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7 technologically advanced meters that help to improve the performance of athletes

This is not an absolute novelty, but new technologies, in particular performance meters, are making increasingly sophisticated and effective methods of measuring to evaluate gauges to assess sports performance, the design of training and competition tools and that in the past have already made possible some major achievements in sport.

History of performance meters: the time record of Francesco Moser in 1984

The more mature of us, for example, may remember the time records of italian cyclist Francesco Moser, obtained 35 years ago in Mexico City thanks to the use of cutting-edge technologies such as measuring devices, able to measure performance and optimise it for such a highly specialised activity. The record to beat, then, was the one scored twelve years earlier by the legendary Belgian champion Eddy Merckx, in 1972.
Motion sensors applied to a girl's body
Moser pulverized the record of the "cannibal" in two shots, four days apart, thanks to the contribution of 40 specialist staff, including 7 professors and researchers from 4 prestigious Italian universities. On that occasion, among other things, Prof. Antonio Dal Monte developed the famous lenticular wheels, then widely used in all time trial races, even on the road (weather permitting).
Today, the big clubs and the most advanced research centres analyse, study and perfect the individual movements of the athletes thanks to performance gauges in their chosen sport on the computer thanks to the aid of well-positioned cameras and advanced programmes, able to virtually reconstruct the physical action and the involvement of the muscles and the skeletal and nervous apparatus, in order to improve movement, postures, and attitude.

How do performance meters work?

There are many research and development centres around the world that are working on the design of sensors in meters connected to the performance of athletes, the kinematics of the motor act and the detection and monitoring of multiple biological signals that can affect to some extent the quantification of movement.
Macchinari per misurazione dei movimenti del corpo
In dealing with a subject like this, it is necessary to premise that there are many different approaches, many technologies that can be adopted (only some of which are specifically designed for sport), and that each discipline has its own history and its own needs.

 The 7 best meters of sports performance

It is not possible to make an exhaustive and definitive overview of sports performance meters through the study of the biomechanical aspects of movement, but you can still examine some of the most common and ductile technologies in athletic and sports performance meters.

We are what we do repeatedly. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit. Aristotle

Here are 7 of the most used in sport:

  • Motion tracker/motion capture - among the performance meters, motion capture studies the kinematics of movements. It allows obtaining useful information on the positions gradually taken by the different body segments, within a predefined volume, calculating angles, speeds, accelerations and distances useful to understand in detail and complete the gesture made by athletes, in order to improve it as a function of performance.
Exercise testing system
  • Cameras for thermographic analysis - measures that allow measuring in real time and in a non-invasive way the temperature of the body and its individual parts, in order to prevent possible injuries and to better understand phenomena such as vasoconstriction.

Cyclist Francesco Moser's record sets 35 years ago in Mexico City thanks to state-of-the-art technologies such as measuring devices.

  • Slow-motion cameras - to fully understand the athletic gesture, compare it with that of other athletes and determine how many and which improvements can be encouraged through special measures or training. This type of meter allows you to work best on the equipment and to prevent possible injuries.
  • Exercise test systems - gauges used in sport to analyze the reaction of the body under stress. They can be made with a bicycle (ergometer) or a rotating mat and can combine electrocardiogram, pressure measurement and spirometry analysis, to better understand the exchanges of intrapulmonary gases.
  • Force, dynamics and stability platforms - gauges to study how the weight is discharged to the ground and how muscular force is applied and used (isometric, isokinetic, explosive). These platforms are connected to a PC that, thanks to dedicated software, detects force, speed, acceleration, power, height during a jump, etc.
Body image made with thermal camera
  • Metabolimeter - allows the evaluation of athletes in different types of movement: running, rowing, pedaling that they can perform on racing or training equipment. The gas analysis allows you to identify the trigger point of anaerobic metabolisms (anaerobic threshold) and maximum heart rate, to design customised and measurable training routines.
Examination of the electrocardiogram under stress
  • Electromyography - thanks to this instrument it is possible to record and analyze the electrical signal generated by the muscles during their contraction. It is not only used in the medical field, to distinguish possible muscular diseases from those of the peripheral nervous system but also in the study of movement control, muscle tremors (measuring muscle tension) and in the study of walking.
Body analyses carried out by a team of doctors

Performance measures performance for...

The purpose of all these technologies, analyses and measurements is not exclusively aimed at improving performance. The prevention of injuries and the early diagnosis of possible pathologies and dysfunctions is an even more important objective, the pursuit of which is upstream of any improvement activity.
Exercise testing
As it happens with the voice and facial expressions, in fact, listening to our recording, or watching a photo or video that depicts us, almost all of us are surprised to see something very different from what we imagined it would be.
Girl and stress test
Obviously, the gap between the perceived of the real is much lower in the case of professional sportsmen, but for this reason, it becomes essential to operate with instruments of the highest precision, capable of detecting smears millimetric, often invisible to the eyes of the athlete and his trainers. With these tools, improvement is not only possible, therefore, but also becomes a process that can be planned, monitored and measured.

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