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 »

ISPO 2012 Munich – 1st time highlights from Dr David Rogers

Monday, February 13th, 2012

A huge 10m inflatable wall and a double decker bus plastered with extreme sports photography were a few of the advertising mediums manufacturers used to showcase their flagship products for the 2012-2013 season. Once inside, it was clear this was the place to be if you had a passion for sport and sports equipment. An eclectic mix of people, some in suits, some in board shorts on skateboards, but somehow it just seemed to work. Looking around you could see people meeting up with old acquaintances or making a new contact. The passion and energy in the room was contagious. Picking up the map of the conference layout was when it really hit home how massive ISPO was. There were 15 separate units split into sport specific categories. To put the scale into context, each unit could probably hold 2, or even 3, football pitches.

The exciting element of the conference for me was visiting the smaller brands, who were trying to increase their market presence and potential catch the eye of a big game player. Three products stood out to me and I have highlighted them below. I will be writing more detailed reviews of each product shortly.

It was my first visit to ISPO and personally I found it had a great buzz and energy about it. If you are involved in this industry, or aspire to be, ISPO is a must attend event in 2013.

1)     Go Pro (Hero 2) – Extreme Sports Video

Their core product is a video/camera that in essence is capable of capturing extreme sports from unique perspectives. The Hero 2 can capture footage in HD at 120 fps and comes with a protection case that is suitable for underwater filming. This is a company for the future, look out for them – Be a HERO.

2)     Recon Instruments – Head up displays

Velocity, distance, height of jump, friend finder, are just a small selection of tools available to the wearer. A head up display located in a pair of ski goggles that uses accelerometers and GPS technology to provide the wear with more information than they could hope for – Knowledge is power.

3)     Kali Protective Helmets – Protect your assets

Quality looking helmets with the added benefit of improved protection. This is achieved through a patented manufacturing technique to improve the energy absorption characteristics – Use your head.

Article by David Rogers

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Posted in David Rogers, Extreme sports, Helmet, Skate boarding, Snowsports, Sports Business, Sports materials, Sports Technology Videos, Surfing | No Comments »

Suitpack rucksack design provides crease-free solution to cycle-commuting

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Cambridge Design Partnership’s innovative design allows commuters to keep fit and look smart

Cycling commuter rucksack bag for suits clothing

The practice of cycling to work, whether for convenience or keep-fit, has risen sharply in recent years: Yet cycling is still impractical for many people who need to dress smart for their job. Commuters wanting to cycle often have to sacrifice either a sharp look or exercise in their struggle to find convenient ways to cycle to work and look slick. Cambridge Design Partnership today announces an innovative solution to this problem.

Suitpack is a prototype of a compact rucksack that, with an innovative yet simple patented roll-fold concept, combines convenience with a crease-free solution for clothes. It is designed to hang easily from locations wherever required allowing easy-access to the clothes, toiletry and shoe compartments. The Suitpack has been designed for speed of use with its novel folding system making it an all-round solution for the modern commuter.

Increased commuting time and the ever more common practice of working long hours often mean that there is little time outside of work to dedicate to exercise. The convenience of cycling as a form of exercise, the popularity of various government cycling initiatives, and financial and environmental concerns, have all resulted in a significant net increase in cycle-commuting. 1.3 million new UK cyclists joined the roads last year, there are now 783,000 cycle commuters and the increase in cycling levels is predicted to continue to grow another 20% by 2015.

Furthermore, cyclists clearly enjoy spending on their passion1: The bicycle market in the UK was worth £1.62 billion in 2010, (up 28% on the previous year), with the accessories market worth £853 million. The average cycle commuter spends, on average, £195/year, and ‘enthusiasts’ a whopping £1295/year, on accessories. And that’s just the UK market; the EU cycle market is 10 times the UK’s with 4 million frequent commuter cyclists.

As part of their ethos to think differently, Cambridge Design Partnership has ventured into new capabilities by combining their traditional engineering and innovation skills with ‘cut and stitch’ design. This is another example of flexibility and versatility in applying innovation to diverse market opportunities and technology areas with the ability to gather rich, in-depth research to discover unmet consumer needs and tackle them with creative solutions.

“We know the challenges faced by anyone who has to pack smart clothes for the journey to work,” commented Ben Strutt, Head of Design at Cambridge Design Partnership. “Most people who go to the gym early, cycle or jog to work, and commute regularly in ‘practical’ clothes understand the need to change into smart attire upon arrival. This can be annoyingly impractical: Current poor solutions result in disruption to personal routine; lack of exercise, or commuting via different methods. There is also the issue of office changing facilities which tend to be cramped, impersonal, with floors too wet to put clothes on.

“Very often the trick of good design is not to reinvent the wheel; but to identify and understand problems, give a fresh perspective, and address a burning gap in the market. Here, Cambridge Design Partnership has provided an innovative, graceful solution to what is, for many people, an everyday problem, and which addresses a huge market need.”

It’s not just cyclists who will benefit from Suitpack. Many commuters wish to go to the gym before or after work, or during their lunch break, and Suitpack also fits within the dimensions of ‘hand luggage’ allowed by European airports and in railway ceiling racks, allowing business commuters to travel in comfortable clothes with all of the convenience of the backpack form-factor. Also despite its compact size there is still space for a laptop and important daily accessories.

Graeme Henderson, business commuter and partner in the project, says: “Life in the city can be fast and days in the office are often long, so many people find they don’t have time to go to the gym or play any sport. Commuting by bike solves this problem by incorporating exercise into your daily routine, so a healthy lifestyle and a busy job are no longer incompatible. But the problem of what to wear means the only options seem to be turning up with crumpled trousers, keeping your wardrobe under your desk or taking transport and exercising later. The Suitpack is a smart solution to all this.”

CDP’s Head of Design continues “Cambridge Design Partnership’s most recent demonstrator has evolved during the application of our usual iterative design process; with rapid experimentation and critiquing of successive models and prototypes we quickly learn about problems and opportunities, while refining the design for cost and labour effective manufacture.”

Cambridge Design Partnership is now interested in speaking with potential partners about the future branding and development of the Suitpack backpack, or its core innovations into other luggage designs, and on to the manufacture and distribution phase.

1 Dr Alexander Grous; ‘The British Cycling Economy: (

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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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Posted in Bryan Roberts, Cycling, Fitness equipment, Golf, Rugby, Sports iPhone Apps | 1 Comment »

Mind controlled gear shifting on a bike Toyota Prius Parlee Cycles

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011

Mind controlledgear shifting is here. Powered by EEG this wonderful design by Parlee Cycles and Toyota is a fantastic example of great minds can create great sports technology. You got to see the video on bike radar!

Mind shifting gears Toyota Prius Parlee bikes

Article by Bryan Roberts


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Posted in Bryan Roberts, Cycling, New Bikes | 1 Comment »

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