Recently I've been getting a lot of ads related to workout machines that use magnets to apply resistance rather than weights. The most prominent being the Vitruvian Trainer but there seems to be about a dozen different platforms now.

One feature they all seem to have is the ability to auto-adjust the resistance during the set. One way this is applied is that they claim to auto-detect when you're in your strongest and weakest points in the rep so that it can adjust the resistance slightly so that there is a constant tension throughout the movement. So it decreases resistance when you're at the weakest point in the lift, and it increases resistance when at the strongest. This would effectively remove the sticking point of a lift because as soon as you hit it, it would lower the restistance to allow you to push through.

Has there ever been any studies on this style of training over traditional forms? On paper, this seems more "optimal" because you could work all the way to muscular failure rather than working until your sticking point fails.

If so, how could one simulate this style of training? The closest I could think of are these machines with three pegs. This is very limiting as most gyms do not have these styles of machines.

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As the weight rotates around the center, the weight at the top will subtract from the resistance profile and likewise the weight at the bottom gets added to the resistance profile.

  • "auto-adjust the resistance" - sounds like a marketing ploy. I'd like to see the explanation of how they "auto-detect" your strength level. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
    – rrirower
    Jan 17, 2023 at 18:53
  • @rrirower That's partly why I'm asking
    – DeeV
    Jan 17, 2023 at 18:57
  • Supposedly it tracks bar speed. If it starts slowing down then it lowers resistance.
    – DeeV
    Jan 17, 2023 at 18:59
  • Sounds counterintuitive if you want to do negative reps at a slow pace.
    – rrirower
    Jan 17, 2023 at 20:09
  • @rrirower I don't know how it handles the eccentric phase of a lift and I don't intend to spend thousands to find out. There does seem to be an "eccentric only" mode interestingly where there's no resistance on the concentric portion and it applies resistance on the eccentric portion.
    – DeeV
    Jan 17, 2023 at 21:08


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