I am in pain.
Not in some kind of sore, I can’t sit down. Rather, “OK !, I worked long ignored muscle pain. And the year that I’m trying to get out of the doldrums of the COVID-19 pandemic, that’s a good thing.
The cause does not come from cycling on a Peloton, but from another newcomer to the connected home gym scene. It’s called FightCamp; and as the name suggests, this home exercise system, which includes a punching bag and gloves with smart trackers connected, focuses on boxing and kickboxing.
After over a month with FightCamp, it’s safe to say (or write) that it provides a sweat-producing workout which, if performed regularly, will improve core, balance, speed and the basic boxing know-how of the user. It also offers a safe “non-judgmental” path for those who always wanted to try boxing, but were too intimidated to walk into a boxing gym or mixed martial arts center and fly the rookie flag.
To understand what and what FightCamp does, it’s worth going back to the beginning. The company was founded in 2014 as Hykso, four years before the launch of the FightCamp connect home training system. During these four years, the company has developed fitness trackers which have been tested, improved and used by Olympic boxing athletes. Several Olympic boxing teams, including the United States, Canada and China, have used the trackers. Manny Pacquiao, considered one of the best boxers of all time, was also an early user.
There was no content layer since these athletes were already competing at the highest level of the sport. It was just the trackers and heaps of data.
But a curious thing happened. Boxing coaches have started using them with their private clients, according to Khalil Zahar, founder and CEO.
“They were the bridge,” Zahar said, referring to the coaches. From there was born the idea of FightCamp. “We thought we would provide a way for people to not only use it in their workouts with coaches, but teach them the art form of boxing and build a beginner’s program that they can take at home and learn from. techniques, ”he said. noted.
FightCamp offers three “hardware” packages: Connect for $ 439 ($ 399 during vacations), Personal for $ 1,219 (but on sale during vacations for $ 999) and Tribe for $ 1,299. Users are also required to subscribe to content for a monthly fee of $ 39, which grants access to over 1,000 lessons, exercises and other content in the iOS app and, most recently, the Android app. And it’s not just about throwing punches. There are workouts that include kickboxing and a little toggle on the app will ensure each session ends with some basic work like sit-ups and planks.
Connect comes without the bag, just the digital punch trackers and quick packs, and is designed for people who already have their own punch bag. The Personal Pack, which I tested, includes the punch trackers, quick wraps, gloves, freestanding bag and bag ring. Mine also came with a mat, but I was told it was no longer included which is a shame.
The FightCamp Tribe package is as it looks and is intended for more than one person and includes punch trackers, quick wraps, freestanding bag, heavy training mat, premium boxing gloves, bag ring , additional premium boxing gloves and wraps as well as children’s boxing gloves.
The FightCamp Personal package came in two boxes: a massive cardboard box with the bag and base and another box with the punch trackers that track user output and punch count, quick packs, a mat and a pair of gloves. (The mat is no longer included in the personal package.)
The instructions for setting up the bag and preparing the trackers are straightforward. However, this is a bulky undertaking and somewhat awkward depending on where the user decides to place the bag. I brought mine to our guesthouse, a place away from normal everyday life, but close to a TV. (More on that later.)
After placing the mat, users position the base in which the bag will sit. The base is then filled with water or sand. I chose to run a pipe from the outside into the guesthouse, which significantly reduced the installation time. Otherwise, you will go back and forth with a pitcher of water or a bucket of sand. If that sounds like pain, well it is, even if you exercise in the process.
The mistake I made, and missed and corrected later, was making sure I put the base EXACTLY where I wanted it. Once it is filled with water or sand or both (user choice) and the bag is placed on it, it is impossible to move around without a cart.
My mistake was placing the base and bag on the wrong side of the mat so that I wasn’t facing the TV. Once I corrected the error it made a huge difference in the quality of the workouts.
What works and what doesn’t
The good news is that the punch trackers, pictured above, work as advertised and really follow every punch. The app is also easy to use and there are plenty of workouts, all led by certified American Boxing trainers and NASM CPTs.
I especially liked the framework which ensures that the core drills follow the boxing or kickboxing instructions. The company even offers shadowboxing classes, aimed at new customers to start learning the lingo and basic punches and punches before their bag, gloves, wraps and trackers arrive.
There are a few downsides to FightCamp which may or may not disable users.
One is the sheer size of the system. In a small apartment, the bag will carry valuable real estate that some can accommodate and others may find problematic. People with a larger house or garage might be more attracted to this system. I haven’t had this problem since I got space.
For me, the main downside to FightCamp is that without a TV nearby, it’s hard to keep up with the instructor properly until you’ve recorded enough workouts that you can follow through without having to look at the screen.
The actual content is clear and easy to understand. Coaches provide the right combination of training and instruction to keep the user motivated and informed. I have personally learned a lot.
However, there is a learning curve. At first, and before I plugged the phone into my TV, I found myself repeatedly stopping the video to play the previous movement. It created a quirky experience.
Once I was hooked up to the TV and was able to stream the workouts, I was able to follow along more easily. I improved to the point where I no longer had to look at the exact movement to figure out what to do. Instead, I was able to listen and know that 1-2-3 means jab, cross, lead hook.
Finally, I’m still not sure if I’m in good shape as there is no way for the trackers or the app to provide that kind of feedback. It probably doesn’t matter to people like me who just want a sweat-producing workout.
Where is all this going?
Zahar and the company plan to expand not only the content, but also the trackers that can help provide better fitness feedback as well as further gamify training.
“We basically want to make your body the game controller,” he said. “Trackers just let you use your body as a game controller.”
Today, people can use the data captured from the punch trackers on their wrists to compete against each other and monitor their progress. Zahar wants to add trackers to the feet.
“And then we want to expand to everything a fighter touches and make it a connected fitness accessory,” he said. “So think of anything from skipping rope and battle ropes to kettlebells and plyo boxes, and basically reward yourself for every move you make during training.”
Zahar also doesn’t want FightCamp to be an equipment-only training system. The extra trackers and extra content that doesn’t require a punching bag will help the company achieve that goal, he said.
FightCamp is already boosting its free content. The company recently announced that it will offer more than 100 free workouts every week. These workouts are listed as “optional tracker” which means they are free and do not require punching trackers. These workouts will focus on shadowboxing, recovery, stretching, kickboxing and bodyweight exercises. For now, these free workouts will only be available on the iOS app, as the recently added Android app is still in beta.