IKKOS Training – the new training used by US Elite swimmers

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Another great interview, with a new company. Have you ever heard of ikkos training? Or neuroplasticity? No! Then let Sean Hutchison from Ikkos training tell you all about it. Read on.

Ikkos training Sean Hutchison

The before and after in the image above are only twenty minutes apart.  In the physics of swimming, the goal is to get the pulling arm perpendicular to the body as quickly as possible.  In the swimming world, this is called ‘high elbow freestyle’.  The after picture displays this along with a change in body tone/position and a different kick timing. These changes occurred because of Ikkos training and other methods used by Sean during training sessions.

What is ikkostraining?

‘Ikkos’ training is essentially a way to learn movement patterns very quickly and accurately, compared to conventional teaching methods.  I use the phrase ‘movement patterns’ in reference to a skill or technique the student is looking to acquire.  It could be anything from learning how to shoot a free throw or have a better golf swing or throw a football.  As long as we have a higher-level technique to aspire to, athletes at any level can learn and improve through Ikkos.

What is neuroplasticity?

I’m pasting this directly from Wikipedia: (also known as cortical re-mapping) refers to the ability of the human brain to change as a result of one’s experience, that the brain is ‘plastic’ and ‘malleable’.

How can neuroplasticity benefit athletes?

Generally, it already does.  It benefits all of us every day.  When we learn, our brain changes.   In regards to how Ikkos training helps athletes learn better technique? The training process enables the athletes to focus at a higher level, possibly recruiting a greater part of their brain in order to speed up and specify, as in accuracy, the physical learning process.

What top athletes have benefited from your techniques?

In regards to elite athletes, we have, thus far, only worked with world-class swimmers.  After working with swimmers and all the problems associated with using electronic equipment around the water and the general difficulty of learning technique in a fluid environment, application on land-based sports has been fluid.  With that, we are currently in discussion with some household name athletes of different sports.

What made you interested in neuroplasticity?

Effective technique is such a strong factor for success in sport.   As I learned and observed training, I saw quality of technique diminish through practice and, subsequently, competition.  The original goal was to train the body to perform the desired technique over and over with minimal change.  I looked to actively training the nervous system, as opposed to the aerobic model, which was status quo. The nervous system led me to the brain and neuroplasticity.

What was your background before ikkostraining?

I was a US Olympic swimming coach and business owner.  I’ve always had a lot of interests, a high curiosity and a regular reading habit.  I always loved science but wasn’t a fan of science class.  I didn’t learn my strong work ethic until my formal schooling was done, after I had the freedom to follow my thoughts down the rabbit hole, which led me to Ikkos.

How does someone develop themselves to be an expert in neuroplasticity?

I don’t claim to be an expert in neuroplasticity.  I claim to be an expert in teaching.  The thought which led to the ‘eureka moment’ was, “These athletes have such a strong desire to achieve and do whatever is asked.  Their biggest limitation is technical.  How can we teach them more efficiently and effectively so they can realize a new level of accomplishment and belief?”

Can you give us a brief low-down on your techniques?

We are removing the filters in the learning process.  When I want to teach you traditionally, I get a picture in my mind of what I think is accurate, formulate words to describe the picture, you interpret my words through your own mind’s eye, then try to implement.  It’s kind of like the old telephone game.  By the time the message gets to the end of the line, it’s rarely what we want.  It’s a very inefficient process.   Through ‘Ikkos’ training methods, we remove the filters, help people to actively focus the brain in a manner which helps them copy desired movement.

What would you do with an athlete in a typical training session or over-time?

We would get an assessment of where the athlete is, what their goals are, pick the direction, then run them through training.  A session can last anywhere from 15 minutes to hours, depending on the motivation and focusing ability of the athlete.

What should readers of this article do if they are interested in your techniques?

In our first stage of development, we are primarily working with professional athletes or athletes looking to make the jump into professional athletics.  One-on-one use is ‘live’. Ikkos’ plan for sale and use in the greater marketplace is in development.  We’re moving it along aggressively but want to make sure the quality will be excellent when its released.   Ikkos ‘training’ can help a lot of people expand their beliefs by doing things at a higher level than they once thought possible.

Interested in more? Please see Sean’s website at: http://ikkostraining.com/

Article by Bryan Roberts

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Microbubble swimsuit to break records?

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Sarah Zeim of University of Reutlingen and scientists at the Hohenstein Institute, Bönnigheim/Germany, have developed a innovative swimsuit fabric and construction that features a coating that implements the “microbubble effect”. The microbubble effect creates a layer between the textile and water by trapping air within the yarns and fibres of the suit making it extremely hydrophobic. This low frictional resistance design may help to create the World recording breaking performances seen in the past few years. Interestingly, the “microbubble” effect is used by aquatic animals; another biomimetic sports equipment design.

The other exciting thing about this innovation is that it passes current FINA rules and regulations. Time will tell whether this swimsuit fabric works, or is adopted by the elite athletes and major brands, but good luck Hohenstein!

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Interview with Igor Moinet – custom wetsuit designer for major brands

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

I came across EXUSKIN in my pursuit to find a custom wetsuit company. EXUSKIN do not sell wetsuits as such, but in fact provide the patterns, grading and so on to major brands within the industry. We caught up with Igor earlier this month.

EXUSKIN wetsuits

What is your background?

[Igor MOINET (Office)] I’ve been working in the Neoprene industry for the last 10 years, as Neoprene Wetsuit Engineer for Decathlon, and then in charge of developing the European Market for a subsidiary of the Nam Liong Group, one of the 5 top leaders in the Neoprene Industry, but I actually grew up in a textile factory producing Windbreakers in North of France. If you consider I spent my military service in the French Navy Seals, Rain and water have always been a good thing in my business environment… It sounded also logical to spend my leisure time windsurfing, Sailing, Scuba-diving and Surfing with such kind of “damp” background…

How did you get started?

[Igor MOINET (Office)] I’ve always been looking for some accurate tools to work properly and never found them in term of pattern making. I started to be fed up having some customers bringing me one of their competitor’s wetsuit to make “the same with just a few little changes”, admitting their lack of know-how and confessing they were tired of “Trial & Error” development process with their subcontracting factories. So, I finally decided to invest in developing some very specific 3D to 2D designing and flattening software for “Next to Skin” sports garments, in order to raise pattern making level and Product Development lead-time, without discrepancy between initial Design and final Prototype.

What is your business?

[Igor MOINET (Office)] EXUSKIN is a Design & Prototyping Studio specialised in Neoprene wetsuits. We develop any kind of neoprene wetsuits for worldwide leading brands. Our customers sometimes ask us to take the whole project in charge, from Design till Production, using our components and factory network, but most of the time we focus on 3D Design simultaneously calculating 2D patterns for cutting, printing and prototyping in a week’s time. We’re getting organised to have all components, printing and stitching facilities in our new Studio based in Brittany, France, being able to deal with the whole process without losing time and know-how in hazardous sub-contracting. Having our office established in this extraordinary part of Brittany gives us an opportunity for fast feedbacks from users of all kind of water sports, keeping an eye on their quest for the perfect wetsuit for Kayak, surf, windsurf, dinghy sailing, Spear fishing, Scuba Diving, Triathlon, or even for the French Commando based a few miles away from us.

How is it different?

[Igor MOINET (Office)] The main difference is about mixing our “in-house” Design & flattening CAD solutions developed for the last 4 years, with our know-how in term of prototyping and sourcing, allowing us to offer an “all-in-one” service to our customers, no matter how experimented they are in the Neoprene Wetsuit industry. We developed exclusive tracking devices to apply any 3D cutting line design and compression template to any morphology, for a better size grading but also to carry out Bespoke Wetsuit technologies.

What work have you done in the past?

[Igor MOINET (Office)] We’ve done some product development for Australian, American and European water sports companies, mainly to test our CAD solutions and check their accuracy. Once our Software development have reached the accurate quality level, we’ve started investing in our prototyping workshop, creating our component data basis and getting our stitching machines, printing and cutting tools ready.

What do you hope to do with it in the future?

[Igor MOINET (Office)] We know what we don’t want : we don’t aim at launching our own brand, as marketing and sales is not our cup of tea. We’re Product Development oriented and want to stay on this track, even if we sometime sub-contract short productions series for smaller customers or public entities (army for example) who don’t want to manage it. But for sure, in the future, we’ll be on the Custom-made and Made-to-Measure wetsuit niche, as our technology already allow us to deal with it.

How can our readers benefit from your business? I.e. what would you want readers to do when they read this post.

[Igor MOINET (Office)] Sports brands should understand that investing in DHL, FEDEX and UPS is far from a long term solution for a Product Development policy. Trial and Error development process should be banned, investing in technologies and know-how instead of air freight. On the other hand, as long as Sporting goods Industry have the deep feeling to get free Product development from their Chinese factories, it may be hard to let them realize how dangerous it can be to lose total control on their Product Development and how expensive they pay their “free” iterative developments finally included in their negotiated price per unit by their happy manufacturers. Our point is to solve their problems and nightmares in term of Product Development, raising their wetsuit added value with better fit and accurate product design. They should not hesitate to call us for a quote.

Please visit EXUSKIN’s website for more details.

Article by Bryan Roberts

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Progressive Sports Technologies help Speedo develop the LZR Racer triathlon suit

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

SPEEDO tri-suit


Progressive Sports Technologies, a Loughborough University spinout company, has helped Speedo to develop a world-class triathlon suit. Inspired by the record breaking LZR Racer swim suit worn by athletes including Michael Phelps and Rebecca Adlington to take 94% of the swimming gold medals in Beijing, the new triathlon suit is designed to be the lightest, fastest and most comfortable suit on the market.

Progressive tested a selection of elite triathletes running and cycling in the LZR racer Tri-Pro suit in a controlled climate chamber. With a constant temperature of 32°C and 70% humidity, the suit’s quick dry, moisture wicking properties were pushed to the limit. Infrared skin temperature measurements were captured, along with the athlete’s perception of comfort, fit and function.

For Speedo, the Nottingham based brand world renowned for technical swimwear, the alliance with Progressive is ideal, as Dr Tom Waller Head of Aqualab, Speedo’s R&D arm, explains: “Our performance wear is underpinned by extensive research with world-leading experts. Progressive has tested our LZR racer Tri-Pro suit to the extreme to ensure it performs exceptionally across all phases of the triathlon.”

Based at Loughborough University’s Sports Technology Institute, Progressive works with many of the world’s leading sports brands on cutting edge research. Current projects include the commercialisation of a garment that boosts athletic performance by training breathing muscles, which was successfully trialed by members of the GB Triathlon team also headquartered at the University. Progressive has also developed a range of licensed fitness equipment, including an abdominal muscle training device (Ab-pump) which has recently been commercialised.

Ross Weir, Managing Director of Progressive, commented: “As a company originating from within Loughborough University, Progressive benefits from excellent relationships with sports scientists and engineers and the array of elite athletes based here. Our work with Speedo has enabled our expertise, coupled with access to Loughborough University’s facilities, to help Speedo launch a groundbreaking product.”

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Compression garments and socks allowed back into Ironman competition

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Ironman socks compression


In an interesting article published by Herbert Krabel of slowtwitch, the World Triahtlon Corporation was reportedly going to ban compression wear from Ironman competitions.

From slowtwitch:

“Just before 7pm EST tonight I received an e-mail with the following statement from Blair LaHaye, the Director of Communications of World Triathlon Corporation. “In response to athlete feedback, World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) has retracted its ban on garments that cover the calves at this year’s Ford Ironman World Championship, taking place on October 10, in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Because the age of athletes wearing these garments is not visible, Ironman will eliminate marking athletes’ ages on calves in Kona to ensure fairness among the field. The tradition of body marking of bib numbers on athletes’ arms will remain in place. WTC will continue reviewing this issue and evaluating ways to display ages of participating athletes.”

There had been all kinds of speculations and rumors about the “real” reason behind the initial ban of socks and other garments that cover the calves, but now quite a few people will be able to sleep better the next few weeks. Especially the industry people who make compression socks, the Pros who earn money doing so, and the age groupers who have come to accept them as the miracle solution. ”

For more information see slowtwitch.

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