PRO: The app 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. Using the Volt app, athletes can not only edit the weight lifted and number of reps completed, but also provide feedback that will optimize their workout in real time (see next section).
In addition to reps and weights, the Volt app also tracks each athlete’s pre-workout Readiness score (which asks athletes to rate their sleep, soreness, mood, energy, and stress) as well as the total tonnage lifted, total sets completed, and workout accountability (number of workouts completed in a row). This data is captured automatically in the app and requires no manual work to log, unlike a printed workout.
PRO: The app fine-tunes each athlete’s workout in real time.
As mentioned above, the Volt app uses patent-pending Smart Sets technology to fine-tune each athlete’s personalized loading recommendations, so athletes are challenged appropriately on any given day. Using an RPE-based system (Rate of Perceived Exertion), Smart Sets asks athletes to rate the difficulty of a set, then makes adjustments to the recommended weights for their next set. So whether the weight is too heavy, or too light, or spot on, the Volt app can calibrate to each athlete’s strength levels accordingly.
Not only does Smart Sets help athletes determine safe starting weights for new movements, it also allows athletes to progress at their own rates—and often helps athletes push themselves harder in the weight room than they would without an RPE system. This is beyond comparison when it comes to other apps, let alone Volt’s own printouts.
CON: The app requires an internet connection.
If you don’t have reliable internet in your weight room, it can definitely hinder your team’s ability to successfully use the Volt app during training sessions. While we’re exploring opportunities for an offline mode, there is a way your athletes can use the app without WiFi or cell service.
The only actions in the workout that require an internet connection are starting and finishing the workout. If you instruct your athletes to tap the red “Start Workout” button while they’re connected, they can complete all their sets (including recording weights lifted and interacting with Smart Sets) without needing further connection. Then, after they’ve completed their movements, instruct them to wait until they’re connected to the internet again to tap the red “Finish Workout” button. This makes it possible to get the benefits of training with the app even if your weight room doesn’t have internet.
PRO: The app helps ensure proper lifting technique.
While nothing can replicate the value of a hands-on coach in the weight room, the Volt app does equip your athletes with tools to help them execute each movement safely whether or not they’re with a physical coach.
In addition to video demonstrations, athletes can tap the “info” button in-workout to reveal quick coaching cues and detailed step-by-step instructions for every movement in their workout. And though we engineered our workout printouts to be as helpful as possible, the depth of instruction (not to mention a video of the exercise being performed, instead of a static photo on paper) is a huge benefit to using the app.
CON: Phones can get damaged in the weight room.
It's true, sometimes pairing fragile tech devices with barbells and dumbbells can end with damaged equipment. 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 and expectations in place and inform your athletes about rules regarding smartphone usage in the weight room, you can be successful in avoiding accidents.
PRO: The app is 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—paper will add up, fast. And since each workout is individually prescribed for each athlete, you can’t simply print one workout for the entire team, reuse a workout from athlete to athlete, or write the workout on the board.
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 administrators eager to minimize their facility's environmental impact.)
CON: Phones can be a distraction.
It's true—smartphones can be a distraction for athletes. While we can’t stop athletes from scrolling through Instagram 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!)
The Volt app has also optimized the workout experience to encourage athletes to focus on one movement at a time, rather than a list view of all movements in a workout. Using magnetic phone racks can also keep phones at eye-level for the coach (and out of your athletes’ hands) for accountability. You can also set the expectation with your team that this is a privilege to be able to use the Volt technology in the weight room, and that you can take that away at any time.
PRO: The app increases athlete buy-in (especially when training off-campus).
We created the Volt app to be interactive, engaging, and fun to use. Our athletes have grown up with technology, so they really connect to the app’s workout experience. 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 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 (without Volt), athletes will show up the first day of classes without having prepared at all—or at least not having prepared well. Thanks to the Volt app, coaches can give athletes access to quality summer training (and see whether or not they’re actually doing it) before they set foot on campus. A better training experience and more accessible training helps create consistency in your program—which results in better 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 a 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!
Want to share your experience with the Volt app? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!