Hacking into Human Performance

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With all the buzz around “biohacking” for better physiology, I realized that biohacking is exactly what we are doing in The Performance Lab — we are biohacking human performance! Consider agility for a moment. Every great athlete has great agility; it is one of the hallmarks. They can move quickly and adapt in an instant to a change in direction, and those who do it best are awesome at their given game. In professional sports, the NFL and NBA Combines are largely an agility and power test. Those who have it get drafted, and those who do not fall back to mere mortal status.

Conventional thought tells us that gaining agility and power requires weights, drills, and time amongst other things. But what if there were a biohack available to jump the ladder in a matter of moments? In the following set of videos, the challenges are designed to test agility. If you have been reading my blogs for some time then you know that better agility equates to better control of the balance board. Take three minutes to watch the videos and see the changes occuring before and after treatment. At just six minutes in one and eleven in the next, the speed at which the change occurs in her ability to control the board would, I argue, be a biohack. It should be noted that Misti is a highly trained athlete who had three years worth of Strava data. She likes to progress and works hard for her gains.

These videos highlight a couple of agility challenges we use in the Performance Lab. They seem simple, yet they highlight the weaknesses that separate the best athletes from the mediocre. So far the results from our clients have shown not only stronger athletes but better human performance that simply cannot be ignored.

A look at Misti’s PRs set after her Performance Lab sessions

The following is an excerpt and summary of data taken from a third party review done on The Performance Lab in October, 2018.

“In the chart below, the darker colors equal more PR’s. Misti’s Performance Lab ran six sessions spanning May 21st to June 7th. Below you can see her last four years of PR data. Examining the accumulation of PR’s as one measure of relative improvement, we see 52 PRs in April, 61 PRs in May, 105 PRs in June, and whopping 142 PRs in July. Comparing those numbers to the same period in 2017, we see 37 PRs in April, 46 PRs in May, 56 Ps in June, and 44 in July. In summary, prior to starting treatment her PR frequency was up only slightly over 2017 but following her Performance Lab sessions, her PR rate was 2x to 3x as much. When we take into account that she rode approximately 33% more miles in June and July of 2018 vs 2017, the PR rate drops to 1.5 to 2x which is still a very strong correlation. More over, Misti’s treatments occurred through early June yet her measured improvement in terms of PRs did not peak until July. The best hypothesis we have is that while her muscles were immediately firing better it takes much longer for other performance influencing aspects of her physiology and psychology to realign and realize maximum performance.”

Why the PRs?

The testing and corrections we do in The Performance Lab do more than correct agility. Agility is not just a function of how fast a muscle can respond to a change in direction but also on muscle recruitment itself. As someone’s agility is corrected, her muscle recruitment goes up. Increased muscle recruitment equals increased power output as was highlighted in the test we did with Eric, who is also a highly trained mountain bike racer.

As a result, the reason for the PRs is actually quite simple. Misti saw an increase in her muscle recruitment, which gave her more power. With improved agility, her ability to go downhill also improved because her reaction time improved.  When the delay in how much time it takes the muscle to fire is reduced, the balance board becomes steady in the test, and the result, in Misti’s case, is improved bike handling skills.

Final thoughts

For an amazing human performance to occur, the body must respond like it is amazing. From my experience, most bodies do not have the necessary type of response! I am quite certain that someone cannot train themselves into the type of agility that Misti gained after three hours in the Performance Lab. When looking at the results of an NFL or NBA Combine, know that those players are leaving some time on the floor because they delay and poor muscle recruitment. They have the potential to be even greater. Delay and poor muscle recruitment affects everyone, even those at the top. Imagine how much your numbers would instantly improve without it.

Thank you,

Dr. Steve Noble

* This article is a repost which originally appeared on NOBLE CHIROPRACTIC.

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