Smarter Exercise Toolkit

Android app to improve self-training performance

I am pleased to announce the release of the Smarter Exercise Toolkit for Android available exclusively on the Google Play Store. In October 2014 I started sketching the basic design and workflow for the app, a process called ‘wireframing’. Once I had drawn out my plan, I shopped around for a developer to help with the programming. Along the way I met some very talented programmers, but there were several obstacles that would have to be overcome if I were to benefit from their expertise. First, I would have to pay them – that was a major obstacle. Second, they did not share my experience with high-intensity training. Third, they did not share my vision for the app – they wanted to reduce it to a game, whereas I wanted a tool that filled specific requirements that made sense for the purpose of effective self-training – call me crazy! I began to dust off my programming hat, rolled up my sleeves and got to work. It turns out that being away from programming for over 10 years and not paying attention to the constantly changing landscape of technology is an impediment to creating a compelling application for the Android platform. Fortunately, there are a ton of resources available at little to no cost for anyone with an idea and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of hours of free time. It is my hope that people, who may have been exposed to proper strength training methods, will use the app to achieve better results by improving their performance when self-training. Here is how the app helps you:

1. Have a Plan

plansPlan your workouts. Give them a name so you can re-use them. Even better, benefit from Drew Baye’s experience and use one of his exercise plans. Read his blog, buy his books at baye.com. Order Body By Science from a bookstore or Amazon.com and follow authors Doug McGuff and John Little’s ‘Big Five’ workout plan which will be sufficient for regular people to achieve outstanding results.

2. Be Consistent

editexerciseKeep track of the exercises, equipment settings, and weights so you can be consistent with your training.

3. Performance

lightshowUse the app for visual and auditory guidance during the performance of every exercise. Set exercise-specific repetition speed. I will use a 10/10-second cadence on leg press, a 8/8-second cadence on abdominals with a 4-second squeeze in the most contracted position.

It is almost always better to workout with a qualified, experienced trainer – the accountability to another human makes us work harder, period. But, good trainers are not always available when and where you workout. In those cases, having this app as a training companion, will go a long way to holding you accountable to the training standards you strive to follow.

I wish you the very best in reaching your strength goals. We are always here to help.

 

Author: Thom Tombs

Thom is a former Marine with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science. Thom is the owner/operation of Smarter Exercise and the host of the On Break in Encinitas podcast. For fun he likes to hike, read, listen to music, play Scrabble, and spend time with family in his back yard or a nearby campground.

5 thoughts on “Smarter Exercise Toolkit”

  1. I am a professional Strength and Conditioning coach, and personal fitness trainer with nearly 30 years of experience teaching and training using High Intensity Training / Evidence Based Exercise training concepts.

    Congrats on trying to create an effective app focused on H.I.T. / E.B.E. concepts. I purchased your app recently and have a few comments and concerns.

    First…I’ve used your app several times, and each time the system fails to record, and save any exercises beyond the initial 2-3 sets. This has been a recurring problem, and I don’t know why it’s happening.

    Second…I was wondering why you programed limitations into the app. What I mean is, why did you design it to only allow two second increments for rep cadence (instead of one)? Also why did you limit the total set volume to 12? There exists wide variations of the application of E.B.E. / H.I.T. program design methodologies. By building in these limitations you may hinder the apps use by a broader audience.

    If you should choose to upgrade the app in the future I would respectfully recommend you consider the small changes I mentioned above.

    Again congrats on your app.

    Sincerely and respectfully,

    Liam “TAKU” Bauer
    C.C.S. / C.P.T. / C.SN.
    S.P.A.R.T.A. Master Trainer

    1. Liam,

      Thank you for your comments. I will look into the problem with saving, that’s obviously a bug that should be corrected in the next update.

      Regarding your second item… there’s a broader audience? I thought it was just you and me, man:-) Twelve is an arbitrary number of exercises (more than I do is a single workout). I will increase it at the next update, what is the most exercises you would ever want to perform in a single workout?

      Cheers,
      Thom

      1. Hey Thom,

        Thanks for your response. I actually laughed out loud when I read your comment “there’s a broader audience? I thought it was just you and me, man:-) ” <–Very Funny!

        I look forward to the possible updates / fixes re: saving information. As far as set volume, I know that certain branches of the H.I.T. community keep their set volume in the 3-5 range. I include things like neck, grip, mid-section, etc. so at times my volume may approach 14 sets or more.

        As far as your question regarding the most exercises I would ever do… Perhaps allowing for up to 20 sets would insure no one would ever feel they were limited by set volume when designing custom workouts.

        Keep up the excellent work. Please contact me any time.

        Sincerely and respectfully,

        Liam “TAKU” Bauer
        C.C.S. / C.P.T. / C.SN.
        S.P.A.R.T.A. Master Trainer

        1. Hi Liam,
          I put up a new version that hopefully addresses both of the issues. Regarding saving exercises, I think this was a display problem. Your exercises should have all been saved to the database, but were not being displayed correctly. You can verify this if you email yourself any workout in your history – all exercises performed should be there. I’ve also increased the number of potential exercises in a workout from 12 to 36. Thanks again for your feedback!
          Thom

          1. Hi Thom,

            Thanks so much for the updates. I’ll be training tomorrow. I’ll try the save and e-mail feature, and see what happens.

            Now the only other suggestion I would make is to enable one second incremental changes in the exercise rep cadence. For instance I often like to use a 5-5 cadence with many folks. It’s easy to learn, easy to crunch the numbers for tracking, and slow enough to be a great place to start.

            I personally play with rep cadence as a form of unaccustomed stimulus which I feel does add value over time (especially for more experienced trainees). Even Doug McGuff mixes things up these days using J-Reps, varying exercises etc.

            Anyway just a thought.

            I appreciate what you’re doing. Keep up the great work.

            Sincerely and respectfully,

            Liam “TAKU” Bauer

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