My experiment with Compex (EN80)By Greg Mueller
So what exactly is this product, how does it work, and will it help me? My limiters as I began my first Compex training sessions were impatience, low technical ability, upper leg muscle imbalance, and low fitness. My plan was to use the unit three times per week for strength. I began in mid-January and immediately appreciated the ease of setup and application - with the help of simple color-coded pictures, you press a few buttons and off you go. This made it much more attractive to me because I knew that I would not have the time or patience for a big setup or breakdown.
My primary goals in using the Compex were to address a very apparent quad and gluteal imbalance. I had been doing some single-leg strength work, but without any substantial results. With the first use of the Compex on those muscle groups, it was apparent that, at the same intensity level, the right and left leg felt different. Per the directions, I simply increased or decreased the energy levels independently until I could feel the same impulse on each leg. I did one 33-minute session three times per week, and in two weeks I started to see what I thought was an evening of my pedal stroke. This was indeed confirmed with testing on the CompuTrainer SpinScan. I had increased my power variation on the SpinScan from 54% right leg/46% left leg to 51%/49%, almost even in five weeks. This also resulted in a cadence improvement of about 7%, from 88 rpm to 94 rpm over a two-hour ride. An additional issue during this time was that I was dealing with a stress fracture, prohibiting me from doing impact/weight-bearing movements like running. Compex was able to help me strengthen both legs with no joint loading.
About three weeks into the experiment I realized that with no running, my legs were really getting tired from the additional cycling miles, so I thought it made sense to try the Active Recovery program. This coincided with a training camp that I was running for my professional athletes in California. Needless to say, three days into the trip, the 30-minute climbs were killing me and I almost couldn't put pressure on the pedals. I used Active Recovery that night and the next day I was a new person, riding at the front on a three-hour ride. It was amazing and immediately I knew that I had to get everyone on a Compex. That night we all used Active Recovery and had varying but impressive results across the board. About two months later the whole team was using Compex immediately following our first race of the year in Florida.
For me, the huge gains were in balancing my leg strength. For my pros, the huge gains have been in minimizing their recovery. In my opinion, this is the essential part of racing for a living. It's not important how much you can do in a day but rather how much you can absorb. Having the Compex is like having your own massage therapist with you at all times to accelerate recovery. The Compex, coupled with Recoverite and Hammer Whey, has allowed Team IE to already have some dominant performances in 2012. For me personally, it's a feeling of balance that I haven't felt on the bike in years, and professionally I know that Compex is a huge advantage for my athletes.
My next project is to work with the Potentiation program. This is like a "rapid" warm-up, a muscle activation impulse. We already use muscle activation through dynamic movements. I am confident that Potentiation will bring the same great results that we saw from the other two programs. I will keep you posted on what I find out. HNView PDF