Tech behind the two stripes: MuscleSound

With the turn of the new year came a new chapter for Team DSM. We welcomed on a bundle of new names to our cycling family and with it, a selection of the world’s best equipment partners. We are continuously putting our equipment through vigorous testing in order to ensure optimal performance. Can it be lighter? Can it be more aero? Can we recover faster?  We’re proud to work with partners who share our innovative mindset and along with our team of the world’s leading experts, are eager to put their equipment and products to the test in order to make small improvements that make the biggest difference at the top tier of our sport.

We sat down with Team DSM’s Nutrition Expert Titia van der Stelt to discuss one such product, MuscleSound.

What exactly is MuscleSound?

To put it simply, MuscleSound  is an advanced software program that uses ultrasound scanning to “look inside your muscles”. For a cyclist the most important part of the body is their legs, so MuscleSound allows us to assess a range of elements that are key for muscle health and performance, without the need for an invasive biopsy.

How does it work?

Ultrasound transmits high frequency sound waves into the body through a device known as a transducer. During the scan itself, different tissues and muscles within the body reflect the sound waves back at different speeds, consequently producing different shapes and varying levels of brightness of the scanned image. The image can then in turn be analysed for a variety of metabolic and structural functions.

How do Team DSM use MuscleSound?

MuscleSound measures the glycogen storage, which is the carbohydrate storage, so we can see if a rider is fuelled enough for a stage or not. If the latter is the case, then we can adjust our nutrition plans to accommodate that and ensure that the rider then gets the correct nutrients. At a Grand Tour, we are able to see how a rider’s body is coping with the tough demands of being on the bike for three weeks and make changes accordingly. This of course is really important so that rider can perform at the highest possible level and to the best of their abilities throughout the race, knowing that they are fuelled optimally because of the data we get from MuscleSound.

With the differences in athletes at the top level so small, MuscleSound helps to give us an advantage in regards to our nutrition planning for the riders. Which during the final week of a tough Grand Tour where the demands on the body are so high, it can make difference between a rider sustaining their performance in the final stages or “bonking”.