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Variable Resistance

It is common practice within all types of fitness training to add resistance to workouts to work harder. But what is the science behind adding resistance to exercises, and what are its benefits?

There are many modes of resistance training, but in terms of the modes of resistance that you can use to induce musculoskeletal adaptation, the 3 broad categories are constant external resistance, accommodating resistance, and variable resistance.

Variable resistance equipment is designed to change the external resistive load throughout an exercise's range of motion, such as rubber-based resistance, chains, and flywheels.

Variable resistance devices are particularly beneficial because they allow users to work with a force load that matches their output throughout the workout. The resistance increases as they train harder and decreases when they get weaker.

This means that it can be used for all populations, whether bodybuilders, the elderly, or injured athletes. Because of this, variable machines are very sought after by trainers, as their trainees can use them easily and track progress easily.

Benefits of Variable Resistance

Workout Smarter and Harder

Your body is naturally stronger at specific parts of a lift, so using variable resistance during your workouts allows you to challenge portions of the lift more than others.

When we refer to variable resistance using a flywheel, it only gives back eccentrically the effort used concentrically. So if you go 100%, every rep from rep #1 is maximal. Whereas with traditional barbell training, it is only maximal effort during the last rep or 2 when you fail.

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No Limits

You can use flywheel training to further the results of strength training by using the flywheel's resistance to create optimal resistance rather than gravity itself. One of the main advantages of this is that there is no limit to the amount of energy produced through flywheel training, which can push you to unimaginable heights.

Furthermore, the flywheel responds to the amount of force you put into it, adapting to your output rep-by-rep. Exerfly can be used for various training, whether that be strength and conditioning, maintenance, or rehab, and for all people across all ages and fitness levels.

Better and Faster Results

With flywheel training, users can control how much resistance is experienced throughout their repetitions. By contrast, traditional weights limit the momentum felt on users' joints as this is dependent on the direction of movement relative to gravity and where the weight is positioned.

Variable resistance has been shown to positively affect performance, as studies have found variable resistance training to be an effective evidence-based method of improving maximal strength both in athletes with different sports backgrounds and untrained subjects.

Variable Resistance Devices

You can use variable resistance devices for all types of training, ranging from strength to power. They have specific features that alter the load throughout the exercise's range of motion. There are four types of variable resistance machines:

  • Constant resistance devices
  • Variable resistance devices
  • Accommodating resistance devices
  • Static resistance devices

Flywheel training devices are a type of variable resistance machine that has been recognised as an effective way of improving certain factors important for sports performance, such as strength and power, through a series of studies on the effects of flywheel training on strength-related variables. Usually, these factors are targeted through training using resistance based on gravity. Still, in Flywheel training, the flywheel receives kinetic energy, which allows for eccentric overload and variable resistance throughout the movement.

A meta-analysis was conducted to identify the effects of flywheel training on multiple strength-related variables affecting athletic performance, investigating the effects on muscle growth, maximum dynamic strength, development of power, development of horizontal movement, and development of vertical movement. For 4-24 weeks, Flywheel training showed statistically significant increases in all strength aspects, especially in developing maximal strength and power for trained younger individuals and utilizing this training modality in shorter, more intensive blocks.

Exerfly is a game-changer in that it was built on the principle of being a results-driven, elite piece of equipment, harnessing scientifically supported technology to push athletes to new heights. Engineered and constructed from high-quality materials, the Exerfly team cut no corners, taking our time in the New Zealand market and working with some of NZ’s best athletes and sports teams to perfect the equipment. Exerfly equipment implements Flywheel training, a training method that generates resistance not by moving a weight against gravity as in traditional training but by harnessing the inertia of a spinning Flywheel and accelerating decelerating the Flywheel at speed.

This can generate tremendous force and allow athletes to train with constant resistance in the concentric and eccentric phases. Inertial and eccentric training through the Flywheel method is scientifically supported to produce impressive strength training and injury management results.

A big attraction to Flywheel training is that you can use it for an enormous range of exercises, movements, and training styles with the same tailored response each time. Whether your goal is rehabilitation, maintenance, strength and conditioning, injury prevention, or weight lifting, Exerfly has an all-in-one training solution that caters to all of the above and more.

With a wide range of Flywheels, you can alter the inertial resistance based on your goals and requirements, for example, using smaller flywheels for incremental movements and larger flywheels for strength training.

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Motorized Technology


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Flywheel training offers many advantages over traditional training, with variable resistance being a significant factor. There is no limit to the kinetic energy you can generate with Exerfly equipment. This means that you can always use a higher force and accelerate more. If you plateau, you can use the motorized technology to boost the eccentric phase.

Therefore, our equipment is suitable for all types of training- heavy strength training to rehabilitation- and users of different backgrounds and abilities. The more inertia added to Exerfly equipment, the more force can be produced by the user, which you can record via the app.


Variable Resistance Exercises

We’ve listed below a range of variable resistance exercises you can train with your variable resistance device. Exerfly’s equipment also includes advanced sensor technology to monitor the user’s performance in real-time.

Variable Resistance Squats

The squat is a staple lower body exercise used by those seeking athletic performance and physique development. The most significant benefit of using the squat with variable resistance is loading it from the hips instead of on the back or shoulders.

Essentially, it is a belt squat. The upper body isn't involved, so you can train the legs hard if you have lower back or shoulder issues. Here's how:

  • Using the squat belt, attach the rope to the front.
  • Set the rope length, so your knees are soft (slightly bent) at the top.
  • Spin the flywheel to lower yourself and start by pushing with the legs.
  • Ride the eccentric phase to the half squat position or bottom position, depending on your training goals.

Variable Resistance Deadlift

The variable resistance deadlift allows the maximal output of every rep without the systemic fatigue associated with maximal effort barbell deadlifts.

Meaning you can do it more often or in conjunction with traditional deadlifts.

  • Using the handle, set the rope length at your deadlift lockout.
  • Using the handle, set the rope length at your deadlift lockout.
  • Ride the eccentric phase to the bottom position and reverse the movement as quickly as possible.

Variable Resistance Bench Press

Compared to the traditional bench press, the variable resistance bench press allows you to emphasise eccentric force at long muscle lengths of the pecs by delaying the braking action until the end of the eccentric phase.

Being able to brake and rapidly reverse the motion to the concentric phase will help drive the bar from the chest in the traditional bench press.

  • Slide the bench in line with the Exerfly Platform and lock it in place by turning the screws.
  • Attach the long bar to both ropes.
  • Lie faceup on the bench and extend your arms with the bar. Level out the ropes as necessary.
  • Rest the bar on your chest with one hand and spin the flywheel with the other to get it started.
  • Push against the bar to build momentum.
  • Ride the eccentric, so the bar touches your chest.

For a detailed video breakdown on doing these exercises, visit Exerfly's video catalogue of easy-to-follow tutorials here.

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