Flywheel training is the resistance exercise that you didn’t know could be invented. If you are looking to work on your strength and conditioning and to develop it in a way that you haven’t before, this zero gravity method of working out might just be the different way of exercising you were hoping to shake your routine up with.
What is Flywheel Resistance Training?
It’s a new way of working out for many pro athletes and bodybuilders. Chances are you have witnessed teams training, or fitness classes in your gym using all manner of equipment, from harnesses to boxes prior to sprint shuttle runs.
The flywheel itself was used since its invention for a myriad of mechanical applications to produce kinetic energy. It has since been prescribed for atrophy and bone loss.
A standard piece of flywheel equipment basically involves one or more flywheels attached to a shaft, to which a rope, band or wire is usually attached and rolled up on the shaft before the exercise begins. By pulling on the strap, the flywheel will rotate and accelerate so that when the strap is fully pulled out, the flywheel will retract the strap. The idea then is that concentric and eccentric muscle contraction keeps the flywheel in motion. Eccentric muscle training is the motion of an active muscle while it lengthens while under a load, or in other words, facing resistance. This increased the tension on the muscle as it lengthens while opposing a stronger force. In a concentric contraction your muscle tension increases to match the resistance and the remains at this level as the muscle shortens. Eccentric muscle contraction is required to decelerate the flywheel’s rotation, so that when it stops, concentric muscle action is applied to get the movement started again. The amount of force you can apply is essentially unlimited. The harder you pull, the greater the resistance.
Of course, it comes backed by studied and enough scientific research to be good enough for top sports teams to adopt it, so what’s the deal?
How Does Flywheel Resistance Training Work?
Flywheel training increases your capacity for explosive power and strength by using the inertia of a flywheel in place of gravity, which is what many standard standing compound lifts utilize. From the squat and dead lift to the standing row and shoulder press, gravity has been a major part of your bone density and muscle mass increasing regimen without you sparing it a thought as if it hasn’t been discovered yet. Essentially, instead of lifting a weight against gravity, you accelerate or decelerate a flywheel. The flywheel’s inertia dictates the amount of resistance and force is required on your part, similar to that of a yoyo.
With standard lifts, gravity remains the same throughout. The most you will lift, in other words your one rep max, is possible with the highest momentum on the joint you are actively exercising at that given angle. Flywheel training involve constant inertia through the whole motion of each exercise, meaning that you would potentially be able to lift more as it encourages greater muscle force in every angle. This also means that you will strengthen the muscle you are focusing on along with the synergist muscles of that movement, which are the muscles that help to perform the same motion as the agonist muscles, which oppose the movement – for example, working your biceps and triceps at the same time.
What Exercises Are Possible With Flywheel Training Methods?
Flywheel resistance training is more or less as infinite as standard workout methods, depending on the set up of your flywheel equipment. Put it this way: when working out, using the option of cable pulley machines offers a level of potential for resistance training and range of motion that barbells do not. The cable or cord strap of flywheel is akin to that unrestricted range of movement, while of course subject to the fixed point of your strap on the shaft. For beginners, and a general overview of possible exercise this allows a versatile range of lateral compound lifts from standing rows and shoulder presses, to curls and deadlifts.
Take Home Message
Flywheel resistance training is an effective way to achieve eccentric overload by utilizing the inertia produced by flywheels in place of weight racks. It does this with via a mechanism similar to that of a yoyo so that its momentum and the level of force and resistance generated is a direct result of your eccentric and concentric muscle contractions. A major benefit for building your strength and conditioning is that certain flywheel resistance exercises work both your targeted muscle and the corresponding synergist muscles at the same time – all without gravity.