foot and the right foot. The algorithm then
generates training recommendations for the
athlete that may not seem connected to a
given weakness. The magic is in the eight years of data that
Sparta has now collected that can tailor workouts to correct
specifc defciencies. A basketball player trying to develop a
more explosive frst step might be told he should add bench
presses to his workout—because, somewhat counterintuitively,
the data shows benching makes the legs more powerful.
A soccer forward with an explosive frst step but who lacks
sustained power might hear she’s at risk for developing hip
problems and ought to do more lunges to remedy the problem.
Among the teams using Sparta are the NBA’s Cleveland
Cavaliers, MLS’s San Jose Earthquakes, MLB’s Colorado
Rockies, and the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, who
reached the Super Bowl in February. Colleges
such as Auburn and Penn are also on board.
Gabe Bauer, head strength and conditioning coach for the
Rockies, frst came across Sparta six years ago, when the team
was looking for some sort of technological solution that would
allow players to track their workouts without toting around
a clipboard and a pen. “We weren’t even looking at the injury-prevention side of things originally,” he says. Like every coach,
Bauer balances competing imperatives: On the one hand, ever-escalating salaries mean that the cost of injuries, in the form of
lost playing time, is rising too. On the other hand, there are so
many new training technologies vying for the time and money
of people like him, he can’t aford to waste either on a product
Phil Wagner sits under red lights in the
morning to stimulate the mitochondria
in his eyes, a process he says gives
him more energy.