Physical assessment in a digital age

In my eyes a thorough off-bike assessment has always been a key part of the bike fit process, an opinion also voiced passionately by Garth. Nowadays, as our routine of postural checks and exercises has grown and evolved, we seldom find ourselves writing anything less than a short essay on our findings, keen not to leave a single detail unrecorded.

As with any observation based assessment, the biggest challenge has always been providing the athlete with a clear impression of exactly what they’re doing – right or wrong. “Did you know you drop your knee in and rotate at the hips during a squat?” It’s one thing having it explained to you, quite another to watch yourself back. Today’s mobile phones make this a simple process with super HD, slow motion video available at our fingertips.

However, with Bodywatch, the team at EuMotus (a group of boffs from Harvard university) have created a system that not only records an athlete’s exercise patterns, but through the use of markerless infrared technology, assesses them for symmetry, stability and range of movement. Scored against a set of industry standard criteria, the athlete is provided with a detailed report which highlights area of concern and where improvements are recommended.

This in itself is a fantastic step forward in the accuracy and repeatability of our assessment. However, the real secret weapon of the Bodywatch system is its ability to give muscle balance recommendations. With astonishing accuracy, Bodywatch uses the results of the performed routine to compile suggestions of under and over active muscle groups. Having tested the system for several months now as well as in talks with physios and other sports therapists, we’ve found the results to provide fantastic and reliable insight. And our clients are loving the detail of the report they get to take away.

We’ll have plenty more to write about in the coming months as we continue our use of the Bodywatch with our bikefit clients so watch this space…

Mark

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