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Halo Case Study

Case Study: Sparta Science partners with Halo Neuroscience to supercharge athlete training with Neuropriming

“Really what we want to do is change the world. That’s the big reason why we partnered with Halo.” — Phil Brady, Director of Applied Science at Sparta Science

Just a quick 40 minute drive from Halo Neuroscience HQ in the heart of Silicon Valley is Sparta Science, an elite athlete training organization. Known for their meticulously scientific and data-driven approach to training and their high-tech facility utilizing the most cutting-edge sports technologies, the training regimes offered at Sparta are all personalized to each athlete’s needs and goals. Since being founded in 2007 by Dr. Phil Wagner, Sparta has helped thousands of elite athletes across all disciplines, including the Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Falcons, Kansas Jayhawks, Jacksonville Jaguars, and other teams from the NFL, NBA, MLB to hone their skills and maximize athleticism.

In a training facility where so much of the focus is on evidence-based training with a motto of “Trust in Results”, it only seemed a natural fit for Sparta Science and Halo Neuroscience to partner to change the way athletes train. The results we saw were incredible.

The Partnership

As two companies striving to change the way athletes train through science and technology, we kicked off our partnership with Sparta Science with an in-depth 4 week study with 16 of Sparta’s MLB players during their off-season training. Of these 16 players, all carried out their regular training regime while 8 trained without Halo Sport, and the remaining 8 paired their training with a twenty-minute Neuropriming sessions targeting the lower body using Halo Sport.

Halo’s Neuropriming program aims to make workouts more productive by placing the motor cortex of the brain in a temporary state of hyper-learning or hyperplasticity. When paired with training, Halo Sport helps athletes achieve greater neurological gains from their workouts, which leads to more rapid improvements in strength, explosiveness, and motor skills.

During the 4 week research study, each athlete underwent an initial baseline assessment at the beginning and another post-test to measure the athlete’s strength, athleticism, and durability determined by the Sparta Method.

The Sparta Method

Sparta Science uses a proprietary software utilizing force-plates to analyze vertical jumps to determine an athlete’s strength, athleticism, and durability. The Sparta Scan breaks down a jump into three components: Load, Explode and Drive.

  • Load — eccentric rate of force development
  • Explode — peak concentric force
  • Drive — average concentric force

Using these three components as primary measures, Sparta creates a personalized training regime addressing the areas the athlete needs most improvement in to achieve a more balanced scan, signifying durability — a measure for how prone an athlete is to injury — as well as improving overall athleticism and strength.

Results

After 4 weeks of training with Halo Sport, we compared the athletes’ Sparta scans to their baseline scan. As shown in the graph below, the Halo group improved their focused measure by an average of 4.28%, compared to a 0.78% increase in the control group on Sparta’s absolute scale — an astonishing improvement especially at the elite athlete level.

In other words, athletes working to improve their “Load” improved their strength; athletes working to improve their “Explode” became more explosive; and athletes working to improve their “Drive” improved their ability to extend their force throughout the entire movement. All athletes showed improvement on their focused measure, however the athletes who were training with Halo Sport saw a much higher percentage improvement, and ended their offseason training with an overall more balanced scan, signifying they improved their durability.

These improvements spanned beyond just gains measured in the Sparta Scans. The gains in strength, explosiveness, and control led to functional gains in performance as well. Trevor Bettencourt, one of the players who trained with Halo Sport, saw a 0.1 second reduction in his 20 yard dash time through training with Halo Sport, allowing him that competitive edge all players seek that could turn an out into a hit on the field.

“I was running .90s and after a week of wearing it, I was running .82’s and 83’s. I don’t know the science behind it, but it works.”

While this may not sound like much, 0.1 seconds is the difference between a hit and an out at the major league level.

According to Chris Valaika, General Manager of Sparta and former MLB palyer, these results are just the beginning of what is attainable between the Halo and Sparta partnership:

“Over the last four weeks we trialled the product with our major league baseball clients and we’ve seen incredible gains. It’s an added value for us being able to use a product that so closely aligns with our motto of trust in results.”

Together, Halo and Sparta helped MLB athletes achieve measurable and significant gains both through the lens of the Sparta Scan and through functional gains in directly relevant to the sport. Sparta’s unique, evidence-based approach to training paired with Halo Sport’s cutting-edge Neuropriming technology will be a game-changing partnership across all disciplines in sports.

Curious about how other partners and athletes have seen similar results to Sparta Science training with Halo Sport? Check out our other case studies with the US Ski Association, Michael Jordan Performance, CrossFit Invictus, and Pianist Mario Marzo.

Ready to unlock your potential? Learn more about Halo Sport here.

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Stay up to date with all Halo developments — shoot us a note at hello@haloneuro.com, and follow us on on Medium, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Case Study: CrossFit Invictus Partners with Halo to Fuel CrossFit Games Excellence

San Diego’s Invictus is one of the nation’s top CrossFit performance programs. They’ve coached more than thirty individual CrossFit Games athletes, including podium finishers in 2011, 2013 and 2014. Notable Invictus athletes include Jenny LaBaw, Elyse Umeda, Camille LeBlanc-Bazinett and CrossFit legend Josh Bridges. The Invictus affiliate team won the Southern California region for three consecutive years and has placed in the top five at the CrossFit Games four out of six years — including a first place finish at the 2014 Games.

In a sport where blazing through 100 pullups, 100 pushups, 100 situps, and 100 squats in sequence is commonplace, it is imperative for CrossFit athletes to seize every single competitive advantage. Thus, it was no surprise that Invictus and Halo Neuroscience partnered up to help athletes maximize every WOD in preparation for the CrossFit Games.

The Partnership

Thirteen top-ranking Invictus athletes paired their existing training routine with twenty-minute Neuropriming sessions targeting the lower body. Halo’s Neuropriming program aims to make workouts more productive by placing the motor cortex of the brain in a temporary state of hyper-learning or hyperplasticity. When paired with training, Halo Sport helps athletes achieve greater neurological gains from their workouts, which leads to more rapid improvements in strength, explosiveness, and motor skills. CrossFit champs repeated Neuropriming sessions 4x a week and completed CrossFit classics such as the clean and jerk, snatch, and front/back squat. Repetition stimulates brain plasticity, so Neuropriming fit right into the AMRAP-nature of Invictus routines.

“We pride ourselves on utilizing the best training methodologies to help our athletes achieve their highest potential in training and competition. Halo Sport is a natural extension of that. Our athletes have seen incredible results,” says Invictus owner and head coach CJ Martin, former competitive Taekwondo practitioner, boxer and baseball player.

Preliminary Results

Training at Invictus is ongoing, but results are very strong. Two Invictus champions who have achieved excellent results with Halo are Lauren Fisher, 22, and Maddy Myers, 19. Tough, talented, and equally as strong as their male counterparts, the two women embody what it means to be a female athlete.

Check out Fisher describing her killer training routine during an interview with Nike:

Here are the results from Myer and Fishers’ training with Halo:

In plain terms, the graph shows that in two weeks of training with Halo Sport, Fisher and Myers trained at a higher load, lifting on average 5% more weight across all lower body-focused sets including snatch, clean & jerk, and front/back squat.

Five percent may not seem like a lot to casual athletes, but single digit improvements break records in CrossFit. For example, a few weeks after the partnership, Myers broke her personal record at the December 2015 American Open — 114kg in clean and jerk. This put her at just 4 kilos off the Junior American records in the 63kg weight class. She then went on to win silver in clean and jerk (89kg), gold in snatch (120kg), and gold in total (209kg) at the Junior Pan Ams in San Salvador at the end of April — a win that allowed her to break both the clean and jerk and total American records.

See the video of her record-breaking clean and jerk below.

According to Martin, these results are just the beginning of what is attainable with Halo:

“Over the course of four weeks, what I noted was that virtually every athlete was hitting a personal record in something.They were not improving in just one thing, it was carrying over into everything we were doing.”

Halo helped athletes improve across a variety of sets, as evidenced by the performance of Myers. In other words, Halo facilitated improvements in exercises that weren’t even paired with Neuropriming — evidence of the cross-strengthening phenomenon that occurs when the brain and body are trained simultaneously.

Stay tuned to the Halo Neuroscience blog more insight into Invictus training, and the results from each CrossFit Games competition. In the meantime, get pumped for the Games with a gif of the Invictus team preparing for victory:

Curious about taking the next step towards hitting new PRs in the weight room like our CrossFit athletes? Learn more about Halo Sport here.

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Stay up to date with all Halo developments — shoot us a note at hello@haloneuro.com, and follow us on on Medium, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.