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Want to round out your cycling fitness this winter with strength work and cross-training but not sure where to start? Skulpt’s Chisel scanner helps athletes identify their physiological strengths and weaknesses by scanning different muscle groups and developing personal training plans to target weaker areas.
The Chisel scanner uses Compositional Myography (CM) to measure your muscle quality and fat percentage in 24 locations throughout the body. Using 12 electrodes, the small (6.5×11-centimeter) device applies a weak current that travels through your body’s tissues and measures subcutaneous fat and muscle properties. Different tissues are sensitive to electrical pulse frequencies in unique ways so the device can discriminate muscle from fat and determine the health of muscles.
Information collected by the scanning device is transferred via Bluetooth to the Skulp app, which then converts the data into a simple muscle quality (MQ) or body fat percentage number for each muscle group tested. The app is intuitive to use and has an interactive map of your body that shows the most recent scanning scores for each muscle region. You can compare results and track your fitness progress over time to see how your muscle and fat ratios change with different training routines.
Once you’ve scanned all 24 muscle regions, the Skulpt app develops a tailored strength training plan and provides nutrition guidance for your unique physiology. If you’re a typical cyclist with overdeveloped quads and glutes, as well as tiny T-Rex arms (like us), the app will likely point you toward more upper-body strength work to balance your skewed cycling physiology.
The tailored training plan is impressively in-depth and easy to follow. It provides a day-by-day schedule that focuses on a different muscle region like your back, chest, and shoulders, or legs, while also providing built-in rest days. The schedule provides specific lifts, including a video to demonstrate the proper form for each exercise as well as the number of sets and reps for each. Each time you perform another scan with the Skulpt Scanner, the app updates your current muscle quality numbers and changes the prescribed workout plans to accommodate any changes in your physiology.
The noninvasive Skulp scanning system is one of the easiest ways to monitor general fitness and track your muscle and body fat levels that we’ve tested. The scanner is straightforward, the app is clear and intuitive, and the training plans feel like you have a personal coach designing workouts just for you. But keep in mind the scanner was developed for general fitness. It can’t differentiate between the unique muscular needs of cyclists compared to a runner or other types of athletes. And it certainly can’t distinguish the different muscular needs between a track sprinter and cyclocross racer.
When first setting up the scanner, you answer a set of questions about your current physiology and fitness as well as your future fitness goals. It asks if you’re looking to get healthier, lose weight, or build strength. It then builds your training plan around these goals. But it doesn’t ask if you want to hit 1,000 watts on your next sprint or increase your FTP to 300 this season. It’s not a cycling-specific device so you’ll have to decipher what general fitness goals translate toward your cycling fitness goals.
If you’re looking for a better overall picture of your physiological make-up and health, the Skulp scanner is a great option. If you want balance your strengths and weaknesses on the broader scale, this device makes it easy. Most cyclists will get faster and stay healthier by focusing on building a stronger strength platform and a well-rounded physiological makeup. But if you’re looking to train for a specific type of cycling, a personal coach is hard to beat.