LeBron James needs a break, and rightfully so. NBA champion, gold medalist, entrepreneur: the Cavs star decided to forego the Olympics as announced two weeks ago. However there will be a piece of James—sort of—as part of the Rio Games, and it is even going with some of those on the hoops side who started workouts this week in Las Vegas for the USA Basketball team.
The link to LeBron is through a device called WHOOP, described as a “scientifically-grounded system designed for continuous wear that provides athletes with data to reduce injuries and predict peak performance,” according to an announcement on Monday.
James, through his trainer Mike Mancias, along with teammates like J.R. Smith and Matthew Delladova, and Raptors star turned Olympian Kyle Lowry are some of the devotees to the technology, which will be on the wrists of an A list of Olympians as well who are prepping for the Games now.
That list includes athletes big and small, from swimmer Ryan Lochte, wrestler Adeline Gray, and beach volleyball team Casey Patterson and Jake Gibb to rower Gevvie Stone and fencer Jason Pryor who are training on the sports performance platform in preparation for Rio.
WHOOP Strap 2.0 uses a lightweight, award winning wristband design that is worn day and night, measures key performance variables more than 100 times per second, 24 hours a day, including strain, recovery and sleep. It is designed to proactively adjust sleep patterns and strain on the body, which helps in recovery and maximizes performance.
“After seeing such success with elite athletes, we’re very proud to be able to share our performance optimization system with the public,” said Will Ahmed, Founder and CEO of WHOOP in a release Monday. “For the first time, every athlete will be able to get actionable data, measure strain and recovery and optimize travel and sleep – all so that they can reduce injury and improve performance.”
“Over my many years on the national team I’ve learned that training for the Olympics is more than just long hours in the pool and weight room,” Lochte added in a statement. “Much of your success in the pool comes from what you do outside of it. WHOOP has given me insight into my sleep and recovery which ultimately helped push my training to new levels.”
In addition to serving elite athletes, the brand is now available for consumers as well, at a steep price for the weekend warrior but one that is not out of the range of those who really take training seriously (about $500). Since the product is not officially approved for use in competition by the IOC or the USOC and there is no official partnership with any National Governing Body, chances are you will not be seeing WHOOP on a basketball court or in a pool when the Games are on, but the device will be on hand (no pun intended) around training sessions and when the bright broadcast lights are off when the Games begin.
That doesn’t mean however that the WHOOP impact may not be felt, as it joins a growing advanced wearable space, with some of the biggest names across on the board joining up. LeBron may be resting, but his training tool of choice probably won’t be. For details visit WHOOP.com.