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[Editor’s note: The very first article posted on this website (No.1 above) was about my friend Leonard Schwartz, M.D., the inventor of Heavyhands. He was in his early 70s and had recently published his second book Heavyhands Walking! Well, he’s now almost 79 and still amazing, mind and body. If you’re not familiar with Len Schwartz and Heavyhands, you might want to peruse my article before (or after) reading the latest developments from “the man” himself. Plus, many of you will be delighted to learn that the original Heavyhands weights are or soon will be available again. Read carefully, because there’s wisdom in every word.]
Len Schwartz, the inventor of Heavyhands,
taken from the cover of The Heavyhands Walking Book!
Leonard Schwartz, M.D.
I was pleased when my friend Clarence Bass offered me the
chance to publish an up-to-date note on Heavyhands, the method, since the rubber
clad, glove-like (strapped) dumbbells with interchangeable weighted ends are
about to be relaunched.
Here's a brief history and explanation of Heavyhands, together with some new directions and notions about Heavyhands exercise.
In 1982, my book HEAVYHANDS: The Ultimate Exercise was published and simultaneously AMF produced and distributed Heavyhands weighs.
I developed Heavyhands as a 57-year-old physician interested in aerobic conditioning to improve heart health. I was working on this goal through the traditional means, running, swimming, biking, etc. After suffering a pulled hamstring, I went in search of an alternative way to keep my heart in the target zone with less emphasis on the legs. I tried swinging a baseball bat for twenty minutes while squatting and other whole body tactics, which seemed to do the trick. Over the next few months I thought up Heavyhands, the weights and the method, as a new approach to total fitness. Using variable-sized weights, different levels of intensity, range of motion and tempos, Heavyhands allows for cardio training and a special form of strength training simultaneously.
Some 22 years later, at almost 79 years of age, I have remained at a stable 130 pounds with a low resting heart rate. Working out using the Heavyhands method has helped me to maintain a physique that allows me to live an extraordinarily active life, something that all people should value highly. Details on my current training in a moment, but first a few words about the system.
Heavyhands is an open system in the sense that people of any age, any fitness level with any budget can do it and do it well! People who enjoy working out at home will particularly enjoy this system, but it works great at the gym or outdoors as well.
The Heavyhands principle remains simple! After better
than two decades of teaching and research, the basics sort themselves into these
four elements called Panaerobics.
•Muscle Loading. Bunches of lab-based
measurements tell us, where aerobics are concerned, including the maximum amount
of muscle simultaneously proves to be a good idea. And hard work
feels easier when more muscle accomplishes it! USING MORE MUSCLES MAKES HARD
WORK FEEL EASIER.
•Verticality. Heavyhands moves can often be performed in a small floor space (like right in front of your TV!). So we do lots of combined exercise in the 'up-down' mode, without traveling. Legs can be worked hard in the vertical by way of dips while walking, squatting, kicking, lunging, and the like that move large hunks of body mass rhythmically in the vertical. The addition of upper torso training makes Heavyhands a large calorie loser.
•Fitness-factor Mix. Once we decided that mobilizing much muscle makes sense, we moved even further by 'teaching' the basic qualities of exercise to those same muscles. Things like strength, endurance and flexibility for starters, along with elements like balance, coordination and agility.
•Skill. I am amazed at the number of popular current exercise methods that seldom if ever mention the importance of exercise as a skill producer. One of the things that may help us become exercise 'lifers,' skill combines a sense of mastery and control and augments factors like gracefulness that make exercise more fun. For example, the dance option has become increasingly one of the offshoots of Heavyhands training. Other subsystems of Panaerobics, soon to surface, are even more related to skill, all of them, happily, without skimping on physiology!
We like to think of Heavyhands as an 'open system,' because there's always something good to add-in!
I designed all of our mainstay movements with these elements in mind. During Heavyhand's long life, the importance of a smooth mix of strength and endurance was given its own name: Longstrength. By means of Longstrength, we gradually convert low-rep strength movements to higher and higher reps that eventually become 'cardio' training. Addicts to Longstrength gather their aerobic benedictions during this kind of strength training, and become correspondingly strong during aerobics! No need for decisions as to which way to go! And it should be remembered that standard lifting practices, when needed, can be readily added to one's Heavyhands program.
My own workouts appear to be as measurably 'energetic' as they were a couple of decades ago. Interestingly, I process the same exercise at the gradually lowering heart rates typical of old geezer types! Lately, I've been dividing my workout time into anywhere from three to six 10-15 minute daily sessions, based on my suspicion that I generate more average intensity comfortably that way. I enjoy music and selective TV with exercise, find shadowboxing Heavyhands style and a wide choice of four-limb and trunk calisthenics to be the spine of my exercise these days.
Recently we formed a business relationship with the people at Lion Sports to manufacture and market Heavyhands. The weights and other products will be once again be available nationwide. A revised version of my original book, HEAVYHANDS: The Ultimate Exercise, is planned for release in July 2004. [Editor’s note: We plan to carry this book when it is available; watch for the notice on this site.]
Given new awareness in the worlds of medicine, nutrition and exercise as well as the mind-boggling escalation of the obesity pandemic, there is much to be done.
Heavyhands research, aside from continuing to enhance the technique itself through literally hundreds of combined moves and their energy costs, has helped catalyze new versions of combined exercise that are similar in principle but varied in ways that many people will like. Specifically, Pan-X (whole body exercise using the body as resistance), Heavyhands Extenders (varied mini barbells for novel combined movements), special weighted gloves along with tailor made combined movement strategies, will broaden the exercise base for those who are ambitious there! In addition, we have developed an entire repertoire of whole body aquatic exercises that teach Panaerobics Longstrength from the get go.
HEAVYHANDS™ is a trademark of Leonard Schwartz, M.D.
Ripped Enterprises, P.O. Box 51236, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87181-1236 or street address: 528 Chama, N.E., Albuquerque, New Mexico 87108, Phone (505) 266-5858, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, FAX: (505) 266-9123. Office hours: Monday-Friday, 8-5, Mountain time. FAX for international orders: Please check with your local phone book and add the following: 505 266-9123
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