Biofeedback: An Interesting Take on Human Performance

Biofeedback isn’t a new idea, but some high performance weight trainers have taken a new spin on it.  The idea is that if you want to get the maximum gain for your weight training efforts, you need to listen to your body and do what it is going to perform best at during that specific workout.

What does that mean?

biofeedbackIf you’re going to work out, but your body isn’t going to respond well to bicep curls, you won’t do them in favor of another exercise your body will respond well to.  maybe you’ll end up doing bench presses today instead of curls, and because you’re listening to your body the muscle you build as a result of the bench presses will be dramatically better than if you forced yourself into doing curls.

How do I do it?

There is a simple method for testing your body’s response to any given exercise.  You just stand with your legs straight and reach for your toes.  As soon as you feel your body resist the action, stop and make a mental note of how far you stretched.  Do a couple of test exercises at a minimal intensity and then do the stretch again.  Not how far you stretched again, but this time compare it to your original.  Is it better or worse?  Rinse and repeat this method for a few exercises.

Now that you know which exercises your body is responding to the best, you can focus on doing those exercises for that workout.  You’ll find that you have an easier time doing those exercises and you aren’t forcing your body to do something it didn’t want to.  You’ll want to stop and do biofeedback tests a few times during your routine to make sure nothing has changed.

The Science

Your body responds to every movement you make by restricting or increasing range of motion.  This is a defensive reflex that kicks in when you’re making movements you shouldn’t.  It’s function is to keep you from injuring yourself.  When you’re working out, doing range of motion tests for each exercise will tell your body whether that specific motion is going to be helpful or not.

The whole biofeedback system is based on your body’s innate ability to contract muscles to prevent range of motion when you’re not moving the way you should.  Think about when you break a bone and all of the muscles around that area contract to restrict movement.  It’s the same feedback system.  Utilizing range of motion tests during your workout give you a noticeable physical response to what your body wants to do.

Using Biofeedback to your Benefit

Utilizing biofeedback to find out what positive motions will get the best results during your workout will help you build muscle and burn fat.  When you’re doing exercise that don’t test well, you won’t see noticeable gains in your overall fitness, whereas when you do, you’ll feel better working out and see excellent results fairly quickly.  Biofeedback and range of motion testing seem to really give great results.  It will be interesting to see how this type of exercise evolves.

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