The Light Show

One of the coolest features of the Smarter Exercise Toolkit app was inspired by the advanced equipment design at Ren-Ex.  I had attended the Ren-Ex Future of Exercise Conference in 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio.  Doug McGuff  was the keynote speaker. Ken Hutchins, principal author of the SuperSlow exercise protocol, was also a presenter. Ten years ago, Ken certified me and our original staff as SuperSlow instructors when we all visited his facility near Orlando, but I digress…


The Ren-Ex equipment provides immediate visual feedback to both exerciser and trainer.  It does this by using digital force gauges to stream force data through a computer monitor positioned in front of the exerciser.  The slightest distraction shows-up on screen, providing immediate feedback.  Needless to say, the immediate feedback aids self-learning while demanding total mental focus, improving safety, and cranking-up exercise intensity.

The Ren-Ex equipment is brilliant, but it also comes with a hefty price tag.  If you can buy it, buy it!  After three years, I still have ambitions of purchasing my own Ren-Ex machines, so please buy my app so I can use the proceeds to keep my studio state-of-the-art.

It occurred to me that not everyone, me included, will have access to Ren-Ex equipment.  But maybe, just maybe, since most of us are carrying around smartphones with built-in accelerometers, we could come-up with a poor man’s – I mean, more universally accessible – application of Newton’s equation: f = ma (force = mass * acceleration) in order to provide immediate feedback to an exerciser.

TheLightShow.LinkedInImportant note:  In order to make use your device’s built-in accelerometer, your device has to accelerate/decelerate.  This requires putting your smartphone on a piece of strength training equipment that moves.  Perhaps this would be a good time to mention that you should securely place or strap your device onto a part that moves while both you and it are not moving.  Also, place your device on the equipment, not under heavy plates that might flatten or otherwise damage you or your device.

I call it the light show… using data streaming from your device’s built-in accelerometer, yellow and red warning lights will indicate when excessive acceleration is detected during an exercise.  The immediate feedback aids self-training while demanding complete mental focus, improving safety by helping to eliminate excessive forces, and helping the exerciser to crank-up the intensity.

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.

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