I recently watched a video from Z Health, which then led me to read a free report they have published detailing a concept called ‘reflective lifting’. What is this? It’s all about the idea that your “nervous system is the primary driver of your strength” and by giving yourself certain cues you can get the nervous system to facilitate muscle actions whilst inhibiting the antagonists. The example they use are the eyes. Looking downwards is a natural cue to your body to go into flexion, therefore if you want to make a pull up or chin easier then you should look down at the floor (moving the eyes and not the head) which signals flexion at the shoulder and elbow, whilst inhibiting the muscles that perform extension.
Is there anything in this theory? Well if you watch their video it all seems very conclusive but I thought I’d test it on the morning crew during the Tuesday session.
Tuesday 6 September
Mobility: scapular wall slides
Skill/mobility: 3 rounds of 10 x kettlebell half-moons, 10 x kettlebell halos, 10 x kettlebell around-the-worlds (each direction) and 10 x kettlebell figure of 8’s (each direction)
Skill: chins – reflective lifting tests 5 x eyes up, 5 x eyes forward, 5 x eyes down
Skill/strength: snatch balances 3-3-3-3
Metcon: 500m row, followed by 4 rounds of 5 hand release push ups, 10 box jumps, 30 one-arm KB swings and finished with a 400m run
I threw in a bit of random kettlebellness. All those little exercises that look like such gimmicks, though having said that after programming them as a mini mobility metcon warm-up, everyone was working damn hard.
And so… the results of the Z Health test. Nobody in the 7am group said that they felt that looking down whilst doing chins felt easier. Whilst team 8am said the following:
So only one person agreed with the Z Health prediction! Now I do think there were a lot of preconceived opinions as to what the answer would be. There was also an element of fatigue since I had everyone look down for their last 5 chins. It should also be noted that Lauren who was the only person to say ‘eyes down’ was adamant that when she did so she felt a real difference and pulled herself up with much greater ease.
So something for you to think about. Maybe nonsense, maybe not, maybe just a nice placebo to provide a boost during pull ups. Try it out and see what you think.
Well done on the metcon guys. Apologies to 7am for my timing misjudgement that meant I squeezed in their snatch balances after the metcon. What was he thinking?? Well done for battling through. Go TEAM!