This article is way overdue, as coaches constantly ask me what they should invest in regarding the weight room. I consider jump assessments field tests, so if you want to elevate your training in the weight room, the Vmaxpro is the right tool for you.The Vmaxpro is one of the best sports technology solutions on the market, and in my book, it is an indispensable tool for coaches who demand the best, says @spikesonly. Click To Tweet
In this article, I only cover the need-to-know information, so if you are pressed for time, you will thank me. I do briefly go over the market, so if you want to know how the system stacks up against the competition, you will see those comparisons as well. The Vmaxpro is one of the best sports technology solutions on the market, and in my book, it is an indispensable tool for coaches who demand the best.
What Is the Vmaxpro Device?
The Vmaxpro is a sport IMU, meaning it’s a motion sensor designed to capture data such as barbell motion and even athlete body actions like jumping. While it can help test jumping, and I do believe that the sensor is perfectly suitable for measuring simple actions like vertical jump, the product is geared to barbell tracking. I don’t want to paint a picture that the other functions are not up to snuff, but you should know that it’s a leading tool for the weight room.
I will cover measurements later, but the sensor is able to determine the speed and motion of the barbell—a great solution for tracking strength training in various forms. Unlike a Tendo system, it has no tether or wire, and the Vmaxpro sensor can be placed on either the person or the barbell.
With such a small sensor, the Vmaxpro feels embedded into the training instead of being the obstructive experience of some legacy systems, says @spikesonly. Click To Tweet
The sensor itself is small, about the size of a USB drive, and it attaches to the barbell. Technically, the magnet ensures a great mount, and the wrap is great for those who use lifts such as the clean and jerk or snatch. The kit includes a charger cable and small case, but most training facilities will likely charge it at night and leave the travel pouch alone. For those who train on their own using a commercial gym or facility, the pouch is about the size of a hockey puck and light enough to not even worry about. With such a small sensor, the product feels embedded into the training instead of being the obstructive experience of some legacy systems.
Overall, the design and manufacturing are very robust, as they should be. Many sensors I have used are missing the small elements of design such as indicator lights and the durable qualities that show the company cares about the end user. This system can take a beating, as we put more than 5,000 repetitions in without any signs of wear and tear.
What Does It Measure?
Velocity-based training (VBT) is decades-old, but smartphones and tablets took the training further by making it more available. The Vmaxpro is a barbell tracking system that can even track the body for tasks like jumps and throws. Still, the heart and soul of a program is monitoring the barbell over time, and this means the speed and the motion of the bar are tracked at a very high sampling rate.
In addition to the sensor, the app can record events with the video camera and overlay the bar path. I believe what differentiates the Vmaxpro from other systems is the barbell tracking feature that most companies are unable to provide. Plenty of IMU barbell companies have come and gone, and they usually struggled to gain traction due to both validity and user experience.
Figure 1 shows the available measurements from Vmaxpro so far, and the company is constantly adding and refining its metrics.
All of the lifting data is useful if the coach and athlete are aware of the benefits and have a solid plan. Nearly all the teams I visit want to improve athlete output during training, but to me the Vmaxpro is both a teaching and training tool. You can better manage squat depth, barbell symmetry, and even fatigue with the device if you apply the science correctly. I don’t think coaches should use this as a readiness tool, as testing anything daily becomes a headache and less reliable over time. Periodic monitoring is fine, as most programs look for chronic adaptations and infer fatigue from load management.
Hardware and Software
For those wanting to make important decisions with budgeting or planning, this section on hardware and software is important. I shared much of the basic information on the product earlier, as it’s a small IMU sensor that mainly mounts on the bar. Other wearable straps for jumping are available, and the system is wireless (Bluetooth).
To use the Vmaxpro, you will currently need an iOS smart device, be it an iPad or iPhone. Soon the system will be Android-ready, as the Vmaxpro company is hard at work making sure it is compatible with Android devices. The company is based in Germany and has been selling the sensor for years, so it is not new to the iron game.
While the product works well on the iPhone, a larger screen does turn the app into an impressive display of information. I personally recommend using the iPad Pro or an Apple TV connection if you can.
Now for the app, software licenses, and API connectivity. I will mainly talk about how great the app is, because it’s truly a powerful system. The app is free to download and use, but if you want to add a roster, you will need to upgrade to a team license. The team license enables a coach to have an unlimited roster and empowers them to manage their sensors.
You will need one smart device per sensor, and you can purchase licenses in small increments. A team license allows users to export to a .CSV file and use their API to push and also receive data. The API is essential for better training experiences with third-party strength and conditioning software, as well as athlete management systems. Even if you don’t use online software for workouts, the license is necessary for team training and exporting data.
Strength and Conditioning Software Integration
The Vmaxpro currently connects to CoachMePlus via the export function, and this requires both a license for the team system and an express or full SimpliFaster install. CoachMePlus has multiple software platforms, ranging from light monitoring and testing tools to major military solutions. For Vmaxpro, we recommend getting at least the express connection and thinking about upgrading to the full CoachMePlus SF suite.
The full suite integrates with many other SimpliFaster products and enables a coach to remove many of the administrative burdens of data collection and sorting. Using CoachMePlus, coaches can move data quickly and program with barbell velocity and maximum strength or power.
Down the road, CoachMePlus and Vmaxpro will continue to ensure data flows back and forth more and more. Coaches want to program, train, and analyze over and over in a continuous cycle, and as both systems evolve, so will the integration. Keep in mind that while companies may claim integration, most of the benefit they tout is just a data dump and not really what coaches need and want.
Vmaxpro and CoachMePlus committed resources and months of time to make sure the process is streamlined and stable. As the user base grows, expect Vmaxpro to extend their reach to the market of AMS products.
The Vmaxpro System in Action
Workflow and user experience are always factors, and the Vmaxpro delivers. You can use it solo and/or with a team and even integrate it with workout software from CoachMePlus. The main goal is to make sure training feels like it’s focused work, not an administrative chore. The app delivers on this and takes it to the next level with the bar path readings.Workflow and user experience are always factors, and the Vmaxpro delivers. You can use it solo and/or with a team and even integrate it with workout software from CoachMePlus. Click To Tweet
Nearly all coaches who use feedback want to make sure technique is a priority, and the app ensures rapid and instant speed and motion. The responsiveness is awesome, and the visualizations are gorgeous. Obviously, the system is geared for the weight room, but you can use it anywhere an athlete trains.
Second, the system is awesome for those who want to train on their own or with correspondence coaching, as coaches can view the data remotely, and the app uses video. You can send the videos to an analysis program such as Dartfish, but most of the value comes from automating the tracking of the bar during the lift.
Video 1.The Vmaxpro app (pictured lower left screen) has a similar capability as the GymAware system. Those two systems are leaders in barbell tracking as they can track bar path as well as an array of concentric and eccentric velocities.
Additional features such as the rep feedback and load velocity calculations are outstanding. Most coaches want to test IRMs to monitor strength fluctuations during the season. The system is great for getting work done and for teaching during times where the coach and athlete have a better environment for technique work. Athletes find the system intuitive, so don’t expect to need much more than a quick review before letting them get back to training. Those who are not great with technology should not worry, as the system isn’t demanding from an administrative viewpoint.
Perfect for Individuals and Powerful for Teams
The Vmaxpro system is affordable and scalable, making it flexible enough for small facilities and efficient for teams that use dozens of racks. Coaches should know that Vmaxpro is a tool that is a great investment because the technology is innovative and will not become dated a decade later. The system had already taken the coaching world by storm for power users, and now its app is clean and simple for recreational users.The Vmaxpro system is affordable and scalable, making it flexible enough for small facilities and efficient for teams that use dozens of racks, says @spikesonly. Click To Tweet
Don’t be fooled—the device can even help some of the best coaches on the planet, as leaders in performance are singing its praises. If you are interested in taking VBT to the next level, consider the Vmaxpro. Even I was shocked by how well it worked and how much value it created for my own athletes.
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