• Aaron de Jong

The future of movement health for the tactical market

Takeaways from this year’s NSCA Tactical Strength & Conditioning (TSAC) Conference.


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First impressions at TSAC in San Antonio

I went down to San Antonio, Texas a few weeks ago for the Tactical Strength and Conditioning Conference (TSAC) hosted by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).


Heavy metal hardware, performance-enhancing smart apparel, and athlete management software providers were on scene to advertise their services, with the intention of helping improve the tactical and military strength and conditioning world. In addition to the conference floor, there were speakers and learning sessions for practitioners who are actively servicing this industry.


I attended the conference with our head of partnerships, Jeff Zeilstra. Jeff has partnered with Military organizations in previous roles, but I was coming into the military and tactical performance environment with fresh eyes. I arrived with an open mind and a desire to learn more about the Department of Defense’s needs, and their approach to bettering the health and performance of their service members.


I knew coming down that the DoD has focused recently on improving the overall wellness of their service members. This is exemplified by the US Army’s stated commitment to improve the health of their soldiers through an initiative called H2F (Holistic Health and Fitness).


This initiative is addressing the alarming fact that 55 percent of active component soldiers sustain an MSKI (musculoskeletal injury) every year. H2F’s goal is to:

  • Optimize soldier personal readiness

  • Optimize physical and non-physical performance

  • Reduce injury rates, particularly over-use MSKI rates

  • Rapidly rehabilitate and recondition Soldiers following injury

  • Improve overall Soldier and unit morale and effectiveness


I was curious to see how this problem was being talked about, what strategies were currently in place and what new innovations the DoD is seeking to improve the real pain points people are experiencing today.


Image of Dr. Rob Orr from his Tactical Research Unit at Bond University, sourced here.



Takeaways from TSAC


As I walked the conference floor, I was blown away by the commitment, the professionalism and the resources on offer at TSAC. The speakers were experts in their respective fields and the representatives at each booth were knowledgeable both on their products and what the body needs to excel in the world of optimizing human performance. These were my people.


A highlight for me was getting the chance to take in a presentation from Dr. Rob Orr, who shared an enlightening way of translating basic anatomy principles into practical movement applications. His common sense approach allowed the audience to reflect on how we tend to overlook subtle nuances when prescribing certain stretching protocols – and how to apply what we all learned back in our early exercise science days at school.


At the same time, I was able to see TSAC with a unique outsider’s perspective as a relative newcomer to this industry. As I explored the exhibition hall and listened to speaker panels, I asked myself what I felt was missing.

Movement health missing links in the tactical space


What I realized at the conference was that there are two general problems in the tactical space as it relates to movement/MSK health.


  1. Getting service members to comply with physical activity guidelines when they aren’t on base, and

  2. Personalization of scalable interventions that meet any service member where they, for their body, that day.


To address the first is to address the human condition. The exercise and health tech industry by and large is working to innovate motivational triggers to help people get, and stay, active.


To address the second is where new technology is required to scale better movement health outcomes for large groups of personnel who are being managed by a small group of specialists.


Image by Ketut Subiyanto

Opportunities ahead for movement in the military


My assumption coming down to TSAC was that movr could work with some of the softwares currently used within the tactical and military industries to enhance the overall experience.


While I still think that we could very much do this, a few much larger opportunities for the military presented themselves:


  • There is a clear opportunity for the tactical space to integrate the usage of a digital remote assessment experiences, enabling service members to consistently self-assess and report their movement health.

  • There is a demand for the tactical space to implement routine (daily) personalized movement protocols to enhance movement health and combat the prevalence of MSK injuries related to overuse. In doing so, data will be able to inform what percentage of these injuries are truly preventable.

  • The largest and most unexpected need I discovered is the objective scaling of program creation with personalized movement protocols that meet current S&C principles and reflect the current movement ability and limitations of each individual whether in reserve, on base, or deployed.


As we continue to build out our "movement health as a service" offerings, I left TSAC motivated and encouraged about movr’s potential to bring evidence-based, actionable and scalable solutions to the tactical industry.


I also left believing that there will be incredible innovation in the coming years with the focus, funding and intention to improve the holistic health of every individual who operates within the DoD. This focus on human-first needs is something my personal passions and the technology we’ve built at movr are built to serve.


More to come.

Aaron de Jong

CEO @ movr

 


movr is an assessment-based movement health technology company. Our goal is to help measurably improve musculoskeletal health with innovative technology solutions within an ever-changing health space.


Interested in learning more? Reach out here.