NODE+motion sensor sets the record straight on competitive kettlebell lifting

by / Friday, 27 September 2013 / Published in Blog, News

NODE+motion sensor sets the record straight on
competitive kettlebell lifting

Professional kettlebell lifting requires strength and endurance.  A proper lift also requires form, balance, and skill.  Champions in kettlebell lifting, or girevoy sport, competitions are decided by the observations of judges.  Determining proper form and balance without bias has not been possible — until now.  The World Kettlebell Club® (WKC) is using NODE sensors with an app it developed called Fixometer to scientifically measure fixation, a key metric that ensures proper position and balance of the weight.  This biofeedback measurement eliminates human error from the judging process.


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See how Fixometer accurately measures proper kettlebell lift reps


It all started 20 years ago when Valery Fedorenko won first place in the World Championship of Kettlebell Lifting, despite weighing in at only 74 kilograms (163 pounds).  His victory was stymied by allegations of cheating by those who did not believe that the tall and lanky Fedorenko could outperform much stronger professional bodybuilders.

“When people accused me of cheating, it struck me that relying on human judges was holding this sport back,” says Fedorenko.  “So when I came to the United States to introduce professional lifting to this market through the World Kettlebell Club, removing ambiguity and human error from the judging process was something I was very interested in.”


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World Kettlebell Champion and WKC founder Valery Fedorenko (photo: London Mace)


Fedorenko turned to technology to obtain lift metrics, but doing so required a device small enough to strap on to a kettlebell that can determine its orientation in 3D space.  Initial tests using an iPhone proved the measurement was possible with a motion sensor, but the hardware needed to be much smaller.  After contracted an engineering firm to develop his own device, Fedorenko quickly became frustrated with manufacturing logistics.

“Manufacturing hardware is extremely time consuming.  I don’t have the knowledge or time to coordinate with factories, never mind what’s required to support a branded product to customers,” says Fedorenko.  “When we discovered NODE+, it was like the answer to a prayer.  It’s a turnkey hardware solution that just works, and the team at Variable supports it so we don’t have to.”


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NODE+ easily straps onto any kettlebell without interfering with exercise


The form factor of NODE+ made it very easy to use unobtrusively with kettlebells.  The WKC store sells a small velcro strap to affix NODE to a kettlebell for only $5.99.  With a hardware solution in place, Fedorenko went to work using NODE+’s open API to develop an app that would work specifically for kettlebell lifting.  The result is Fixometer, software that accurately determines if a lift is within legal parameters.  With a spectacularly simple feedback display — red screen for a bad lift, green for good — Fixometer and NODE+ achieve Fedorenko’s goal of removing ambiguity from the sport.


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Fixometer results are simple to read: green screen for legal lift, red for fault


In fact, he is so confident in his solution, he shouts it from the rooftops even though the use of technology to determine proper technique is not universally accepted.  But that doesn’t faze Fedorenko, who makes no bones about calling out anybody who refuses to be scientifically measured.

“Runners and swimmers have used fully automatic time to accurately determine winners without human error or bias for decades and now we can do the same thing” says Fedorenko.  “There’s no legitimate reason to fight advances that introduce higher degree of fairness, safety, and legitimacy to competitive sport.” 


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Gyms across the nation are employing Fixometer in kettlebell programs

Innovative uses of the technology and associated apps continue to amaze and delight NODE+ inventor Dr. George Yu. Despite the controversy, overall support for Fixometer has been phenomenal.  WKC has enjoyed acceptance among competitive athletes and premiere gyms.  Fixometer has also been spotted in competitions that incorporate various kettlebell exercises across the globe, including the Dubai Fitness Championship.  If Valery Fedorenko has his way, it will soon be a requirement in every competition.

At Variable, Inc., we make sensory platforms that connect apps and smart devices to the real world, in new ways.