Mike Barwis has trained hundreds of pros and elite college athletes in every sport. The former director of strength and conditioning at the University of Michigan, he now consults for various pro teams and runs Barwis Methods, his fast-expanding empire of training centers.
Earlier this year, he met with Dan Chao and scored a few Halo Sport headsets to test with his clients. “We use it every day now,” he says. “It’s a brilliant idea.”
Men’s Fitness: How did you get hooked up with Halo?
I’m very science oriented, so people are always bringing me new devices to look at and vet. A friend mentioned this to me, and once I saw all the research behind it, my instincts were piqued pretty quickly. The Halo is cutting-edge and has never been contemplated in the field of athletics. It has tremendous versatility. We’re talking about the human brain, about getting more effective at what you desire.
Men’s Fitness: How important has it become to your athletes?
We train about 600 Olympic and pro athletes in 42 sports, all over the world. These are people who are separated from their competitors by minute differences. If I can get them results not only in the musculo-skeletal system but in the brain’s capacity for retention, that’s a huge advantage. We’ve seen significant gains, 10% to 15%, in explosiveness, power output, and precision of movements.
Men’s Fitness: What would be a Barwis plan for getting those kinds of results with Halo? Let’s say I want to bench more.
Great. With our guys, we work on movement mechanics in our warmups. So you might start your 20-minute Halo session by working through the movements of the bench press, carefully ingraining those mechanics with no weight, just the bar. Then start working your way up so that, by the time your 20 minutes are over and your brain is at peak plasticity, you’re going straight into the sets where you want to elicit the greatest amount of force. You want to hit that window right when you have the greatest capacity for change.
Men’s Fitness: Proper form is so important here, correct?
That’s right. Garbage in, garbage out. If you’re practicing something poorly, this is just going to make your body adhere to those bad habits more quickly. As with anything you do, you’re better off slowing it down and doing it right.