Wearable Devices, Training and Data – Part I

Wearable devices in general is one of the most exciting pieces of technology today. They are a lot cheaper, a lot easier to use and track a lot more data than in the past. BUT…… are they useful in the greater scheme of the sports and personal training arena? In this first piece we will look at the aspects significant enough from a training point of view and then in a “Part II” post we’ll look at it from the business point of view.

Let’s “lay down the rules” – for any technology to be useful and significant it has to:

1) be affordable

2) be practical

3) be easy to use in a training and sport specific scenario

4) deliver data in a meaningful way

these 4 components are critical for success and adoption.

Nailing our colors to the mast we’ll lead with the statement that these devices and the data they deliver will change training significantly. Will it revolutionize training? It may be too early to properly assess but they certainly are here to stay.

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Using our partners at Push as an example (see HERE for more details) and the application of a device in the Velocity Based Training scenarios we see some really good evidence for the statement that they will change training significantly.

  • In the team setting it is extremely useful to have exercises sent to players for the day and have the results back for evaluation, comparison and goal or parameter monitoring.
  • Being able to look at data without the pain of dead weight paper and the ability to share the data is really useful.
  • Setting targets for measurable aspects such as weight, intensity, speed etc. is just not attainable without having a device strapped to the athlete.
  • Testing – for 1RM, weight vs. speed and many other scenarios has not been possible in definitive terms until now.
  • Preventing injuries in the weight room. Understanding fatigue, setting parameters accordingly and having appropriate training programs is HUGE.
  • Athletes come of the field often “beat up” and tired which requires meaningful/measurable adjustments to the training program and having a data based platform to assist can be significant.
  • Patterns highlighted in the data provides actual evidence of the training parameters that are moving.
  • Coaching/Training follow up is an essential part of personal training and being able to sit down with the athlete looking at real results, measured by week/day/session or even routine is “revolutionary”.

Now as time goes by those adopting, applying and developing training programs with this technology will also ultimately also benefit from the vendor’s research, knowledge and product development. Which in turn will enhance training knowledge and skills in applying real data to real training results. It seems almost common sense to have access to definitive feedback/data that shows the reality. Coaching 101 – real feedback is critical.

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Common feedback from trainers using this technology today is “The more we talk about it (real data), the more it becomes integral in our training”.

Common feedback from the athletes using this technology is “The fact that it (my training) is being measured counts mentally towards my effort and approach.”

Sport and training is all about competition, split seconds and inches wouldn’t you want your athletes to know and hit their numbers? 

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