Fitness equipment

Exercise and breathing – the key to Mo Farah’s Olympic gold success?

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

Mo Farrah, and the Olympic 10km silver medalist America’s Galen Rupp, have been undertaking a focussed training regime by their coach and mentor Alberto Salazar. Alberto best known for his performances in the New York City Marathons in the early 1980s and his American track records of 13:11.93 for 5,000 m (July 6, 1982 – Stockholm) and 27:25.61 for 10,000 m – (June 26, 1982 – Oslo), has become a legend in the middle- and long-distance disciplines. Training elite athletes at the Nike Oregon Project, Alberto is known for complete focus, detail and novel-training techniques. One of those was to improve the breathing efficiency, through the intercostal muscles, of his athletes using RespiBelt.


RespiBelt is a specially constructed compression belt which allows you to train your breathing and chest muscles during exercise by providing an adjustable load. We are all very familar with training our biceps, legs, abs, by doing exercises such as bicep curls, squats and crunches, but what we don’t have, until now, is a way of training the inspiratory breathing muscles during exercise. Training our inspiratory muscles can improve our breathing efficiency, running economy, help with asthma, and make us use less energy. But please don’t look at the product and think you can use any old elastic belt. The team at Progressive Sports Technologies have spent years developing the right tension in the elastic. If the tension is too high it can overload the muscles, too low and you don’t get any benefit. If you get it just right, like in the RespiBelt, then you can achieve much better performance like the British Triathletes (wording from RespiBelt website):

The first trial of early prototypes was performed with the support of British Triathlon and four of their TASS athletes over an 11 week period. The results of the training intervention proved very interesting. The participants significantly enhanced running economy measures, along with reduced sub-maximal oxygen utilisation and minute ventilation which was considered by British Triathlon scientists as being atypical of results expected due to habitual training adaptations. This prompted further investigation into the RespiBelt using a larger sample size with the addition of a control group. The second trial was performed with 12 competitive athletes over only a 4 week period. Additional measures were taken in addition to the measures previously investigated. All the measures showed positive changes compared to the control group who undertook the same training regime. Breathing endurance improved as did, sub-maximal oxygen consumption, % VO2max, sub-maximal minute ventilation and heart rate. Further improvements in running economy, respiratory frequency and minute ventilation were also present.


RespiBelt comes in 6 sizes that are derived by measuring your chest: X-Small – chest sizes 75 to 80cm; Small – chest sizes 81 to 88cm; Medium – chest sizes 89 to 96cm; L arge – chest sizes 97 to 106cm; and X-Large – chest sizes 107 to 118cm.

If you would like to purchase the best accessory for training breathing muscles then please click on this link to buy the RespiBelt.

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Posted in Apparel, Apparel, Bryan Roberts, Fitness equipment, Rugby, Running | No Comments »

Vibram Five Fingers 2012 range available at

Monday, July 16th, 2012

SPORTSTECHLAB.COM are excited to be one of the first online stores in the UK to offer the 2012 range of Vibram Five Fingers. This year Vibram have introduced the SPYRIDON, SEEYA and NEW BIKILA.

Vibram Five Fingers Spyridon
“Our first trail running-specific models, the Spyridon provides the perfect balance of “foot feel” and protection on rugged surfaces.  A minimalist Vibram rubber sole with an aggressive tread design provides sure-footed grip in all directions and impact protection from stones and debris, while better allowing proper barefoot dynamics.

Naturally breathable upper with an adjustable hook-and-loop closure ensures a secure fit.  Machine Washable.  Air Dry.”

Vibram Five Fingers 2012 Seeya Black Dayglow

“The ultra-streamlined SeeYa is our newest performance option for serious minimalist runners.  Designed to bring you even closer to the barefoot sensation, we’ve radically reduced overall weight and material with a more breathable mesh upper to deliver true, performance-driven footwear.  Minimum rubber thickness in the outsole maximises “foot feel” and flexibility, while a soft midsole further reduces thickness and weight for natural movement.  A stitched-in insole protects skin and foot tissue during longer runs.  For a snug fit, the lightweight, stretch mesh upper has a seamless collar and adjustable hook-and-loop closure.  Machine Washable.  Air Dry.”

Vibram Five Fingers 2012 Bikila

“Unlike any running shoe on the market today, the Bikila was our first model designed specifically for a more natural, healthier, and more efficient forefoot strike. While many folks have been running in their Vibram FiveFingers® for years, the Bikila is our first model designed specifically for a more natural running experience. Built on an entirely new plat- form, the Bikila features a Dri-Lex® covered 3mm polyurethane insole (thickest under the ball) and a 4mm anatomical pod outsole design that offers more plating protection, and distributes forefoot impact without compromising important ground feedback essential to a proper forefoot strike running form. A more athletic padded collar and topline, a single hook and loop closure, 3M reflective surfaces, and tear resistant TPU toe protection finish off this breakthrough design.”

Buy them from – our sister store!

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Technology innovation helps GB Rowing Team maintain the gold standard

Friday, March 2nd, 2012


As an official innovation partner to UK Sport, Loughborough’s Sports Technology Institute (STI) collaborates on a wealth of projects to optimise the world-beating performances of Britain’s most talented and dedicated athletes. Under UK Sport’s innovation programme, the Institute has been commissioned to develop cutting edge technology for a number of British teams including Rowing, one of the most successful sports for Great Britain.

With a gold medal won in every Olympics since 1984, the GB Rowing Team (GBRT) relies on accurately measuring the performance of its athletes during training to help maintain this winning streak. Early season, GBRT must measure a number of physiological parameters and force delivery at different training intensities to ensure that key performance milestones are met and that athletes are on track to medal success.

An expert in the design, manufacture and test of training systems, Loughborough’s Dr Ben Halkon was commissioned to design, develop and deliver enhanced instrumentation to the GBRT fleet of indoor rower machines. The customised equipment was developed by the highly skilled STI team in collaboration with the English Institute of Sport who were responsible for managing the delivery on behalf of the sport.

Incorporating technologies from local companies Protura and Aptifirst, the solution also features software developed in partnership with McLaren Applied Technologies to capture, process and report the performance data produced.

The project was delivered with tight time and budgetary constraints, to give GBRT access to information such as the current power production rates and stroke consistency of the senior rowing squad. This crucial data will be used to determine the future training requirements in order to maximise the possibility of world-class success.


  • In addition to being able to access the enhanced performance data produced by the new instrumentation, GBRT is benefiting from further collaborative work with Dr Halkon.
  • For the first time GBRT can now also directly access specific calibrated athlete performance data on the water as well as in the lab.
  • The outputs of this project are already being put to use for forthcoming world-class competitions.
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Nike+ Fuelband – Earn Nike Fuel?! The newest concept in calorie counters

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Nike fuelband large calorie counterNike revealed a new addition to the Nike+ family this month, the Fuelband. In essence it’s a wristband that measures movement. That in its self is nothing novel, however the marketing guys at Nike have established a clever USP. Movements are measured using a new metric called NikeFuel. The more active you are the more NikeFuel you earn. A normal day of activity, for instance, would provide 2,500 points of NikeFuel, while a high-energy day would provide 5,500.

The technology used in the system and the conversion from movement to Fuel is  a mystery, however, it is likely they use tri-axis accelerometer to track the intensity of active to be able to convert this to NikeFuel. Four pre-sets are available: time, steps, calories and NikeFuel. Users can set targets of how active they want to be throughout the day with the 20 LED light display transitioning from red-to-green based on how close they are to achieving their target. Data can be transferred to a computer through the USB function or wirelessly to a free iPhone app.

Some of Nikes top sponsored athletes including Lance Armstrong, Kevin Durant and Carmelita Jeter endorse the product.

Armstrong said, “What’s great about the idea of NikeFuel and the FuelBand is the way it provides real information and numbers to show how much people are doing all day, every day. That’s what will get people challenging themselves to do more and better their own scores. It’s a tool to get people more active.”

“NikeFuel means everyone can get recognition for activities they do,” said Durant. “It provides a scoreboard for your day and gets everyone moving.”

Jeter said, “You don’t have to be an elite athlete to appreciate how NikeFuel can motivate you. It’s an easy way to get credit for activities and compare how you do with others, even if you take part in different sports.

The Nike Fuelband hits the US on the 22nd February, the UK on the 1st May and the rest of the world in the summer, with an expected price tag around £100.

Article by David Rogers

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Restwise recovery monitor

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

Press release from Loughborough University:

Restwise monitor used on athletes

With a punishing training schedule and six matches under their belts, the rest and recovery strategies of the French and New Zealand teams will be as crucial as their match play tactics in the Rugby World Cup final this Sunday. Innovative sports science technology developed at Loughborough University has been helping many of the All Blacks squad to maintain peak performance.

The Canterbury Crusaders make up one third of the All Blacks Team. The devastating Christchurch earthquake in February 2011 placed a massive strain on the Crusaders, with their home ground closed for the entire season, they effectively played every match as an away game. However, using the Loughborough expertise, the Crusaders were able optimize their recovery in order to reach the finals of the national championship and have 10 of their players selected for the All Blacks Rugby World Cup challenge, with Richie McCaw as captain.

The innovative recovery expertise is the work of Dr Vern Neville, a professional America’s Cup sailor, scientist and coach who spent over a decade analyzing the behaviours and training patterns of elite athletes from the worlds of rugby, sailing, soccer, cycling and Formula 1.

Honing his research in the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Science at Loughborough University (Team GB’s Olympic preparation base), Dr Neville sought programming expertise from Harvard and Stanford University alumni to create an intuitive web and smartphone based software for intelligent recovery. The software uses 13 daily evidence based inputs including resting heart rate, sleep, hydration, mood, appetite, muscle soreness and illness and converts these using smart analytics into a single recovery score. This enables athletes and teams to decide how hard to train and how much they should rest.

Commenting on the impact of the Loughborough expertise, Ashley Jones, the Canterbury Crusaders Physical Performance Co-Ordinator / Strength & Conditioning Coach from 2004 – 11, said: “With the use of Restwise (the software) we were able to ascertain which players needed extra sessions for recovery and also seeing which recovery modalities worked best with players, so in effect individualising the recovery as we do our physical training.”

“Recovery isn’t just important, it’s a biological necessity,” said Dr Neville. “Too little recovery and you slowly grind yourself down, risking both impaired performance and lowered immune function. Too much recovery and you don’t introduce enough stress to trigger physiological adaptation. You don’t get fitter, stronger and faster.” He continued: “Without a way to consistently and easily monitor recovery during high demand training or competition periods such as during the Rugby World Cup, even the best trained teams are at risk of over-fatigue or injury. This could well be the deciding factor in the outcome of the World Cup.”

Restwise has already been part of 38 world championship wins, gaining the respect of coaches and practitioners from the world of professional rugby, cycling and sailing as well as a host of Olympic sports.

Professor Myra Nimmo, Head of Loughborough University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences where Vern undertook his PhD commented: “Restwise is an excellent example of how our world leading scientific research can be translated to deliver real impact in optimising sport performance.”

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