The Commonwealth Games are now underway in Birmingham, with 4,600 sports men and women from across 72 nations and territories competing for medals in 25 different sports.
And load cells have been crucial to helping many elite athletes and their tech to reach new heights and set new records.
In the first of two blogs celebrating the Games, we look at nine sports, and some examples of the role load cells have played in training and performance analysis.
3×3 Basketball and 3×3 Wheelchair Basketball
Load cells are often used in resistance training equipment, and to gather important fitness level data such as Loaded and Unloaded Jumps . According to a blog about basketball training:
“Loaded jumping is a great exercise for training and a great option for testing. For example, a basketball team may want to do weekly RSI testing … .A great test is comparing squat jumps to jump squats, as 30% of your athlete’s body weight is enough to remove the talent factor from clouding the data and see how strength training is trending.”
Aquatics – Diving
Load cells may not be used to measure the rise in blood pressure whenever heart throb diver Tom Daley takes to the high board. However, load cells are used extensively underwater, including monitoring the cables and legs on oil rigs. So far so good, but how do you calibrate underwater load cells? Here’s the answer!
Aquatics – Swimming and Para Swimming
In one of our favourite load cells blogs, we took a look at researchers were developing a system for accurately measuring drag for elite swimmers when doing front crawl.
Athletics and Para Athletics
Where do we start! OK, let’s start at the bottom with an often overlooked issue – how well an athlete’s shoe grips the track or running surface. As this article explains, load cells are sued extensively in running shoe testing.
Badminton and Squash
No tennis at the Commonwealth Games in 2022, but the research done on tennis shoe design using load cells has no doubt benefitted the design of court shoes for other racquet sports.
Are load cells involved? Who cares – this isn’t why most people watch beach volleyball!
If you’ve been tempted to try out the strength of your punch on one of those arcade games, here’s the answer to that burning question you’ll have: “What kind of a sensor does an arcade punch (boxing) machine have?”
At the centre of the action is the cricket ball itself, an item which is difficult to mass produce, as Australian manufacturer Kookaburra explained:
“Traditionally making Cricket balls is a time consuming, painstaking procedure, while the weight accuracy of the leather cups is crucial to the final quality and grading. Any saving in manufacturing time means increased output and any higher weight accuracy ensuring better quality.”
The company came up with a solution involving oil dampened load cells which resulted in a time/labor saving of 28%.
A team of scientists from the University of Cambridge also used load cells to make a comparison of cricket ball cores, as detailed in their article in “Materials and Science in Sports”.
Cycling – Mountain Bike, Road, Track and Para Track
This has to be one of our favourite load cell stories!
“Cycling hero Chris Boardman decided to partner with Boardman Bikes (now owner by Halfords) to build the UK’s first cycle-specific wind tunnel in Evesham … He wanted to offer people use of a wind tunnel for the price of a good curry.”
Gymnastics – Artistic & Rhythmic
Gymnastics puts incredible stresses and strains on various parts of a gymnast’s body, including the spectacular and gravity-defying men’s gymnastic rings. A research paper aimed to“identify factors associated with excellence, and techniques which increase the risk of injury” as follows:
“Load cells positioned, either within the metal framework at the attachment of the ring cable, or connected in series between the ring cable and the frame have been used to record the forces applied by gymnasts.”
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