I was asked to pop along to the Sports Science Institute to have some ‘stuff done to me’. Ok so I am always curious to see what these lab dudes are up to and know they have some incredible toys to play with, so I agreed to head out to get involved in the testing on Friday afternoon. It was a two hour session and right afterwards I was hitting up a Goldfish gig at the roof pool and bar of the Cape Royale Hotel … talk about from one vibe to another.
First up though was the Guinea Pig session which I was prepped for with the aid of a sharp razor blade, some reflective bobbles and electropads placed in all sorts of precarious places below the hip. One of the muscles that was being wired up was the gluteus maximus you see, and getting to the point where the scientists measure the muscle firing requires an electro pad on the proximal side of the muscle … uuuurhum that would be as opposed to the distal side which would be the outside of the bum … proximal meant kind of right in the middle. Not as bad as it sounds actually unless there were hidden camera’s to catch the dodgy looking application of the electrodes.
In fact there were 8 camera’s. Worth over half a million bucks actually and set up around the room to very effectively record the reflective bobbles places all over my hips down the legs to the feet. Along with the computer programme written for this sort of measurement, the data recorded translates to create an incredible video game like figure of the moving levers that make up your running stride. So I could see exactly how each movement of my running stride played out in three different plains. The clarity and way in which it shows up on the screen was incredible and I tested in normal shoes, Five Fingers and barefoot.
The collected data was invaluable for later diagnosis by the physio who was doing the study and for a myriad of other research which could now take place with such brilliant information in so many forms. The testing was a part of a very specific study being done on a patella injury of which I was a part of the control group without the injury, down the line though this could well be a fantastic place you could go to get your… well not just your gait, but the full complement of information recorded about your running, presented back to you with suggestions about injuries and prevention of them and just anything you need to know about your specific style really.
For now I was done with the electrodes and lab work; so with strangely shaved patches of bare skin on my legs I headed to the Friday mayhem of Goldfish. That was a whole other science of busting out some moves that could look pretty funky in front of those camera’s I can assure you.
More information on the Sports Science lab and the UCT testing when I head back for a second session in a month or so.