adidas and Polar:
Working Together to Improve Athlete Performance
By Jerry Kokesh
Athletes and coaches spend their lives with only one goal in mind—improved performance, which translates into medals, championships, and a successful sports career.
Now, adidas and Polar, both known for innovation in performance products have merged their most advanced technologies in Project Fusion. This partnership merges the best in adidas apparel and footwear with the Polar RS800 Running Computer to create an integrated training system for the endurance athlete.
The Polar RS800 Running Computer, the heart of the integrated training system is the most advanced product of its kind on the market today. It continuously collects, records, and displays information collected from the Polar WearLink® transmitter and the Polar s3 Stride Sensor™ (when running). The athlete receives constant feedback during the training session regarding heart rate and recovery, speed, distance, running cadence and average stride length. After the session, download the data to a PC using the Polar ProTrainer 5 software, and add it to a training logbook, in a few simple steps. This means an end to accidentally erasing data on your watch and the slow, tedious job of copying data by hand.
Since April of 2007, the National Team under Coaches Mikael Lofgren and Per Nilsson have used the RS800 in their daily training. Both coaches described their experience as, Super!” Nilsson added, “This unit has many great features that allow us to receive more detailed information on the athlete’s daily training than ever before. It is a great new tool.”
Connecting the technology of the RS800 Running Computer to your body are several adidas products. Since Project Fusion debuted in mid-2006, adidas has continually improved and added to its apparel and footwear range several new products that integrate with the Polar technology.
“State-of-the art” is the by-word for the second generation of adidas adiSTAR Fusion products, which seamlessly and unobtrusively connect the body to the RS800. The adiSTAR Fusion apparel line includes several styles of attractive t-shirts, long-sleeve shirts, bras, and women’s shirts; all feature built-in soft, washable textile heart rate sensors that fit comfortably on any body type. The POLAR WearLink® snaps easily onto all of these, with no further adjustments.
Biathletes use the long sleeve compression-fit shirt, as a base layer product under their competition or training suit. This shirt, as well as the women’s bra and shirt use the best of adidas fabric technology, combining ClimaCool™ with 3D technology to move moisture and heat effectively from the body. The ForMotion™ styling enhances the fit and freedom of movement, providing maximum comfort at all times. Seven different pieces of adiSTAR Fusion apparel are currently available, providing different options for all types of training and racing conditions.
Two running shoes in both men’s and women’s styles now incorporate the Polar s3 Stride Sensor™. The adiSTAR Fusion model debuted in late 2006. It is a moderately weight cushioning shoe, that offers lightweight cushioning with adiPRENE cushioning in the heel and adiPRENE+ in the forefoot, providing cushioning and a smooth transition from heel to toe. This, combined with a durable, high traction outsole makes the Fusion an excellent training shoe for long road runs or faster paced training.
The second and newest (debuting in June 2007) Polar compatible shoe is the adifusion MC. This model offers stability on all surfaces, using the combination of adidas ForMotion™ technology and the Pro-moderator™ to provide more support in the mid-foot. The same adiPRENE cushioning in the heel and adiPRENE+ in the forefoot make the adifusion MC a good choice for long trail runs and hikes, where protection and comfort are critical.
The adiSTAR Fusion technical apparel and footwear, combined with the Polar RS800 Running Computer are bringing an exciting new dimension to training and sports performance.
The use of heart rate measurement technology in biathlon now moves one-step further, from training to competitions. Several top biathletes are now using the Polar Telemetry System to transmit this physiological data to a PC for use in television broadcasts. Polar developed this system several years ago, using it in other sports broadcasts. Information collected includes instantaneous heart rate, current position, altitude, and speed. A Polar Chest Transmitter or the adiSTAR Fusion apparel, such as the long sleeve shirt or the bra, collects the competitor’s heart rate data and sends it via a GSM network for inclusion in media coverage. This flow of data provides more information for both the commentator and audience, giving them a better understanding of the physical demands of a sport like biathlon. The system debuted last season and tracked athletes at the Biathlon World Championships during several competitions.
Beyond its use in television broadcasts, the blending of technologies such as the Polar Telemetry System, the Polar RS 800 Running Computer, and the integrated adidas adiSTAR Fusion products provides a glimpse of the future of the coach/athlete relationship. In the future, similar technology to the Polar Online Telemetry (GPS/GSM/GPRS technology), used in the television broadcasts could allow a coach, sitting in his home office, to follow one or several athletes anywhere in the world through a training session. Receiving this instantaneous information, he could monitor daily training and adjust an athlete’s program based on accurate and timely data.“Part of Your Training, Part of You,” the advertising slogan tied to this unique partnership shows how more closely tied technology, the human body, and sports performance are becoming each day in the 21st century. Polar and adidas have opened the door to a world of endless possibilities for improved athlete performance.