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Image credit: Kaard Bombe / Engadget

The Hiiga-One is a mechanical bench press that doesn't need weights

Added weight on the way down gives your biceps an extra boost.
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The Hiiga-One workout system stands out immediately, even in the middle of a busy CES hall packed with flashing, swirling, blinking and thumping gizmos. It's a towering, weight-free, mechanical bench press machine outlined in white and with two strips of lights running down the supports on either side of the barbell. Hiiga-One is a friendly-looking, data-hungry beast, and it's designed to turn users into beasts as well.

The real magic of Hiiga-One is its mechanical design, which grants it the ability to change weight on the fly or add extra pounds to the barbell as users pull it back down, increasing the workout's effectiveness without additional steps. According to a spokesperson, lowering the barbell is 1.5 times more effective of a workout than pushing up, so this extra weight is working overtime.

Hiiga-One is a personalized fitness machine -- once you lay down under the barbell, it takes a strength reading before kicking off a custom workout routine. As the workout progresses, Hiiga-One responds to the user's decreasing energy by reducing the weight slightly, though still providing plenty of tension to push and pull.

I did five reps on the Hiiga-One at CES and it was difficult, yet incredibly satisfying. I broke a sweat and unintentionally grunted a bit, but I finished the routine and -- most importantly -- never felt afraid that I was about to drop a really heavy metal rod directly on my face. Afterward, a readout displayed the power I threw behind each rep, complete with a graph that clearly showed my strength decreasing over time. Knowledge is power, baby.

The Hiiga-One isn't available yet, but a spokesperson said that when it does hit the market, it'll most likely be in commercial gyms rather than domestic.

Follow all the latest news from CES 2019 here!

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