Amazon's Alexa app seems like the biggest example of technology making society lazier. But the reality is that this tech can really help a strength coach in the weight room.
1. Music Speaker in the Weight Room
The first obvious use case for Amazon's Alexa is as a music speaker. Most weight rooms will already have some sort of sound system, and it may be really nice quality as well. However, we all know that the speaker system will not work for one reason or another at some point. So even if you don't need a speaker, you can use Alexa for other reasons and have it be your backup speaker if that 315-loaded barbell on a missed power clean rolls into the stereo system (hey, that's not the worst thing to happen in a weight room before).
For music, we recommend getting an Alexa Echo or a more premium model such as the Alexa Plus. The cheaper Alexa Dot is a good personal item but has a weak speaker that will not fill a room. If you want a cordless/portable speaker to bring out to the field then you will need to get the Amazon Tap (currently on sale for $99 from $130) which is a strong bluetooth speaker which Alexa capabilities.
Here at the office we use an Alexa Echo at ~$100 though and the sound bangs.
"Alexa, play Rap Caviar on Spotify."
"Alexa, play my Classic Rock and turn up the volume."
2. Using Interval Timers, Countdowns and Alarms
That's right! Download a variety of timing system apps - or use the Alexa native timing app which is great for countdowns. There's even an alarm system that can set alarms throughout the day which is an underrated feature.
"Alexa, countdown from 5 minutes starting now"
"Alexa, set alarm for 2pm and 5pm"
Use a variety of Tabata apps on the app store to start a Tabata cycle or download the Interval Notice app to create your own intervals. This can replace the need to purchase a timing system such as Rack Performance ($850/yr.) or a Rogue clock ($269). Not bad for return-on-investment!
"Alexa, set a two-minute notice for 16 minutes."
"Alexa, start tabata in 10 seconds."
3. One Rep Max Calculator
At first, we didn't think there would be a strength & conditioning app in the app store, but we were surprised when we found one (who's the nerd strength coach who built this thing?!). The One Rep Max Calculator app is free in the app store and will calculate your 1RM for you based on your weight and reps. Simply tell Alexa how much weight (pounds and kilos) and reps your performed for her to recite your 1RM. Neat!
4. Nutritional Facts
This is my personal favorite for using Alexa in strength and conditioning. After playfully asking Alexa some nutrition questions at dinner one night, I was blown away at how much nutritional knowledge this device has - without even downloading an app!
We know anyone can Google nutritional info and with the amount athletes that could use guidance in this area, this is a "no brainer" for using Alexa in an athletic setting. You can even download a variety of free apps such as the "Nutrition Label" app which will give you the nutritional facts for tons of food products:
"Alexa, search nutrition label for a Big Mac."
Here are just a few more questions, but the possibilities are endless when it comes to nutritional info:
"Alexa, how many grams of protein in a bowl of oatmeal?"
"Alexa, how many carbs in a banana?"
"Alexa, how many calories in a Snickers bar?"
5. Smart Lights and Switches
Ok, this is where it gets fun and creative! Alexa has the ability to connect with smart lights (light bulbs) and smart switches (things you plug into outlets and control remotely) which means you can control lights and other electronics that are plugged in around your facility.
Here in the office, we turn on our studio for filming videos and our shed lights where we take phone calls - nothing fancy.
However, say you have a big fan plugged in across the facility. Plug that into a smart outlet and simply tell Alexa to turn on "Fan 1" and - boom - your fan comes on from across the room. It will impress your weight room guests as well when they see how high-tech and efficient you are; time is money, baby!
6. Extra-Curricular: Breathing and Yoga Apps
Recovery breathing is increasingly making its way into weight room across the country and yoga is a favorite for athletes seeking some stretching and relaxation. Considering not many strength coaches teach yoga on the side or specialize in breathing techniques, the Alexa app store provides a variety of free yoga instructional apps and breathing apps such as BreatheTherapy that athletes can take advantage of in the facility.
7. Build Your Daily Routine
"People often say that motivation doesn'tlast. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily." - Zig Ziglar
This is not the reason you would drop $100 on this device, but if you get one then you'll want to maximize the usage, right? Get a motivational quote from Alexa daily or search the varieties of apps that provide daily quotes and facts. This can include a daily health tip from the "Health Facts" app or even ask for a daily news briefing for a 2-minute rundown of the latest current events. Add sports teams to your "Daily Briefing" and get the scores from the previous day's games. Setting up a morning routine in Alexa with weather, news, sports scores and motivational quote can be quite productive!
Want to learn more about how technology in the weight room?
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