On a fairly regular basis we receive in-bound emails from prospective Bar Sensei customers asking how our product compares with Push. It is a very sensible request since both products are very close in hardware cost, both fit the ultra-portable category, and Bar Sensei and Push 2.0 share many features, functionality & outputs related to VBT barbell application.
After responding to another "vs" customer inquiry today, we decided to share the email that was sent to the prospective customer (keeping the name and email confidential). Our goal is to allow this blog post to serve as a response for others who may have this same email request. In addition, this email response goes beyond the "vs" question and touches on some important aspects that every VBT tech user should consider.
To offer some context, the in-bound email asked about the product comparison, along with the Assess2Perform (A2P) integration with the TeamBuildr programming software.
From: xxx xxxxxxx
Sent: Wednesday, January 2, 2019 9:05 AM
To: Assess2Perform Information <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Bar sensei vs Push
Response on 1-2-2019
Xxx – thanks for the contact about the Bar Sensei!
The 1st point of any Assess2Perform product is to understand we promote a direct measure (Bar Sensei on the barbell, Ballistic Ball for med ball). Outputs related to sport performance or rehab, tracking the smaller changes, should be a direct measure, vs a “do everything” indirect type product. Since you contacted us asking Bar Sensei vs Push, I will comment a touch on this question, but I really want you to understand more of what we at A2P represent, and why…instead of the us vs them. This sport tech space is too new & dynamic to make it a fight between companies; rather, the entire space (companies, research, coaching) should focus on identifying the metrics that really matter, how to apply for transfer, and allow the new tech companies & coaching side time to mature. This is a process for all parties! And, it is an exciting time for the industry to embrace.
You can see that the Push band for barbell application started on the arm, and in 2018 moved the (direct) Bar Sensei way. Good decision. The issues Push has with forearm mounted VBT for the barbell is going to be the case for other indirect measures they promote, like the med ball throws. I reached out directly to the Sport Science contact for Push on Twitter two days ago asking the company position of indirect vs direct assessment (since the company now sells sport tech solutions both ways) and did not get a concrete answer. It’s a fair and important question to ask. There is not a right or wrong answer, but it is important to indicate this aspect and explain limitations to the user so we do not end up with a mis-guided awareness around sport tech feedback. We at A2P have gone through our start-up struggles, but always do our best to represent what the products offer, the intended use of the products, and where a customer may hit limitations.
With the VBT barbell space, I’d say the key advantages of the Bar Sensei over all of the options (even the $2000+ products) is we have always offered what I consider the important, yet often over-looked, deeper metrics such as RFD and eccentric performance. Our POP-100 metric is the speed hit at the 100 millisecond point of the concentric phase. And, how the athletes loads (assessing PK eccentric V/speed) is vital to understand. Creating eccentric force, and transferring this into concentric force IS movement and sport performance. In addition, within the concentric phase, how that athlete generates the force (or Speed) – the RFD/POP-100 – is the important & transferable aspect. If this modern approach to VBT tech feedback sounds interesting to you, the Bar Sensei would be a great fit. If the “old” metric of mean concentric velocity is what your focus is today, the good news is you have many options to choose from and the Push 2.0 (direct measure) will get the job done.
You did also ask about the TeamBuildr integration, which is available to support the Bar Sensei and Ballistic Ball. This integration is very efficient (thanks to the collaboration with the guys at TeamBuildr) and nice because you are not locked to one company for the hardware, software, and programming; rather, you have freedom to piece together the best fit options for your situation. By the way, when you purchase from A2P you only pay for the product cost & free A2P Sport app, as there are no subscription fees.
To wrap up what has turned out to be a longer email than I expected!... There will always be some things one product does better than another, but I would say the Bar Sensei type customer within sport performance is someone who is moving beyond the “old” metrics and limitations of concentric mean velocity, and is investigating a modern approach. Looking at VBT historically, when barbell tech started seeing more mainstream adoption (20+ years ago), mean concentric velocity was THE metric. No doubt that this early metric provided value -- over no information – and it was one of the early performance monitoring markets. Fast-forward, there has been a sharp increase of VBT tech purchases, but the application of the feedback stayed stale. Prices have come way down, ultra-portability is here, more powerful metrics are available – yet, the mainstream application of VBT tech is still mean concentric velocity, which I refer to as the VBT Mullet. There are many (solvable) flaws with how the traditional way of applying VBT is used today by most programs, and we at A2P / Bar Sensei are leading with the more meaningful metrics that are related to transfer.
If you have any specific ideas of how you were planning to use VBT I can address those in detail, just ask. To see how the Bar Sensei functions, please visit YouTube and search Assess2Perform to find the Bar Sensei How-to playlist. This playlist shows a series of videos of different lifts, the movements along with the A2P Sport app feedback. You can also find two articles I wrote (2017 & 2018) related to redefining the VBT approach if your search “Scott Damman SimpliFaster”.
Thank you for the consideration!
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