Halo Neuroscience Halo Sport

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Training Average Joes and Super Pros with Science - Halo Sport Neuropriming First Look

Can these wild headphones make a substantial training improvement for the reigning women's DH World Champion, a Top 10 EWS racer, and the average rider? Miranda Miller, Remi Gauvin & Joel Harwood will put them to the test.

Training Average Joes and Super Pros with Science - Halo Sport Neuropriming First Look

Here at Vital MTB, our product reviews and testimonials are almost exclusively bikes or bike components. The bonus of being a part of the review posse is that all of the product testing compliments my ‘real’ job as owner and coach of Blueprint Athlete Development. I get the fortunate opportunity to test the differences between designs, brands, and products for the sake of finding opportunities to improve athletic performance and the fun factor. The main facet of my coaching role is to improve the rider themselves, which is something that hasn’t crossed paths with Vital MTB, until now.

As a part of striving for every opportunity to Read More »

Here at Vital MTB, our product reviews and testimonials are almost exclusively bikes or bike components. The bonus of being a part of the review posse is that all of the product testing compliments my ‘real’ job as owner and coach of Blueprint Athlete Development. I get the fortunate opportunity to test the differences between designs, brands, and products for the sake of finding opportunities to improve athletic performance and the fun factor. The main facet of my coaching role is to improve the rider themselves, which is something that hasn’t crossed paths with Vital MTB, until now.

As a part of striving for every opportunity to improve, coaches are always looking for ways to refine the skills, fitness, tactics, and mindset of the athletes we work with. This led us to Halo Sport, a very interesting new product from Halo Neuroscience. The company isn't the first group to look into the effectiveness of neuropriming, but they’re the first to put the research into practice with athletes, with a focus on real-world improvement. Before we dive in, here’s a brief introduction from Halo Sport’s Chief Technical Officer:

Halo Sport Highlights

  • Wearable neurostimulation device with audio output
  • Designed to help athletes improve their performance
  • Helps achieve accelerated improvements in strength, skill, speed, and endurance
  • Uses Neuropriming technology, which activates the motor cortex and puts the brain into a state of hyper-learning
  • Included with Halo Sport headset: Primers x3, open earpads (pre-installed), closed earpads, quick-dry carrying case, USB charging cable, USB wall adapter, audio cable with microphone, spray bottle, Primer recharge kit
  • Lithium ion battery (included)
  • Requires downloading of the free Halo Sport app
  • Color: Black
  • MSRP: $599

Halo Sport uses gentle pulses of energy transmitted through point-shaped Primer pads to improve the brain’s response to training.

Curious? Us too, which is why we wrangled a pair and plan on putting them to use for the next few months with the reigning women's UCI Downhill World Champion, Miranda Miller, the 8th-ranked Enduro World Series racer, Remi Gauvin, and myself to see just how much of a difference they’ll make compared to training without them.

The Plan

Halo Sport is most effective when used for training repeatable movements. For mountain biking, the easiest on-bike skill to study is pedaling. A focus on power output, cadence, or fitness are all reasonable, and for the sake of this article we’ll be looking at all three. Since most of us are more fired up about shredding than our fitness, we’ll also look at skill development. Since Halo Sport offers the greatest benefit with repeatable training within the one hour window of hyperplasticity, we’ll focus on pump track skills, timing, and ‘results’ using timed training. It's conceivable that using short sections of a trail, lift-access, shuttles, or a training loop would also produce similar results and we’ll them where possible for the long-term study. Lastly, strength training is another controllable, repeatable movement that we’ll use for comparison throughout the review process.

Halo Sport connects to your phone via Bluetooth using the Halo Sport application.

The Process

While we can’t make scientific claims about the effectiveness of Halo Sport, we can control the vast majority of training variables, including implementing a similar training model to previous years. Furthermore, data will be compared to previous testing results. If the relative improvements are the same as previous years, we’ll infer that either the headphones weren’t effective or that we didn’t use them properly. If improvements are greater, and assuming we’ve controlled as many variables as we can (within reason), we’ll infer that the hyperplasticity provided by Halo Sport was the independent variable that has made the difference in our dependent variables: the target training outcomes.

The Guinea Pigs

Out of sheer curiosity, I will be using these headphones and represent the donkey category. I’m a fairly fit donkey, but keep in mind my training regime consists mostly of parenting, building a new house, and working 50 hours per week… nevertheless I certainly have more to gain than a professional athlete who is already approaching their peak fitness and skill levels.

Both Remi Gauvin and Miranda Miller will represent the racehorse category. In their cases, we’ll be looking at full-time professionals on strict training programs that us working class folks couldn’t hope to replicate.

The Data

We’ll keep it brief for now, with more detail on the process when we circle back after four weeks of training using Halo Sport.

Target Training Outcomes:

  • Improved peak power
  • Improved 20-second average power (see 2017 World Champs final sprint)
  • Improved functional threshold power
  • Improved 2-minute heart rate recovery
  • Improved bike handling skills
  • Improved strength

4-Week Protocol:

  • Baseline testing
  • 4 weeks of training: priorities are strength, flexibility, and skill development
  • 4-week testing

4-Month Protocol:

  • Use 4-week testing results as baseline
  • 12 weeks of training: priorities will shift throughout this time, but improvements across all categories is expected
  • Ongoing training

Halo Sport went through an intense design process before the final product was revealed.

The Reason

We're guiltier than most when it comes to gear lust – we literally do it for a living. The Halo Sport headset slots in at $599 USD, and while it isn’t inexpensive, many of us are guilty of investing far more into upgrades, kits, and computers. We're curious as to whether or not the return on investment might be more significant if we chose to focus on personal development. In the case of an amateur athlete or factory racer, it seems like a no-brainer to look into options like Halo Sport to maximize the efficacy of training in the same way that eating properly, getting adequate recovery, and having a well-organized program are essential components of maximizing one’s potential.

To put it another way, a racer like Remi Gauvin needs only a marginal improvement in fitness or skill to win his first Enduro World Series race. For us, we would prefer to ride like Sam Hill on an outdated 26-inch hardtail than end up on @joey.of.the.day on a $10K superbike. In either case, if wearing headphones for a twenty minute warmup provides more significant improvements, Halo Sport may actually make a lot of sense.

Visit www.haloneuro.com for more information, and stay tuned to see how each of our athletes progress.


About The Author

Joel Harwood is the owner and coach of Blueprint Athlete Development, where he helps top level athletes get even faster. He has been playing in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia for over ten years. He spends his summer months coaching DH race groms in the Whistler Bike Park and guiding XC riders all over BC. He dabbles in all types of racing, but is happiest while blasting his trail bike down trails that include rock slabs, natural doubles, and west coast tech.

Photos by Halo Neuroscience

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Specifications

Product Halo Neuroscience Halo Sport
Audio Type Headphones
Features Wearable neurostimulation device
Designed to help athletes improve their performance
Helps achieve accelerated improvements in strength, skill, speed, and endurance
Uses Neuropriming technology which activates the motor cortex and puts the brain into a state of hyper-learning
Miscellaneous Included with Halo Sport headset: Primers x3, Open earpads (pre-installed), Closed earpads, Quick-dry carrying case, USB charging cable, USB wall adapter, Audio cable with microphone, Spray bottle, and Primer recharge kit
Batteries: 1 Lithium ion batteries required (included)
Color: Black
Requires downloading of the free Halo Sport app
Price $599
More Info

​Halo Sport

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