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Tech and Fitness Q&A with Team USA Strength and Conditioning Coach Rob Schwartz

I recently had the opportunity to interview Rob Schwartz, a strength and conditioning coach for Team USA for Acrobat & Combat Sports. Rob currently works with Olympic athletes who compete in gymnastics, boxing, taekwondo, judo, fencing, wrestling, synchronized swimming, and diving. He wanted to choose his brain and get an idea of ​​how sports fitness technologies (heart rate, calorie intake, calories burned, sleep monitoring, distance and time tracking, VO2 log, total vertical gain, etc.) are doing. using in the training of Olympic athletes. and how Mr. Schwartz envisions consumer adoption of similar technologies in the future.

Q. Living in Denver and having previously visited the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, I remember the number of gadgets and devices that monitor and track the progression of athletes in training. Could you explain the type of fitness technologies your athletes currently use and what role they play in their daily training preparation?

A. For daily training activities, we primarily use video commentary, both in the weight room and in the practice setting. In Strength and Conditioning we are always trying to measure the preparedness of our athlete, so we measure power production using Tendo units and force plates; This gives us information on the intensity with which we can train each athlete on a given day. At predetermined times of the year, the sports dietitian analyzes the athletes’ blood lactate levels during “live” practices to assess the physiological demands they face in competition. We have even had some fighters take blood lactate tests immediately after actual fights. We are currently developing an application for athletes’ phones to monitor their nutritional, psychological, training and recovery status. This is a short list; we also have many other modes of technology.

Q. It seems that Olympians have been using technology in their training programs long before the recent consumer craze, would you say that many of today’s fitness devices are the result of what has been tried and tested in the olympic field?

A. Not that I know of, when we train world-class athletes for Olympic competition, we simply don’t have time to test technologies that have not been proven in the field. We will receive emerging technology from companies like Nike and Samsung, but we are confident that when they arrive on our desk they have proven their worth.

Q. Do you think emerging health and fitness apps and devices will improve our nation’s health outcomes and help citizens become more informed and active participants in their personal health?

A. I hope so; It depends mainly on the person and their goals. If the consumer wants to get in serious shape, I suggest they do their research and make sure they buy equipment from reputable companies that are proven in the market.

Q. One last question, any basic advice for those looking to start strength training and personal conditioning?

A. I would start by joining your local 24 hour gym and getting some personal training sessions. There is nothing better than an experienced trainer to provide feedback and steps for improvement. Surfing the internet for training tips or suggestions is not suggested as there are no professional comments and the information you are receiving may not be credible or appropriate for your personal goals.

I also strongly believe in video commentary for athletes, like with a current world champion boxer that I train when the fight is over, the first thing we do on our plane flight home is check the video on our smartphone and start preparation. for the next one. quarrel.

To learn more about the United States Olympic Training Center or to plan a tour, visit them at TeamUSA.org and possibly rub shoulders with America’s best Olympic athletes and coaches.

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