So 2010 is behind us and with it the first decade of the 21st Century. Now we are but a few days into the next decade of the century, so I figure I’ll stick out my neck and make some predictions about what will happen over the next ten years in the world of strength training.
1. Crappy exercise machines that sold the past decade for under $100 will, by 2020, be under $200. These machines will still be noteworthy for their complete inability to add any progressive overload if the trainee’s strength improves. Which it won’t. Many of the crappy machines will literally be designed to make an exercise easier and less work for the target muscle than would be the case without the machine. Thus, some crappy machines will actually have the ability to reduce strength and muscle mass. But they will cost more in 2020.
2. Thanks to the very powerful nutritional supplement lobby in the US and bought-and-paid-for senators like Orrin Hatch, (and his supplement lobbyist son) the world will continue to be flooded with very expensive food ingredients sold with extravagant and unproven claims of effectiveness. The billions made from this industry will funnel millions back to US-politician’s campaigns thus creating a perpetual cycle of legal theft from gullible citizens. I stress this will be legal. Not moral, but legal.
3. In 2020 personal trainers will still advise all people at all stages of fitness to train three days per week in perpetuity and without any meaningful measurement of exercise intensity. While paying lip-service to “high intensity” principles, most personal trainers and other exercise professionals will never use any objective measurement of intensity or track its progression throughout an exercise program. Obvious and inevitable issues of fatigue, lack of progress and unchanged muscle mass will be explained away with vague terms of ‘muscle confusion,’ ‘periodization’ and other techniques meant to ensure the sanctity of very-frequent training at the expense of actual improvement in health or appearance. Also, the aforementioned lack of progress will be blamed on insufficient monthly spending on nutritional supplements. (See above.)
4. Strength training equipment like the one in the photograph accompanying this post will continue to be sold, virtually unchanged from it’s 50-year-old design. Yes, while every other industry and human endeavor is being revolutionized by new technology, weightlifting machines will continue to have no silicon in them. No WiFi or Bluetooth, no USB ports to download the copious data from your workouts – nada. People will continue to train blindly and without the benefit of even basic computer technology.
Take a close look at the machine in the photo – a machine typical of what you can buy in any sporting goods store in the world – and tell me what part of that machine could not have been built in 1810 – two hundred years ago? Plastic pulleys would be iron. Aluminum cable would be steel. Vinyl seat would be horsehide. I think I’d prefer the 1810 machine. It sounds more durable.
Happily, cardiovascular training will benefit from high-tech devices that measure distance, time, elevation, acceleration, cardiac function, oxygen levels, and much more. These devices will be small and wearable and will operate on sophisticated software that will analyze dozens of aspects of performance, progress and recovery. In 2020 strength training alone will use technology still recognizable to Abraham Lincoln.
5. Point (4) notwithstanding, a Static Contraction exercise machine will debut this decade and it will challenge the premises that have dominated strength training for many years. It will have the ability to measure and analyze aspects of momentary and sustained strength with resolution of milliseconds and to measure forms of muscle action that have never been studied before. The data gathered from thousands (eventually millions) of trainees worldwide will garner unprecedented insight into what tactics work for individual circumstances of gender, age, general health and innate adaptability to exercise. All strength training strategies will become specific to the individual after the Static Contraction machine debuts. No major component of the machine would have been possible in 1810.
Those are my prognostications for the coming decade of strength training. As you can glean, I don’t have much confidence in change or improvement beyond the advancement of a world-class measuring device coupled to great software. But once that arrives – stand back and watch the leaps and bounds in human strength training and injury rehabilitation!
What are your predictions?