142nd Wing Enhances Physical Performance via Sparta Science Program

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Sean Campbell
  • 142nd Wing

In a bid to strengthen unit preparedness for its members, the 142nd Wing has taken up the Sparta Science Program. The program is a physical health assessment that utilizes proprietary force plate technology.

Explaining the program's mechanics, Master Sgt. Lewis Phillips, a physical training leader with the 142nd Comptroller Flight, detailed how users are meant to engage with the force plates to collect data and evaluate various facets of their physical ability. Following their assessments, participants receive the results in an easy-to-understand document.

“[it] is important as it can help improve a subjects physical performance in many, if not all activities,” said Phillips. “Its ability to identify strengths and weaknesses in its users is also very valuable and serves as a basis for improvement.”

The system operates via force plates that scan and assess relay test data before sending it to an attached tablet. The equipment is research-grade and focuses on making the assessment quick, easy, and effective.

Capt. Daniel Delgado, a data analyst for the 142nd Civil Engineer Squadron, reflected on his impression of the Sparta assessment after a recent evaluation.

“I was pleasantly surprised by how simple the setup was. I was expecting a lot of sensors and some wearable device, but it was a platform with all the sensors inside,” said Delgado. “Overall, I think this could be a really fun way to gamify fitness improvement amongst the Airmen on base. It adds a fun element of friendly competition to our own individual fitness aspirations.”

The assessment is comprised of several tests: a jump scan, a balance scan, and Isometric Mid-Thigh Pull (IMTP) Scan, which assesses absolute strength, rate of force development, and fatigue. Each portion targets different, specific aspects of physical ability.

“It has helped identify strengths and areas for improvement for all users,” Phillips said. “Additionally, its personalized workouts offer approachable and easy-to-follow exercises tailored to all fitness levels and specific to your goals. Its ability to identify imbalances within the body has helped our users focus our training on our weak points, which should reduce the probability of injuries occurring.”

Caryn Robbins, a Customer Success Director for the Sparta Software Corporation, explained that the Sparta jump scan can provide information which is meant to help users identify and understand areas of their bodies’ performance that need improvement. Assessment scores can give users an indication of where they are currently and help them track and improve their scores over time.

“A great goal to start with is to train for load, explode, and drive to all exceed 50, and fall within 10 points of one another,” said Robbins.

When taking Sparta scores into consideration, Robbins notes that fewer overuse injuries have been observed in those with higher (87+) scores compared to those with lower scores.

There are various incentives for members of the 142nd Wing to engage with the program, including assessing fitness goals which could include improving Air Force fitness scores or enhancing sports performance and general health and wellness.

In terms of overall unit readiness, Phillips emphasized the program's contribution through actionable data for injury prevention, optimized training, and objective assessment of personnel.

"By leveraging this technology, commanders can ensure their units are physically prepared for mission demands," he concluded.

The adoption of the Sparta Science program underscores the unit's commitment to leveraging innovative solutions to enhance operational readiness and individual performance.