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Up Your Workout Game With The BEAST Sensor — The Fitness Tracker For Weight-Lifting

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*Beast was gracious enough to send us 1 sensor to test out. This review is otherwise unsponsored and uninfluenced.

Train smarter and unlock BEAST MODE.

There are about 83623842 different fitness trackers that track everything from steps, distance, and calories burned to heart rate and GPS routing. But whether you’re a lifting junkie, coach, athlete, or data nerd that loves to strength train, you’ve likely noticed that weight-lifting has been noticeably absent from the fitness tracking party.

Until now. Enter the BEAST Sensor.

Lifting is naturally 2-dimensional. Think about your workouts and how you’ve progressed over time. Traditionally, you’ll measure two things: weight and reps (using your a %1RM) and aim to increase a combination of the two over time. For instance, if you squat 205 pounds for 12 reps during set 1 and jump to 225 pounds for 8 reps during set 2, you’d assume set 2 was better.

Those are the metrics we have access to. And while crushing heavier weights looks sexier on paper and works as Miracle-Gro for the ego, set 2 might not actually be optimal to build a better physique (or the physique you’re aiming for).

Lifting quality matters.

That’s where BEAST comes in. What if you could introduce a third dimension and add depth to your training. Effectively, you’d be able to train smarter, use real-time feedback, and optimize your workouts while they’re happening; as opposed to blindly lifting what feels right on a given day.

It’s like dropping yourself into a foreign country. You can find your way around with your innate sense of direction, road signs, and a little help from locals — but it’s a hell of a lot easier to just use Google Maps.

At it’s core, that’s exactly what BEAST aims to do. It transforms lifting into a 3-dimensional experience by introducing the concept of velocity (amongst other metrics), baking it into a tightly wrapped package, and using it to enhance your training.

Here’s how it functions.



 

BEAST And VBT (Velocity-Based Training)


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Most fitness trackers do exactly what their names say — they track. 

BEAST tracks a broad spectrum of weight lifting metrics, but instead of simply being a glorified training log that records and spits out metrics, it uses real time data to provide insights and recommendations on how you should lift moving forward.

Here’s what it tracks:

  • Strength
  • Velocity/Speed
  • Power & Average Power
  • Explosiveness
  • Volume
  • Reps
  • Density
  • Energy Burn
  • Tonnage

The majority of these will be brand new inputs that you can use to gauge the way you lift—color on top of a black and white picture—and they’re incredibly useful, especially as a coach. But at its core, BEAST’s power is predicated on one metric, in particular: velocity (aka speed).

BEAST’s platform functions based on a training philosophy known as VBT, aka Velocity Based Training. The concept is extremely simple and intuitive to follow, but you’ve likely never used it in practice. And that’s because it’s impossible to apply without tech to guide you.

But if you understand how it works and the implications, you can put it to work in a way that’ll powerfully reconstruct your view on lifting — and ultimately the effectiveness of the exercise you do.

Here’s how the theory and research goes, according to BEAST:

“International research showed a linear correlation between the mean speed of the concentric phase of a lift and the training intensity. This means if you’re looking for the optimal conditions for a specific training goal, mean speed is the key metric and should be targeted following specific ranges:

screenshot-2016-10-26-15-24-14

Translated: by focusing on the speed of your lifts and lifting in certain “speed zones” you can train more effectively and control the impact on your body.

If you’re a lifting vet, you’re likely familiar with rep ranges and how they impact different types of training. Traditionally, you’d lift in the 1-5 rep range for strength and power; 8-12 for muscle growth or hypertrophy; and 15+ reps for velocity and endurance.

You may not have realized it, but those rep ranges intersect directly with lifting velocity.

Think about it practically. The heavier a weight is, the slower you’ll be able to lift it, especially as you fatigue. With BEAST and VBT it’s dead simple to determine which blend of weight and reps produces the most power over the course of a set — and ultimately to use that info to find your personal sweet spot.

Here’s an example based on my own testing with a bent-over barbell row:

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Traditionally, if I’m training for muscle growth and aesthetics (hypertrophy), I’ll aim to increase my weight lifted set-over-set while staying in the 8-12 rep range.

If you look at sets 1-4, I accomplished that goal. The problem, though, is that I derived significantly less power by jumping up to 175 pounds. Instead of increasing the weight further during set 5, I dropped the weight down to 155 and focused more on speed, velocity, acceleration, and time under tension.

The result: almost a 20% increase in power. 

In practice it’s exceedingly simple to use:

  • 1. Determine your training goal. For hypertrophy, you’ll aim for rep velocity in the .1 – 1.0 m/s range.
  • 2. WORK. 
  • 3. Adjust. If your lifting speed is too high, increase the weight used. If it’s too low, decrease the weight used.
  • 4. Progress. Similar to what I did above, look at your average power per set. It should continue to increase set-over-set and workout-over-workout, or at the very least, stay constant. Aim to maximize that number by tweaking reps and weight used until you find your sweet spot.

I can honestly say, after implementing BEAST into my training, dropping my ego (or deflating it a little bit), and focusing more on velocity, I’ve noticed a massive difference in my results, soreness, and the quality of my workouts.

VBT works.

 

The Bottom Line


The BEAST Sensor is a powerful training tool that will only continue improve over time. For hardcore lifters, athletes, personal trainers, and coaches, you’ll likely fall in love with the data and its ability to improve your lifting—and physique—over time.

Given the price tag and learning curve, though, BEAST might prove to be a little too complicated and finicky for amateur lifters and casual gym-goers who are just looking to sweat and get a workout in.

 

What I Like:

  • The data itself. VBT just scratches the surface of what BEAST can do and track. It’s incredibly interesting to see accurate numbers and data behind your training, especially if you’ve lifted for many years (and clients, if you’re a trainer). This is a sophisticated tracking device that records a tremendous amount of data in great detail. More than you’d think or realize.
  • VBT. BEAST is more than a tracker, it’s a training philosophy and coach all-in-one. I love that it provides actionable insights, charts, and graphs that you can use, as opposed to being a gadget that just spits out numbers.
  • Increased motivation. It’s pretty amazing—and motivating—to see your stats in real-time. One of the things that I was most pleasantly surprised by was how inherently motivating it is. It’s a mini-competition to beat your previous reps and sets every time you use it. The results are immediately apparent.
  • Tunnel vision. I’m always insanely focused trying to max out velocity during each rep.
  • Form factor. The sensor is really versatile. It naturally sits in a wristband, but it’s also magnetic and clips easily to a bar, plate, or weight stack.
  • The app. It’s gorgeous, easy to use, and quickly spits out charts and graphs.

 

Drawbacks:

  • There’s definitely a learning curve. It’ll likely be a little intimidating at first for the amateur lifter, and some education on VBT is required before fully understanding and using most effectively. Unless you’re a coach or trainer, you likely won’t use any of the more advanced metics.
  • BEAST misses reps on occasion. It’s usually easy to spot which reps are fake—the power output (bars) will be significantly less than your real reps—but still, it’s a minor issue that can slow down training and siphon focus.
  • The inputs are all manual. If you’re banging out straight sets with standard rest periods, you likely won’t mind this. But for someone who uses supersets, circuit sets, and low rest periods heavily as a key part of their training, manually entering poundages and exercises will likely slow you down.
  • The web portal. It’s not as intuitive as it should be. I wish it had many of the base features and charts available in the app mid-workout.

 

Get it: BEAST Sensor — $249, thisisbeast.com



Bryan DiSanto

Bryan DiSanto

Founder & Editor-in-Chief at Lean It UP
ELLO ELLO I'm Bryan DiSanto. I'm the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Lean It UP, a CPT/CSN/Fitness Coach, Chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu – Paris, NYU graduate, ex-fat kid, and all-around fitness junkie.

I also contribute to Men's Health Magazine.

When I'm not working on my abs (or somebody else’s), whipping up avocado roses and avocado toast, or running a Tough Mudder, I'm probably yelling at a Carolina Panthers game somewhere.

Come be friends with me on Snapchat (BRYDISANTO).
Bryan DiSanto