Apparently it is possible to use the Nintendo Wii Balance Board as a measurement device. In fact, the Nintendo wii balance board is a simple force platform capable to sampling data at 100Hz.
The Wii Fit offers for a low cost price a simple platform with four measuring sensors and can be used with very little effort as a simple and inexpensive force plate, even without the corresponding game console. A German company has developed a software solution to measure some key parameters;
Clark et al. (2010) suggested that the Wii Fit balance board could represent a valid cheap solution to measure standing balance. Furthermore they have recently suggested the use of the infrared cameras in the hand controllers as a possible alternative to expensive timing light systems (http://www.jsams.org/article/S1440-2440(10)00913-8/abstract). Recent work from Young et al. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21087865) also suggests the possibility of using this technology for developing bespoke diagnostic or training programmes that exploit real-time visual feedback of current Centre of pressure position.
The Wii Balance Board is certified for 300 pounds (136 kg) in Japan and 330 pounds (150 kg) in the U.S. The Wii Balance Board has four sensors, so each sensor is certified for up to 136 kg / 4 = 34 kg per sensor in Japan or 150 kg / 4 = 37.5kg per sensor in the United States.The following Wii Balance Board calibration information from WiiBrew will make more sense.
If you are interested in Linux, you can see here how to extract the force data. I am sure this is not something useful to measure high performance athletes. However it could represent a fun and simple tool for diagnostic measurements in some populations.
If you have one and are able to use it for this purpose let me know!
Finally, our review on the role of Testosterone and Cortisol in modulating training responses in athletes has been published on Sports Medicine.
Here are the details:
Sports Med. 2011 Feb 1;41(2):103-23. doi: 10.2165/11539170-000000000-00000.
Two Emerging Concepts for Elite Athletes: The Short-Term Effects of Testosterone and Cortisol on the Neuromuscular System and the Dose-Response Training Role of these Endogenous Hormones.
Crewther BT, Cook C, Cardinale M, Weatherby RP, Lowe T.
The New Zealand Institute for Plant Food Research Limited, Hamilton, New Zealand.
The aim of this review is to highlight two emerging concepts for the elite athlete using the resistance-training model: (i) the short-term effects of testosterone (T) and cortisol (C) on the neuromuscular system; and (ii) the dose-response training role of these endogenous hormones. Exogenous evidence confirms that T and C can regulate long-term changes in muscle growth and performance, especially with resistance training. This evidence also confirms that changes in T or C concentrations can moderate or support neuromuscular performance through various short-term mechanisms (e.g. second messengers, lipid/protein pathways, neuronal activity, behaviour, cognition, motor-system function, muscle properties and energy metabolism). The possibility of dual T and C effects on the neuromuscular system offers a new paradigm for understanding resistance-training performance and adaptations. Endogenous evidence supports the short-term T and C effects on human performance. Several factors (e.g. workout design, nutrition, genetics, training status and type) can acutely modify T and/or C concentrations and thereby potentially influence resistance-training performance and the adaptive outcomes. This novel short-term pathway appears to be more prominent in athletes (vs non-athletes), possibly due to the training of the neuromuscular and endocrine systems. However, the exact contribution of these endogenous hormones to the training process is still unclear. Research also confirms a dose-response training role for basal changes in endogenous T and C, again, especially for elite athletes. Although full proof within the physiological range is lacking, this athlete model reconciles a proposed permissive role for endogenous hormones in untrained individuals. It is also clear that the steroid receptors (cell bound) mediate target tissue effects by adapting to exercise and training, but the response patterns of the membrane-bound receptors remain highly speculative. This information provides a new perspective for examining, interpreting and utilizing T and C within the elite sporting environment. For example, individual hormonal data may be used to better prescribe resistance exercise and training programmes or to assess the trainability of elite athletes. Possible strategies for acutely modifying the hormonal milieu and, thereafter, the performance/training outcomes were also identified (see above). The limitations and challenges associated with the analysis and interpretation of hormonal research in sport (e.g. procedural issues, analytical methods, research design) were another discussion point. Finally, this review highlights the need for more experimental research on humans, in particular athletes, to specifically address the concept of dual steroid effects on the neuromuscular system.
They say better late than ever, in this case it took few years, but eventually the project is now completed and the book will be out on the 17th of December.
It all started with a chat at a conference few years ago with my colleagues and friends Rob Newton and Ken Nosaka discussing the need of a comprehensive textbook on strength and conditioning providing information on the biological bases as well as practical applications.
This book is finally a reality thanks to the help and support of many colleagues who agreed to contribute to this project providing excellent chapters and creating a unique resource which we hope will be well received by anyone interested in Strength and Conditioning.
This book provides the latest scientific and practical information in the field of strength and conditioning. The text is presented in four sections, the first of which covers the biological aspects of the subject, laying the foundation for a better understanding of the second on the biological responses to strength and conditioning programs. Section three deals with the most effective monitoring strategies for evaluating a training program and establishing guidelines for writing a successful strength and conditioning program. The final section examines the role of strength and conditioning as a rehabilitation tool and as applied to those with disabilities.
The book is already available on Amazon and other online booksellers in hardcover and paperback editions.
A big thanks to our production team at Wiley-Blackwell and all the colleagues contributing to the chapters.
Details of the chapters are available here:
Foreword (Sir Clive Woodward).
1.1 Skeletal Muscle Physiology (Valmor Tricoli).
1.2 Neuromuscular Physiology (Alberto Rainoldi and Marco Gazzoni).
1.3 Bone Physiology (Jörn Rittweger).
1.4 Tendon Physiology (Nicola Maffulli, Umile Giuseppe Longo, Filippo Spiezia and Vincenzo Denaro).
1.5 Bioenergetics of Exercise (R.J. Maughan).
1.6 Respiratory and Cardiovascular Physiology (Jeremiah J. Peiffer and Chris R. Abbiss).
1.7 Genetic and Signal Transduction Aspects of Strength Training (Henning Wackerhage, Arimantas Lionikas, Stuart Gray and Aivaras Ratkevicius).
1.8 Strength and Conditioning Biomechanics (Robert U. Newton).
2.1 Neural Adaptations to Resistance Exercise (Per Aagaard).
2.2 Structural and Molecular Adaptations to Training (Jesper L. Andersen).
2.3 Adaptive Processes in Human Bone and Tendon (Constantinos N. Maganaris, Jörn Rittweger and Marco V. Narici).
2.4 Biomechanical Markers and Resistance Training (Christian Cook and Blair Crewther).
2.5 Cardiovascular Adaptations to Strength and Conditioning (Andy Jones and Fred DiMenna).
2.6 Exercise-induced Muscle Damage and Delayed-onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) (Kazunori Nosaka).
2.7 Alternative Modalities of Strength and Conditioning: Electrical Stimulation and Vibration (Nicola A. Maffiuletti and Marco Cardinale).
2.8 The Stretch–Shortening Cycle (SSC) (Anthony Blazevich).
2.9 Repeated-sprint Ability (RSA) (David Bishop and Olivier Girard).
2.10 The Overtraining Syndrome (OTS) (Romain Meeusen and Kevin De Pauw).
3.1 Principles of Athlete Testing (Robert U. Newton and Marco Cardinale).
3.2 Speed and Agility Assessment (Warren Young and Jeremy Sheppard).
3.3 Testing Anaerobic Capacity and Repeated-sprint Ability (David Bishop and Matt Spencer).
3.4 Cardiovascular Assessment and Aerobic Training Prescription (Andy Jones and Fred DiMenna).
3.5 Biochemical Monitoring in Strength and Conditioning (Michael R. McGuigan and Stuart J. Cormack).
3.6 Body Composition: Laboratory and Field Methods of Assessment (Arthur Stewart and Tim Ackland).
3.7 Total Athlete Management (TAM) and Performance Diagnosis (Robert U. Newton and Marco Cardinale).
4.1 Resistance Training Modes: A Practical Perspective (Michael H. Stone and Margaret E. Stone).
4.2 Training Agility and Change-of-direction Speed (CODS) (Jeremy Sheppard and Warren Young).
4.3 Nutrition for Strength Training (Christopher S. Shaw and Kevin D. Tipton).
4.4 Flexibility (William A. Sands).
4.5 Sensorimotor Training (Urs Granacher, Thomas Muehlbauer, Wolfgang Taube, Albert Gollhofer and Markus Gruber).
5.1 Strength and Conditioning as a Rehabilitation Tool (Andreas Schlumberger).
5.2 Strength Training for Children and Adolescents (Avery D. Faigenbaum).
5.3 Strength and Conditioning Considerations for the Paralympic Athlete (Mark Jarvis, Matthew Cook and Paul Davies).