A Wearable Fitness Tracker For Diehard Gym Rats

Fitbit? Fuelband? Amateur hour. If you take your workouts seriously, Push might be for you.

Many personal trainers might be employed by people who are more interested in the image of having a personal trainer than actually getting fit–but that doesn’t mean they don’t know what they’re doing. If you’re doing serious strength exercises without professional guidance, you could very well injure yourself–as Rami Alhamad found out the hard way. That experience inspired him to create Push, a professional-grade wearable fitness gadget that tracks reps, not steps. Check out its testosterone-soaked ad, which looks like it was directed by Michael Bay:


In a fitness-tracking market dominated by cutesy products like Fitbit and FuelBand–which aim to make you feel as if engaging in normal human locomotion earns you some sort of health-guru merit badge–Push’s gym-rat pose actually feels bracingly honest. You want to get ripped? Prepare to work your ass off while paying attention to “scientifically validated metrics” such as force, velocity, volume load, and explosive strength. Push isn’t designed for dilettantes–it’s for professional athletes and their coaches.

It looks the part, too: The wide black armband is designed to stay put on a bicep or thigh without slipping around, and the device itself is large and rugged. Sure, it kind of looks like a prop from an Axe body spray ad, but it sends a clear message: Push isn’t a fragile piece of jewelry-esque tech you have to baby like your iPhone. It’s there to take a beating. “The industrial design is intentionally bold and aggressive,” says Michael Lovas, Push’s chief design officer. “We are not specifically targeting men, rather we are targeting a type of person–someone who is gritty, tough, and wants results.”

But while Push is designed and priced like a DIY consumer gadget, it isn’t meant to replace a coach or personal trainer, Lovas says. On the contrary: The device tracks so many technical-sounding workout variables (and generates “beautifully visualized graphs [of] goals and progress,” Lovas adds), it might be a bit much to make sense of on your own. “A lot of coaches and trainers only have Excel spreadsheets to count on at the moment,” Lovas says. Push is robust enough to track an entire locker room’s worth of athletes, but for a certain kind of image-conscious amateur gym-goer, the mere presence of a “professional-grade” fitness tracker on his or her arm might become a desirable signal unto itself–as in, Look how seriously I work out. “We designed it with crossover appeal in mind,” Lovas says. “If we build it with the elite athlete in mind, we are guaranteeing all of our users an unmatched level of quality and perfection. If it can survive the training of elite NFL players, you know you can trust it.”

The design of Push, then, has something in common with many other athletic brands, like Nike and Under Armour, which happily design and sell “professional” or “technical” athletic gear to non-pros. Not everyone who wears Air Jordans, after all, is interested in being a basketball player. Sometimes you just want to feel like one. If Push can deliver that experience to amateurs while satisfying the demands of athletes and coaches, they might have a wearable-technology hit on their hands.

[Read more about Push.]

About the author

John Pavlus is a writer and filmmaker focusing on science, tech, and design topics. His writing has appeared in Wired, New York, Scientific American, Technology Review, BBC Future, and other outlets.