Posts Tagged ‘strength endurance’

LeonardSchwartz

Dr. Leonard Schwartz in his prime…

People who come to “HeavyHands” from a background of using barbells or machines for building muscle love the fact that walking with weighted hands offers the chance to “do everything” at once… build muscle, burn fat, and build endurance. He talked about muscular development for the purpose of efficiency, not bulk. His feats of strength and endurance while weighing under 150 pounds and just getting really started after age 54 amaze people today. Just one look at Dr. Len Schwartz’ physique with its under 5% body fat and obvious muscularity, and it’s obvious his training program offers the benefits most gym rats aspire to achieve.

There are a few hitches however.

When folks are used to training in the gym on machines, they are taught to think in terms of exercises for every body part so that development is proportionate everywhere.

Start walking with HeavyHands or other hand weights and it becomes apparent that some key muscle sectors can be overlooked. Walking with HeavyHands can quite obviously develop the anterior (frontal) deltoids and biceps. If moved rearward forcefully on the back swing, they can most certainly reach the rear deltoid, upper back, and tricep. The muscles of the leg used to propel the body forward while walking or jogging tend to receive a better workout than walking alone because of the way the weights affects one’s foot movement… the longer the arm movement, the longer the stride….the more forceful the back swing, the more forceful the step forward.

What’s left out of the mix for the folks whose HeavyHands exercise is confined to the walking movement is improved development of the quadriceps and the muscles that lift the arms overhead (lateral deltoids and trapezius). Abdominal, lower back, and other supportive muscle groups can be left out of the equation as well.

Of course, Dr. Schwartz’ books show a variety of movements aimed at addressing these problems. “Duck Waddles” (aka “Duck Walk”) and “Jack Knifing” tried to address the quads and lower back respectively. The first is a “walking squat” with a deep knee bend. Here’s a video of the movement with weighted hands:

The second movement for the lower back, the Jack Knife”, is pretty similar to a “walking” form of “double ski poling” shown in this image:

Double Ski Poling

Double Ski Poling

Those moves certainly work well. The “Duck Walk” is a type of “walking lunge”. Some folks (like this author) have problems with lunges done “on the fly” because of existing knee problems. The “Jack Knife” admittedly looks “strange” and puts off some people from using it… though keep reading and see how to get the benefits of the “Jack Knife” by adapting another strategy of Dr. Schwartz that will be explored below thanks to Marty Gallagher’s recollection!

What about other options? Stairclimbing with HeavyHands certainly activates the quads, but not necessarily the overhead component.

Recently HeavyHands and Leonard Schwartz Fan Marty Gallagher reminded fans of Dr. Schwartz of another solution for quad activation and a simple “hack” makes it address several deficiencies that exist in walking while swinging weights alone.

While recounting the benefits of this “new tool for an old protocol”, Gallagher’s first article in the series reminds us of a Heavy Hands combination that folks familiar with the Dr. Schwartz’ books don’t seem to remember (or at least this author did not remember!)…

[Leonard Schwartz’] cardio/strength feats were incredible. At age 70, he could pump a pair of ten-pound hand weights to forehead height (on every rep) for a solid hour—while power walking and squatting every ten paces.

Walking and Squatting every ten paces?

Why not do an overhead press after that squat?

Tired of squatting and pressing after a while, but want to work the lower back? Why not exchange the squat and press with a double ski pole every ten steps?

After a hiatus from HeavyHands to work with Kettlebells, this author had to get out in the field and give that option a try!

As mentioned before, due to a knee injury, it’s potentially dangerous to do lunges “on the fly” (i.e. the “Duck Walk”). It’s simply wiser to plant the feet first before bending the knee to be sure the knee doesn’t twist or go ahead of the toes. Stopping momentarily and doing a proper squat presents less of a problem.

Here’s what the reader will probably find:

  1. Using 10 pound weights just for walking and swinging to forehead height is an amazing achievement for any length of time let alone ONE HOUR…one of many Dr. Schwartz was known for! Unless you’re going for a very short walk, use your normal HeavyHands weight or even go lighter or you may experience the downside of being too tired to swing the weights when you’re about done. The extra squatting and overhead pressing will bite into your strength and endurance on a very long walk!
  2. Likewise, to avoid extreme soreness, it may be wise to devote only a portion of your planned weighted hands walk to the squat and press protocol. Start out doing a squat and press after every ten steps for 15 minutes. In the author’s case, this was the perfect way to start and gave the extra quad stimulation needed for a good workout without overworking things.
  3. Squatting every ten paces provided a good overall leg workout and, because it was done consistently instead of haphazardly, provided a better overall workout than simply stopping every do often to do a whole set of squats.
  4. Overhead pressing every ten paces (in addition to the normal hand movements) provided a better tricep workout than would ordinarily happen while also allowing the front, side, and rear deltoid to get their share of work!

Next time, this author plans to try the “squat and press protocol” first, but, at some point, incorporate a “double ski pole” every ten paces to test that.

Incorporating the squat and press every ten steps was a manageable way to increase the overall benefit of walking with weighted hands by increasing the overall number of muscles worked (more “panaerobic”) and, as a result, increasing the intensity of the workout.

Note: If the readers get to test either the “squat and press” or “double ski pole” protocols every ten paces or have other experience doing things like that, a comment is appreciated!

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This is a good example of the Squat Assisted Pull Up (or Squat Pull) using playground equipment.

Though the author Ed Pierini offers some suggestions, those wishing to use them as a “panaerobic” exercise in the way suggested by Dr. Schwartz might do them for timed continuous reps (working up to 15 minutes or more) or even as ”intervals” such as 30 seconds of as many reps as possible alternated with 30 seconds active rest. That combination might be repeated 10 or more times.

Dr. Schwartz also envisioned these being done at a “Pan-X” device (patented as a “Strength-endurance exercise apparatus
US 4932653 A”) where it was possible to move from this exercise after 2 minutes to other exercises using as much overall muscle tissue as possible (not isolation exercises done in a “Circuit”).

Russian Girevoy “Kettlebell Sport” Postage Source: Wikipedia

Russian Girevoy (Kettlebell Sport) StampA discussion on the HeavyHands Yahoo Forum  came up recently about Kettlebells and HeavyHands.

One factor that came up is something this author wasn’t aware of… there are two rather different schools when it comes to doing kettlebells… a “Rigid Style” and a “Fluid Style”.

As Steve Cotter (Amazon Author Page Link) noted in Crossfit magazine, the differences are these:

Rigid style:
• Hip action: choppy; forced overextension
• Head/eye position: locked into horizontal; restricts
hamstring function
• Breathing: opposes movement; exhale coincides
with trunk extension
• Grip: maximal tension
• Arm: locked out horizontally; the arm supports
the entire load

Fluid style:
• Hip action: natural extension; neutral alignment
• Head/eye position: follows movement; allows full
activation of hamstrings
• Breathing: coordinates with movement; inhale
coincides with trunk extension
• Grip: only as much tension as is needed to hold on
• Arm: relaxed and slightly bent; load supported
vertically by base (feet)

The former is associated in the U.S. with the “Russian Kettlebell Certification”, and, the latter, with “Kettlebell Sport” (for example here).

Based on that cursory description, the “Fluid Style” seems to fit in with Dr. Schwartz’ “HeavyHands” philosophy a bit better.

Why?

The closest parallel between published “HeavyHand” lifts and Kettlebell work is likely Dr. Schwartz “Double Ski Polling” with hands outside the knees or, another one, the “Dumbbell Swing” with both hands grasping a dumbbell between the legs. Both involve bending from the waste lifting the weights high something like kettlebell movements. Neither uses momentum quite to the degree a kettlebell does and – in later years especially – Dr. Schwartz strongly advocated controlled and slower movements.

The fluid style, like Schwartz’ HeavyHands, has athletes train to perform the maximum number of lifts possible within a 10 minute span during competition requiring continuous movement. Some records are for 175 lifts in this time frame! The rigid style tends to emphasize a relatively small number of repetitions.

As all purists notice, once “pure” forms of sport come to the United States, everything blurs and amalgamates!

When the kettlebell is used to promote weight loss as in the Tracy Reifkind book “The Swing!” (Amazon Link), the use of the kettlebell taught in the “Rigid Style” is used to promote achieve results associated with a long set (“Fluid Style”) of up to 10 minutes!

Those having experience with HeavyHands and Kettlebells may, of course, have a different take… If so, please leave your comments below!

As always, train at your own risk… any exercise can be dangerous let alone one where you swing a “Cannon Ball with a Handle”! 

Pan-X Apparatus

Leonard Schwartz’ Pan-X Apparatus

John aka “HHEnthusiast” recently posted an example of how a panaerobic exercise session might progress.  John personally communicated with Dr. Leonard Schwartz. In addition to doing HeavyHands three times per week, he finishes off each workout with “Panaerobics” or “Longstrength” calisthenics as taught to him by Dr. Schwartz. The Pan-X device is shown to the left but is, in practice, replaced with other exercise tools like adjustable height chinning bars, dipping bars, etc.

Here’s what he had to say (excerpted as needed for flow)….

[Regarding Longstrength] You may or may not find it of interest, but I think it brings another level of strength-endurance into the equation. I know Dr Schwartz enjoyed using it and made use if it during his several 10 minute bouts of exercise throughout the day. ( which he did in his later years as he felt he could increase his overall training intensity in that manner.)I did not start my modified Pan-X training until 2006, when I had the good fortune and honor and privilege  to  interact with Dr Schwartz. After Dr Schwartz described the method I came up with my alternative use of the walker and chin up bar as you all may or may not know [the Pan-X device] never made it to production.I use a walker set at hip height and an indoor chin-up bar set at about eye level. ( as prescribed by Dr Schwartz) As I stated I have a walker set at hip height,   I do Squat/Dips with  Upper Extremities [UE’s hereafter] doing dips on parallel bars of walker. I do not count but I am guessing I start out at a pace of 60-80 reps per minutes, then I may switch to doing Single Leg Squat (similar to a pistol squat), then maybe a ” alternating single leg superman” while doing dips, and maybe bring in trunk rotation by dipping more to contra-lateral (opposite) side of extended limb/leg.  Also may add  “running push-up” as Dr Schwartz described to me.The Pull-up/Chin-up/Squat set at about eye level (as prescribed by Dr Schwartz) with similar type gyrations as well as “jumping lunges” which really get’s the heart rate up. Also with dip “Station” as well as pull-up/chin bar can do leg scissors with dip or pull/chin ups. One arm chin-up with squat. The variations are limited by your imagination! I think the tempo is the key factor.  Dr Schwartz said a beginner would mostly have  a foot or feet on floor, but an advanced Pan-X’er would be occasionally be “airborne” with Lower Extremities [LE’s hereafter].  He explained to me of running  with  what would be performing “mini-dips” with UEs and “running” with LE at a pace of maybe 100-120 steps per minute, which you would not be able to do with full body-weight, but with supporting your body weight and taking off that weight you can move the LEs much faster than otherwise which will increase Heart Rate.I generally do not count reps or do sets with HH’ing or my “modified Pan-X”   I do it for time usually 10 minutes.  I usually “work-out”  3 times per week HH’ing ad lib x 20-30 minutes and then followed by “modified Pan-X”  x 10 minutes or vice-versa.

Also I would like to further elaborate on dip/squat chin-up/squat.  Len had in mind with the Pan-x as one unit with the dip and “pull-up bar” combined, the ability to switch stress to UE’s/LE’s and different musculature.

For example you could do the dip squat using mostly UE’s to do dips with little to minimal assist of LE’s, then when your arms started getting tired use LE’s to Push up into full Elbow extension then do eccentric lowering with UE’s, then when fatiqued from that switch to emphasis on squat with minial UE involvement, then could switch to chin-up postion on pull-up bar  (Palms facing you) and switch emphasis to Biceps/lats, initially using UE’s/Lats with minimal to no LE’s assist and possibly doing a calf raise at end of chin-up then switch emphasiss to LE’s with the squat again.  Also switch to Pull-up position Palms away from you to shift emphasis on muscles. Also single leg squat alternating or x number then switch to other leg, single arm chin-up and the variations go on  Only your imagination or lack thereof can limit you!

Also with dips if you move you feet more forward you get a little more chest emphasis , but still bring in quite a bit of triceps. similiar to the Dip Vince Gironda recommended for chest vs bench press  (sorry hope not to open a can of worms or offend any bench presser’s!  Vince was slightly different in his approach!  He did not think much about squatting either!!)

Have your own insight from your conversations/correspondance with Dr. Leonard Schwartz on HeavyHands, Panaerobics, IsoTonoMetrics, etc? We’d love to hear from you and document your experience here for others to find! Please leave a comment on any page and the blog curator will get in touch with you! Thanks!

Image Courtesy Suppeversity Blog

Suppversity is a brilliant blog to read… Here’s one of their latest articles on fatburning you should read for yourself:

HIIT or LISS – A Question of Efficacy? High Intensity Interval Training Kickstarts Fatty Acid Oxidation & Metabolism to Make Up for the Higher Energy Exp. During LISS in 24h

It’s not only worth reading, but thinking through in light of Dr. Leonard Schwartz’ philosophy of Panaerobics because – as you know – Dr. Schwartz approved of and encouraged the use of intervals and brief workouts, but NOT in the ways they are conceived in light of the modern discussions about “High Intensity Interval Training” and total exercise time.

(Just so we’re all on the same page “HIIT”, again, stands for High Intensity Interval Training. “END” stands for “endurance training” which for this study’s purposes are the same as “LISS” = “Low Intensity Steady State” exercise.)

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Handclasps

Handclasps

It’s possible to read about Dr. Schwartz’ IsoTonoMetrics in the patent filing on Fitness Method and begin to understand the concepts behind “isotonometrics”. The allusions to isometrics and dynamic tension are giveaways and can help people get started doing “ISO” even before being able to watch the Schwartz video on the topic.

There are some reasons why Dr. Schwartz may have chosen to retain all the handclasps as they are shown and this blog post – at best – hazards a guess at “why”?

For one thing, recall that while the video and patent filing represent a “finished product”, the development of IsoTonoMetrics had been well tested in the lab to make sure that this panaerobic exercise was as helpful as “HeavyHands” or “Longstrength” calisthenics is aerobic effect and strength development.

So – at the very least – these handclasps were chosen – even the ones that may feel “weird” – after making sure they could at least provide a solid workout aerobically while functioning to build strength as well.

Why do they seem so weird still?

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Creative Commons Licensed Image

Creative Commons Licensed Image

If you had a leaky faucet and a plumber came out and announced they were done when they’d only fixed 35% of the leak, you’d be mad!

If you went to the operating room for an appendectomy and they only took out 35% of your problematic appendix, you’d still be sick!

If you opened your pay stub and found you’d only received 35% of the money you thought you had earned, you’d be pretty steamed!

When you expect 100% effectiveness but learn later you’re only being 35% effective, you suddenly realize something has to change…

That’s precisely the point Dr. Schwartz was trying to make about “panaerobic” exercise whether you’re talking about “HeavyHands“, “IsoTonoMetrics” or “LongStrength” Bodyweight exercises.

When you’re trying to get the best overall results from aerobic exercise but only exercise your LEGS, you’re only operating at 35% effectiveness.

Why? The legs ARE powerful aerobic “drivers” to be sure, but they only comprise about 35% of the body’s whole muscle mass.

The person who is able to harness both the LEGS and UPPER BODY MUSCLES (the other 65% of the body’s muscle structure) in their exercise will be able to generate far more work, process far more oxygen, burn more calories, maintain more lean muscle mass, and do so with less “perceived exertion” than the person trying to accomplish the same thing using their legs alone.

Many exercise systems target the “whole body” in one way or another, but Panaerobics are unique in their self-conscious attempt to harness all four limbs (or as much muscle mass as possible) simultaneously during exercise! In Panaerobics while any particular move may emphasize various sectors of the body at a given time… such as a “pump and walk” which tents to emphasize the biceps and shoulders along with the muscles used to walk … there are no “Panaerobic Isolation Exercises”. Users are encouraged to “spread out” their activity so that a “pump and walk” routine becomes increasingly mixed with other elements to engage more and different muscle groups… like the “Duck Walk” which activates the front of the thigh (the quadriceps) much more effectively than ordinary walking while swinging the HeavyHands high to activate a different set of shoulder and upper back muscles while processing even more oxygen than ordinary walking could ever hope to!

HeavyHands DuckWalk

HeavyHands DuckWalk

In Panaerobics, even small – seemingly insignificant changes – can make all the difference in the world for aerobic effectiveness and muscle activation. Those who “carry” weights at their sides while walking receive almost no benefit. Those who move the weights to hip level (“Level 1”) begin to receive some benefit. Moving the weights to shoulder height (“Level 2”) begins to produce a strong cardio-respiratory response while moving the weights to head height or above (“Level 3” or more) produces the utmost in cardiac response during exercise.

In the same way, small weights lifted high while walking  can produce as much or more actual “work” than lifting heavier weights more slowly!

As Dr. Schwartz’ books testify, dozens (if not hundreds) of possible movements are available to exercise as close to 100% of the body’s musculature as possible in a given workout!

By creeping forward at a snail’s pace while performing the “Swing and Sway” with HeavyHands, Dr. Schwartz estimated he could burn over 1,900 calories per mile! That’s a far cry from the traditional expectation that the average person burns about 100 calories per mile! Panaerobics “change the game” and create new opportunities for fitness and for fun while exercising.

Oddly enough, even doing lower body movements while doing what are otherwise called “dynamic tension” or “self-resistance” movements can have profound panaerobic results that can provide more aerobic training than running while building upper body strength! Like the hand movements with weights, the higher the arms move upward under tension while the lower body moves, the greater the aerobic benefit along with the strength benefit for the upper body.

One type of movement that was not stressed by Dr. Schwartz so much while discussing Heavyhands actions were Circumferential and Figure 8 movements. The first refers mainly to torso and body twisting during movements to stimulate the abdomen (obliques) encouraging the arm movements to “wrap around” the body. That term can also apply as the arms move in circular patterns behind or in front of the head while bending from  the waist from the 10 to 2 position on the face of a clock … or even more deeply perhaps.

Handclasps

Handclasps

Figure 8’s refer primarily to the pattern of the “handtrail” created by the “handclasp”. Moving the locked hands in a Figure 8 pattern allow more muscles to be engaged than simply a straight movement which travels either vertically or horizontally. Depending on the weight though, light HeavyHands can be used in Figure 8 patterns as Dr. Schwartz is often depicted as doing in his books!

The question remains… are you settling for a 35% solution when you could workout out much more effectively by engaging as much muscle as possible by performing Panaerobics?