RepMotions Book Review
Strength Training to Improve Athletic Performance
Sun, Aug 14, 2005 - By Mike Muha
RepMotions: The Science of Enhancing Progressive-Resistance Training By Douglas Garfield 2004, Motioneering, Inc.
Doug Garfield's last two books, "The New Steady Ski for Nordic Athletes" and "Armit, Power for Poling" introduced the concept of "progressive resistance training" and presented cross country ski-specific exercises that used progressive resistance training to increase balance, stability and strength. His latest book, "RepMotions" broadens the audience by reintroducing progressive resistance training as a practical resource for general athletes and medical and exercise professionals involved in training their patients and clients.
Unlike the last two books, RepMotions dives deep into the research and empirical findings to describe the science behind progressive resistance training. Extensive references are provided for readers who want to go back to original research that helped inform the development of RepMotions.
Since I'm employ Doug's teachings in my own training, I'll both review the book and provide some background on my own experiences with RepMotions.
RepMotions in a Nutshell
From a practical standpoint, RepMotions says:
OK, an example: traditionally, when you do a bicep curl, you stand with your elbows next to your waist and your hands holding the weights up near your chest, palms facing your chest. You lower the weight down to your knees, stop, then raise the weight back up to your chest. You do one "E2C impulse" - when the dropping weight is stopped by the knees, then accelerated back to the chest. This is called a "full motion progression" - the joint goes through a full range of motion between E2C impulses.
In the RepMotions world, Garfield says you'll get more benefit is you do more than one E2C impulse during that repetition. Besides full motion progression, there are five other progressions:
Excluding Stop Motion, the progressions above are in order of increasing intensity. (Think about it: the Step and Pulse motions decrease the time between E2C impulses and the greatest intensity occurs at the impulse).
The book provides plenty of figures and diagrams showing what to do, along with clear explanations.
Some Practical Experience
I use RepMotions in combination with traditional full progressions when I strength train (usually weights but sometimes elastic cords - Armit - or my rollerboard). Here are some of the things I've discovered:
Sometimes I do full motion reps one trip the to gym, then RepMotions the next trip, but more often I just mix it up depending how I'm feeling at each weight station. I may do the first two sets with RepMotions, then finish off with some full motion reps. Or vice versa...
I've only covered some of the areas in RepMotions that are most practical for the athlete. There is a great deal of academic-style research in the book, plus specific information for exercise professionals and trainers, plus a chapter devoted entirely to teaching RepMotions. Hey, he even gives you the formulas to compute how much extra intensity there is during the E2C impulse!
You can use RepMotions with whatever strength training equipment you already have. RepMotions works well with free weights, weight machines, body-weight exercises, elastic cords, and pneumatic resistance machines.
RepMotions does not replace your equipment, complements plyometrics, and give you an important variation in how you do strength training.
[You can order RepMotions - Doug's other products "Armit: Power for Poling" and "The New Steady Ski for Nordic Athletes" - here.]
Full disclosure: Doug Garfield sponsors Team NordicSkiRacer.com and the monthly awards given to skiers who submit trail reports to this web site. We like Doug - but we use his stuff, too!