Technology has entrenched itself in the sports industry, becoming a crucial component to achieving optimum performance. The newest tech has advanced to the point where anyone can use it to improve their lifestyles and stay at their peak. While we’re all pretty clued up about the latest trendy tech wearables, we thought it’d be cool to really delve a little deeper into the technology being used at the highest level. With the Olympics coming up we’re all a bit athlete crazy. Here are a few top-of-the-range, high-end and revolutionary training technologies used by professional athletes to aid their fitness and sports performance.
Brain Altering Headphones
It sounds like something out of a dystopian science fiction novel that would be used by a power-crazed dictator – and it’s not really far off. Introducing brain-altering headphones. They’re made by Halo Neuroscience, who have been focused on the power of the mind in elite athletes, and are said to improve the effectiveness of an athlete’s training. They’ve even got a few Olympians on board ahead of Rio. They claim that the wearable stimulates your brain's motor cortex into a momentary "hyperplasticity" mode, where it can more effectively build neural connections, thus promoting faster learning and more efficient training. We already know that listening to music can aid athletes in achieving better results, and this could be the next progression into the future of wearables. Beyond just tracking data, these could actively improve performance.
Whenever thinking about cryotherapy it’s easy to imagine to mad scientist from Batman, Mr. Freeze, and his journey into insanity while trying to save his wife’s life. Perhaps that was a bit too futuristic, but researchers and scientists have found the use of cold in treating injuries and enhancing recovery to be useful, especially when it comes to high-performance athletes. The extreme low temperatures help to significantly reduce inflammation, decrease pain and soreness, and help athletes feel ready to train again, sooner. A lot to take in but at the elite level, maximizing recovery can be the difference between gold or not making it into the finals, which goes to show how important these therapies could be.
With Rio around the corner, recovery is a hot topic as athletes will be competing frequently while having to maintain a high performance level. Next in the line of recovery technologies we have NormaTec, which is dedicated to helping athletes recover faster than ever. Their systems include a control unit and attachments which go on the legs, arms, or hips. They use compressed air to massage your limbs, mobilize fluid, and speed recovery with their patented NormaTec Pulse Massage Pattern. When you use their systems, you will first experience a pre-inflate cycle, during which the connected attachments are molded to your exact body shape. The session will then begin by compressing your feet, hands, or upper quad. Similar to the kneading and stroking done during a massage, each segment of the attachment will first compress in a pulsing manner and then release. This will repeat for each segment of the attachment as the compression pattern works its way up your limb. So you’re getting a full body massage and a guaranteed recovery as fluid is mobilised throughout your body.
People can’t stop talking about how their favourite athletes look as though they’re wearing training bras. But we know better. In the world of high-end training technology GPS is one of the high priests. What the GPS system does is monitor and measure distance, speed, body loads and training impact. All of this is also done in real time and gives athletes and coaches crucial information that they can use to optimise their training and prevent injury on the go. It’s creating a new version of how we imagine elite athletes because now they’re really like robots, not emotionless ones but rather well-oiled machines who are relentless in their pursuit of peak performance and know exactly how to achieve their potential. It is research-based innovation where sport scientists can use the results to increase an athlete’s performance and cater directly to what the athlete should focus on. This invaluable information can make a world of difference when it comes to the small margins separating victory and defeat.
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More real time accuracy, this time related to force and distance measurements. Although OptoJump predominantly collects usable data their latest invention, OptoJump Next goes beyond. It uses small cameras to record and track an athletes movements. Therefore, you are now empowered with the ability to cross-check data and see in real time how you performed a movement or test. It’s detailed video analysis, saved on a database that can be consulted at a later stage for use in comparing performance of the same or different athletes.
Blood Lactate Tests
Physiological assessments of athletes undergoing maximal power or endurance output have been around for a while. The innovation is that they can now be done pitch side with a simple finger prick where lactate levels can be revealed almost instantaneously. This gives athletes and coaches an insight into the athletes energy production and usage, and which energy systems they are reliant on during particular workouts.
Real Time Video
The role that videos play during athletic training has grown exponentially over the years, and much of it is to do with the instant accessibility of modern technology. Whether in gyms or on training circuits, coaches are able to monitor their athletes in real-time and rapidly apply changes to their form and technique after each exertion. Think of a 100m sprinter, for example. Previously coaches would have to collect data over the course of an entire session and then analyse it overnight, applying changes the next day. Today, technology has enabled coaches to collect data and video evidence, run that through analysis software, and apply that insight to the next set or rep. These ongoing revolutions in how athletes train are pushing the envelope of human performance, and making them more confident about what they’re doing and the results they expect to achieve.
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