Sensible health gear is usually restricted by being static and non-portable. (And, nicely, eye-wateringly costly.) Assume Peloton‘s stationary bike for spin lessons or wall-mounted energy coaching rig Tonal. Nice should you’re at house and might afford to shell out hundreds on a flowery house fitness center, however what if you wish to take your exercise with you wherever you go?
Meet Straffr, a German startup that’s exhibiting on the TechCrunch Disrupt Startup Alley this week. The corporate sells a sensible health band that you may simply pop in your backpack and take with you while you hit the street.
Initially choosing a crowdfunding route by way of Kickstarter final yr, the startup has gone on to promote “just a few thousand” bands since getting the product to market in March this yr. They’ve additionally bagged backing from enterprise angels and have simply closed a second seed spherical with a world investor as they gear as much as increase their fledgling health enterprise.
Straffr’s good resistance band, which is available in both medium or sturdy energy grades, connects to the companion app utilizing Bluetooth, and begins monitoring as you quickly as you begin stretching and flexing — offering suggestions in your coaching session, not simply on reps however on “high quality” of train, per CEO Stefan Weiss.
The entire band is definitely a sensor — fabricated from an expandable rubber that’s electrically conductive. Straffr’s group developed the fabric and has some patents on it.
“It’s actually onerous to seek out and develop a cloth that stretches over 200% or 300%… and never break and never measure something,” Weiss tells TechCrunch. “If you stretch [the Straffr fitness band] the electrical resistance adjustments and due to this fact we are able to say how a lot you’ve stretched the band for a selected train.”
Anybody who’s tried to do energy coaching utilizing a (non-smart) resistance band is aware of it may be fairly tough to maintain centered and engaged with out skilled steerage. Mainly it’s onerous to know should you’re performing the actions in an optimum means or simply mindlessly twanging a bit of rubber. So a sensing ingredient appears prefer it might add quite a lot of worth to this explicit little bit of health equipment.
Straffr’s good band clocks your reps, energy and velocity as you pull, with the app offering real-time suggestions by way of the exercise — providing verbal cues should you’re pulling “too quick” or nudges to maintain issues “sluggish and even.” It’ll additionally present you total outcomes of the exercise should you’re a fan of health stats.
The app includes a number of exercise movies which allow you to observe alongside to pre-recorded health band periods, resembling HIIT-focused exercises, whole physique energy coaching or fast home-office workout routines.
Weiss says the startup is constructing a premium on-demand provide, too — and has lately onboarded 5 private trainers who it needs to supply its customers one-to-one coaching periods on-demand. That shall be for a future Professional characteristic. The fundamental app is free, because the startup is charging for the .
Straffr’s band prices simply over $100 (€99.99), which may be very expensive should you’re evaluating it to a non-smart various (a primary resistance band can value just some dollars). However that’s a reasonably poor comparability, as a result of right here you’re getting a complete health package deal versus only a piece of elastic. So these further dollars are for related train content material and in-app personalization together with exercise quantification and the added motivation of reside suggestions.
It’s additionally price noting that Straffr’s good band is significantly cheaper than shelling out for a Peloton or different high-end related home-gym equipment, which is now aiming to lighten folks’s wallets by focusing on their exercises.
So, seen from that perspective, Straffr’s spin on good health kinda appears like a cut price.
Typical consumers up to now are usually both fitness-focused males who’re very into the ‘quantified self’ pattern, per Weiss, or middle-aged ladies wanting a substitute for health lessons on the fitness center. However a humble (however good) health band actually might provide one thing for everybody.
“The place actually we see a future of coaching with resistance bands is with private trainers instantly,” Weiss provides. “One-on-one digital coaching, on-demand, with private trainers, with professional athletes, with Olympians that discuss you thru the entire exercise routine, what it does, they’re coaching with you, it’s sweaty coaching, it’s motivating for folks.”
Nonetheless, if resistance band exercises actually aren’t your jam, Straffr does have plans to develop extra bits of a sensible health equipment. Though Weiss received’t be drawn on precisely what different related they’re cooking up.
“We do have a product within the pipeline now that we’re creating internally proper now — and we’re actually enthusiastic about it,” he says, including: “I can say it’s not going to be only a leaping rope which counts.
“For us it’s all the time the mix of practical, actually transportable coaching with the element of monitoring high quality — the standard of your coaching. Like how good are you? Are you really efficient? As a result of should you’re simply counting reps and steps and stuff there’s clearly a very good motivational facet to it… however we need to additionally see are these reps actually good, are they good high quality, are you doing the perfect you possibly can for the situation you’re in proper now?”