Why Under Armour Performance Team Uses Joovv Red Light Therapy
“We think about recovery just like we think about training the athlete and getting the athlete competition-ready. We take it very very seriously” - Paul Winsper, VP of Human Performance at Under Armour
Under Armour and their Human Performance team believe recovery is absolutely essential to athletic performance and overall health. More than any other brand, Under Armour is embracing the idea that recovery is just as important as the training itself. In this article, we’ll check out the recovery protocol at Under Armour’s Human Performance Center in Oregon, and talk to their Director of Athletic Performance, Michael Watts, about how UA uses Joovv red light therapy for athletic recovery and other health benefits.
Under Armour Believes Recovery is Essential to Training and Performance
To optimize recovery for its athletes and customers, Under Armour has invested heavily in recovery science and technology. Their Athletic Performance team, lead by Michael Watts, is taking a broad, evidence-based approach to how athletes train and recover. One key aspect to their holistic approach is focusing on light exposure.
“Light is a vital part of how we function and operate as human beings,” says Michael Watts. “Our entire body clock is governed by light, meaning exposure to light with the correct wavelengths at the right times supports our diurnal rhythm, and our overall health and wellness.”
Under Armour is using science and research to expand the bounds of what we consider athletic training. They’re looking at an athlete’s entire life, not just what they do in the gym. Mental health, sleep, light exposure, and recovery are just a few of the ways UA is trying to enhance an athlete’s overall health and wellness. Paul Winsper, VP of Human Performance at UA, thinks that “the industry hasn’t really caught up with our approach, so we have a unique view on holistic athlete development.”
This holistic approach to recovery has been working wonders for Under Armour athletes in Oregon. Below we’ll take you inside their human performance center and the recovery routine they recommend for athletes.
A Look at the Recovery Protocol at Under Armour’s Human Performance Center
Under Armour’s performance team goes well beyond ice packs and foam rollers. They’re bringing the cutting-edge of athletic recovery technology into their training facilities to give their athletes a competitive edge. Athletes who train at the Under Armour Human Performance Center in Oregon use the following modalities in their recovery protocol:
- Sauna: Athletes in Oregon are treated to the heat and sweat of UA’s saunas.
- Meditation: Mental health is also a key part of training, and Under Armour is embracing mindfulness to help athletes find their best headspace to perform.
- Breathwork: Guided breathwork can help athletes deal with pain, stress, and sleep. It can also improve heart rate variability. Learn more about breathwork and performance here.
- Massage: Under Armour’s massage tools and therapists help athletes recover from strain and minor injuries naturally.
- Joovv red light therapy: Under Armour has gone all in on the health and performance benefits of light, and specifically Joovv red light therapy. They first started using Joovv devices in 2019, as part of a sleep sanctuary they created for heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua. Then Under Armour implemented Joovv Elites at their performance headquarters in Oregon, so all their top athletes and student-athletes could benefit from red light therapy.
How and Why Under Armour Uses Joovv Red Light Therapy with Athletes
Under Armour first started using Joovv red light therapy to improve athletes’ sleep quality and circadian rhythms. Over the last two years, they’ve incorporated Joovv devices into their holistic performance and recovery strategy. Michael Watts and his team encourage Under Armour athletes to work Joovv red light therapy into their everyday recovery routine.
“I recommend Joovv because the daily exposure enhances health and wellness,” says Watts. “I also recommend it for acute injuries or painful sites to reduce inflammation and help accelerate recovery. It's an amazing modality that helps our athletes unplug and disconnect from the day-to-day rigors of being a professional athlete.”
Under Armour Athletes are Seeing Many Benefits with Joovv Red Light Therapy
Some of the world’s best athletes train at the Under Armour performance center, like Steph Curry, Michael Phelps, and Lindsy Vonn, among many other champions. Under Armour athletes across the sports world are seeing major benefits from frequent Joovv red light therapy use. These are some of the biggest advantages of red light therapy, as shown in hundreds of peer-reviewed clinical trials and studies:
Pain & inflammation relief: Light therapy improves the efficiency of the body’s natural inflammation and pain processes as a person recovers from illness or injury.  Read more about inflammation, strain, and light therapy here.
Better circulation: Light therapy sessions can result in a significant increase in blood flow. Concentrated light wavelengths can also help the body and circulatory system rid itself of toxic byproducts.  Learn more about circulation and therapy lights here.
Optimal fitness & recovery: Muscle cells require a lot of energy, and grow & strengthen through a process of tears & repairs. Light therapy helps your body produce and use ATP energy more efficiently.  Joovv’s unique Recovery+ mode is designed to optimize the body’s natural recovery process. Learn more about recovery, performance, and light therapy here.
Better sleep: Our brains interpret light as a sign of when to be awake and asleep, and when to make crucial sleep hormones like melatonin. Bright blue light at night can knock your sleep cycle out of whack, but red light is a lower-intensity alternative that can help support longer, more restful sleep. [4,5] Learn about circadian rhythms and light therapy here.
Michael Watts says that in addition to these major light therapy benefits, “our athletes often report a sense of calmness, wellbeing, and increased energy after using Joovv.”
In July 2020, eight elite student-athletes got the chance to use Joovv as part of Under Armour’s new Next Platform program, which focuses on youth athletic involvement. A dedicated portion of this event was highlighting the importance of recovery along with taking the athletes through Under Armour’s top recovery modalities including Joovv red light therapy.
Is Red Light Therapy Here to Stay in the Sports and Training Worlds?
With each passing year, more and more athletes and professional sports teams, like The San Francisco 49ers, who built a Joovv Recovery Room in Levi’s Stadium are turning to red light therapy for performance, recovery, and sleep benefits.
Michael Watts and Under Armour believe we’re still at the beginning of the red light therapy adoption curve in the sports world.
“Light therapy is already a staple at the Under Armour Human Performance Center,” says Watts. “And I predict it will be used in other performance institutions in the future. We have seen great results and heard from our athletes that Joovv plays an essential role in their recovery system.”
Sources and References:
 Hamblin M. Mechanisms and applications of the anti-inflammatory effects of photobiomodulation. AIMS Biophysics. 2017 May.
 Mak MC, Cheing GL. Immediate effects of monochromatic infrared energy on microcirculation in healthy subjects. Photomed Laser Surg. 2012.
 Stelian J, Gil I, Habot B, Rosenthal M, Abramovici I, Kutok N, Khahil A. Improvement of pain and disability in elderly patients with degenerative osteoarthritis of the knee treated with narrow-band light therapy. J Am Geriatr Soc. 1992 Jan;40(1):23-6.
Photo credit: Under Armour.com