How I Use Biofeedback

I’ve had this post in mind for a long time, but now seems like the perfect time. We all have dirty laundry and skeletons in the closet. (Well, some people are actually IN the closet – not that there’s anything wrong with that.) But anyways, it’s time for me to air some dirty laundry (cuz my small apartment is starting to stink). Here it is. Here’s the grand statement that everyone needs to know…..

I’ve only been going to the gym about once per week (sometimes twice) for the past 5 months!

There. I said it. But that really shouldn’t come as a surprise to many of you (maybe). Everyone should hopefully know that I’ve been focusing a lot on this website and that I’ve actually been studying for my test. Though, since I’m coming clean, I’m pushing that back until May as well.

So what is making me confess all of this now?

I’m telling you this now because I have been using Biofeedback in my training for the past 5 months and have NOT seen a decrease in strength, have NOT gotten sloppy and fat, and HAVE increased some of my lifts. True. Effin. Story.

Before you can understand what I mean by “testing” my lifts, you must watch this video that Adam Glass has put out using Biofeedback to determine which kind of curl he should do: Biofeedback for curls

Good, you made it back. Now, because I’m only in the gym for 1 maybe 2 days out of the week, I need to make sure I can get the absolute most out of my body as possible. (Please read: Make sure that I am as efficient as possible.) With Biofeedback, I can make sure that the exercises I choose are the ones that my body is telling me to do. Basically, it will tell me which lifts will give me the most bang for the buck (kind of like a Madame at a brothel; I’m guessing the uglier “ladies” are probably cheaper and more willing to more things; I wouldn’t know about that though).

As it turns out, one night of the week is always going to be some kind of bench press. It pretty much has to be because that’s the ONLY reason Mike let’s me come over. You see, the great thing about Biofeedback is that you can either test several different lifts (bench, squat, deads, OH press), or you can just test several different variations of what you plan on doing. So, getting back to bench press, since we know that’s what we’re doing, we’ll test regular flat bench, reverse band bench, board press, flat bench with audible commands, and neutral grip bench. Whichever tests best is the one we do.

After benching, we usually do another supplemental lift, some pulling for our backs (to maintain musculature balance), and then a conditioner at the end. At each stage of the game, we test a couple different variations of lifts that will accomplish the task. As Adam shows you in the video, it literally takes 2 min. to figure out which lift will test better.

Now, for the 2nd gym session of the week, I KNOW I want to do something lower body dominant. That usually means I’ll test back squat, front squat, deads, and power cleans. Whichever one tests well will determine which supplemental lifts I’m going to follow that up with. But again, I test several different variations of what ever lift I decide.

As for how everything has worked out for me….

I’ve maintained 180lb. bodyweight at around 11-12% bodyfat. My 1RM bench press has pretty much stayed the same, though I’m becoming more efficient and have been adding volume. My deadlift 1RM has actually INCREASED! At the time of my competition last September, I was hoping to pull 405lb. The one day that my deadlift tested well, 405lb. went up so easily that I decided to go for more. Now, I decided to do a little too much and failed (which I now know is a HUGE no-no), but 405 went up as easily as 385lb. did previously.

Let’s see, let’s see. Oh yeah! Power cleans. I actually haven’t trained power cleans with any consistency whatsoever since 2005. The one day they tested well I set an all-time PR at 235lb. for a single rep. Not too bad for a 5 year lay-off, eh?

As you can tell, getting the most out of your body on a limited gym schedule like mine is absolutely crucial! I would like to say these results are typical, but they’re really not. They’re BETTER! Remember my 2-day training split I wrote last year? I had a lot more lifts, and a lot of “extra stuff” on the days you weren’t in the gym. Using Biofeedback, I’ve been able to actually cut out some of the lifts on the gym days and ALL of the “extra stuff” on the non-gym days. The fact that I’ve increased my 1RM on 2 major lifts has astonished even me. Again, recall the 2-day split program and realize that was designed for the sole purpose of strictly just maintaing strength levels. Effin’-A, Cotton!!

I’m sure you’re probably sick of hearing me talk about how awesome Biofeedback is. You’re probably wondering how to incorporate it into your training. Well, I hope to have all of that spelled out for you by TOMORROW, March 30th, 2010. Not only do I hope to have that information, but I plan on asking Mike if I can shoot a video of it in action. Until then, if you haven’t already, make sure you sign up for Adam’s video and see what all the hype is about!

Talk to ya tomorrow!

– Dave

P.S. If you have any questions or comments about what the eff any of this is or just feel like telling me I don’t know wtf I’m talking about, PLEASE do in the comments below! Peace and Love Y’all.

Don’t Miss Your Chance

I was stuck in Corporate America for 9 years. I was miserable.

Then I took control.

You can too, and it starts right here.

11 responses to “How I Use Biofeedback

  1. ok a few questions… it seems very impressive to me…

    so he says once i feel tension… how do i know how much? as long as its consistent with every time i “test”

    does this work with stuff other then lifts like if i should job, walk, run, sprint that day?

  2. Dave, very clean write up.

    Derrick, move slowly and stop as soon as you feel tension, the goal is not a stretch, it is using range of motion (without tension) as a biomarker.

    It works for ALL movement.

  3. Maybe you have said this in one of your biofeedback articles all ready…and I’ve just missed it. But along with this being e
    an efficient program from a time aspect…only 1-2 gym visits per week…go hard, get out, get rest, and get a lot of other time for your life. It is also very efficient from a physical wear & tear perspective…as you are putting much less frequent stress on the body…yet still yielding a maximum physical output, and making strength or volume gains everytime. I don’t know about you…but as we get older I find this physical efficiency to be just as important…the joints in my shoulders and arms aren’t 17 anymore…and with extremely heavy lifting I like to limit upper body workouts to no more than twice a week. It’s really just breaking a human compulsion…that voice that tells you more is always better…fighting that voice with logic & intellect is not always easy…this biofeedback sounds like a good foundation of a program to do just that. In long run , I agree with you, and have also found it possible to make strength & muscle gains with only 2 gym visits per week…obviously knowing you, these are not your typical timid, a few light sets while I watch Sportscenter & check out the ladies…no, it’s no bullshit, you’re there for a reason, with goals un mind, let the rage out, take care of business then go hone.

    Good work on descriptions & explanations here, very thought-provoking…you’re definitely always ahead of the curve compared to the meat-head personal trainers where I work out…convincing people to actually think about their workouts and listen to their bodies…means you’re not a meat-head, fake-baked prissy pretty boy who really only wants to make money and pose on a stage in a man-thong.

  4. P90X allegedly works…why does it work? Because it makes you count calories and exercise for two hours everyday.

    Biofeedback as you have alleged, also works. If I understand correctly, you max out on selective exercises every 5 days or once a week? You know CNS fatigue, what’s the magic here? You dropped most of the meaningless exercises and now go big with a bunch of off days in between. Magic or science?

    You also talked about having a PR in power cleans despite not doing one since 2005? How much stronger is your deadlift now compared to five years ago? How much stronger are your hips/back? I don’t need to tell you when you get stronger overall, some exercises are bound to go up.

    I’m not particularly dismissing Biofeedback. I’m simply stating the hype MAY be unwarranted. Could it be helpful? Sure. Is it completely infallible as you make it seem, though?

  5. @Justin
    Thanks, hombre. Probably the best comment I’ve ever received.

    All very awesome points! Just to answer a few of your points…

    I rarely max out. I usually work up to something around 85-90% of my 1RM (it just kinda happens that way) and do as many singles as I possibly can. Going for a true 1RM rarely tests well…but it does happen like on my deadlift and Powerclean day as mentioned.

    My deadlift now compared to 5 years ago is only 20lb. heavier. Back then I pulled 385 at the end of summer offseason. As I said above, I pulled 405 with ease, so maybe it’s a bit more.

    Lastly, for the “go hard and get rest theory”…

    You can use biofeedback to lift every single day. In fact, that’s what it’s good for. You will use it to test multiple bodyparts to find out what you should lift that day. Next you test to see if you should be doing sets of reps, sets of singles, or go for a max effort.

    I definitely see where you’re coming from, as that’s exactly what I had in mind when I wrote the 2-day per week program last year. But Biofeedback isn’t built on the premise of only 2 days per week. It’s built on EVERY day of the week.

    Check out this link to Adam Glass’ website and look at all the PR’s people are setting daily.

    Oooofta! That got long. See ya soon, cuz.

  6. Nice post, Dave. I like how you mentioned using the Biofeedback to test both different lifts and the variations of one particular lift.

  7. Really nice post dave,

    Could you say that from testing yourself so regularly, you also increased your body awareness? So that you are now more able to predict what kind of result a test will have?

  8. @Michel

    A lot of times I’ll be able to tell what will test well halfway through a rep. Another thing that has becoming increasingly obvious is when I have “gummy” joints. When I notice that, I already have an idea what lifts I should do, and which ones I should avoid until I address that joint with some mobility work.

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