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ActivBody Partners With NFL Teams, Physical Therapists

SPORTS TECH: Smart Device Enables Full Body Workouts in Minutes

SAN DIEGO – A pocket-sized smart device developed in 2008 that helped its inventor exercise while on the go has become top-line tool used by professional sports teams to quantify their players’ fitness levels.

The demands of work, family and travel made it difficult for Dr. Kosta Yanev to regularly make it to the gym, and the fitness products he tried weren’t portable or flexible enough for him, so Yanev got to work on a product that would fit his needs.

Jon Tait
CEO
ActivBody Inc.

So the doctor – who in 1970 earned a master’s in nuclear physics – in 2008 invented Activ5, a pocket-sized smart device paired with an app that enables users to get a full body muscle workout anywhere in just a few minutes.

“Being a scientific mind, (Yanev) wanted to be able to kind of quantify that isometric movement so he made a small device that essentially measured force over time,” said ActivBody CEO Jon Tait. “But it was more geared toward the consumer market. It was kind of ‘gamified’ for people to get in quick little 5-minute workouts at their desk.”

The product Yanev launched to bring one solution to exercise needs for people like him has developed into a full data-forward business called ActivBody, a consumer electronics and software-driven company based in San Diego that continues to create health and wellness solutions.

Tait said ActivBody products are used in more than 25 countries with at least 250 monthly active users.

“Our products have really spread organically just because I think we’ve made really approachable technology where multiple purchasing demographics are able to afford it,” he said.

ActivBody products are now used by more than 30 professional sports teams, including those in Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, the English Premier League, World Rugby and many national Olympic organizations.

ActivBody Small but Mighty

ActivBody makes small handheld devices that fit in the palm of your hand, and that when a user puts the device between two body parts it measures the amount of force being pushed. When it was first launched, following along on a connected app screen, the experience became like a game where you might fly a plane through obstacles, Tait said.

Activ5 has grown to be less of a game and much more serious, a portable workout device and mobile app that coaches people through more than100 low impact, isometric based strength training workouts. It also quantifies muscle activity and force measurement for physical therapy and human performance.

Tait said ActivBody’s “big first win probably was launching globally in all the Apple stores… so people could go in there and try it, touch it and feel it.”

But in 2020, the company pivoted to a push into physical therapy and into the professional sports market. Since then, its revenues have grown about 5X, Tait said, with more than 2 million strength tests conducted on ActivBody apps.

Its ActivForce product has an integrated digital system that measures, tracks and visualizes key strength metrics and force data, giving physical therapists immediate insights into a patient’s capabilities. Its ActivElite product provides actionable data to fine-tune high performance training and those seeking peak performance. The company plans a launch in the next few months of its newest product called ActivStrike.

Because of contractual and privacy considerations, Tait said he couldn’t share information on any pro sports teams using ActivBody products, but the Pittsburgh Steelers featured it on their social media feeds in 2019.

Then, Steelers conditioning coordinator Garrett Giemont said, “the little pod… and the software that built to create the end result… can give you all the information you need.”

Wellness in Physical Therapy

ActivBody products also give physical therapists ways to track their patients’ compliance and progress by analyzing data gathered during therapy sessions or keeping tabs on at-home exercises. Therapists can measure force used by the patient’s injured area, customize workouts based on the patient’s strength level, and set goals to help them efficiently and effectively recover.

Matt Higgins
Product Manager
ActivBody Inc.

One of its products, the ActivForce 2 Handheld Dynamometer, is being used by PhysioU to help with teaching objective muscle strength testing. PhysioU is an online rehabilitation education leader using guideline-based web tools, teaching physical therapist and physical therapist assistant students key skills they need to succeed in the clinic and help patients.

Matt Higgins, ActivBody product manager, said partnering with PhysioU gives the company an even greater reach.

“I think PhysioU has over 100 partner schools worldwide so it’s going to be a big step up in our reach into the physical PT education world,” Higgins said.

Dr. Tracy Moore is product and education manager at PhysioU, American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties Board certified oncology clinical specialist and faculty member at Azusa Pacific University.

“We’re on a mission to revolutionize physical therapy education at the entry level, which ActivBody pairs with perfectly,” he said.

Tracy Moore
Product and Education Manager
PhysioU

He said he had a chance to teach with the ActivForce device in the classroom this past semester, using it in the Clinical Skills course at APU’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program.

“We updated our Range of Motion, MMT & Palpation app to include professional videos of the ActivForce 2 being used by a clinician to demonstrate the benefits of objective data for muscle strength testing in the clinic as compared to subjective assessments like traditional manual muscle testing,” Moore said. “This is really the first true attempt to incorporate handheld dynamometry at scale into entry level education.”

 

ActivBody Inc.
FOUNDED: 2016
FOUNDER: Dr. Kostadin Yanev
CEO: Jon Tait
HEADQUARTERS: San Diego
BUSINESSS: Sports Tech
REVENUE: 5X increase in net revenue since pivot in 2020
EMPLOYEES: 20
WEBSITE: activbody.com
CONTACT: sales@activbody.com
SOCIAL IMPACT: Improving lives by making professional-grade measurement tools available at a fraction of the cost of other force measurement solutions.
NOTABLE: More than 2 million strength tests have been conducted on ActivBody apps

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