My most recent WOW was the “legs” portion of my 5 way split.  I am still amazed at how well this is working for me.  However, I have been in this game long enough to realize that it is not THE way.  Others without my genetic profile and life circumstances might find it extremely lacking.  But for me, the results are astounding.  This workout was a case-in-point.  I have a love/hate relationship with my MedX leg press.  I love its biomechanics and the way the footplate moves away and down simultaneously, effecting a great stimulation for the hip and buttocks.  However, to acquire this effect, you have to gap out the weight stack to 4 or 5 holes.  This gets the foot position a little lower at the lower turnaround and allows for a hard end-stop when the rubber stopper on the four-bar linkage come into contact.  The down side of this set up is that it necessitates riding the seat carriage forward so that you are parked between the two weight stack headers.  Add a good heavy weight to push against out of the bottom, and a hard end-stop which won’t allow you to lock your knees and what you get is…..a trash compactor.


Every time I get into my MedX leg press, I am reminded of this scene from Star Wars.  However, this time was different.  I knew I was going to be well-recovered, so I decided to use a weight that is in my “heavy” range (those quotation marks are for you David) gapped out at 4 holes.  I pinned 360 on each stack.  I began the set and immediately felt something was wrong.  This was way too light.  I completed 2 reps and released the seat carriage to double check my settings.  I decided to up it to 380 both sides (760 total).  Still felt easy after 2 reps.  Finally, I went up to 420 per side (840 total) gapped at 4 holes.  I ended up completing 10 reps!  At least for now, I seem to have stumbled on the fact that my body operates on a more protracted time scale.  The rest of the workout was equally as remarkable.

Calf Exercise on MedX leg press (entire stack)

MedX Abdominal (really to give some respite before going to leg press)

MedX leg press (see above)

TSC leg curl (done sitting at edge of pullover seat, with belt and heels on foot pedal-works great)

TSC leg extension (done sitting back on pullover seat, with seat belt, shins under footpedal, padded with yoga blocks)

I have really been enjoying the discussion on augmenting performance of exercise with feedback.  This topic is equally as controversial in many fields.  In emergency medicine we struggle with how to teach the motor skills of difficult procedures such as tracheal intubation, cricothyrotomy, thoracotomy, chest tubes etc.  In the fields of athletics, how to provide feedback to optimize skill acquisition is also very controversial.  In BMX racing, the gate start is the most complex motor skill that needs to be developed in order to be successful.  I attended many clinics with real-time professional instruction.  None of these clinics could compare to the value of setting up a video-camera to record my performance, which I then reviewed immediately after carrying out the skill.  I could see instantly what was wrong and corrected it on the very next try.  I came further in 10 minutes of video review than I had in a decade of attending clinics.  Research in motor learning seems to suggest that “terminal” feedback is the most valuable.  In other words, regardless of modality the feedback seems most valuable when it is reviewed immediately AFTER the skill is executed.  I have noted that monitoring my form in a mirror while training is worse than useless, but seeing video of my training is very instructional.  I have no doubt that human instruction as well as ongoing “heads up” feedback devices can enhance training.  I am certain that project X will provide real value.  I hope that the performance can also be stored for review after the performance.  I suspect a combination of real-time performance monitoring (both human and computer) coupled with performance review shortly after completion of the set or session will prove valuable.  At least that is what the literature suggests.

J Mot Behav. 2013;45(6):455-72. doi: 10.1080/00222895.2013.826169. Epub 2013 Sep 5.

Terminal feedback outperforms concurrent visual, auditory, and haptic feedback in learning a complex rowing-type task.


Sensory-Motor Systems Lab, ETH Zurich & Spinal Cord Injury Center, University Hospital Balgrist , Zurich , Switzerland.


ABSTRACT Augmented feedback, provided by coaches or displays, is a well-established strategy to accelerate motor learning. Frequent terminalfeedback and concurrent feedback have been shown to be detrimental for simple motor task learning but supportive for complex motor task learning. However, conclusions on optimal feedback strategies have been mainly drawn from studies on artificial laboratory tasks with visual feedback only. Therefore, the authors compared the effectiveness of learning a complex, 3-dimensional rowing-type task with either concurrent visual, auditory, or haptic feedback to self-controlled terminal visual feedback. Results revealed that terminal visual feedback was most effective because it emphasized the internalization of task-relevant aspects. In contrast, concurrent feedback fostered the correction of task-irrelevant errors, which hindered learning. The concurrent visual and haptic feedback group performed much better during training with the feedback than in nonfeedback trials. Auditory feedback based on sonification of the movement error was not practical for training the 3-dimensional movement for most participants. Concurrent multimodal feedback in combination with terminal feedback may be most effective, especially if the feedback strategy is adapted to individual preferences and skill level.

Post your WOW’s and your thoughts.