SUUNTO Train Smarter 2009
SUUNTO’s new Training Effect technology in their new t-Series watches is set to revolutionize the market of Sports Watches, Training Aids and Heart Rate Monitors. With all the world looking to technology for more innovative training methods and that competitive edge, it was very interesting to listen to Suunto’s take on training with a heart rate monitor.
To start off the promotional session Suunto had Dr Ro Hunter (an English MD specialized in Sports Medicine) give a short introduction to Athletic Training and the reason for the development of Heart Rate Monitors.
“Athletic Training is broken down into three general categories:
• Conditioning (meeting physiological demands by developing musculature & cardiovascular system)
• Psychological Conditioning (meeting the Psychological hurdles of training and competing)
• Sports Specific Skills (in the case of Triathlon, everything from an efficient swimming stroke to correct running form)”
Dr Hunter gave us a very interesting example in the form of Field Hockey. A study was done on a professional mens hockey team in competition and also in their training. It was found that their average game broke down into the following:
• Walking 46% • Jogging 40% • Standing 7% • Striding 4% • Sprinting 3%
But interestingly enough 90-100% of their conditioning was sprint conditioning. This was a very powerful message for Suunto whose new training products are designed for coaches to monitor their athlete’s work through their “Training Effect” technology.
Training Effect is a concept uniquely used by Suunto to measure the effect of a session on a particular user’s aerobic fitness level. Suunto decided to use this new calculation because of the many different formulae used by coaches and athletes to calculate the ideal training zones for athletes to use. What is shocking is that depending on which formula is used the average person’s Aerobic Zone could be anything from 126-144 to 144-156. That is a huge difference in heart rate and activity level to achieve that heart rate!
Instead, Suunto decided to use Heart Rate Monitoring along with other measures to come up with an individualized training solution, i.e. Training Effect. Explaining how Training Effect is calculated is tricky but I will try my best.
In short, Training Effect is calculated by comparing a predicted EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption) with the user’s “Activity Class”. The ratio between these two numbers forms a simple two-digit number between 1.0 and 5+, where 1 is a Minor Training Effect, 2 – Maintaining TE, 3 – Improving TE, 4 Highly Improving TE and 5 – Over-reaching TE.
Suunto Describes it as follows:
Training Effect (TE)
Training Effect is an accurate measurement of how hard you have trained. To calculate your personal Training Effect, Suunto heart rate monitors use data from your personal fitness profile and combine it with an analysis of your physiological progress in real time. Your heart rate monitor then formulates your Training Effect, presented as a number on a scale from 1-5.
To further explain this, the EPOC (Wiki-pedia) is the extra oxygen that needs to be taken in by a person after a workout to return their body to a full rest state (homeostasis) and adapt to the workout. This is normally measured in an exercise lab but through rigorous testing, the technology Suunto uses has an algorithm that gives a prediction very close to the actual tested results (~0.9 correlation).
is a measurably increased rate of oxygen intake following strenuous activity. The extra oxygen is used in the processes that restore the body to a resting state and adapt it to the exercise just performed.
The other number – the activity class – is determined based on a simple questionnaire for the user. Its quite simply a number between 0 and 10 as to how much the user has been training in the past two months with 0 being never and 10 being more than once/day.
Suunto had a great graphic to visualize Training Effect: