Flywheel Training & Running: Benefits of Consistent Tracking Through The Exxentric App

Tracking your training has always been important but now it has been made easier than ever and that is some motivation for you to start monitoring. Tracking consistently over longer periods also has additional benefits. Here is a real-life example from the training of an Exxentric co-founder that also shows us good and bad news on performance and detraining.

Case Study: Mårten’s Exxentric App Data

Mårten is a long-time friend, we met through ice hockey where we both were coaches and we ended up in the same class at the University of Health and Sport Science in Stockholm. Later on, we founded Exxentric together.

He currently has a full-time commitment with the Swedish Olympic Committee and many of the cool ideas we have had over the years at Exxentric come from him. So if you get the chance to meet him you really should pick his brain.


Recently, Mårten showed me his Exxentric App data. He regularly (all year around every 2nd or 3rd day) runs 5k and then he does 4 sets of 10 reps maximal squats with two L flywheel (0.1 kgm^2).

You can see the overview here where I marked 4 interesting dates with red dots.

  1. 1st red dot: this is a peak after consistent training Aug-Nov. Starting at averaging just below 300 W he ends up at 400+ W with this fairly minimal intervention, also combined with a cardio-vascular activity so not strength-focused or power training but supplementary. That’s more than a 30% increase in average power output. Also, this is not a kid with a lot of newbie gains and hormones flooding the system, this is a 50-year-old man with a full-time job, family, and a house trying to get some quality training in.
  2. 2nd red dot: after a period of inconsistent kBox squat training performance dropped down to baseline. Sad but true. Use it or lose it.
  3. 3rd red dot: after picking up his routine again with both running and squatting you can see Mårten quickly in Feb-March came back to 400 W, actually faster than the first increase. After that progression is steady but slower and he tops out at 450+ W.
  4. 4th red dot: after a second period of less consistent kBox squat training numbers are down again, not as bad this time but around 350W but from here it skyrockets after he starts again in late summer and in a short period he is back at 400+.

Key Takeaways from Mårten’s Progression Over The Year 

Bad news – performance is fresh produce, if you stop doing something you will return to baseline or just above. Use it or lose it is true when it comes to most physical capabilities. At a higher level, you also drop faster.

Good news – retraining is faster! Losing strength is the worst excuse to not try to get stronger. Get back on the horse, start lifting and with consistency and intensity, you might be back sooner than you would expect at previous levels and even beyond.

Pro tip! Here are three main aspects as a basis for you to describe your training:

  • Intensity – in cardio, it would be speed, and in weight training load in % lbs or kgs. With flywheel intent and inertia.
  • Quantity or Volume – miles or kilometers for running and in weight training number of sets and reps.
  • Frequency – how often you train.
The takeaway is that you can cut down frequency and volume in half without losing much performance if you keep the intensity. This is a good tip if you are forced to train less for a while. Skipping sessions is okay, running shorter or doing fewer sets is ok but keep the weight on the bar, load up with flywheels, or keep the running pace.

Science On Combination Training

This combo with moderate endurance training combined with intense low-volume compound lifts is probably the best bang for the buck you can get. We are talking about a 25-35 minute session improving both cardio and strength and health benefits from this are across the board, heart and vascular, cancer, bone density, metabolism – you name it! If you can spend 2 or 3 x 30 minutes per week and want to focus on health and performance this combo is difficult to beat.

Science is pretty solid on this topic for this segment and type of subject. Very simplified, moderate endurance and weight training combined work great in recreationally active people without impacting each other negatively, rather the opposite. This is probably even true for most athletes even if they are focused on either endurance or strength, combination training doesn’t ruin your main training.

A good reminder about basically all training studies is that we are talking about “group mean”, which is average for the group. For example, “after the intervention, the subjects significantly increased their running performance by 10%“. This could be a typical conclusion from a training study.

However, in that group, there might be a range of performance improvements from maybe -10% to +40% with the same intervention. I don’t know about you but if I’m the -10% person I don’t care if the group got 10% better on average. So when designing a training program I would go with the evidence every day and use that as a starting point.

When tracking your training you can either validate it if you see it’s working or if you see that it isn’t then you make needed adjustments and learn how your body is responding.

How To Make Data-Based Decisions For Progression Over Time

Use science and the evidence as the starting point. Skip gimmicks and listen to the people who dedicated their lives to studying this. Why care for a guru over a professor in exercise physiology when it comes to training?

When you start your intervention, start tracking your training and progress. This is to give you insight into the individual response of your body. Adding a training journal can be good too, write comments if you feel energized, fatigued, or sore and maybe if other things affect your training like travel or diet.

Data is just data but if you know what you tracked and tracked the right metrics you will have information. Information can be used to make decisions and together with your journal over time, you will start developing knowledge about yourself and how you react to training. For example:

  • How much was too much?
  • How fast do you detrain, and how fast can you regain?
  • What was the difference between 2 or 3 sessions per week? Etc.

With Mårten’s example above it was also interesting because he could describe what happened in the bad periods, like work schedule conflicts, working abroad, and such.

Track your training for a year and you might see how changing your job affects your training, switching up your diet, or improving your sleep.

If you’re “kind of nerd” into data/numbers and interested in following “performance metrics” such as strength (force) and power we know from the Exxentric App and the example with Mårten that he at dot 2+4 dropped with approximately -15% in force and -25% in power after his periods of less consistent kBox squat training.

In the periods with regular kBox squats, Mårten also reported he experienced/perceived much more powerful running.

Our Solution: Start Using the Exxentric App Today

If you are one of our users I would advocate for using the Exxentric App. Even if you don’t track everything take a key exercise and track that one and you will thank yourself (and hopefully me) a year later.

The app is free, and creating an account and tracking data is free. From this, you will have your progress chart where you can filter out a specific exercise or if you do a session you will be able to see your output over time.

Other key features in the app are the Score and my favorite metric w/kg. Those are free too 😉

Besides that, we have content, and filmed sessions you can just tag along with our instructor or if you want to skip the video do the same session at your own pace and just follow the drills, sets, and reps and see how the SCORE improves week by week. Some content is free but not all.

If you want to know more about our products, flywheel training, the app, or maybe get connected to an experienced coach to help you, just reach out to us. In the meantime remember this:

  • Use it or lose it.
  • If you have to train less, keep the intensity up.
  • Did you lose your gains? Don’t worry, get back up on the horse and you will be back and improving in no time. No excuses.

 

Happy Holidays and Happy DOMS!

Exxentric's CEO Fredrik Correa

Fredrik Correa, M.D., CEO

Follow @fredrik_correa

 

 

 

 

 

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