Flywheel training (inertia training) – all you need to know
BY LOEK VOSSEN
Human Movement Scientist
This blog covers all you need to know about flywheel training (inertia training). Let’s start with the definition and history!
What is Flywheel Training
Flywheel training is a strength training modality that relies on the resistance of an inertial flywheel instead of conventional gravity-based resistance training with weights. This scientific paper adds that one of the important aspects of flywheel training is that it offers the possibility of performing exercises with eccentric overload and variable resistance.
“The effectiveness of inertial training, from rehabilitation to performance enhancement, has been proven by a lot of research.” – strength and conditioning coach Zsolt Pozsonyi
Flywheel training gained interest when NASA and the European Space Agency started using it with their astronauts in weightless space. It is a unique development in sport and physiotherapy. Training with a inertial flywheel is also called kinetic training or isoinertial training.
How does Flywheel Training work
Flywheel training works with a rotating disc, instead of traditional weights. The disc – also called inertial flywheel – is attached to a cord. When you pull the cord, the inertial flywheel starts rotating. During this acceleration, you experience resistance. This part of the movement is called a concentric movement.
Once the cord is fully unwind, the inertial flywheel maintains its rotation speed and will automatically pull the cord back, just like a yo-yo. You now need to slow the flywheel down by decelerating it. This part of the movement is called an eccentric movement. It is this eccentric movement that makes flywheel training so unique and effective. That’s why we wrote a full must read blog about it: How to create Eccentric Overload in Flywheel Training.
Flywheel training vs traditional weights: what’s the difference
Traditional weight training relies on gravity while flywheel inertial training is based on kinetic energy. As a result, the first noticeable difference is that a flywheel exercise machine can generate a lot of resistance without being heavy.
During a flywheel workout, you experience that the energy you put into the concentric phase (pull) equals the energy that you need to put into the eccentric phase (deceleration), to slow the flywheel down. This is something we are not used to in traditional strength training. In other words: during a flywheel workout you experience a constant resistance.
As a result, there is more emphasis on the eccentric (over)load than in weight training. This is exactly what makes flywheel training so effective.
For more differences between flywheel training and conventional resistance training, read these two blogs:
- The difference between flywheel training and free weights.
- Do resistance bands work or are there better alternatives?
Benefits of Flywheel Training
The higher forces in the eccentric movement result in a more intense and effective training. Various studies have shown that flywheel training has significantly more effect on muscle strength, speed, power and size (flywheel training hypertrophy).
Looking at functional strength, flywheel training is proven to improve performance-related abilities like jump height and running speed to a greater extent than traditional training.
“Flywheel Training increases my functional strength” – Enduro motocross rider Marc Zomer
Science also shows that flywheel training is a very suitable treatment method in physiotherapy, injury prevention and rehabilitation. Especially in tendon injuries like Patellar Tendinopathy and Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy. But also in hamstring injuries and rehabilitation for patients recovering from a stroke.
See what flywheel training research has to say about Flywheel Training via our science reference list. Watch the video to learn about the 3 biggest advantages of Flywheel training, when comparing to traditional weight training.
Target groups Flywheel Training
At Kynett we experience a broad range of users who embrace inertial training. Examples are professional athletes, physiotherapists, personal trainers and fitness lovers in general.
When looking at specific sports, we wrote about:
- Flywheel training for team sports like soccer, basketball, hockey, rugby, handball and volleyball. Read the blog: Why flywheel training is popular in team sports.
- Flywheel training for tennis players. Read the blog: Why Rafael Nadal uses Flywheel Training.
- Flywheel training for swimmers. Read the blog: Flywheel training improves swimming performance.
- Flywheel training for soccer players. Read the blog: Flywheel training lowers hamstring injury occurrence in elite soccer players.
- Flywheel training for older adults (elderly). Read the blog: Older adults benefit from Flywheel Training.
“The Kynett ONE is very helpful and easy to take with me during the season when I am on the road and need to train.” – Alpine skier Sterre van den Berg
How do you make the exercise heavier
With inertia training you use lightweight discs (inertia flywheel). That however does not mean that a flywheel workout is easy. The intensity of the exercise is mainly determined by the energy (speed and force) that you put into it. The harder you pull, the more resistance you will experience in both the acceleration and deceleration. Because of the constant load, you experience muscle fatigue faster than with regular weight training.
Still you can choose the intensity of the flywheel workout yourself. Our flywheel trainer products are used both in injury rehabilitation and in serious strength training like powerlifting. By choosing the thickness of a discs (inertial flywheel), you can emphasize different aspects of training. With thinner lighter discs (less inertia), you generate more power. If you want to focus on power and flywheel speed training, choose the 2 (800 gram) mm or 3 (1200 gram) mm discs.
Heavier discs (more inertia) appear to be more suitable for a slower movement that requires a little more force. If you want to focus on pure strength during your flywheel workout, choose the 4 mm (1550 gram) discs for the Kynett ONE, or even up to 8 mm (2550 gram) for the Kynett PRO or Kynett UTLIMATE. PS you can combine several discs.
Read more about how hard flywheel training is in our blog: Flywheel training: how hard is it?
Flywheel training equipment
Looking for a flywheel training device? Here’s a quick buyers guide advice. Do you want to take the flywheel exercise machine with you? Make sure you chose a mobile version like the Kynett ONE . Do you want to easily change the height and angle of your flywheel device? Chose a product that is easy to adjust like the Kynett PRO . Want a full 360 flywheel station? Have a look at our Kynett ULTIMATE .
“Kynett: the strongest and cheapest option in Europe” – Strength coach Keegan Smith
Kynett ONE: Mobile version
Due to the smart design, the handy case and a weight of only 5 kg, the Kynett ONE flywheel trainer is easy to carry and mount. Use it indoor, outdoor, at home, in the gym or on the road: flywheel training is possible anywhere with the Kynett ONE. The Kynett ONE takes up little space and can also be attached to the wall by ordering a separate wall bracket. Training with the Kynett ONE can be expanded with accessories like a squat plate. This enables you to focus on specific muscles like the quadriceps (legs). Learn more about the Kynett ONE via the button.
Kynett PRO: Easy to adjust
The Kynett PRO is made of durable and sturdy materials and comes with a solid wall adjust. Because the Kynett PRO flywheel trainer is adjustable in different heights, the possibilities are endless. With this innovative way of training, all muscle groups can be trained, needing less than 1,5 square meter of space! Learn more about the Kynett PRO via the button.
Kynett ULTIMATE: Complete training station
With this flywheel exercise machine, there is no limit to the exercises that you can do. Advantages of this training station are that a squat plate is no longer needed, heavier inertia discs can be used and switching between upper and lower body exercises takes no time at all. The Kynett ULTIMATE comes with a lot of accessories like a harness, a triceps rope, an ankle strap and a set of two crossfit handles. Learn more about the Kynett ULTIMATE via the button.