I Tried Out the Technogym Equipment That’s Used at the Olympics, and Now I Get Why It’s Beloved by Top Athletes

Photo: Technogym
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The Olympic Games are one of the few times when almost the entire world rallies together to celebrate the power of athletics and sports. When we watch these competitions, we are seeing the culmination of years of hard work.

And much in the way that the Olympic Games unites people of all backgrounds as we watch in awe, the Olympic athletes themselves are also united by certain things—passion for their sport, a desire to be their best, the honor of representing their country, the responsibility of being a role model, and Technogym.

For the past eight Olympic Games, Technogym has been the official supplier of the premium exercise equipment available to athletes in the Olympic village and training centers. And, with Paris 2024 on the horizon, the same world-class brand has yet again been selected to be the official partner of the Games.

Recently, I had the opportunity to go to the Technogym Village in Cesena, Italy, to learn all about why Technogym is routinely selected to be the fitness equipment brand of the preeminent global athletics contest.

Working in the fitness industry for the past 14 years, I have come to know dozens of popular, high-quality fitness equipment brands. But, coming from the United States, I had little familiarity with Technogym, and hadn’t tried any of its strength-training equipment or cardio machines. Honestly, I was somewhat dubious of what made Technogym so special—and why the equipment had such a high price tag.

Why is Technogym the sole exercise equipment brand involved with the Olympics?

When I first headed to the Technogym Village, the main question on my mind regarding Technogym being selected for the past eight Olympic games—and now nine with the upcoming 2024 Olympics in Paris—was “Why Technogym?”

The company was founded in 1983 by Nerio Alessandri in Italy, and manufactures top-of-the-line exercise equipment geared towards athletes of all fitness levels. Technogym was first selected to be the official supplier of exercise equipment for the Olympics back in 2000 at the Games in Sydney for two main reasons: 1. 55 million athletes in over 100 countries use Technogym equipment to train and. 2. Safety is at the forefront of Technogym‘s operating procedures—and Olympic athletes can’t afford to get injured.

Within minutes of entering the pristine Technogym Village I was immediately humbled by my naivety about the brand. The company is the very definition of state-of-the-art—innovative functionality, sophisticated design, and remarkable ease of use. Then there’s the process of extensive exercise physiology and biomechanical testing (and retesting) that goes into designing each and every piece of equipment, and the thoughtfulness and purposeful nature of each feature.

Photo: Amber Sayer

Every single detail is scientifically driven to deliver results while still optimizing the user experience. Technogym does far more scientific testing to design and modify its treadmills, bikes, rowing machines, ellipticals, strength training machines, and other unique pieces of exercise equipment than any other premium exercise equipment brand.

This not only means the Technogym equipment is more ergonomic, biomechanically sound, user-friendly, and performance-driven, but it also makes the metrics and workout stats much more accurate.

For example, Technogym conducts VO2 max testing on every new piece of equipment before it is released. This involves using highly technical equipment known as a metabolic cart to analyze respiratory gasses. This info is then used to make far more accurate calorie estimation equations than most exercise equipment, which instead rely on the METs for the activity based on the Compendium of Physical Activities instead of actually performing any real laboratory studies.

Photo: Amber Sayer

The strength training machines are also unparalleled. This equipment uses NASA-derived technology rather than weight stacks so it is not only quiet, but the electromagnetic resistance provides completely smooth and uniform resistance throughout the range of motion. Technogym has even developed differently-shaped cams for each piece of strength training equipment based on the specific muscle, range of motion, and movement arc required by the exercise.

In other words, rather than using just a basic round or cylindrical cam, there are unique oblong shapes to the cam so that the pulleys travel in the most biomechanically-sound arc as you move. This not only helps maximize the effectiveness of the exercise by mimicking the muscle fiber alignment in the targeted muscle you are training, but also helps minimize joint torque and stress, and thus decreases the risk of injuries—even when lifting maximum loads.

As someone who has a BS in kinesiology and an MS in exercise science and nutrition, I really appreciated the data and calculated scientific approach Technogym takes to ensure not only metabolic accuracy, but also accurate heart rate readings, VO2 max estimation, power and force output, as well as biomechanical factors such as the proper angle of pull when using a piece of strength training equipment or joint alignment when riding a Technogym exercise bike, for example.

Technogym also supplies all of the exercise equipment for the Paralympic Games, and makes specific modifications to accommodate the physical challenges that athletes with disabilities face.

What Technogym equipment is like

Technogym offers different “series" of its cardio equipment for different target uses: the Skill line for serious athletes looking to improve performance, the My line is a more budget-friendly option of super-compact yet highly functional equipment for the everyday recreational athlete, and the luxury Personal line focuses on not only premium functionality but the most artful design aesthetics for those who want every bell and whistle on something that looks like a sleek, luxurious piece of Italian furniture.

Besides the same rigorous design and manufacturing process, what unites each type of Technogym equipment is that every user has access to the Technogym app. This app uses personal training to deliver completely personalized workouts for your intended training goal.

Rather than focusing on using just a single piece of Technogym equipment, the Technogym app creates a complete, well-rounded workout routine that aims to develop comprehensive wellness on and off your Technogym equipment. You can do your personal trainer-guided workouts without any Technogym-branded equipment and all of your workout stats are uploaded right into the app.

Plus, when you are traveling and have access to Technogym equipment in another location, all you have to do is scan the QR code on the machine that you will be using and your workout populates right onto your app screen as you train.

This is another major reason why Technogym is now in its ninth year as the official supplier of the Olympic games: When athletes head to Paris next year, they’ll not only already be completely familiar with all of the equipment, but they also have all of their training metrics and performance markers on the same system so that their coach and training team can review their training right up until their Olympic performance.

Consistency is key when training for any high-level sports performance, so the value of this comfort and familiarity lends a tremendous amount of confidence and morale boost to athletes who are far away from home and juggling a hefty dose of pre-competition anxiety.

How can everyday athletes use Technogym in their own fitness routines?

Technogym has several lines of exercise equipment for different budgets and training goals. You can purchase cardio equipment as well as an all-in-one strength training machine for home use. An increasing number of commercial gyms in the United States are now furnishing their space with Technogym equipment due to the rising demand and interest in the brand. Luxury hotels around the world also sometimes offer Technogym equipment.

Even if you are unable to afford Technogym exercise equipment in your own home and do not have the financial means to access any of the other outlets that offer Technogym gear, everyday recreational athletes can use the Technogym app to build a personalized, goal-driven wellness and fitness routine with exercises that involve just your body weight or standard pieces of exercise equipment, like dumbbells and resistance bands.

Technogym also offers a multi-part weight bench that comes with dumbbells and attached resistance bands. The app has a huge library of strength training workouts and boot camp-style workouts using this versatile, compact piece of home equipment for the everyday athlete.

Finally, every time that Technogym partners with the Olympic Games, the company runs a special initiative called “Let’s Move for a Better World” that helps get the community involved in being physically active. (Technogym president Nerio Alessandri told me that there are some exciting plans in the works for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris in terms of community involvement—but we will need to stay tuned for details.)

These initiatives not only help support wellness for everyday athletes, but also include a charitable component. The workouts you do will rack up “points“ that get turned into dollars or funding for some of Technogym’s wellness programs for schools, hospitals, and community centers.

And keeping in line with its mission to promote wellness all over the world, Technogym makes sure its equipment gets a second life post-Olympics. After the Games in Rio, Technogym donated over 200 pieces that had been in the Olympic Village to eight facilities dedicated to serving disadvantaged families in the local favelas.

Takeaways from my Technogym experience

Honestly, I was utterly inspired by the entire ecosystem of Technogym as a company. I truly believe in a Technogym’s stance that “exercise is medicine,“ and by making the medicine that much more fun and tailored to exactly what each individual needs, it becomes that much easier to “take“ the medicine every day and live your best life.

Photo: Amber Sayer

On a personal note, I had a deeply magical experience while I was at the Technogym Village: I used to be a highly competitive runner. I even represented the United States as a junior in the Pan American Games. However, I sustained a significant injury when I suffered a violent attack and I have not really been able to run anymore.

Technogym actually has a treadmill that I was able to run on pain-free due to the specific design and cushioning, which mostly eliminated the extreme pain and resultant limited mobility I experience that precludes me from running the way that I used to. Without an ounce of hyperbole, I can say that it brought tears of joy to my eyes to get just a few minutes of blissful running and set my heart and soul free the way that I used to feel when I was able to run.

Although I’m not yet able to afford the Technogym Run treadmill, it does give me hope that I may be able to find a way to get back to enjoying the very thing that brought me the most joy in my life.

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