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Biofeedback Discussion

Hey everybody, thanks for coming by to check out the site. Today I have a post for you that I’d really like your opinion on. I hope you can take a minute and post a comment below before you move on to whatever else you have going on today.

Before we get into that, here’s a picture of me and my little girl, JayCee Lynn. She’s doing great and she loves to stay up every night and party.

Here’s a picture of her and me a week or so ago taken around 3 AM one night after giving her a bottle. I am so delirious in this pic, I don’t even remember who took it.

JayCee Lady and Me


Anyway, back to my post…

Last month, I sent out a few newsletters about Biofeedback, a testing protocol that I was turned onto by Adam Glass.

Without simplifying it too much, Biofeedback Testing is a procedure you can use to test how well a given movement will work for you on any particular day. For instance, if you are planning on a workout involving upper body pushing exercises, you can go through and test several different exercises within that movement pattern to see which lift is best suited for you that given day.

Now, at first, this concept seemed very foreign to me. I just couldn’t get my head wrapped around how this could possibly work. Adam told me about this system while I was driving to Columbus, Ohio several months ago. Unfortunately, at the time, I was driving in thick traffic upwards of 70 miles per hour and it didn’t sink into my thick skull.

In February, Adam held a seminar along with Brad Nelson where he covered these concepts in detail. Unfortunately, because of work, I couldn’t make it out to the seminar, so I had to wait a couple more months until the DVD’s of the event were released.

However, as soon as my copy of the DVD arrived, I stuck the thing into the DVD player and watched it in its entirety. Finally I was able to piece all of the concepts together and understood how to put the Biofeedback protocol into action.

So, now it’s been several weeks that I have been experimenting with Biofeedback.

Last Thursday was the first day I saw a huge correlation between how I tested and how the movement went. I was doing an arm day and tested several different arm exercises. The tricep dip tested way better than any of the other tricep movements. I was able to reach several inches out in front of my toes during the test.

When I normally do dips, I go with bodyweight only or maybe a 35-lb or 50-lb dumbbell hanging off a weight belt. I stay light like this because going any heavier usually makes my shoulders hurt after only a few repetitions.

However, on this particular day, the dip movement tested well, and when I did the dips there was no shoulder pain where I normally felt it. In fact, I was able to do them with the 95-lb kettlebell hanging off the weight belt, and on one set I was able to do 8 repetitions.

That weight for that many repetitions is unheard of for me. The only explanation I have is that I have been spending a lot of time foam rolling my shoulder area to try to reduce some of the pain I have been having. That is the only change I have made.

So, I shot this video the night of the workout and I’m interested in hearing if you follow this type of protocol, what changes you have seen in your training, or any other discussion that you would like to bring up.

Other things I have noticed about the Biofeedback testing protocol results:

  • I generally test better all around if I push water all day long; I test poorly if I drink too much coffee
  • I usually test better after foam rolling and some mobility stuff than if I just go down and do some squats and light band work
  • I test poorly if I take the 3 AM to 7 AM shift watching JayCee than if I take the 11 PM to 3 AM shift
  • Sometimes there are NO standout movements
  • Sometimes everything tests well
  • I have had very little luck getting the testing to show anything for Grip training

I plan to continue pursuing this Biofeedback protocol aggressively to see just how far it can take me.

What I’d like to know is are you using this protocol in your training? What results are you seeing? Are you mostly geared toward strength, power, muscle gain, etc?

I’m very eager to read your comments, so post away! Thanks ahead of time.



How to Bend Nails | How to Tear Cards | Feats of Grip Strength Explained | How to Build Your Own Equipment | How to Lift Atlas Stones | The Sh*t You’ve Never Seen | Sled Dragging for Athletes | The Road to the Record DVD

We just ordered a bunch of new Diesel Shirts with our classic Diesel Skull design.

They are available in Military Green, Red, Orange, and Gray.

They are available from Medium to multiple XL.

The price is $20 plus $5.95 for shipping within the United States and $11.95 Internationally.

You can send the money with Paypal to [email protected], or to the following address:
(please make the checks payable to Jedd Johnson)

Jedd Johnson
PO Box 806
Wyalusing PA 18853

I know a lot of you have written about the shirts, so sorry for the delay.

We are also looking into tee shirt sizes for the children, if there is enough interest. Please leave a comment below if you’d like to get one for your kid(s) so we can see what the interest is. Thanks!

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26 Responses to “Biofeedback Discussion”

  1. KIra Says:

    Hey Jedd,

    I was introduced to the biofeedback thing by Mike Nelson and then Adam’s blog … I’ve been using it since January … So far I’ve had nothing but good experiences with it …

    A few numbers for you …

    The week before I started training using biofeedback my PRs were …

    Squat: 160kg
    Deadlift: 165kg
    Bench: 115kg

    At the beginning of April …
    Squat: 185kg
    Deadlift: 190kg
    Bench: 155kg

    So my biggest improvement was the bench, which is particularly interesting as I’ve had both shoulders dislocated and have had problems pushing/pressing. I am very conscious of shoulder health and work on it, but I honestly didn’t think I’d ever be hitting around double bodyweight benches (and my pressing has also improved too … I’m now BUP 32kg bell without any pain/tightness issues).

    I’m looking to have my first powerlifting competition later this year 🙂

    Over the month of April I hit 81 PRs (that includes volume per set, volume per time, volume per session). I find the PR focus they suggest very motivating and satisfying. I’ve got so good at the biofeedback testing, I barely do any exercise now that isn’t a PR in some way.

    I keep a track of the total kg ‘improvement’ I make (ie. if I go from 3 reps to 5 reps of 180kg deadlift, I count that as a 2 rep improvement: 360kg). Over the month of April, I improved 26000 kg across all the exercises I do (barbell, kettlebell & bodyweight). Very happy with that 🙂

    My main concern with the protocol is related to long term improvement …

    I tend to make gains if I try ANY ‘new’ kinda workout, cos it’s new, and then I plateau. So I’ll be particularly interested how the protocol stands up over the rest of the year.

    The gains so far have been easy … no mental toughness required and no injuries.

    I’m expecting good things.


  2. Harlan Jacobs Says:

    Hey Jedd….. I am 51 years old and have competed in many powerlifting meet, was North America’s strongest man over 40 in 2000,, Certified on the #3 on both hands. Not that any of this means anything,, just to let you know I have been around a bit. Now I am the first to admit, I am old school. I have allways trained to failier. And I have also had several injuries. I have tried the Bio feed back after meeting Adam. For me, I have to throw the BS card. I get no change in my range of motion no matter what I try . I have spoke to Adam about this also. Now if I stretch, so I do then. But that is the only way . Now I know you are going to say what about a PR every workout. I have also spoke with Adam about this. If you are not giving a max effort, how can you say it is a PR ? Maybe you just gave 90% this time ant only did 88% last workout . In order to call a lift a PR, you must max out ! Just my thoughts.

  3. Jerry Shreck Says:


    I am not familiar with Adam’s Biofeedback program but I do “listen” to my body. So like your dip example-if I plan on doing dips and after the first set or two I know right away whether to continue with dips or to move to another tricep exercise instead. I typically will do this with all my exercises-if I am just not feeling it-then I will substitute it with a different exercise.
    Also, ironically some of my best training days come when I have had very little sleep.

  4. Jack Says:

    Hey Jedd,

    Ain’t fatherhood grand?! Kudos to you for sharing the workload. You’ve got a beautiful baby girl there. My girl is 5 now, but I still remember some of those 2-3-4 am sessions.

    Biofeedback–I was intrigued with the concept when I saw the first video talking about it. I try to keep an open mind about new ideas and would have seriously considered buying the program, but I found the cost to be prohibitive. I’ve forgotten exactly how much it was, seems like it was well over a hundred bucks, maybe in the neighborhood of a hundred forty or fifty or more. And now hearing you say that you’ve followed the protocol for several weeks and had this one exceptional day, well it just seems that this is a questionable system with a big ticket. I just can’t go there.

    Be well

  5. david Says:

    It’s great to see this post Jedd. You’ll just have more and more experiences like this until you can’t even remember how you used to train before.

    Jack – all of the information is out there for free, it just depends how close you want the dots put together.

  6. Dave Sandel Says:

    I’m using it, and as you know, have written several posts about it on my website.

    My most recent “accomplishments” are that I’ve lost 8lb. of bodyweight (through dieting), but my bench press continues to move up on only one workout per week (normally).

    I’ve also hardly ever been able to do more than 3 sets of 8 chinups with just my bodyweight. This past weekend I decided I was going for straight volume. I tested several different pull-up/chinup variations and close-grip chinups (inside shoulder width) tested the best. I managed to get 40 chinups in 28 minutes with a 20lb. chain around my neck doing triples (and one set of 4).

    If I have been able to maintain (and slightly build) strength on only 1 or 2 days in the gym during the week, I’m excited to see what happens when I have time to get back in there 3-5 days per week.

  7. Jedd Says:


    Thanks for posting. I know I can always get a straight answer from you, brother. I hear you on being old school. I am naturally of the school where you work your ass off until you get the results you want. This is how I broke the World Record in the Two Hands Pinch. I tried everything I could think of and worked my ass off until the record was mine. However, I wonder how long I can keep this kind of thing up, so I was intrigued with this system and want to continue to pursue it. When I see results like Kira’s it makes me want to continue to go after it with an open mind.

  8. Jedd Says:

    @ Jerry: Thanks for posting. I hear you on listening to your body. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to just shut it down when things feel crappy. Smitty’s posted on this several times in the last couple of months both here and at Team Diesel Crew. Adam’s DVD covers this as well. So I hear what you are saying, Jerry, sometimes you can just tell that it’s not a great day to work out.

  9. Jedd Says:

    @ Jack, yes, I am enjoying fatherhood a great deal. I was told by a lot of people that it would change me forever, so I was dreading what exactly that meant, but it certainly feels good and I am not dreading anything anymore.

    I know the price of the program is significant. But I must say in looking through the Dragondoor catalog I saw a couple other seminar DVD’s that were even more expensive.

    But please don’t base the value of the program on my results. There are a lot of people out there who are seeing incredible results from using the concepts.

    One gentleman, in particular, Josh Hanagarne, has even been able to shut off the tics associated with his Tourette Syndrome that has caused him problems throughout his life.

    Either way, thanks for stopping by and commenting and all the best in your training, Jack.

  10. Jedd Says:

    @ Dave, It sounds like you have been very successful at training what you need to train in order to get results and have eliminated some of the unnecessary ancillary stuff, sorting it out with the Biofeedback protocol. Would you agree?

    Thanks for posting.

  11. Harlan Jacobs Says:

    I do have an open mind. I just can’t seem to get any results for myself. That don’t mean it does not work for others. Just not me..

  12. Dave Sandel Says:

    I’ve never been someone that does a lift just for the sake of doing it, so I really haven’t “cut out” any lifts, but biofeedback allows me to pick the one that is going to be most efficient that day.

  13. Coach Mike Says:

    I have used 2 other means of testing recovery with good success. I have been interested in Adams bio feedback but it seems subjective. I mean your head can play tricks on you. Lets say you get it in your head that the next day you are going to hammer the dead lifts. Will that mental image affect your testing results? Now I am not saying bio feed back is snake oil. We all have to listen to our body. That being said we all know your mental state is a huge factor in any athletic performance. I would be willing to try it though. (ps Hey Jedd I do have some video coming for you, But had an “Issue” with the camera!)

  14. Rick Walker Says:

    I think biofeedback is just another training protocol. Not better then any other, just another one to use if you are looking to change stuff up or are in a rut.

    I cant see it carrying over too much with competitive stuff. Say deadlifts dont test well for 6 weeks, does that mean you never pull?

    Also, it would seem that each time you attempt to touch your toes you would get closer. That is just common sense. So if you are testing 3 exercises, once you get to the third you should be able to go down further due to doing it twice already.

    Squats and deadlifts will aid with flexibility, so after a set of squats you SHOULD be able to stretch further. Same with the deadlift.

    I wont call it snake oil either, but I dont think it is the next answer to your training prayers. If you want to PR every workout, add more weight or do more reps. You dont need a degree or a certification or toe touches for that!

    My 2 cents. Great pic Jedder! I love the 3 am feedings…


  15. Harlan Jacobs Says:

    Thank you Rick ! When I am going to do a Max or make a jump, I think about it all day before I even begain ro go to the gym. By the time you get there, you know you are going to get it if you have prepared for it. Just like in a contest. You know going in if you are ready.

  16. Dave Sandel Says:


    Have you tried it at all? I can tell you first hand that the 3rd squat you try will absolutely NOT result in better movement just because it is the 3rd one and you are “warmed up and more flexible”.

    As for, “just add more weight or do more reps”. If that were the case, why aren’t the Elite Powerlifters squatting 2,000lb. yet? I mean, all they have to do is add more weight or more reps, right?

    Now, it IS “just another protocol”, but it’s a protocol that allows you to progress in one way or another without killing yourself.

    But, I’ll just leave it at that. You’ve already got your mind made up.

  17. Harlan Jacobs Says:

    But if you are not giving it your all, how can you say you are improving ? Because you don’t know at what percent yuou are working if you don’t.

  18. Rick Walker Says:

    Jedd asked for opinions, I gave mine.

    It is strange how all the biofeedback groupies can’t lift much weight…

    But, what the hell would I know?


  19. Jedd Says:

    I really appreciate you guys coming and sharing your views. I love having discussions here on the website.

    It’s hard for me to speak about the Biofeedback being used for strength training, because I haven’t used it that way. I have mostly used it as a way to see what is going to keep me from hurting my back. I’ve had lots of back injuries over the years, so I’m anxious to see if this, along with several other initiatives I am working on can help me accomplish that. I think with as many injuries as I have had over the years, I need a complex way to correct it, so I am trying to come at it from all angles.

    Regarding the hamstring test – it’s not really how far you can stretch, it’s the spot you feel tension build up. For me, I am getting better at sensing this.

    Rick, you brought up a good point about if deadlifts don’t test well for 6 weeks, then do you not pull. In the DVD, it talks about ways to work around this. The actual words he uses to describe it escape me right now, but it comes down to testing the primary movement (deadlift) then contributing movements (different stances, ranges of motion, etc) and then finally doing something completely the opposite of the movement. He said for him that the contra-indicative movement to deadlifts is steel bending. If deadlifts don’t test well, a movement where you stand up with resistance, then steel bending usually tests better, a motion similar to pushing downward and inward on the steel.

    I still find the whole protocol fascinating and enjoy looking into it more. Thanks for posting again, guys.

    @Harlan, sorry if it sounded like I was telling you to keep an open mind. That is not what I meant. I meant that I am keeping an open mind, after ignoring the possibilities due to my misunderstanding in the first place.


  20. Mike T Nelson Says:

    Hi guys! First off, congrats Jedd on becoming a new father. Awesome!

    Great discussion. For those who have not tried, I suggest they give it a shot. It really does not take that much time and then you can see if it is for you or not.

    I met you briefly last March and thanks for the tire sled idea. I love it! I agree, you must listen to your body and this gives people a way to do that since many times my ego wants to get involved too much.

    How strong is strong? Has Andy Bolton used biofeedback directly? I don’t think so, but he is crazy strong; so it is not the ONLY way of course. Adam has and he is one of the top grip people in the world. Strength is specific and can have a high cost if not done correctly (pain, injuries, etc). Each person has to decide how much cost they want to pay.

    There will be world record holders coming up that will be using this method, I can guarantee that. Most have only used it for 3 months so far and only a handful of people (myself, Frankie, Adam and a few of clients) so time will tell.

    I know for myself it has allowed me to train more with better results than anything else I have done even with the crazy stress level right now–working, training others, business, and finishing my degree.

    Rock on
    Mike T Nelson PhD(c)

  21. Matt Says:

    I’m very curious about the whole biofeedback and gym movement thing, particularly as I have a dodgy shoulder.

    Where can I get the full low-down on this as an internet search yields little.

  22. Jedd Says:


    I will continue to bring more information to the table on this as I learn more, but in the meantime, I suggest you check out Adam Glass’s Blog, Many of the guys that practice this and have honed the protocol post there readily, from what I can tell.


  23. Mike T Nelson Says:

    Just a heads up that I have a free interview I did with Frank who has been using biofeedback for over 3 months and made some amazing changes.
    Check it out

    Keep us updated on how it goes Jedd!

    Rock on
    Mike T Nelson PhD(c)

  24. Peter Says:

    How is the biofeedback working for you, Jedd? I am experiencing good gains with it still, after a few weeks.

  25. Jedd Johnson Says:

    Right now I am using it to figure out how many reps to do per set. I am doing the lifts that I want to (for Grip) and then using it to figure out the reps to do. The process I use is slightly different than the Gym Movement protocol, but it seems to feel good.

  26. Mighty Joe Says:

    I can say with 100% confidence that I’ve not only tried BF but I’ve tested it to the core. I was skeptical at first. Became a convert later on and then with continued testing and a little research on the central nervous system CNS, I discovered that the testing protocol is not necessary and is actually contradictory and ends up in a viscious cirlce
    so to speak.

    There’s too many things to cover in this comment section but in a nutshell, the toe touch test or any of the other tests doesn’t signal a threat to your CNS which in turn your CNS makes no adjustments in motor unit output. And YES, your mental outlook towards your workout can and does play tricks on you.

    I will say that other aspects of the protocol are useful such as the “elements of effort or failure.” Which simply applied means pay attention to your body. the most important aspect of the WHOLE thing is to NEVER move into PAIN. This is when the CNS takes over not when you’re performing a toe touch test without any signal of pain (threat).

    Jedd I can e-mail you more info if you’re interested.

    Take care and DON’T TRAIN IN PAIN!

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