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Are You Making Form Mistakes When Lifting? Tonal Smart View Can Show You

This new feature is just like having a personal trainer correct your form so you lift safely and effectively.

Coach Ash using Tonal Smart View

When you work out with a personal trainer, you can feel confident that an expert is keeping an eye on your form. Rounding your back when it’s supposed to be flat? Butt wink throwing off your squat? A good trainer gives corrections so you can exercise more effectively with less risk of injury. 

With Tonal’s new Smart View feature, it’s now possible to get that same guidance working out at home, as you watch yourself on-screen while lifting.

“Smart View uses AI technology to visualize and analyze movement,” says Asim Kadav, Senior Manager of Machine Learning at Tonal. “This cutting-edge technology allows Tonal to reach a new level of intelligence and provide its most powerful form-focused guidance yet.” 

Paired with existing Form Feedback from Tonal’s cables, Smart View delivers a full picture of your form through each rep, with tips on how to improve. 

“Smart View represents an incredible synergy between Tonal’s world-class coaches and machine learning engineers, adding crucial real-time feedback and post-workout recaps to what is already the industry standard in safe, effective strength training,” says Matt Bean, CSCS and SVP of Content and Performance at Tonal. 

Smart View will be rolling out to Tonal members through mid-December. All you need to get started is your smartphone’s camera. Give it a try to see how to take your form, and your workouts, to the next level.

How Smart View Works

Using your smartphone’s front-facing camera positioned on your side during a workout, Smart View captures your movement patterns to gauge your form and provide coaching to help you improve. For some moves, like the standing face pull, the on-Tonal camera is also used for additional perspective. Tonal’s intelligence analyzes all of these data points in real time to give you the guidance you need to succeed.

Note that the on-Tonal camera will only be activated when your phone camera is turned on, set up for Smart View, and connected to Tonal during a workout. Once you disconnect your phone, the on-Tonal camera is once again disabled.

Tonal already features intelligent Form Feedback through sensors on the cables that track the symmetry, balance, smoothness, and pace of your movements. By adding a visual image of your body’s positioning, Smart View adds another layer to your form analysis. This means you’ll get feedback on off-Tonal moves, too. For example, in a pillar bridge, you’ll be able to see if you’re keeping a straight line from your head to your heels or if your hips are sagging.

“With Smart View, we’re actually able to see joint angles and if you’re going through your full range of motion. It adds an additional coaching component,” says Christian Hartford, Senior Performance Manager of Applied Sports Science at Tonal. “From my background in coaching, I would almost always watch athletes from the side. You’re able to see a lot in terms of range of motion and technique from that side angle. When you have a camera on you, it’s the closest thing to having a personal trainer watching you through that activity.” 

Smart View gives detailed feedback such as whether you’re keeping an upright posture in your rotational chop or if your torso is twisting too much from side to side. In a lunge, you might get feedback if your knees are shifting too far in front of your toes.

Why Form Matters

Form correction isn’t nitpicking—it’s important to make sure you’re getting the most out of each workout. According to one study, lifting with your full range of motion with the correct form increases muscle strength and shifts body composition. 

“When you’re resistance training and your body’s under load, the goal is to keep your body in the safest position,” explains Hartford. “Training through full ranges of motion is the safest way to get stronger and to get controlled mobility.” 

That’s why personal trainers put so much emphasis on teaching proper form, and why Tonal’s new Smart View feature will give you a leg up in your training. 

“Form is an essential component of strength training safely and effectively, yet it can be quite challenging to know when you’re doing it right,” adds Sumner Paine, SVP of Product at Tonal. “Sensing [form] through the feel of your body can be misleading, but often that’s all you have to go on because your own eyes offer just one vantage point.”

Smart View allows Tonal to analyze your body position to see if you’re keeping your shoulders back and upright in a barbell front squat or check if you’re keeping your back neutral during a deadlift. These tweaks will make each rep safer and more effective so you’ll reach your goals faster.

How to Use Smart View

Smart View is an optional feature on Tonal so you can turn it on and off at any point. To get started, download the Tonal mobile app for iOS or Android. When Smart View becomes available to you, you’ll see an announcement on your Tonal home screen and on the mobile app. Then, just follow the instructions on the app, which include a short video and guided steps, to get started. 

Once you’re set up, make sure you’re in a well-lit room without any mirrors in your phone camera’s line of sight. While there’s no need to go out and buy new clothes to work out in, the feedback may be more accurate if you’re wearing fitted gear. 

Tonal Smart View
You’ll see yourself on Tonal’s screen, picture-in-picture, when you activate Smart View.

Then jump right into your workout. As you lift, form corrections will pop up on screen. You’ll be able to see yourself on Tonal’s screen picture-in-picture style to watch your form in real-time. There’s also an option to toggle this view on and off.

Hartford recommends keeping this picture-in-picture view on as you learn a new movement, but experiment with turning it off in your last set of a block to see how the correct form feels in your body.

“There’s a huge component to actually learning a movement pattern where you really want to feel it out,” he says. As you get more comfortable in a lift, performing the last set without the picture-in-picture view will allow you to focus on how your muscles feel as you move. 

After a workout, you can view your workout summary on the Tonal app, including video playback of the exercise where you received form feedback. You’ll see which reps triggered a correction, along with personalized tips to improve your form and a video demonstration of a coach performing that exercise.

Hartford says the combination of in-workout feedback and post-workout tips creates a “holistic coaching loop” that’ll set you up for success. 

All sets using Smart View will be available to view in your Smart View summary, and videos can be saved and shared. To delete your videos at any time, click on “Tonal Smart View” under Settings (the gear wheel on the bottom right corner of the app) and then “Delete all videos.” 

Try Smart View and experience the personalized guidance of working out with an expert trainer from the comfort of your home—because better form leads to more effective workouts. 

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