Milan Lab and the revolution of indoor training in football

In football, and in sport in general, the result counts for the most part. You can play well or badly, but victory always puts everyone in agreement. Especially in Italy, home of the archaic defence and lightning fast paced play. It was always that way at least until July 3, 1987. On that day Arrigo Sacchi, who was barely known, became Milan's coach. And, from the beginning, he became a messenger of a cultural revolution: to privilege the quality of the game over the result, the spectacle and the fun of the public over the points in the standings.
It seems the provocation of a modern Don Chischiotte. And the start is very hard, along with the defeats and the resounding elimination from the UEFA Cup come the protests of the fans. But Berlusconi, who has been president for just over a year, warned them: "Sacchi remains, don’t you know". The final of the story belongs to the golden roll of the championship, with Milan winning the championship and laying the foundations for the most successful cycle in its history. Sacchi's 4-4-2 becomes an icon of world football and, among its players, there are champions such as Baresi, Maldini, Gullit and Van Basten, the elite of a football generation.
A darker side of that revolution, yet just as important, is the athletic work that Milan's technical staff is beginning to propose to the athletes. The total football of Sacchi, in fact, in addition to perfectly synchronized tactical mechanisms, requires rhythm and intensity that only a specific athletic training can guarantee. It is no coincidence that in those very years the partnership between the Rossoneri company and Technogym began, whose equipment was chosen to set up Milan's gym: a modern structure, equipped with machines for cardiovascular training, strength, rehabilitation and re-education following injuries. Today it may seem normal that a serious A club has a full gym available to its athletes but for those times is - indeed - a revolution.
Almost twenty years later the association continues: at Milanello, however, the old gym has become the Milan Lab, a project started in 2002 that has allowed to collect more than two million data on the basis of tests carried out by the players rossoneri. "These are very precious elements in the management of the health of our athletes", explains Daniele Tognaccini, coach of the athletic team at Milan. "In fact, these analyses allow us to identify which jobs or situations are at risk for each athlete. It goes without saying that such information is a valuable asset for those who have responsibilities within the club, especially with regard to the health and well-being of athletes. Among other things, the Milan Lab project goes very well with the philosophy of functional training, in which Technogym has shown that it believes 100%".

The information collected by milan lab is a valuable element for those who have responsibilities within the club, especially with regard to the health and well-being of athletes.

Athletic training at the base of Milan's winning cycle

Functional training stimulates deep muscles and promotes joint stabilization.
Functional training is inspired by natural movements, which are achieved thanks to the synergistic contraction of different muscle groups. The exact opposite of work aimed at "sectoralization" of the use of muscles, typical of traditional equipment. At first glance it may seem a slightly naïve approach, but instead it is a job that goes to stress the deep musculature, also creating a precious joint stabilization. "This new way of working in the gym," continues Tognaccini, "has brought enormous advantages in the athletic preparation of players because through technologically advanced tools, I think for example Omnia Technogym, we can simulate the effort that athletes are called on the field. In addition, indoor training, what we call dry training, is essential to work on the typical compensation of football.
The posterior muscular chain must be stressed at its best when working in the gym: "Normally it is very retracted, because of a sliding stroke. The new Leg Press ARTIS by Technogym - continues Tognaccini - combines the traditional overload with different possibilities of working with rubber bands, it is a valuable support for the activity of joints and muscle chains that have problems, because they allow the maximum gradualness and control. Without forgetting that this type of machine allows us to eliminate the inertia factor that is instead an element of attention on the traditional ones".
Milan won the UEFA Champions League in 2007 with the oldest team ever: but solid and in full wellbeing.
The interest of athletes themselves in training and physical preparation is also synonymous with the cultural revolution that began in the mid-1980s. The image of the player who only has fun in part and does everything to avoid the repetitions is a stereotype that belongs to the past. "Now the activity of the player is no longer linked only to the size of the field," concludes Tognaccini, "just think that the athletes of Milan spend about 50% of their training time in the gym. That's why it's essential to have a high level partner: we chose Technogym because it allows us to meet all our needs and because our players have a special feeling with this equipment, especially those of the Pure Strength line, dedicated to muscle strengthening. Since we at Milanello, many players have decided to work exclusively on these machines because they give a feeling of superior performance compared to all the others".

Milan's athletes now spend about 50% of their training time in the gym

Among the machines available to Daniele Tognaccini and Milan Lab, the best technology of equipment made in Technogym:

  • SKILLMILL, the ideal solution for professional sportsmen that allows athletes to explore the entire speed-resistance spectrum, from the perspective of Athletic Performance Training, the complete training method created by Technogym in over 30 years of expertise in the field.
  • Pure, the line specially designed to enhance muscle capacity.
  • Kinesis, the exclusive system that allows you to perform over 200 exercises and movements to improve strength, flexibility and balance.
  • Excite, the product line that enables an engaging and fully connected cardiovascular training experience.

Milan Lab, the project created to help champions win

The Lab resembles the navigator of the machine. It guides the footballer towards his or her own well-being, using technology and our ability to learn. It is a program that is based on the collection and study of the data of the sportsman, aiming to establish who a person is and his uniqueness. It is not a medical aid. The preparation is based on the collection and analytical study of the data of the athlete, on the mapping of the person. The areas of interest in which it operates:

1. Work (training)

2. Recovery

3. Power supply

Every Milan player is carefully mapped with different tests: genetic and psychological, as well as physical, performed either once or through daily checks. In the Work phase, Tognaccini and his collaborators make use of the long partnership with Technogym and its technology applied to training.

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