Performance physiotherapist Adam Lovegrove is a long time user of the kBox in his rehabilitation work. Having ordered the kBox 3 and kMeter he published this review, which he gratiously agreed to let us share with you here.
For the last 12 months, I have been using a kBox flywheel training device as part of my strength training programme.
I first came across flywheel training on a podcast by Dr. Peter Malinares on tendinopathy rehabilitation. The way it works is you accelerate a flywheel(s) and then have to eccentrically work to decelerate it. The load encountered in each repetition is based on how hard you initiate the lift and accelerate the flywheel. This means that every repetition can be a maximum effort. This is especially the case if you perform a quarter squat with the upper body exercise to increase the acceleration which in turn increases the eccentric work required to decelerate the flywheel (believe me this makes it very intense).
The facts that each repetition can be a maximum effort and the eccentric loading is far greater than conventional weights means, in my opinion, it is a superior strength training method than free weights or machines. However having said that free weights are probably more effective if you are doing explosive, ballistic, weightlifting exercises.
In addition to using the kBox myself I also use it as a physiotherapist to rehabilitate late stage tendinopathies and as a maintenance tool to prevent recurrent injuries. This is very relevant to me as there are studies showing a link between eccentric hamstring strength and decreased injury or recurrence of injury (Askling et al 2003).
Exxentric have recently introduced their new kBox 3 and having watched the videos on YouTube I decided to upgrade my old kBox for the newer version.
The kBox 3 improvements
I have already written a review of the older version so here I will focus on the new innovations that Exxentric have added to the new machine and offer my opinion on them.
Firstly the length adjustor tower has been removed and replaced with an automatic adjustor that you can operate with your feet. This is simple to use and the main reason why I chose to upgrade. It means you can go from lower body to upper body in a superset format without delay and makes your training more time-efficient.
The footprint of the machine is also slightly larger, although this did not affect me taller athletes with larger feet will benefit.
The machine also feels smoother when performing your lifts which in my opinion is quite an advantage.
Overall this machine is a considerable improvement on my original kBox and although expensive I think additional training strategies that can be applied and smoothness of movement make it a worthy investment.
The kMeter completes the kBox
Since initially writing this review I have now purchased the kMeter and accompanying app. The kMeter connects to the kBox and is linked to your iPhone or iPad via Bluetooth. You enter the number of flywheels being used so the inertia can be calculated. You then get immediate feedback of the force you are generating when performing your reps. The feedback also provides average concentric and eccentric power measured in watts and average force measured in newtons. You can save all the information for your training diary.
In my opinion, this completes the kBox as a training device. You can now receive instant feedback so you can monitor your progress, and evaluate your training status.
The fact that many health clubs appear to be incorporating areas for “alternative training” devices such as Bulgarian bags and Battle ropes. I am sure it is only a matter of time before the kBox becomes a feature in many health clubs.
Reference: Askling C, Carlson J, Thortensson A 2003 Hamstring Injury Recurrence in Elite Soccer Players after Preseason Strength Training with Eccentric Overload. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports 13: 244-250
Adam Lovegrove has 20 years experience as a personal fitness trainer as well as 10 years experience as a physiotherapist. He has a Master’s degree in neuromuscular physiotherapy, specialising in movement control and rehabilitation as well as kinetic control movement therapy. He is currently studying for a second masters in strength and conditioning. Adam uses the kBox for both strength and rehabilitation purposes.