1. What is the concept behind StepUp Air?

The concept is to make sports teams perform better and decrease the level of injuries.

From a sports or physio expert point of view, it is well-known that muscles need oxygen to maintain exercising. If the intensity of the exercise exceeds a certain ventilatory threshold (VT), depending on individual endurance capacity, not enough oxygen will be delivered to the muscles resulting in fatigue. It is widely acknowledged that training close to ventilatory threshold intensity is an important feature of endurance training.  However, knowledge of VT has only been applied in laboratory-based environments. Until now.

Worn as a chest band, StepUp Air transforms the laboratory to a small wearable which is useful in any environment. StepUp Air interprets breathing data to notify your training zone in real-time and how close you are to your threshold. Based upon your training it provides breathing data visualization and coaching to help you improve your practice over time. Combined with an ultra-precise heart-rate monitor, it will enable you to rapidly respond to sudden changes in effort.

2. Why is it useful to measure breathing?

StepUp Air measures the expansion and contraction of inspiratory muscles. The rate at which breathing occurs defines the respiratory frequency (fR). fR is a strong marker of physical effort and parallels the well-known time-course of blood lactate during incremental exercise making it possible to locate VT.

3. What are training zones?

We define the exercise intensity by increases in fR during exercise, from which our strong algorithm automatically configures your training zones.  

Endurance Zone: 

Through research, it is known that in the early stages during exercise, fR increases linearly until a deflection point occurs known as the first ventilatory threshold (VT1) where lactate begins to accumulate in the blood. We define the zone up to VT1 as the “Endurance Zone” where exercise can be continued for a long period (e.g. 30-90 minutes) depending on fitness level.  

Threshold Zone: 

The next strong respiratory marker of intensity change is the second ventilatory threshold (VT2). At and above VT2, lactate has quickly accumulated in the blood and is therefore also known as lactate threshold or anaerobic threshold. We define the “Threshold Zone” to be between VT1 and VT2 where exercise can be continued in a moderate period (e.g. 20-30 minutes). The so-called “sweet spot” is just below your VT2 where you are able to maintain a high intensity while preventing muscles from tiring too quickly. 

Max Zone: 

When exercise intensity exceeds VT2, high intensity can no longer be sustained due to accumulation of lactate and will after a short period result in total exhaustion. This period, we define as the “Max Zone” where you are only able to exercise in a short period (e.g. 30 seconds – 2 minutes). 

4. In which situations is StepUp Air useful?

fR have a very fast response at exercise onset and offset. This means that even during alternating exercise intensities, such as high-intensity interval training (HIIT), fR will rapidly adapt. StepUp Air is therefore suitable in any sports discipline where endurance training is important. Due to its minimalistic design and wireless connectivity, StepUp Air can be used in any environment both outdoor and indoor.

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