Why and HOW to Train with
The Tidal Tank is a revolutionary fitness product, that is designed to maximize the movement of the weight. It is essentially a container filled with water and air, in which the water can move freely. Certain advantages are always present, such as that it helps train your core, activates more muscles, enhances motor learning, and improves coordination. But how much of each is present, is ultimately dependent on the focus of your Tidal Tank exercise. We differentiate between four main focuses, each with their own unique phenomena, benefits, and use cases.
Before going into deep waters, it is helpful to realize what the water does, when your working out with the Tidal Tank. The water ..
- Moves chaotically and unpredictably
- Responds your movements
There are four different focuses. Of these, the fourth one is especially unique and powerful:
- Focus on moving against the water
- Focus on balancing the water
- Focus on moving with the water
- Not focusing on the water (external focus)
The focuses, and their use, will be made as concrete as possible using the following use cases:
- Improving overall fitness
- Physical rehab
- Maximizing athletic performance
1. Focus on moving against the water
Mostly for: Improving overall fitness & Athletic performance
These exercises are great for getting the absolute maximum out of your workout in no time. There is no calorie burner like it. As your entire body is fighting the get the water under control, you will be using muscles you normally hardly use. Moreover, the muscles have to work together closely. And because of the moving water, no repetition is the same. This keeps the exercise fresh, and stimulates motor learning and muscle growth even more.
2. Focus on balancing the water
Mostly for: Improving overall fitness
Partially for: Rehab
In these exercises, you try to balance the water. Depending on the degree of difficulty of the specific exercise, this requires a high level of concentration. It trains your coordination and mind to body connection. It activates the smaller muscles, which are required for balance and stability.
In rehab, it can shed to light muscle inbalance, or maladaptive movement patterns. As you can see in the second video: the water reacts to the client holding the Tidal Tank at an angle, caused by his maladaptive shoulder movement (due to pain he conditioned himself to lock his shoulder blade in, causing impingement)
3. Focus on moving with the water
Mostly for: Improving overall fitness
"Be water my friend"
For many people, as soon as you pick up the Tidal Tank, it feels naturally to want to move in sync with the water! As a judoka that moves with their opponent, with this focus, you move with the water. You then use the natural momentum of the water to bend it to your will, rather then disrupting it by shear force.
This can be quite challenging, it trains your coordination, strengthens your entire body, especially your core, and is just really fun to do.
4. Not focusing on the water (external focus)
Mostly for: Rehab & Athletic performance
Most people who go to a physical therapist, go because they have pain. This often makes you move differently, which can actually be the cause of the pain to stay in the long term. Sadly this is often overlooked, but luckily, with the variable weights such as the Tidal Tank, this can almost always be fixed.
This is done not through explicitly telling the person how to move, but by giving the person assignments, and introducing the right constraints, so the person starts doing it the 'right' way, by them self.
This is called 'implicit learning'. Think of learning to ride a bike. You don't say: move your left arm a bit forward to steer right, as soon as you sway to the left. This obviously wouldn't work. Instead, you utilize our magnificent capacity of implicit learning by exposing the person to direct feedback of the moving bike, and automatically you learn.
With Tidal Tank rehab, it works the same way, and it is how the founder of Tidal Tank recovered from 10 years of shoulder impingement:
- Give external goals: touch this ring on the floor
- Add constraints that disrupt the rigid and maladaptive movement patterns: such as Tidal Tank where the sloshing water adds continuous perturbations, and shocks the system
These exercises are mostly for athletic performance. They have all the benefits of the static version, but with some major new benefits. They are:
1. Improving balance & stability
2. Trains co-contraction
3. Improves coordination through motor learning
The first speaks for itself, the last two I will explain further below.
Imagine a person only training their legs in machines and normal squats. Then, they want to use this strength to jump in a game of basketball. Does it matter that in the game of basketball you jump from different angles, while running, with an opponent pushing against you? Yes! Because now, in order for that leg muscle strength to translate in vertically generated power, you need to be able to actively stabilize your joints. This is where co-contraction comes in. It is the simultaneous contraction of small muscles around the joints, to force this active stabilization and make the transfer of power, possible.
It is proven that variable weight training stimulates and improves co-contraction (Tumer & Brainard 2007; Wu et al 2014; Dhaale et al 2017 ). So training with a highly unstable weight such as the Tidal Tank will improve your performance and also reduce your chance of injury
In real life, and in sports, we have to move and perform in uncertain and sometimes chaotic circumstances, where we have to deal with both expected and unexpected external forces.
Then why do we so often try to control so many variables with strength exercises, focusing on getting perfect execution and form in that perfect scenario, and are surprised when we get injured trying to do the same in real life situations?
Want to move and perform in real life, then you have to submit yourself to imperfect circumstances while training. You have to feed the mistake instead of avoiding it. Research has shown that in order to learn optimally you need to fail 20-25% of the time. In all other areas of life, we already know this.
The Tidal Tank is made to be highly responsive, reacting to your every move. This means that your errors will be amplified. This is a good thing. Add the right amount of water to fail 20-25% of the time, to learn optimally. This is an excellent way to improve your movement patterns, again using the magic of implicit learning.