Rodney McBride

The Magnet Reaction in Strength Training

The Magnet Reaction in Strength Training

The magnet reaction is a natural reflex located on the bottom outside and bottom inside of both feet. When stimulated the bottom outside magnet reaction facilitates (turns on) the abductor muscles (outside of hip) and inhibits (turns off) the adductor muscles (inside of leg). When stimulated the bottom inside magnet reaction does the opposite. It facilitates (turns on) the adductor muscles (again inside of leg) and inhibits (turns off) the abductor muscles (again outside of hip). The bottom outside magnet reaction is the reflex we are more interested in.

The magnet reaction just like the positive support reaction is weight and gate sensitive but is also balance sensitive. The positive support reaction is associated with up and down movements whereas the magnet reaction is more associated with side to side movements. For example, if you were to lean to the left the magnet reaction would activate and your body would move back to center. Ditto if you were to lean to the right.

Just like the positive support reaction you can take advantage of this reflex in strength training in all your standing exercises. The same rule applies. Train barefoot or with a flat sole if you must wear shoes as this enhances the sensitivity of the muscle, ligament and skin proprioceptors. The more in contact and the more you can feel the ground the larger the reflex stimulation. 

Lets take the deadlift example again. When you are set up for the deadlift KEEP YOUR FEET FLAT but distribute a little more weight to the outside of your foot. DO NOT LIFT the foot off the ground at anytime or point. The foot stays FLAT on the ground but again just distribute a little more weight to the outside edge of the foot. This will activate the magnet reaction causing the outside portion of the hip muscles to contract even greater during the pulling motion. 

Better yet corkscrew your feet into the ground as you are setting up as this will allow you to put a little more weight on the outside edge of your feet. Keep those feet flat and procede with the rest of the lift. By combining the magnet reaction with the spring like action of the positive support reaction you get double the force production. This works the same for the squat. 

If for some reason you don't feel comfortable using this reflex that is fine just keep the foot flat. Still take hold of the positive support reaction though. Never distribute your weight to the inside of the foot. Not only are your joints not aligned but your hips turn off when you need them most. You loose strength and the lift is rendered ineffective and dangerous for that matter. 

Remember the number one rule in strength training is to be safe. Bye for now.


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