As we have recently entered the 21st century I often ask myself, has the weight stack gone by way of the horse and buggy? Looking back on the previous century and observing the development and maturity of the Olympic barbell and the selectorized weight stack machine one could make a good argument that gravity based training devices may be headed for the museum sitting right alongside the analog black & white television set, the record player and the Polaroid camera. All of which were good inventions who’s time had come and gone.
With all of the advances in computer technology over the past 30 years I do believe the age of ‘Power Electronics’ has arrived. I can remember back in the early 1980’s when the Ariel 4000, Powercize and Arthur Jones of Nautilus fame experimented with the rudimentary versions of computerized strength training equipment. Only to come to the hard reality that the current state of computer technology was not quite up to the job.
All of these pioneers knew deep down inside that this is where the future of strength training was headed. Real time graphical interface, detailed historical recording of each and every training session, the inclusion of safe eccentric loading on each and every repetition as well as speed of movement control.
These features are now here and available to everyone from the elite professional athlete to the average ‘Joe’ on the street. From rehabilitation and Physical Therapy to Active Aging Centers across the country. The future of computerized fitness is ‘now’. So as this new technology matures before our eyes I now ask myself, where will the state of the art in strength training lie at the turn of the next century? I think at this point we can only imagine where it will take us since the pace of technology accelerates with time. I’m sure that our children's children will look back on our Nautilus and Cybex machines just as we now look back at our forefathers trusty muskets and flintlock rifles as relics of a bygone age.