the value of bass in elite athletic training

Despite the nearly ubiquitous use of music in sport and exercise, very little research has been conducted to better understand how music impacts athletic performance. In collaboration with Utah-based headphone manufacturer, Skullcandy, we sought to utilize sensor technology to quantify the effects of altering bass level in music delivered via Skullcandy earbuds upon various measures of performance and recovery during successive high intensity, circuit training sessions. Nine Division I recruited athletes were equipped with a suite of body worn sensors to track measures of performance and recovery over the course of two days. Athletes listened to a pre-determined, standardized iPod playlist consisting of contemporary hip-hop and pop music. Bass level was changed on the second day for select participants to measure the effect of higher and lower bass in music. Analysis results suggested that listening to high bass music may promote increased effort during high intensity training by lowering heart variability while athletes are performing exercises and may inhibit recovery by increasing heart rate recovery duration following a workout.  

A Professional & Innovative training experience

The USC Center for Body Computing has worked with Proactive Sports Performance Lab for the last two years to collect and analyze biometric sensor data during their NFL Combine training program in effort to pinpoint which biometric measures and performance monitoring products are useful and efficacious in improving an NFL hopefuls 40-yard dash time. In our time working with Proactive, we have examined the relationship between G Force and 10-yard split time as well as muscle activation during the drive phase of the sprint. Analysis results suggested that both metrics are accurate and modifiable predictors of faster 40-yard dash times in NFL prospects. Our initiative is to continuously explore new form factors for body worn sensors with the goal of optimizing performance in athletic populations.


As a part of the 2015 Inaugural Triumph Games, the CBC assisted the organizers at Our Vet Success in their efforts to provide real-time biometric data on veteran-athlete's participating in the Triumph Games competition held in New York City's Prospect Park. The objective of our data collection was to characterize athletic fitness in wounded veterans, using physiological measures obtained with the Zephyr Physiological Status Monitoring (PSM) system, (Zephyr Technology Corp/Medtronic, Annapolis, MD) a body-worn, biomedical sensor platform used in numerous athletic and military training regimens. Thirteen previously injured veteran-athletes were equipped with the Zephyr technology while they competed in a modified triathlon. Physiological measures, such as heart rate and respiratory rate, were obtained using the sensor and processed through the accompanying Zephyr OmniSense software to produce derived measures of aerobic fitness and athletic effort. Triathlon completion time, biometrics and prior injuries were analyzed to characterize and compare athlete performance. Correlation between physiological measures of performance and triathlon completion time suggested that aerobic fitness and athletic effort as measured by the Zephyr platform are strongly associated with performance. Our data also indicated that veterans enduring traumatic injury can compete at very high levels and demonstrate excellent physiologic measures of fitness, independent of injury.