finally there’s a tracker which can help. The Atlas Fitness band may just be the best weight training tracker on the market. Let’s dive deeper.
We’re approaching a point now where the public’s reaction to the launch of a new activity tracker is a bit ‘meh’. From the Nike Fuelband through to smart watches like the Galaxy and the pebble, we’re not short of options when it comes to tracking our steps and calories. Serious fitness buffs have largely ignored them, and the gnarly old powerlifter or bodybuilder has barely lifted an eyebrow to investigate further. For many, cardio and counting steps comes second to counting reps and sets. However, with its weight lifting focus, the Atlas Fitness really is different.
The Atlas Fitness band definitely has some immediately unique features. For one, it sports a real-time training feedback loop and secondly it sports a sizable OLED screen to disply this data. Most bands rely on hooking up to your smartphone or web applications to disseminate their data, but not this product. The Atlas has features a form of quality control. Convinced yourself that you did just perform a full squat? If that squat wasn’t ‘ass to grass’ then the Atlas will pick up on it, by breaking down the type of movement you’re doing, the speed your performing it and the quality of the exercises execution.
This band really comes into its own if you’re adding some extra intensity tactics, like super-slow reps. By helping you standardise the quality of your reps, the band ensures that the progress you’re making is genuine. Where so often it can be easy to start shortening the range of motion whilst adding iron to the bar, this band can help catch such false progress by alerting you to the poorer rep quality. It’s also interesting from a volume training approach. Anybody who’s tried German Volume Training or any other higher rep/set volume approach, such as Gironda’s 8×8, will know that it can be a challenge keeping count of the number of reps or sets that you’ve performed. Again, the Atlas can help, giving you quick feedback over where you’re up to. All of these features are genuinely useful for anybody looking to improve body composition, build muscle or add strength in the weights room.
Such a device lives and dies by its accuracy. All of the above is wonderful in theory, but if it can’t tell a pull-up from a leg press, then it’s not going to add much value to your workout. On that front, I was seriously impressed to find that it could differentiate between a regular push up and a diamond push up – two movements which are biomechanically very similar, with almost identical start and end positions, ranges of motion and general execution. When a device has that much intelligence behind it, it’s certainly not just another copycat glorified pedometer.
The Atlas Band does extend beyond the weights room though, and like the more standard activity trackers, it’s able to track a range of cardio activities. Its thus equally useful in aiding a HiiT or longer form cardio session as it is in measuring the quality of your curls. Any users of fitness apps like Map My Fitness will be interested to know that this band has full compatibility with a wide range of these apps. It also boasts of waterproofing to 100m, making it a useful aid for anybody who likes to hit the pool for their cardio.
So perhaps we have finally found an activity tracker that’s made for the weights room, and which is a little more than a glorified step-counter?