As technology continues to evolve, it’s only natural that innovation makes its way into the health, fitness, and performance arenas. However, in an age of noise, many unnecessary wearables, overly deterministic data, and gimmicks, it can be challenging to parse through which innovations really have something and which are superfluous poppycock.
A new performance innovation I’ll be reviewing today is the Speede resistance training machine. Please note that as a practitioner, like many of you, I encounter countless gadgets, pieces of equipment, and fit tech. I have other practitioners ask my opinions on different pieces of gear, and sometimes I write my opinion about something if I get asked about it enough.
This review will be equal parts me painting a picture of what the technology can do and showing you how I program Speede into my workflow. If you’re a personal trainer, strength coach, athletic trainer, rehab specialist, or athlete, Speede is a unique training tool absolutely worth looking into to determine if it’s a good fit for you.
What Does Speede Do?
Speede is a computer-driven training station that essentially combines a myriad of movement pattern capabilities with a multimodal stimulus.
The setup looks similar to Tonal, with a computer screen, personalized tracking software, and various setups for its cable arms and attachments, including a barbell, handles, and a hex bar.
Speede offers a Swiss Army knife of movement patterns, load/resistance/speed options, attachments, exercise, data collected, and guided training for those working out on their own, says @coopwiretap. Click To Tweet
Video 1. Bench press using maximal strength isokinetic mode. The machine adapts to the athlete’s force output at every moment, in real time.
That’s essentially where the similarities end, as Speede offers a Swiss Army knife of movement patterns, load/resistance/speed options, attachments, exercises, data collected, and guided training for those working out on their own. As one example of the differences, Tonal’s weight capacity is 200 pounds, whereas Speede’s resistance capabilities go up to 2,000 pounds. I would say Tonal is aimed at very entry-level gen pop, whereas Speede is designed for coaches, teams, and athletes (though it does serve the full spectrum all the way to gen pop/rehab).
Speede offers multiple modes, each offering truly unique benefits.
1. Standard Isotonic Mode
This is the typical resistance you’d feel from a cable machine or free weight that enables you to go smooth and fast, like a Keiser Functional Trainer had a baby with a Concept 2 Rower. This mode is awesome and immediately renders typical and air-resisted cable machines obsolete by consolidating this feature into Speede’s offerings.
Video 2. Trunk integration work with Speede on isotonic mode.
Now that you know what it does, I’d say this is my most commonly used mode. That’s just me personally, as in my own practice, I bridge the gap from rehab to performance, so we spend a lot of time training up both the kinetic (load, velocity, force, strength, power) and the kinematic sides (how the kinetics is executed or the biomechanical/movement piece). Video 2 is an example of me doing trunk integration work (or an example of our “core” training) on foot to better link the kinetic chain. Here, the main emphasis is connecting the lateral line to the opposite glute/leg. If you’re familiar with the myofascial systems, ala Anatomy Trains, you may program similar things to innervate tissues (muscles and fascia) meant to cooperate in real time.
It’s also nice in that I’ve been able to consolidate some of my selectorized equipment (e.g., a hamstring curl machine) to free up space in the facility.
In terms of data, Speede features velocity-based metrics, which are helpful to have consolidated in one machine for a lot of movements. Before, I would have had to use separate modalities (like a Push Strength band) to get the job done. I’ll be honest—I wasn’t doing a lot of VBT monitoring recently because it was a pain to manage different data sets and set up different technology. I still rely on the eye test for some more obvious things, but now that this metric (and others) has been made much more convenient/automatic, it’s easier to include.
2. Isokinetic Mode
This features maximal strength isokinetic resistance and will no doubt be the go-to for filling the needs of maximal strength deficits and body composition. The gist is that the machine literally adapts to your own force output in real time, matches your force output, and then stimulates you through the entire range of motion. This means that the entire movement can be performed at max effort instead of one joint angle being the point of maximal stimulus (e.g., the sticking point or reversal on a bench press). The resultant effect is more positive tissue and metabolic stress in maybe a tenth of the time.
This is what they have coined “Nemesis” mode, and it is the main mode being promoted. Although isotonic is my favorite mode, I have to say Nemesis is quite helpful for being able to consolidate a lot of maximal strength work into less time due to the added intensity. Ratcheting up the intensity means I can turn down the volume a bit in this area, which enables more time for other adaptations, be it mobility, agility, or speed development.
I also appreciate being able to load athletes in-season in less time to keep them strong, resilient, and durable while avoiding overtraining. That wasn’t always easy before with time demands.An underrated benefit here is that filling these strength deficits with Speede—specifically having less volume—means fewer potential negative adaptations, says @coopwiretap. Click To Tweet
Lastly, an underrated benefit here is that filling these strength deficits with Speede—specifically having less volume—means fewer potential negative adaptations. Those familiar with some biomechanics concepts ala PRI (Postural Restoration Institute) are probably hip to the idea that too much maximal strength work in certain positions may lead to unfavorably repositioning a joint (e.g., the excess extension and hip external rotation you see in the posture and gait of many powerlifters).
Although it’s early, my experience so far has been that Speede has helped me capture the benefits of maximal strength work without some of the consequences—or getting taxed 80 cents on the dollar—that can potentially come from excess time spent here (S.A.I.D. principle). All of that is to say there may be something to more time spent doing more exercises that are kinematically (biomechanically) relevant and less time spent developing qualities that may be needed (but not always biomechanically transferrable) ala the work of Frans Bosch and Thomas Myers.
3. Eccentric-Only Mode
This essentially serves as Speede’s eccentric overload mode. Because we can tolerate more load on the negative portion of the movement, some may want to overload this action (as is commonly seen in rehab settings). This can be particularly useful because research shows we’re at least 40% stronger (if not far more) in the eccentric portion of movements.
Most of you reading this will already be familiar with eccentric overload work and understand how to program this into your own unique system. For me, this is the mode (and training theory on the whole) that needs a lot of context. I use it to overload certain joint angles for added neuromuscular and neuromyofascial recruitment in a rehab and/or prevention context. It’s definitely ultra-helpful for any potential hypertrophy needs, too.
I tend to use it a lot for accessory isolation work (e.g., a hamstring curl) and non-specific work. When I’m loading movements that look similar to ones I’m going to see in sport (e.g., a squat), I tend to have my guys intentionally yield into the movement ala Jay Schroeder or PRI theories versus fight going into it. However, that goes for any type of eccentric-only training and is not exclusive to Speede. I love and use the mode, but I wanted to throw out the context that I may program eccentric work differently than your average coach.
I’ve found it to be super helpful for rehab and the reconditioning phase of training. I think this may very well be a favorite of most coaches, and being able to overload the eccentric portion of the movement without traditional spotting is very helpful in group training settings (the same goes for spotting with isokinetic mode).
4. Recovery Mode
Although this may help guide an individual athlete away from a trainer, at the same time, many coaches could still find it fruitful. Many coaches (me included) like to do specific things when it comes to decompression, movement prep, sensory preparation, and dynamic warm-ups.
I still do these things that don’t include the machine, but I can say having high-level sensory preparation (vestibular system) and being able to lead athletes through a gentle stimulus that helps them find tensegrity (optimal length/tension relationships) in various positions/ranges of motion is very useful. For the former, think of certain ocular drills; for the latter, think of biasing certain tissues in certain positions athletes may need to absorb and convert force in.
This mode provides a gentle stimulus that helps athletes do something close to PNF/FRC (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation/functional range conditioning) concepts that combine mobility with some level of tension for effectiveness. I think if you’re coaching in a group format, being able to direct athletes to the machine for both some aspects of dynamic warm-up and/or offloading can better help you manage athletes that may need more cueing and attention for safety and effectiveness.
I have a particular way I coach (as do we all), so I’m going to do my best to highlight both a general overview and how I program the machine in my own system. This is because I understand that not everyone may coach the way I do, and I want to be inclusive of other training systems, uses, etc.
Excellent Variability for Exercise Options
Because of the adjustable angles of resistance, you can perform movements dominant in both vertical and horizontal planes of motion. Are standard-issue squats, deadlifts, or bicep curls more your thing? Speede can do it. Maybe you’re more into movements like front foot elevated split squats, horizontal pressing, cable chops, and beyond? Problem solved.The wide variety of accessories they have and plan to add—such as handles, barbells, a trap bar, and much more—means we’re likely never to get bored of the same old movements, says @coopwiretap. Click To Tweet
One thing that impressed me about Speede was the company’s commitment to versatility across the board, and exercise selection is an extension of that. The wide variety of accessories they have and plan to add—such as handles, barbells, a trap bar, and much more—means we’re likely never to get bored of the same old movements.
For use cases, cost-effectiveness, and space efficiency, I appreciate the exercise versatility.
Convenience Factor and Small Footprint
As I mentioned above, Speede has a relatively small footprint similar to that of a standard cable or a Tonal-type machine (much smaller than a squat rack). Athletes looking to build out home setups away from teams in the off-season should absolutely give Speede a look for this reason. As a professional with a facility, I believe it’s also highly attractive from the standpoint of being able to consolidate a few things into one. I don’t have to have many isolated, selectorized equipment, cable machines, or squat racks.
If you’re a personal trainer looking to adequately serve your clients while lean-scaling your business from a space perspective—I can see it being great for that. The same goes for some facilities and group settings looking to have multiple people work on one piece of equipment. Thanks to the customized resistance aspect, group training is even more efficient. The adaptable resistance and the personalized profiles saved in the cloud mean that various physical fitness levels (e.g., a healthy athlete and an injured one) can work out together without having to re-rack a ton of weight.
Personalization and Data Tracking
Speede’s proprietary software allows users to track a lot of metrics, including strength output, power development, velocity (for VBT needs), time under tension/duration of mechanical stress to the tissues, and other similar KPIs. This is something their engineering team has gone above and beyond with, guiding their process with feedback from practitioners and coaches like us. I can appreciate this because it essentially means that professionals in the trenches are guiding these metrics, so they’re meaningful.Speede’s engineering team has gone above and beyond with its metric-tracking software, guiding their process with feedback from practitioners and coaches like us, says @coopwiretap. Click To Tweet
I think I can speak for most of us in that this is refreshingly different from most fitness data out there. Because most performance data these days tends to be white noise coming from tech people trying to disrupt training without understanding it, this is a positive in my book. I’m used to having to talk people out of most wearables and similar things that result in majoring in the minors and/or simply aren’t accurate. Users’ progress is stored for in-person or remote head-to-head tracking for fun, ensuring a team is on track when away from the team staff and simply allowing your athletes to be more motivated by seeing their progress over time.
GTS Guided Training System
Speaking of the software capabilities, Speede also offers built-in training guidance for safety, form instruction, and results. Speede has a force plate-lite technology that tells users if their center of mass is too offset. This also couples with motion capture technology so users can adjust their form in real time. Although this is probably most helpful for gen pop clients, I think it can be beneficial for coaches, too. From a professional perspective, this will also empower me to program for my remote clients, eventually, as Speede gains wider adoption.
Benefits, Considerations, and How I Personally Program Speede
Pros and cons aren’t really the right words, so I went with benefits and considerations. After all, what may be a no-brainer for some may simply not be the right tool in the shed for others. That’s how I’ve come to view most equipment…context is key. It’s all about what you need out of something, the situational constraints (e.g., space, finances), and how well those align with what value a tool can provide.
This is more for athletes investing in one for home use, but the first consideration would be having the space for it. Although Speede is much smaller than your average squat rack and similar in size to a cable or Bowflex machine, you’ll still need to find a little room. That said, its flat platform and stealth design mean you can easily add it to your average room without taking up as much of a footprint as other things. This goes double when you compare its versatility and what you get out of it.Speede’s flat platform and stealth design mean you can easily add it to your average room without taking up as much of a footprint as other things, says @coopwiretap. Click To Tweet
From a professional standpoint, this becomes less of an issue for almost every situation I can think of, as any gym space should be able to house one. As I mentioned before, you’ll be able to consolidate at least a handful of equipment pieces, if not more, into what Speede brings. I can see athletic training facilities opting for fewer squat racks, being able to mostly drop air resistance cable machines, and reducing the amount of selectorized equipment noticeably. This should offer nice cost savings in addition to the space consolidation.
On the financial side, Speede has done a great job of making this technology affordable for everyone. Priced at around one-fifth the cost of competitors on the market (who generally only have one or two of the multiple modes and less exercise variability), this is very affordable for your average gym, training facility, school, and professional team—and that’s even before factoring in the above ability to consolidate other pieces of equipment.
It’s also worth noting that there are other pieces of adaptable resistance isokinetic machines on the market that cost upward of $30,000 to $60,000, with ongoing fees for a fraction of the features. As someone who’s vetted this space quite a bit, Speede’s relative price stacks up quite well.
Still, it DOES cost more than your average rack setup (though less than some) or Bowflex, cable, or Tonal machine. I looked at it as an investment for the long run and a value-add for the ability to better serve my clients. Being able to sell off a few pieces of equipment that became unnecessary after picking this up also helped me pay off most of the machine.
General overview aside, programming Speede into my system, I personally get the most out of the following:
- Isokinetic mode enables me to microdose my athletes in-season.
- Adaptable resistance with isokinetic/eccentric mode auto-adjusts to where my rehabbing athletes’ current levels are—this means I can get them safer, more targeted strength progressions.
- Isotonic mode takes the place of your average cable and/or pneumatic resistance work. We do a ton of cable work, so as I mentioned before, I’m using isotonic mode more than anything else.
- Isokinetic mode helps me consolidate maximal strength work/filling some “strength deficits” so athletes have more time to recover and/or spend on other adaptations we’re chasing.
- The progress tracking is quite handy.
- Motor unit recruitment and strength/power/tissue recruitment with isokinetic mode.
- Targeting isolated muscle groups/consolidating some selectorized equipment.
There you have it. That’s how I use Speede and the benefits I get the most out of in my own practice. You may have other use cases or get more out of other aspects.
I mentioned the team before, and I personally feel that’s important. An Omegawave review by Coach Drew Cooper really highlighted who was behind the tech, and that always stuck with me…if they’re trying to solve a coach’s problems, they should have some folks who still coach in the trenches on board.
I can say the team behind Speede is what really drew me to reach out to get involved in some capacity. I think I can speak for most coaches when I say that we’re used to techies trying to cash in on fitness and “disrupt” what we do while not understanding it.From day one, they’ve kept their ears open and relied on input from trainers, rehab professionals, athletes, fitness enthusiasts, researchers, and coaches to drive everything., says @coopwiretap. Click To Tweet
Speede is the exact opposite. From day one, they’ve kept their ears open and relied on input from trainers, rehab professionals, athletes, fitness enthusiasts, researchers, and coaches to drive everything. This includes price point, features, versatility, data tracking, and user experience.
I feel this is the fundamental difference between companies that make quality equipment that over-delivers on serving its purpose (such as Keiser and Omegawave) and your typical fly-by-night outsider trying to “disrupt” the fitness industry.
**Disclaimer & Relationship Disclosure: I have reached out to Speede to become involved with the team in some capacity. That said, you don’t have to rely on my testimony—I highly encourage everyone to simply try a free Speede demo for themselves and experience the benefits firsthand.
**Please note that this review was conducted with prototype technology that *may* look or function differently than what you see here. That said, any potential differences would be around the edges vs. wholesale.**
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