Building a community | How the Brawn app offers groups of lifters a virtual spot

It is commonly known that participation in sport and fitness is essential for your physical and mental wellbeing. By its very nature, exercise is an isolated pursuit; a constant evolution in one’s personal development and the chance to hone, and improve, your body and mind.

Nevertheless, albeit a private obsession, lifting – in all its forms – also has the power to unite people. Whether that’s in-person during competition or at the gym, or even via the Brawn app, which allows users to set up their own lifting community, just as social media platforms continually connect people, lifting is a force for bringing people together.

We are seeing this trend elsewhere in the world of sport. Consider for a moment the live entertainment industry, and how sports broadcasts have had to adapt during times of Covid, many traditional and direct-to-consumer (DTC) media platforms have sought new “shared-viewing” technologies to allow fans to join up with their friends and family to watch sport remotely.

And this change in user experience is spilling into recreational sports too. Take for example the rise of remote cycling platforms such as Zwift and Peloton, virtual reality technology is adapting how and when people get on the bike – including in their living room – and with whom they choose to share the experience.

We are only going to see more innovation in the years to come, as sport embraces the digital transformation, and this is also true of the world of powerlifting. 

Just as the sports industry is creating new and unique ways to engage wider audiences, we are preparing the launch of several other features within the Brawn app.

In addition to Brawn’s Virtual Leaderboards and Groups features within the app, we are also hosting the sport’s first-ever global virtual events between 29th November – 12th December, with many already signed up. Looking to the future, the digitalisation of competitive lifting offers tremendous opportunities to grow the sport. With virtual events enabling people from all corners of the world to lift together as one community, digital media and technology has the capacity to shape a more inclusive environment for lifters.

As a result, we hope to bring together people from all different backgrounds, regardless of their weight, sex, and ability. By adopting the Brawn Intensity Points (BIPs) model, lifters are also able to compare their ability against lifters from other walks of life – further ingraining remote lifting into the social experience and giving the community team at Brawn the opportunity to engage with casual gym-goers who may not have otherwise taken up the sport. 

This is where the Groups feature on the Brawn app comes into play. Since launching the app last year, Brawn has welcomed a whole host of different lifters into its community – many of whom have taken up powerlifting as part of their training for other sports – and continue to give people an opportunity to turn their passion for physical and mental fitness into a friendly and social part of their daily lives. 

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether you lift competitively at elite events, or simply reap the benefits of barbell lifts at your local gym, we all share a common bond. And this is hugely important, especially considering the physical and mental health implications caused by the pandemic in recent years and the public health drive to give people the means to connect safely.

So, in order to do this, and to help grow the sport alongside our valued community partners, the Brawn app offers a platform for anyone and everyone to be a part of the powerlifting movement – whether that is to showcase their personal progress publicly, or by creating a private group, for example, to members of their gym.

Whatever the case, by creating more collective and inclusive experiences, virtual technologies and events give lifters the opportunity to engage in friendly competition and connect with friends, family, and even completely new acquaintances through a common interest in lifting. We have to agree, that’s a very special thing and we will only help the lifting community grow stronger.

Keep Lifting – Andy Smith, Head of Lifting.