Fitness tracking is a useful tool for those obsessed with doing more longer and harder, whatever “more” happens to be. But most fitness trackers are essentially external kinetic sensors; they can track how many reps you do or how far you go, but they can’t tell you how your muscles are doing. Athos, a new company, is looking to change that.
It’s a tracker a little different from what you’re used to: Instead of a discreet little bracelet you keep on your wrist to follow your movement, it’s a full set of workout gear you wear as you do lifts and reps with the sensors woven into the clothing. The reason why is because of the sensor used, known as an electromyograph, or EMG.
If EMGs sound familiar, it’s because they’re pretty common in sports medicine. When your muscles work, they give off electrical signals that an EMG can read, better tracking what the muscle is doing and the nature of the signal. For example, if you’re pushing too hard, whether in one workout or over time, the Athos will alert you to dial it back so you don’t cramp or otherwise injure yourself. You’ll also be able to, of course, track your improvement over time, across various muscle groups, and otherwise have a lot of data about where you’re going as you exercise.
That said, though, this ain’t cheap. You’ll need to buy a shirt and shorts to make sure you’re tracking all the muscle groups, and those run you $100 a pop, while the Bluetooth device that collects the data and sends it to the obligatory app on your phone will run you another $200. That’s $400 total, for those keeping track. On the other hand, bulky EMG machines like those found in hospitals run you about $5000 and you definitely can’t wear them. So, in the long run, it’s cost effective!
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.