For the last 6 weeks I’ve been getting to grips with the Exxentric kBox3 and kMeter ahead of the new academic year where we will begin to incorporate it with some of our athletes, who are at a more advanced level of training.
So what is the kBox?
Exxentric kBox 3
The kBox is a flywheel training device that really opens up the world of eccentric training, taking many of the logistical challenges of eccentric training using traditional barbell methods and supramaximal loads which in many environments, such as ours with larger groups, you would struggle to perform safely.
When using the kBox3 you are working against the inertia of the heavy flywheels, using a variety of attachments to allow you to perform a wide range of exercises. You can adjust the number of wheels to adjust the level of overload according to what you wish to achieve, for example: strength, power or hypertrophy. The rest then is up to you, as whatever you ‘give’ concentrically to the device it gives you back eccentrically as it pulls you back down towards the ground once the flywheel has reversed at the top of the range of movement you have set.
The more flywheels you have stacked up on the device, the more it feels like it’s going to suck you down in to the ground when you really max out on your efforts, providing you with a strength training stimulus. With the fewer or lighter wheels on the device you can achieve a higher power output as you are able to execute the exercises at a higher speed.
Advantages of the kBox
At the moment are that I feel like I am really only just beginning to scratch the surface of what is possible with this awesome bit of equipment. I’m certain the coming months will allow me to really begin to understand the longer term adaptations to training with it.
From using it in the short term I’m really excited by what it has allowed me to do and some of the initial effects I’ve seen:
#1 The device is incredibly mobile and transportable
I’ve been away from work for 6 weeks so I haven’t had access to the main gym so the kBox has been everywhere with me. It has allowed me to train at home whilst I’ve been on holiday, in the living room, in the garden, wherever I have been. It has a range of attachments with it so you can get a whole body session done with just this single bit of kit: squats, deadlifts, RDLs, presses, pulls…the options are endless.
For travelling athletes it really is a great option to be able to get a decent strength training stimulus away from the gym.
#2 It appears to have a post-activation potentiation effect
One of the first experiments I did with the kBox3 was to examine the effects of a 5RM effort with across a range of different flywheel loads (0.25, 0.5, 0.75, 1.00 and 1.25) on an 18” depth jump using an electronic jump mat. It was interesting to see that following the 5RM at 0.5 inertia there was an increase in jump height of over 2 inches following a recovery period of 2 minutes post jump.
This is definitely an area that needs more investigation as if you consider this with the portability of the device it could be a very useful bit of kit for competing athletes on the road looking to gain a PAP effect pre-competition. I am also very keen to see the effects on other tasks such as sprinting and changes of direction, which we will be exploring over the coming months.
For momentum based sports where added mass is an advantage, this device has some serious potential to add lean mass. During my initial chat with Fredrik at Exxentric back in July, he warned me that I’d need new shirts before too long. He wasn’t wrong! Particularly after hitting Fredrik’s recommended overloaded eccentric rows!
#4 Instant Feedback from the kMeter
All the time you can monitor whether you are achieving the desired outcome via the kMeter and associated app to your iPad as it gives you instantaneous information relating to Concentric and Eccentric Peak Power, Average Power, Peak Force, % Overload to name just some of the variables. The data from the app can easily be exported via email for further analysis in Excel/Numbers.
The instant objective feedback allows you to immediately see where you are at, and provides a real added stimulus to work maximally, when that is desirable, much like can be achieved with Velocity Based Training devices such as PUSH bands. If you know your typical watts or newton’s produced over time you can target those levels again in your next session.
I know the guys out at Athletic Lab have also been using it to monitor readiness to train combined with some other measures such as HRV which I think could be another really useful application. Likewise I think it could be used in Return To Training / Return To Play protocols examining force capabilities pre & post injury using exercises like the Lateral Squat from the data that is coming from the kMeter.
I am excited to see the impact regular exposure has on some of our key performance areas such as change of direction and speed. Of particular interest to me at the moment is how it can help improve the athlete’s ability to hold optimal positions in maximal velocity running where some of our guys have previously demonstrated an inability to control the eccentric forces and appear almost ‘seated’ when running. I think with some clever use of specific joint angles and positions when training with the kBox3 we could really begin to see a difference in this area.
The kBox3 has really added a new dimension to our training options and from my initial experiences I can’t wait to see what long term impact is for our athletes.
If you are keen to find out more about the kBox3 the guys at Exxentric are super helpful and always keen to chat about training ideas and how to get the most out of the kBox, they’ve been awesome in helping me understand it. You can follow them on Twitter @fredrikcorrea or @go_exxentric