The Emergence of Motion-Based Training

And the Era of the Individual

“Claims that cannot be tested, assertions immune to disproof are veridically worthless, whatever value they may have in inspiring us or in exciting our sense of wonder.”

— Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

  • We aren’t using position/motion tracking tech in Strength Coaching because it doesn’t exist (yet)
  • Position/motion tracking seems to be the logical conclusion to sensing the training metrics that most strongly correlate to outcomes/wins
  • Motion-Based Training is poised to be as powerful in Strength Coaching as just about any other analytics system in sport

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In competitive sports, the most important metric at the end of the day is a simple binary — did you win, or did you lose? This unforgiving fundamental nature is liberating in a way. Excuses, beliefs, and feelings don’t matter, what matters are objective truths we all share and experience, because when the dust settles there is either a victory or a loss.

The impact of sports’ inherent objectivity on the way we train athletes is similarly straightforward. If a system or methodology produces results it will survive the test of time. In their preparation for the Olympic Games, coaches in ancient Greece believed harmony in movement was integrally important to training success, so they would make sure there was at least one flute player at each practice, often synchronizing the flow of training with the melody. While music still plays a prominent role in training, I’m not familiar with any high-profile programs that still employ flutists.

As the Strength and Conditioning world ebbs and flows over time, picking up a few ideas and technologies, leaving a couple behind, the filtering mechanism of wins and losses moves us slowly closer to what is optimal. Something worthy of note in this optimization algorithm is the simple fact that our industry can only create methodologies around tools for which technology exists, and it can only employ methodologies for tools that are logistically useful. Put another way, if a technology doesn’t exist to, for example, train under increased gravity, then we cannot build the systems around it to integrate the technology into our workflow.

Compounding the impact of this fact is the reality that paradigm-shifting technologies are rarely created specifically to help teams win games, but rather are borrowed from other industries. Viewed through this lens, we can start to understand how the role of technology in Strength and Conditioning got to where it is today. Heart rate sensors, strain gauges, even GPS and GLONASS technology existed in other forms before they were training tools. If we look at emerging technologies like Computer Vision, Narrow AI, Additive Manufacturing, etc., we can try to envision the future landscape of strength tech.

I’ll be focusing on two kinds of innovation: the improvement in quality or reduction in cost of existing systems or tools, and the creation or invention of completely new technologies. They are not mutually exclusive, in fact, one is usually accompanied by the other. The main purpose of the differentiation is to highlight two key areas of focus of strength tech in the near future.

Motion-Based Training

Our industry can only create and employ methodologies around tools for which a technology exists...

Read the rest of the blog post at RepOne Academy

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