Use the Force

Fitness folks laughed at the Shake Weight, we also despaired when we saw them everywhere, in stores and on TV. What a triumph of gimmicky marketing garbage that was, classic nonsense masquerading as innovation. There has been so much of that type of thing in fitness over the years it’s become more difficult for truly useful innovations to be taken seriously.

There are also common fitness practices that are as suboptimal and more dangerous than the Shake Weight. I’m not here to make that case, there are insightful innovators, like Naudi Aguilar, who are making a strong case for more respect of  human biomechanics in training.

When I demonstrate the idea of oscillating long bands to a trainer for the first time I’m often met with a look of WTF ? When they try it however, they quickly grasp that it is full body work with useful possibilities.

There are a couple of techniques to creating the oscillation, larger movements using a full arm movement and smaller movements using primarily the wrist. Clearly the amplitude of the oscillation and the rate of oscillation effect how the forces are experienced. Changing orientation to the anchor while maintaining oscillation, incorporating lunges and other types of footwork are all useful ways to use this resistance.

I’v used a gentle wrist oscillation while holding a standing one armed isometric press and have been amazed at becoming fatigued to the point of creating a cardio demand. What happens is the entire body is engaged in holding the press and the whole body deals with that subtle but changing resistance, coping with this is remarkably fatiguing creating an oxygen demand with an exercise that looks pretty static.  I’m here to say anything that can create that level of fatigue in an essentially isometric resistance of a classic functional pushing pattern is useful resistance and useful variety.

You can see from the demo there are lots of ways to incorporate this idea into fun training at different intensities, it certainly is a super way to get in touch with your body. One thing this approach does is force the body to compensate and fire reflexively, this is particularly useful helping people who are not well connected with their bodies to become more aware. Better movement starts with awareness.

Elastic resistance has so many useful properties , exploring oscillation is certainly something every trainer should try. One really great approach is creating oscillating traction. I’v used this technique for a couple of years now and have found it is very therapeutic for folks with shoulder issues. For sure when using oscillation with a stretch it’s always nice when somebody gives you a little oscillation ;), essentially the person receiving the oscillation can relax completely into the oscillating traction, of course if you need to do it for yourself that’s OK too.

There is some really great work being done with this approach by some very talented trainers and we will certainly have more education on training with oscillation available on the site in the months to come.

The FORCEbands you see being used here are now available at

Use the FORCE !