Feeback Training 101


Feedback training allows you to see if you’re working your muscles effectively. Although this may also be accomplished via electric current (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation or TENS), which is great for rehabbing injury, there are many tools in the gym that provide feedback and help reveal muscle weaknesses or imbalances – the biggest contributors to chronic injury and pain.

David Myatt, a strength and conditioning coach at Amphibian Multisport in Libertyville, uses the BOSU ball for feedback training with his runners. An inflated rubber hemisphere attached to a rigid platform, it’s sometimes referred to as a ‘half ball’ because it looks like a stability ball that’s been cut in half.

“The BOSU allows runners to develop stabilization, endurance and balance, enhancing their ability to move in all three planes of motion effectively, without injury,” explains Mr. Myatt. “This type of training leads to greater coordinated muscle recruitment, creating a stronger, healthier runner.”

Another balance product many trainers use is the SPRI Step 360 – a platform with air cushion rings on the bottom. “It’s a versatile stability trainer that challenges my clients,” says Matt Lawson, MA, NCC, LPC, co-owner of True 2 Life, a Chicago-based healthy living and fitness lifestyle company. “It’s a great stepping stone to more advanced pieces of equipment; you get all the benefits of a BOSU combined with a surface similar to a step platform. I like feedback tools that allow me to test my client’s coordination without them worrying about injuring themselves.”

Then there are tools like the Activ Motion Bar. Founder Derek Mikulski created a weighted bar with rolling weights inside to let the client feel, hear and see their form change while holding the bar in various positions. “You hear the weights rolling to one side when the bar isn’t parallel to the floor, giving you continuous feedback throughout lunges or squats,” he explains.

Even simpler to use is the PostureFit Bar – a short, six-pound bar with a foam pad in the middle. The idea is to hold the foam pad behind your head while keeping your hands on the bar to open the chest. Founder Elizabeth Welch, DC, a chiropractor in South Elgin, teaches simple moves like sitting, twisting, and bending to the side with the bar in place to create awareness of forward head posture and rounded back which leads to neck and low back pain. “As a chiropractor, I wanted to create a way for clients to understand what proper alignment and posture feels like,” explains Dr. Welch. “In turn they found themselves golfing better, eliminating lower back pain, and increasing flexibility throughout the spine with just 5-10 minutes of moves each day.”

The benefits of a daily fitness regimen with feedback training tools include better sleep, weight loss and more energy. Working some form of feedback training into your current routine can further improve results, strengthen weak muscles and help you take control of your overall health.n


About Andrea Metcalf

Andrea Metcalf is a celebrity fitness trainer, author of Naked Fitness, social media maven and nationally recognized speaker. She is a contributor to NBC Chicago, Better TV, GMA Health and NBC Today Show as well as Oprah.com, Shape.com and her own Naked Fitness blog. She participates in many charity events, from Bright Pink to ovarian cancer to American Diabetes Association. She hopes to inspire people to feel good in their own skin.