The Rise of the Quantified Athlete

Here at Revel Racing we pride ourselves on the quantitative approach we take with our athletes. Part of this means evaluating and incorporating some of the latest technology into our training. This week I was lucky to attend the Harvard Innovation Lab’s: The Rise of the Quantified Athlete: An Experiential Forum on the Future of Athletic Performance along with some of the coaches from TeamBPC. Below are the three technologies we are most looking forward to trying out in 2017.

The Humon Hex (received): The humon hex is a device the size of a drink coaster that straps to your thigh. It uses LEDs to emit light into your muscle. The detectors measure the intensity of light to calculate the hemoglobin saturation in muscles. In sort it is measuring oxygen utilization of your muscles and displays a green light when you are good to go, a red light when you’re hitting your limit or a blue light when you’re recovered and ready for another bout. The device is still in a beta version is expected to be ready for commercialization this summer.

Whoop (ordered): I’ve been hearing about the Whoop device for a while now. At the forum I was able to hear about the extent to which Whoop has been validated in conjunction with UCONN’s Korey Stringer Institute. At this point in time there are some pretty solid models for calculating the amount of physical stress we impose during training. The biggest unknowns become what additional fatigue the athlete accumulates during the day (for example during a physically demanding job) and how well the athlete is recovering (negative training stress). This is where the Whoop comes in. It is a wrist device that enables 24/7 monitoring of the athlete. Whoop measures your resting heart rate, the amount and type of sleep you get, and your heart rate variability. These factors are combined to calculate a recovery state and can be used to optimize your training.

Nix (in discussions): Nix is a single-use sensor about the size of a quarter that is placed on your skin. The device monitors the amount of salt in your sweat to provide visual feedback on the athlete’s degree of hydration. This device is still also in beta testing, but we’re looking forward to trying it out!

The honorable mention goes to Vert. Vert was designed to measure the amount of G-forces required to jump, and it has traditionally been used for volleyball and basketball teams to track the number and intensity of the jumps the athletes have performed. Vert may be able to be used as an alternative to the Stryd running power meter.

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