From the training floor, comparison of 2 VBT (velocity-based training) technologies

  • Bar Sensei / GymAware bar speed comparisons
  • Date:  March 25, 2017
  • Location:  NSCA Headquarters, Colorado Springs, CO – USA

During an Athletic Development clinic (Hammer Clinic -- Rocky Mountain Regional, hosted by NSCA) we had the opportunity to experiment with 3 distinct VBT products – Bar Sensei, GymAware, and Push.  The goal of this informal project was to use the products together in a typical S&C environment (applied setting), and see how the feedback compared. 

We were fortunate that a Gentleman (who is a Powerlifter) attending the clinic brought his personal GymAware, so we took the opportunity to collect some data on the Squat to share.  Below you will see some data sets of bar speed feedback, PK and AVG (over varied bar speeds) of the Bar Sensei and GymAware.


This below video shows the set-up we used at NSCA.  The Push product (app shown right side & sensor on lifter's forearm) was not part of this experiment.  Bar Sensei is on the left, with GymAware in the middle.  The Bar Sensei module is fixed to the barbell, whereas the GymAware hooks to the bar end with a string that feeds into the sensor box (which sits o the floor).  All 3 products report instant feedback during the squat movement, an important feature for auto-regulation.  The 2 smaller boxes on the Bar Sensei A2P SPORT app show POP-100 (left box - click to learn more) and Distance (right box).


Here are the Squat results:

Faster bar speed

PK          Bar Sensei           GymAware                       AVG    Bar Sensei         GymAware

               1.87                      2.02                                                    1.07                      1.20

               1.89                      1.93                                                    1.18                      1.27

               1.97                      1.98                                                    1.15                      1.24


Photo of the Peak oututs for each rep.  Please see the Bar Sensei bar graph (yellow) and the GymAware right side column.  (side note: the Bar Sensei grey bar graph represents eccentric speed)

Peak bar speed for each rep, see the Bar Sensei bar graph (yellow) and the right side column of GymAware


Photo of the Average (mean) outputs, see the GymAware left column



Mid fast bar speed

PK         Bar Sensei           GymAware                         AVG     Bar Sensei    GymAware

               1.57                      1.56                                                    0.91                      0.97

               1.49                      1.53                                                    0.87                      0.97

               1.50                      1.54                                                    0.88                      1.00




Mid bar speed

PK       Bar Sensei           GymAware                       AVG     Bar Sensei           GymAware

               1.28                      1.32                                                    0.75                      0.85

               1.15                      1.16                                                    0.68                      0.72

               1.23                      1.26                                                    0.76                      0.82

               1.16                      1.17                                                    0.72                      0.74

               1.25                      1.23                                                    0.79                      0.86


Peak, for each rep



Slower bar speed

PK         Bar Sensei           GymAware                      AVG   Bar Sensei           GymAware

               0.77                      0.72                                                    0.57                      0.58

               0.77                      0.76                                                    0.53                      0.56

               0.85                      0.82                                                    0.59                      0.59


Average, for each rep. 


We get calls and emails asking, how to you compare with such and such product.  This is such an open-ended question, as there are many variables.  It is important to keep in mind that each one of your VBT technology options may have positive aspects along with drawbacks to your situation.  And, also consider, your situation may call for a mixed-use environment.  

My goal with this informal exercise was to offer some results, let you see some side-by-side information, vs relying on a lot of non-factual messaging that gets kicked around in the industry circles.  Each company in this space goes through development challenges, but the good news is there is a big positive trend happening right now.