The update is bringing new Guided Workouts to the already extensive selection available through the Microsoft Health app. The feature enables users to select a workout, which then downloads to the Microsoft Band, giving feedback and cues on specific exercise regimens (see our tutorial).
Additionally, Microsoft notes that the web app for Microsoft Health is still under development, with more details to be revealed in the coming weeks. Presumably, the web version of Microsoft Health will give Microsoft Band users a way to see – and share – their data online. Currently, Band owners are 100% reliant on the smartphone app for iOS, Android, or Windows Phone.
Perhaps even more exciting, Microsoft notes that this is just the beginning:
"This is the first in a series of updates for Microsoft Health and Microsoft Band, and we look forward to announcing additional content, features and partners in the weeks and months ahead."
In terms of Guided Workouts, Microsoft mentions that with today's update it brings the number to more than 100 choices, including the addition of workouts from "best-selling fitness author Mark Rippetoe".
It is not clear if today's update is software (Microsoft Health) or firmware (Microsoft Band), although Microsoft did note that the update is available today. We'll keep an eye out.
Microsoft Health & Microsoft Band Content Update
Starting January 15, users of Microsoft Health and Microsoft Band will receive their first major content update: an influx of new Guided Workouts to help meet their New Year's fitness goals, which include workouts from best-selling fitness author Mark Rippetoe ("Starting Strength").
The new workouts and plans expand the portfolio of Guided Workouts, which are the set of more than 100 workouts that can be downloaded to your Microsoft Band for coaching right on your wrist. The updates round out the portfolio with strength training workouts of all levels, timeframes and difficulties, ranging from routines for beginners just starting out with the New Year, up to experienced enthusiasts who need something new and fresh to kick start their year of fitness.
"Fitness bands have a natural appeal to enthusiast-level consumers, who can walk into a workout and have their plans set. However, our data shows that some of the most popular Guided Workouts on the Microsoft Band are for beginners, which told us that we needed to add a broad range of workouts at a variety of intensities. The Microsoft Band is the only fitness band that provides this level of personalized fitness coaching right to your wrist. We are extremely excited to partner with Mark Rippetoe and to add even more Guided Workouts to the Microsoft Band, straight from his best-selling book, Starting Strength, to help people kick off their New Year's fitness resolutions the right way." – Matt Barlow, General Manager, New Devices Marketing, Microsoft
This update adds 12 new workouts, as well as four new workout plans that range between two and three weeks each. For intermediate and advanced fitness users, some workouts also add common exercise equipment, such as kettlebells, dumbbells, plyometric boxes and jump rope. Like all Guided Workouts, each workout is scalable for a variety of levels, as users can tailor their weights, rest periods and schedules as needed.
These new workouts are now available via the Microsoft Health App: Mark Rippetoe's Starting Strength Workout Plans (Phase 1, Phase 2A, Phase 2B), New Year's Resolution Dumbbell Plan, 12 Minutes of Hurt, Block Run Fun, Bodyweight Conditioning, Interval Running Plus, Jump Start Your Fitness, New Year's Resolution Bodyweight Blast, Quick Dumbbell Workout, Simple Lower Body Strength, Simple Total Body Strength, Simple Upper Body Strength, Tabata Kettlebell Swings and Tabata Alternating Kettlebell Swings & Box Jumps .