Phones in the Weight Room vs. Printed Workouts
The Pros and Cons of Using the Volt App
When it's time for your athletes to do their Volt training, you have a couple options: 1) Allow your athletes to access their workout on their smartphones via the Volt app, or 2) Print their workouts for them. While we want you to do whatever works best for your team training environment, using the Volt app has some definite benefits—for you and your athletes! Here are some pros and cons for you to consider when deciding how you want your athletes to access their training.
PRO: It tracks everything.
Even though Volt tells athletes exactly what to do in every workout, sometimes there’s a discrepancy between what is prescribed and what an athlete is actually able to accomplish on a given training day. Maybe the weight was too light, or the number of reps was too high—whatever the reason, athletes need to be able to record what was actually done during a workout, vs. what was prescribed. If a squat is prescribed at 200 lb and the athlete lifts 250 lb, that’s important information that can be used to alter and refine the athlete’s program. Likewise, if an athlete is consistently unable to complete sets at the recommended weight, it may indicate a need to scale their program back. This is important information for you as coach to know, and it’s tough to track on printed paper workouts.
The Volt app allows athletes to input the exact number of reps, sets, and weight they complete during a workout. The app also tracks each athlete’s Readiness scores, a 0-5 rating of their readiness to train on a given day. These scores can be used to help athletes identify important trends in their sleep patterns and lifestyle habits that can adversely affect their performance. Athletes can also track how much of the workout they are able to complete—because sometimes you just have to cut a workout short—and their workout accountability (how many workouts they complete in a row).
But perhaps most importantly, the app makes it easy for athletes to log and complete each set in their workout, making the workout easy to follow and enjoyable to complete.
PRO: It helps ensure proper lifting technique.
When it comes to ensuring your athletes are lifting with proper technique, nothing can replace a hands-on coach in the weight room. But the Volt app equips your athletes with more tools to execute each movement safely and successfully.
Every movement in every workout comes complete with step-by-step instructions, quick coaching points (giving athletes technique cues like “chest proud” or “knees out”), and animated technique demonstrations. Athletes simply tap the photo to see the full movement. While we engineered the workout printouts to be as helpful as possible when it comes to ensuring good technique, the ability to see the movement being performed (as opposed to a static photo on paper) is beyond compare.
Also, many movements in the Volt library have photos of both genders performing the lift. This means that female athlete using the Volt app will see primarily female photos, while males will see mostly male. Gender equity in movement photos is a unique feature to Volt and one that we are proud to offer our athletes.
CON: Phones can get damaged in the weight room.
It's true, sometimes pairing fragile tech devices with barbells and dumbbells can end with cracked screens and broken glass. But if your athletes are aware of the risks of bringing their smartphones into the weight room, there are steps you can take to mitigate the possibility of accidents. Some of our coaches have shared a few strategies for ensuring phones stay safe during training:
- Use a magnetic phone holder or rack clip to attach a phone to exercise equipment, keeping phones off the ground.
- Set aside a designated area for phones. Athletes can access the app, then leave the phone when they go to perform a movement.
- Keep phones along the perimeter of the weight room, to keep them out of the path of barbells and dumbells.
If you have some strategies in place and inform your athletes about rules regarding smartphone usage in the weight room, you can be successful in avoiding accidents.
PRO: It keeps Strength Numbers updated.
Strength Numbers—the most weight an athlete can lift in each of the three Volt Base Lifts (hang clean, back squat, and bench press)—are important for ensuring each athlete’s Volt program is as effective as possible. Periodically throughout their Volt training, athletes will be asked to retest these lifts in “Challenge Sets” to make sure their numbers are as accurate as possible. The more accurate their Strength Numbers, the more personalized Volt’s loading recommendations can be—making their training more effective.
In the app, athletes will clearly see which sets are Challenge Sets and will be given instructions to complete as many reps at the given weight as possible. The app then records the weight and reps lifted and automatically converts that number to a project one-rep maximum (1RM) and saves it to their profile. The Volt app will then dynamically adjust the athlete’s training prescriptions to reflect their new Strength Number.
With a paper printout, on the other hand, it is not as clear to the athlete which sets are Challenge Sets. Plus, when athletes find a new Strength Number, they (or the coach) must enter it into their Volt profile online, creating a two-step process. Recording Strength Numbers is much easier for athletes inside the app, and creates less work for the coach after the workout.
PRO: It's environmentally friendly.
If you work with a handful of athletes, printing workouts might not be a big deal. But if you work with a larger team—or multiple teams—that paper can add up, fast. And since each workout is individually prescribed for each athlete, you can’t simply print one workout for the entire team, or reuse a workout from athlete to athlete. The app cuts down on unnecessary paper waste, virtually eliminating the need for any paper whatsoever in the weight room. (This feature can be especially attractive to ADs or adminstrators eager to minimize their facility's environmental impact.)
CON: Phones can be a distraction.
It's true—smartphones can be a distraction for athletes. How can you ensure your athletes aren’t spending their workout on Snapchat or Instagram? While we can’t stop athletes from scrolling through Facebook during their training session, we have built an automatic rest timer into the app to encourage athletes to stay attentive and focused during the workout. The timer automatically starts counting down the rest interval between exercises as soon as the athlete checks off a set, helping ensure that athletes stay engaged AND actually observe the prescribed and necessary rest between sets.
We've also added a shareable Workout Summary after every workout that athletes can share on social media, giving them an added incentive to complete their workout.
PRO: It increases athlete buy-in (especially during breaks!).
We created the Volt app to be interactive, engaging, and just plain cool to use. Young athletes have grown up with technology, so we wanted to make the workout experience speak to them. We’ve found that athletes are more likely to stay consistent with their training when using the app instead of paper printouts—especially when athletes are training off-campus.
One of the most frequent comments we get from Volt coaches is how easy Volt makes it for athletes to train year-round. There are so many times during the year—holidays, spring break, summer vacation, etc.—when you simply can’t be hands-on with your players. Using the Volt app allows athletes to access their training from anywhere, so they never have an excuse NOT to train. In fact, one of the biggest areas of success we’ve seen is with coaches working with incoming freshmen. Typically, athletes will show up the first day of classes without having prepared at all—or at least not having prepared WELL. With Volt’s app technology, coaches can give athletes access to summer training (and see whether or not they’re actually doing it!) before they set foot on campus. A better training experience, and more easily accessible training overall, helps you create consistency in your program—which, we’ve found, creates more accountability and buy-in from your athletes.
Ultimately, YOU are the expert in the needs of your athletes in your training environment. While we encourage coaches to allow athletes to use the Volt app in the weight room, we also recognize that there are certain situations where printouts are the best option. We want you to use Volt in the way that makes the most sense for you and your athletes—after all, the only way good training can be effective is if athletes are actually able to access it!