Athos Q&A: Dr. Scott Lynn

Dr. Scott Lynn, Associate Professor, California State University, Fullerton

When it comes to an athlete’s training and development, people think of fields, courts and gyms as the critical places where the most work happens.

Professors and Scientists spend a lot of time in labs to understand the science that goes into an athlete's training and movement and this information needs to be filtered down to the athletes and coaches to make it useful. Dr. Lynn will tell you that knowing what's going on inside of an athlete's body during training can make all the difference when it comes to game-time performance. Professors like Dr. Lynn devote countless hours to better understand exercise prescriptions for elite athletes by studying the kinematics and kinetics of human movements in both clinical and sports applications. Dr. Lynn is well known in the sports world by trainers and researchers who have spent time in his Biomechanics Laboratory at CSU Fullerton in order to gain a deeper understanding of sports science.

When it comes to having an expert opinion on all things sports science, Dr. Lynn is a key partner we work with to study the effect of EMG on athletes in training. His dual undergraduate degrees in Physical, Health Education and Life Sciences from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada and his MSc and Ph.D. in Orthopedic Biomechanics made him a perfect fit to dig deeper into the muscular stress placed on athletes during training.

We sat down with him to pick his brain about his experiences using Athos in his lab with athletes in training.

WHY DR. SCOTT LYNN PARTNERED WITH ATHOS

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What attracted you to Athos?

SL: I was very interested in Athos as they were attempting to take a very valuable research tool and clinical tool (EMG data) and get it in the hands of many more people to help them with athletic performance and injury prevention/rehabilitation. The challenge of presenting EMG data in a way that would make it useful for every individual was extremely interesting to me and an excellent opportunity for knowledge translation of all the great research that has been done using EMG data.

What sets Athos apart from the rest of the technology out there in this space?

SL: I believe Athos is the only commercially available product that can give access to the internal (muscular) load required to produce external work. I was extremely skeptical of Athos when I first saw the product, as collecting good EMG data can be a real challenge even in the most controlled laboratory setting. However, I was amazed once I was able to work with the team at Athos and see the quality of the raw data that the system was able to collect. I’m not aware of any other consumer product that is able to collect EMG data of this quality. The accelerometers in the cores that are in the shirt and the shorts are also very exciting as they can provide kinematic information that can really help in the interpretation of the EMG information.

SPORTS PERFORMANCE TECHNOLOGY IN ACTION AT CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FULLERTON BIOMECHANICS LABORATORY

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What happened when you started using Athos Training System?

SL: When I first started using the Athos technology, I was amazed at how extremely easy it was to use. Many of our studies with Athos have alsoincorporated standard sports science research tools (isokinetic dynamometer, research grade EMG system, 3D motion tracking system, force plates, etc). During these data collections, most of the issues we had were with the other systems and not with Athos.

How did Athos EMG technology compare to research grade EMG technology?

SL: We are still in the process of evaluating the data from this study but it appears the Athos system is very much comparable to the information provided by our research grade EMG system.

Have you used it on yourself?

SL: I have used the Athos training system and it has helped me to identify some muscular imbalances that I have been working on improving.

EVOLVING FROM COLLECTING DATA TO DECISION MAKING

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What’s the biggest upside of being able to access EMG data insights from an Athletic Trainer and Strength & Conditioning standpoint?

SL: Athos can really give the Athletic Trainers and Strength and Conditioning coaches access to the quality of movements that their athletes are performing. Once an athlete or a patient is prescribed an exercise program, it is difficult for the coach/therapist to monitor every repetition to ensure proper muscular activation strategies. Athos gives coaches/therapists access to information that can really help tailor exercise programs for each individual and get the most optimal results.

How can Athos help coaches get athletes to Return to Play quickly as well as to maintain player availability?

SL: Athos can help coaches monitor muscular imbalances that can build up over time and cause injury. Athos can be used to monitor the internal load on the athlete not only in the gym but on the field of play as well which can really help identify inefficient movement patterns that may cause injury. It can also be used to evaluate movement pattern correction exercises to see if these exercises are indeed activating muscles appropriately to manage muscular imbalances and not make them worse.

FUTURE OF TRAINING WITH TECHNOLOGY

What would you say to someone who is resistant to using technology in sports training?

SL: I understand those who are resistant in using technology in sports training as many technologies provide too much information without context that can be extremely overwhelming. Our goal with Athos is to provide simple information that is easily understood by all type of users; however; this has been a great challenge. We’ve been working very hard to overcome this obstacle and I’ve seen great improvement in the information provided to users by Athos in my time using the system. I’m confident that, through the research Athos is doing, the interpretation of the information will continue to improve and provide extremely useful information to all users.

Where do you see the intersection between sports performance and technology going in the future?

SL: Technology has begun to take over many aspects of our lives and sports is no different. If interpreted appropriately, more analytic information about how our bodies are working can only help to keep us healthy and improve athletic performance.

Do you think EMG will become mainstream?

SL: If you asked me this question several years ago, I would have given you an emphatic “No” answer. I didn’t think it was possible to collect good EMG data outside of a very controlled lab setting. Athos has most certainly changed my opinion on this question and with continued improvement of the Athos product; I think it is very much possible that EMG can be used across various aspects of human performance.

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