Is inertial flywheel resistance training superior to gravity-dependent resistance training in improving muscle strength?

This is a SR and M-A currently In Press in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport.

Open access: currently In Press so full-text is available

Available online: 18 Oct 2017

Those who are unfamiliar with flywheel resistance training can check out the video below:

Flywheel resistance training obviously requires a flywheel, which is a specialised equipment and I am assuming isn’t cheap. That’s the main downside I guess for clinicians, because not many have access to this equipment.

However the one of the main upsides to the flywheel is its effectiveness in targeting the eccentric component of an exercise. And we know now with an increasing amount of evidence that eccentric training can be very beneficial especially for tendinopathies. Of course one can perform eccentrics with other equipment but sometimes it can prove to be difficult and tricky, chiefly due to limitations in the concentric phase to GET TO the eccentric phase.

Conclusion

“Based on the available data, inertial flywheel resistance training was not superior to gravity-dependent resistance training in enhancing muscle strength. Data for other strength variables and other muscular adaptations was insufficient to draw firm conclusions from.”

This result is not surprising because flywheel is just another type of resistance training, and when muscles are stimulated adequately they will adapt accordingly. The main thing to look for is increases in eccentric strength in flywheel compared to gravity-dependent exercises as they call it. This is because the main advantages of using flywheel is the ability to generate higher eccentric loading. However a main limitation of this review is that only 3 RCTs were included, and only one looked at eccentric strength. Clearly more research is needed to provide a more accurate picture of the benefits of flywheel training.

Please click on the link below to access the paper:

Vicens-Bordas, J. et al (2017) Is inertial flywheel resistance training superior to gravity-dependent resistance training in improving muscle strength? A systematic review with meta-analyses. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport

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