How Sports Stars Are Using The Latest Technology To Keep Fit Amid Coronavirus Shutdown


As sports stars scrambled to adjust to a new reality with almost every competition shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic, clubs and teams attempted to equip their players with equipment needed to keep fit.

Without clarity over when the seasons will resume, players have been given fitness schedules and training plans in an attempt to tick over.

One piece of equipment in particular has been particularly prevalent across social media workouts.

Founded in 2000 with the help of former British Cycling supremo Peter Keen, Wattbike has become the market leader in part due to its ability to accurately measure power output, pedalling technique and heart rate in real-time and is used by dozens of rugby teams, football clubs and sporting organisations across the globe.

On the current pandemic, CEO Rich Baker says: “We have seen a lot of demand from clubs and coaches wanting equipment for their athletes.

“It is important we can continue to help the people who need it throughout this time.”

Naturally, the product has evolved over the past two decades as the function and capacity of indoor power trainers has evolved beyond recognition.

When Baker joined as sales director in 2012, the technological capabilities of indoor bikes were increasing rapidly.

He says: “It was interesting because the market was changing in front of us, smart training was coming around.

“We didn’t push against it, but we wanted to be the best product to improve performance. It could be an Olympic champion, a professional sports team or someone with fitness goals all the way through to someone with a cardio rehab or rehab from injury or condition.

“It was always about building best interventions and protocols to build performance.”

While everyone from the All Blacks to Jessics Ennis have used the Wattbike for various goals, it was the exposure gained at London 2012—when the highly successful Team GB

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cycling team used them extensively—that brought mainstream interest.

Baker says: “The world has changed in our favour, the 2012 Olympics were early on in our history and happening in London, the fact that so many athletes were training on them brought so much attention.

“Word

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organically got out about our product and people also got into cycling after Olympics so turned to us.

“We were fortunate to ride that wave—before that it used to be a niche group of people who hid it in their garage.”

As well as navigating the current pandemic, Wattbike have also been pushing ahead with their expansion into the U.S.A market. At the forefront of this is the new Wattbike Atom.

“We are targeting elite sports, collegiate sports and the military, we already work with US cycling.

“It is not massive volume but it is key individuals and key groups that are buying into it and we have high hopes for the commercial business. We are talking much more about our brand, as we want to grow the business.

“We are focused on New York and the Tri-State area, but reality is people are buying it across the US and we will grow over time. It is such an exciting market to be a part of at this time.”

On the Atom, Baker adds: “We took our time, wanted product to be core to our real values, measurability and reliability of the data and the ride needed to feel the right intertie and kinetic energy so it feels like riding a bike.

“It took a while to figure out best way to do it but we are happy with where it fits when you consider just how broad our appeal is.”

Baker served in the British military for seven years before moving into the business world and admitted that some lessons from the forces still remain with him.

He says: “It feels like a slightly different life, clearly gives you a grounding in life, great experiences to deal with adverse situations and working with people to ge through things, the values I took away from the military. It is harder and harder to relate to as time passes by but on a weekly basis I look back at some of the things the army taught me about dealing with adversity.”

Indeed, they have proved invaluable in coping with the current global lockdown.

Baker takes a realistic approach to the situation buts insisted there can be upsides.

“I’m not sure some people have realised how serious this is.

“It reinforces that this is serious but if we work together we can all work together really well but we are going to have to hunker down, take our opportunities well and I reckon there are some bits that are going to get painful, and I mean that as a society, for all of us.”



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