ISOcise Manual by Dr. Leonard Schwartz (Isotonometrics) Mar 8, 2021 23:57:48 GMT BigBruvOfEnglandUK likes this
Post by hhenthusiast on Mar 8, 2021 23:57:48 GMT
This is the manual I have...unfortunately no pictures as Len never got around to taking them...you will see comments where pictures were to be inserted...
ISOcise February 8, 2007
Copyright Dr. Leonard Schwartz
This manual/video is for instructional purposes only. The author or anyone associated with this author cannot be held liable or responsible for anyone attempting these moves. If you engage in this exercise or exercise program, you agree that you do so at your own risk, are voluntarily participating in these activities, assume all risk of injury to yourself, or other persons, pets or items in your vicinity and agree to release and discharge the author and associates from any and all claims or causes of action, known or unknown, arising out of using this manual or videos associated with the manual. There is inherit risk with any form of exercise or activity and the user assumes that risk.
It is strongly recommended that you consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program. You should be in good physical condition and be able to participate in the exercise.
By continuing to read this manual or observe this video you consent to the above disclaimer
My name is Len Schwartz. I’m an 84-year-old M. D. ex-psychiatrist who nearly 3 decades ago suddenly became immersed in the area of fitness and exercise. Looking back, that interest was probably kindled within a growing awareness of deficiencies in my own fitness. I also suffered from high blood pressure. Perhaps as an attempt to neutralize these dreary facts, I had read Ken Cooper’s Aerobics and was drawn to its obvious wisdom and promise.
It just could be that my somewhat athletic penchant made me a more susceptible reader of that epic book. I was one of the ones in whom activity proves to be a major means of dealing with almost any troublesome life situation! To this day I consider this central love of motion a bit of an advantage in predicting lifelong interest and continuing performance in such things as exercise, dance and sport! The good news is that we all must inherit and/or develop some of those inner stirrings.
At age 15, at a bodyweight of a skinny 90 pounds, I literally saved pennies and nickels to buy my first exercise equipment. I can still remember the day the sturdy wooden crate arrived. It contained 2 adjustable 40 pound cast iron dumbbells from York Barbell Co. What a wonderful investment they proved to be! I was dead serious and clearly excited about my new venture into weight training! Two years later, the high school yearbook’s picture of me bore the subscript: Len Schwartz: the little man with the big biceps! Over 60 years later those ‘peaks’ are still as prominent and serviceable as ever! And it’s likely they weren’t the product of an extraordinary gene pool!
This first experience with regular exercise came largely in the form of strength training. During my college and medical school years I practically avoided exercise outright. Rationalizing, I felt I was about as strong as I needed to be at the moment. It wasn’t until I acquired a new interest in the health-giving qualities of cardiovascular training that I reentered the field of strength. What’s fascinating about this is that my early weight training experience would continue to pervade my recent attitudes, my exercise choices and perhaps even my interests in research in the fitness area. More than that: my interest continues to focus on bringing together or integrating the benefits of strength, endurance, flexibility and motor skill! I hit on the term Longstrength to stand for that fusion of exercise effects along with the name Panaerobics to describe the basic principles of this kind of exercise.
One event seems to have played a large part in the development of this exercise as a system. At the time my offices sat perched atop a 12-story building in Pittsburgh’s Medical Center. I had decided to walk the stairs rather than use the elevator. Those first ascents left me panting and both quad-weary and later, quad-sore! As I recall, my first belabored trials were worse than slow, perhaps taking at least 2 to 3 minutes. A couple of months into the training my best times hovered at about 60 seconds when climbing 2 steps at a time through my dark, empty stairwell. Time didn’t appear to improve much with additional training.
Then I decided to try an experiment. I ran my stairs, using the bannisters to help propel myself upward through the vertical space. My new time was a shocking 48 seconds! I was elated over the result because it would appear to have added solid evidence that muscle loading could make very good sense indeed-at least in terms of the dynamics of physical work, cardiovascular training and chasing those extra calories. 4 limbs working at my odd new movements were definitely more efficient than 2! Later I would add trunk work to the 4-limb activity, bringing the largest practical total volume of active muscle to the process. The aim here, as opposed to competitive races is maximal inefficiency!
Over the next few years, the team at the University of Pittsburgh’s Human Energy Lab joined me in exploring the study of what I’d in the meantime dubbed, “Heavyhands.” Our inquiry consisted of some pretty standard laboratory determinations such as the rate of oxygen utilization during continuous ‘aerobic’ type exercise (V02 max and sub-max). The other studies were more ‘clinical: the conception of, later refinement of novel movements designed to deploy a lot of muscle without sacrificing comfort and convenience. It was nice to think of muscle and heart as these remarkable tissues that would do right by you if you did right by them!
Meanwhile, I replaced my stairwell playground gradually by various moves accomplished by way of a whole-body system I developed, that makes use of interchangeable handweights I called Heavyhands. These foam rubber clad weights with strapped handles helped support prolonged whole-body aerobic work. They also helped us replicate on flat terrain the hard work that had gone into my stair climbing.
After that the Heavyhands© system seemed to grow by leaps and bounds. My original text, Heavyhands: The Ultimate Exercise System was published in l980 by Little, Brown & Co. It also included a bit of Heavyhands theory in the form of text and pictures describing samples of Heavyhands movements.
The Birth of Longstrength
From the first I was convinced that handweights ranging in one step increments from 1 to 10 pounds or more, when moved properly and sufficiently, could add considerably to the extent and the quality of my pupils’ overall fitness. That was over a quarter century ago. As the years passed, I became more and more involved with the fetching questions that were surfacing. My own ‘clinical’ experiments began to focus on the wisdom of training-in a novel form of strength that can be acquired during aerobic exercise! Even at this late date it is common for most to continue practicing their strength training and their cardio (aerobics) during quite separate sessions!
Using my own experience and that of my pupils and our lab results, I continued to develop forms of exercise which matched its name, Longstrength. Longstrength is just what it sounds like; a whole-body fitness system which garners aerobic ‘power’ during prolonged sessions employing very high numbers of repetitions that can reach thousands, literally. Longstrength type aerobics can clearly make you stronger, though this new strength is not likely to win you an Olympic Gold in weightlifting! Longstrength is strength that facilitates what most people need to manage their life-space, sport, fitness, dance and many kinds of work. But Longstrength doesn’t interfere with your acquisition of standard-type resistance training benefits if you choose it.
Almost anyone can make good use of Longstrength’s simultaneous combination of strength, cardio, flexibility and balance. It could, for example, become a mainstay exercise for the development of the average strengths of everyday life. Furthermore, the principles of Panaerobics could carry a whopping impact in our bourgeoning war against obesity by supplying large calorie losses through an exercise system that can be practiced in the convenience of your living room, or practically anywhere else that supplies you an amazingly small patch of floor space.
I spent the next few years devoted to the development of useful alternatives and adjuncts to Heavyhands and the training for Longstrength. Though the movement patterns differed, often dramatically, their Panaerobic basics remain pretty stable. Panaerobics exercise always includes:
1. Muscle loading, including as much arm, leg and trunk muscle mass as is comfortable.
2. Verticality, or the ability to train without actually traveling
3. A large fitness factor mix, the inclusion of not only strength but cardio and flexibility, power, grace and balance
4. The conscious pursuit of motor skill, an item that for practical purposes has no ceiling, and too often is grossly neglected. Dance can be an important addition here.
In the case of each of the other Panaerobic ‘subsystems’ I developed, there were correspondingly simple and inexpensive bits of equipment designed to make for user effectiveness, comfort, convenience, safety and enjoyment, etc. All stressed both muscle and heart both in terms of strength and endurance, i.e., Longstrength was a prominent component of each.
We trained some moves which generated that sought after ‘burn’ after, say, 15 repetitions, eventually converting them to continuous or steady-state exercise, including the heart rate increases and heavy breathing that are identified with aerobic work. But was I getting stronger, you should ask? You bet, and I could identify this new strength by testing my limbs and trunk against other Longstrength type exercise. Like stair climbing or rowing or perhaps cross-country skiing or extra heavy Heavyhands pump ‘n’ walk. Over the years I’ve found a quick strength test by way of underhanded grip chin-ups that provided me a rough clue as to how my upper body strength was progressing as a result of these other exercises.
The Birth of Isotonometrics!
Buoyed by the sense that we’ve only scratched the surface, I constantly found myself reaching to broaden and explore different, hopefully more effective qualities of the exercise experience. I discovered different pieces of equipment with corresponding systems of Panaerobic exercise that offered the opportunity to do ‘bodyweight’ exercise in the aerobic mode! One, the Pan-X, allowed me to use body weight as resistance in a series of combined movements. Movement patterns which started out as a few tough reps would eventually turn into aerobic-type durations! I called this change ‘conversion’ thinking perhaps they might be related to some important simultaneous changes in the biochemistry of physical work!
The condition of the Fitness Movement in this country remains what I call negatively over stable! Too few of us have taken up regular exercise that satisfies most of the criteria for being beneficial. We are getting fatter fast and more of our children are headed for catastrophe health-wise. While the dismal stats don’t exactly suggest inactivity as a primary cause, it is becoming ever more evident that exercise will prove to be a crucial part of health risk reduction and a chief ingredient of subsequent health maintenance. Millions of Americans now suffer from diseases such as diabetes and hypertension which are oftimes preventable through enough regular exercise, good diet and less stress. Many experts tell us that exercise can lessen depression and anxiety and that it lowers psychic tension which is said to be a significant health risk factor for many of our citizens.
When we consider the present overweight/obesity pandemic it could require large amounts of weekly exercise to generate palpable change in our population. For a long time 3 x 20 minutes or a 1-hour total per week was popular. Over the past few years that number has escalated sharply. Now we suggest 2 ½ hours a week at 30 minutes a day of moderate intensity exercise or 75 minutes a week of more vigorous intensity work for aerobic training, 90 minutes per day if we’re striving for significant weight reduction and 60 minutes to maintain current bodyweight! Seems that we have come to realize that minimal amounts of exercise are not usually sufficient to keep us lean and able and with reduced risk of certain omnipresent diseases.
Yet another task, as I saw it, was to come up with an exercise method-still laced with Panaerobic/Longstrength principles-that would in some way(s) facilitate significant calorie loss while adding the strength components and enhancing the other time honored wellness elements.
Heavyhands already qualifies well in these respects. I have ‘hands’ available in most rooms of my house. A room with a TV and some weights convert, for practical purposes, into a most serviceable gym with music and/or news to boot. And it could house a comprehensive exercise system that sponsors routines that can be practiced literally anywhere and even without the benefit of equipment could head us toward the ideal of lifetime total fitness!
This new exercise had to qualify as comfortable and always ‘available’ whenever the impulse to move struck! Since I’m hard into 10 minute ‘doses’ of exercise (and wrote about it decades earlier) those impulses are frequent! Ten-minute exercise breaks are a wise and easily doable strategy for almost any fitness seeker. I set out to develop what was destined to become known as “Isotonometrics” or ISOhands or Isocise for short.
I was after whole body exercise that by its nature would allow most users to pile up larger weekly work totals and thus meaningful calorie losses along with the other well-known fitness benefits. It would accomplish that by dint of great convenience, ‘felt’ sense of ease and interesting choreographies, great training potential and ongoing, excited interest in new motor skills. And of course, this new exercise would have to be based on sound exercise principles. It would need confirmation by way of sufficient well-designed research and thousands of hours of practice and intelligent monitoring of progress and the inevitable flaws.
As I entered the search for this equipment less exercise system, it was probably no accident that I began delving into the life and career of Charles Atlas. As a kid I was fascinated by the pictures and text about Atlas, popular in the magazine literature and fitness ads of the day. Charles taught a muscle strengthening technique called Dynamic Tension (DT), which consisted mostly of pitting one group of muscles against another through the application of force such as pressing your palms together. That was allegedly the mechanism; force without motion-that converted Atlas from a ‘97 lb. Weakling’ into the powerful physique he had created by the practice of DT. DT would soon be called Isometrics by the exercise aficionados of that day; it continues to be practiced diligently by many to this day and continues to be researched now and again by exercise specialists. It is probable that explorers in the exercise field instinctively knew that all this application of continuous force had to be beneficial to the muscle groups selected.
I tried some of the DT techniques, and while I felt certain that they would indeed build and strengthen muscle, I wondered what might happen if this method were augmented by moving the involved limbs or body parts rhythmically as well. My inquisitive little experiments made me feel sure that the more muscle and movements that comfortably satisfy these criteria simultaneously, the better. Why not?
That’s why I called this modified technique borrowed from Charles Atlas’s Dynamic Tension, Isotonometrics. This exercise included both the constant force of pitting one muscle group against another a la Isometrics and Isotonics which typically includes plenty of motion! The other looming difference between DT and Isotonometrics was evident in our continuing need to include more simultaneously active muscle! The Dynamic Tensionists, oftener than not, went single file through various paired muscle groups.
My beginning trials with what I’ll call ISOcise left me reasonably certain that this technique would be what DT probably couldn’t have been, namely an excellent heart trainer. And it should follow that ISOcise would tend to lose calories quickly, train more muscle and perhaps generate those great weekly exercise totals I had dreamed about.
From the outset I estimated the ISO work being done by way of endless monitoring of my heart rates and comparing these with other data collected in the lab or at home. It was becoming obvious that my years at Heavyhanding had enabled me to perform at relatively large whole-body ISO workloads and at surprisingly low heart rates! I learned about that by comparing my performances with that of the variously fit volunteers at the exercise physiology lab and in the field, who made available their time and energy while doing various ISO routines.
It didn’t take much in the way of data collection-ISO energy costs mainly-to tell us that ISO was at very least good exercise and could be useful to a wide assortment of fitness seekers of practically any age and either gender. We were particularly excited by the potential heart training and fat/calorie losing aspects that were accompaniments of whole-body muscle training.
Also interesting was the method’s inherent portability along with its convenient versatility. It’s been several years since the birth of ISO. I rarely miss at least 30 minutes a day of it though occasionally a few minutes is all I’ve time for. There have also been many 2 – 3 hours per day of ISO, usually divided up during the day. Even this late in the game, rarely a week passes without many trials at new possible moves; I continue to enjoy the obvious ‘openness’ of Isotonometrics; the enormous uncharted movement territories it makes available!
How do you practice ISOhands?
I can usually teach the ISO basics in a few short minutes to folks with only minimal interest and experience with exercise/fitness. Sophisticated users may quickly become creative and inventive, soaring far beyond my initial suggestions. So ISOhands is relatively easy to learn, despite its seeming flagrant departure from conventional exercise! The most popular forms of exercise continue to be movements that come ‘naturally’ to us as a species. Thus, the leg dominated treadmill continues to outsell other exercise equipment. Running continues to be a ‘standard’ way to go. We humans are apparently willing to allow these ‘natural’ leg driven exercises to dominate our ‘cardio’ training programs! There are, I believe, excellent reasons for training ‘all of us’ while we’re at it!
The wisdom of muscle loading receives more verification with each passing day. In short, the cardiomuscular apparatuses appear to become more facile and efficient as whole-body training effects accumulate. That also means more total calories of heat loss as cardiac work levels rise and new muscles and movements become included through practice.
Given these beginning realities, I had to make sure that I designed some basic minimums of ISO that most anyone could quickly manage. After that, they could add moves or not, include other muscles or rationalize their more stereotyped workouts! It’s easy for many to realize the whole-body strength, power, flexibility and grace they can enjoy once they become versatile ISOcisers posting many new freedoms!
To begin with, I’m going to teach you a couple of Hand Clasps and a few Trails, since together they represent a kind of basic spine of the system. Once indoctrinated, the fitness gains from ISO can be distributed among more moves, more muscles, and other skills. It’s as simple as that, but it does, as it must, require work! Complications arise occasionally; we’re each unique and so must be our responses to the exercise techniques we choose!
Your first goal
It’s to learn a couple of ISOhands movements and to gain a rough sense of what Isocise feels like!
(Photos and description go here, matching “Lesson One”
The upper torso component: First Clasp ‘n’ Trail!
Drawing from the work of Charles Atlas and his predecessors, our mission was clear: to make use of strength building increases in muscle tension while introducing movements that make for increases in the steady strength and endurance workloads.
The first Clasp and trail engages the action of your folded hands with pressed palms (that’s a clasp!), then by moving the connected hands from one side of your body to the other. Lots of Pix. Try it. Clasp your hands so that your fingers are interlocked with your thumbs on top, pointing up at you from a foot or so below your nose! While pressing your palms together, pull your clasped hands across the space in front of you, moving the Clasp to well outside your body (that path is the Trail!) on either side or as far as is comfortably doable. That ‘range of motion’ is one of the things you’ll be aiming to extend through ISO training. (more pix)
Depending upon your current state of strength and stamina, you will notice that you can continue to practice these movements for some time without undue fatigue. As is, it constitutes a legitimate exercise you can use whenever you wish. You need no extra equipment! Soon we’ll add legs and so called ‘core’ muscles (abdominals) to complete the first complete package moves.
Compared with conventional aerobics there’s a lot of muscle represented in this single C & T (clasp and trail) and its variations!
Now for the fun! Variations in ISO are practically endless. You can add some squats that will leg-train and increase your total ISOhands work enough to give your heart a healthy ride! Incidentally, the squats are a good place to begin the practice of Verticality. The squat movement, even when unencumbered, is a strengthener simply because the extending knee joints along with their local musculature are, in fact managing much of your bodyweight with each decent and return. Start out by moving your palm pressing Clasp back and forth during every squat’s partial descent and return!
If you decide to burn this little book right now, your adventure with ISOhands need not have been in vain! You’ve been bold enough to practice a movement pattern that looks fairly silly and is certainly unconventional. If you are practicing in front of a mirror you may appear downright weird if not inept. But, if you can put aside your self-consciousness for just a few minutes you can observe the incredible total muscle mass inclusion in a movement that you can vary endlessly in terms of range of motion, force and frequency!
And there are other useful additions to this first ISO Clasp/Trail experience! Begin to include ‘side leans’ which work those important muscles of the sides of the upper body along with some of the abdominals (Oblique muscles). I hope they will become your constant accompaniment during your ISOcise. Lean toward the side to which the Clasp is headed at the moment. (Pix.)
When you think about it, there is a lot of muscular activity going on here. We discovered that this ISO pattern predicted much more work than even the briskest walk! By counting your own heart rate at a variety of movement speeds, you can customize the intensity of your basic ISO routines. If you own a metronome you might just want to experiment with tempos between 40 and 80 beats per minute, each click of the metronome corresponding with one excursion of your Clasp across that beckoning space in front of you!
One reason you can do this exercise at many different tempos is because you can juggle any and all the variables in the process of raising and lowering the workload. Let me list a few for you:
•The range of motion of the Clasp. The further you move it per unit time, other things held constant, the more work you will be doing. It's just common sense.
•The range of motion of side leans. This doesn’t need to be rushed in the beginning because an average increase of a millimeter per day would represent great progress by year’s end!
•Hoisting your Clasp and its Trails higher and lower will nicely serve ‘up’ the intensity of your work.
•Harder push/pulls at the Clasp. This one you can’t readily measure exactly so you’ve got to be content with your estimates of power and resistance. For a more direct statement of your overall work intensity you will depend on your pulse reads.
•The depth of those squats (anywhere from minimal to down as far as level thighs). They’ll increase your work and calorie output, depend on it!
•The hand or leg speed you bring to each move segment. Generally speaking, faster is harder but force as we know, is also a respectable contributor to aerobic intensity.
Try not to become obsessive over these movement dimensions! First off, this all takes time. Huge attention to exquisite details may put the squeeze on the joy and spontaneity of ISO exercise. Finally, keep in mind that your overall assessment of the intensity of your work at the moment can, to repeat, be usefully estimated by the simple act of taking your pulse.
Unless you suffer from certain rhythmic abnormalities, your heart rate will reflect your average work intensity pretty accurately. That information is available to you in a few seconds by merely abandoning your Clasp long enough to collect the pulse near the base of your right thumb with your left middle and forefinger tips. With practice, you will sense the pulsating spot over your radial artery within a second or two, even less. I count for 6 seconds and add a zero to complete an approximate minute count. Thus, if I count 7 over a 6 second period that would indicate a 70 pulse-pretty close to that. It’s practical and useful in that it is probably the single best, least expensive and easiest way to monitor your heart and thereby your ongoing work intensity. You may also choose to monitor your exertion by using the modified BORG scale or Rating of Perceived Exertion. Many, using this scale, have gone to a one to 10 rating of their own perceptions of the intensity of their exercise-1 standing for very, very light exercise, 10 standing for very, very hard!
Frequent assessment, at least early in the game, of your pulse or RPE provides a useful way of learning how to follow the course of your adaptations to exercise. With time and practice, your instinctive guesses at your heart rate with a given Clasp-Trail situation will become delightfully and surprisingly accurate and lend your workouts a delicious sense of control.
I’ll mention here that for most people, especially those not totally out of shape or ill, it’s not easy to overdo iso. Some of that has to do with less than ideal strength, oddly enough. But keep in mind that ISO’s central claim has to do with training toward a stable mix of strength and aerobic type work. Remember? The very nature of the movements and the directions of the pulls and pushes of the clasp causes additions of strength many of which are converted to heart training aerobics as well.
I relate this notion to the general usefulness of muscle loading which somehow teaches the heart to more effectively distribute its output to larger volumes of working muscle. That sounds like and can be a lot of actual work that ends up feeling easy! The effect is achieved in part because chances are you haven’t trained much by deploying your entire musculature before.
Trails are the other major component of ISO whole body exercise. The Clasp and the Trails or routes it travels codetermine the upper body workload during ISO. Let’s try some Trail samples just to gain the feel and heft of them.
Sticking for the moment with your Palm Pressing Clasp in place, you can vary the angles of attack and the extent of these journeys of the Clasp across the space in front of you. For example, try horizontal figure 8s, varying the distance of travel, the height of its curvaceous course along with increased pulling the Clasp through ‘way outs’ and ‘wrap arounds’ at the sides. Pix. Think of ways of synchronizing your squats and side-leans with whatever your Clasp is up to at the moment. Try extremes of fast and slow, pushing force a bit more during slow movements, less so during faster tempos. While these remarks will hopefully amount to useful descriptions, a few pictures are the best way to gain a quick feeling for ISOhands! So…. (pix).
Later, you will learn to vary the Clasp to include many positions of the coupled hands and you will gradually build a sizeable repertoire of Trails to go with them. Each of us will develop a style during which we vary the muscles involved as well as the intensity of our labors! These switching's are inherent in the method and are based on the assumption that each one of them must happen by way of a corresponding deployment of muscles.
Each movement is performed toward each side as in most other exercise, for obvious reasons related to symmetrical training. But there is no reason why you might not choose to emphasize one side under special circumstances, i.e., a limb weakened by injury, or indeed, an injury that produces unilateral discomfort. The point is that it’s your show! You will learn to recognize and to repeatedly correct your tendency to loaf i.e., to slack off the workload because of real and growing fatigue, (see the section on staying honest during ISOcise)or to get a bit sloppy in your management of movements to perhaps gradually increased neglect of some pretty fundamental parts of your ISO habit.
Along with consideration of the Clasp and its numerous Trail variations, ISOcisers can think in terms of Arm Loops. (pictures 1-3 below).
1. In the process of Clasping, the connected hands and the arms assume a variety of shapes or loops at any instant. These loops are formed by the Clasp, the arms and the anterior chest wall.
2. Accordingly, the loops may be narrow to broad, circular to ovoid, lying close to the chest wall to extending way out in front.
3. The elbows of the loops may be extended or flexed, ‘flat’ or ‘folded.’ You may preoccupy yourself with the loops of the moment or ignore them outright without damaging your workout! They are merely another means of thinking about and varying your ISOfit experience for the better. Have you noticed that all this is basically a lot of variations on a few themes? That pattern helps insure plenty of moves which in turn may help defend against one of exercises worst foes, i.e., boredom!
Our ISOhands exercise now includes a single Clasp made up of interlocking fingers and palm presses and pulls, a number of possible Trails and squats and dips and plies for legs and side leans for core exercise. (sample pictures).
To summarize thus far
ISOhands is a system of exercise. Its ‘Panaerobic’ fundamentals include:
§ Whole body exercise: muscle loading is its cardinal ingredient. Arms, legs, and trunk are represented in virtually every exercise.
· The simultaneous training of strength, endurance, flexibility etc.
· Longstrength: the fusion of strength with ‘cardio’ during practically every movement.
· Increased motor skill. That continues long after the muscle strength and endurance have seemingly maxed out.
ISOcise was designed to help boost the crucial need for exercise.
Using more muscles simultaneously, i.e., arms, legs and trunk, specifically.
§ Fusing forces relating to strength and power with aerobic type movements. Longstrength became a novel fitness factor and a somewhat different quality of strength.
§ Making for exercise convenience, i.e., no additional equipment necessary; minimal spatial requirements; more efficient management of time.
§ Helping to increase both the duration and intensity of readily available exercise movements.
§ Designing movements that inherently lend themselves to TV watching.
§ Activating seldom used muscles in most routines.
§ Developing strength and aerobics simultaneously; no need to choose.
§ Creating multiple movement designs in which upper and lower torsos become wonderful working partners.
§ Allowing the user to shift easily from one high energy move to another depending upon their needs: the presence of injuries, preparation for sports, the wish to change body composition, the pleasure of movement. Second nature performance will allow you to enjoy music or TV without the sense of being distracted from your exercise. This reminds me of the super word integration. Seems the more we deal with music and movement, the more the likely connections between the two become well established, including some remarkable new byproducts that often make it to memory.
A note on ISO training specificity
In all likelihood you’ve already concluded that each new Clasp and Trail must add to the diversity and completeness of the muscular work of ISOcise. A baseball player swings at a variety of pitches, i.e., high or low, inside or outside with varying amounts of power and variations of movement during each throw’s flight. Pitchers, knowing which of their pitches are more apt to be knocked out of the park by certain batters they face, alter their offerings accordingly. Experience suggests that a powerful swing, like any other muscular event, is typically both a learned and an inherited given.
Similarly, our assortment of practiced Clasps and the routes or Trails we put them through, leave us fitter to deploy the potential we’ve got salted away in our genes. These will affect your batting skills too. Training by way of ISO finds you both pitcher and hitter and training success becomes a happy fusion of practice and inherited and learned basics such as strength, endurance and flexibility.
The first time I tried a Clasp-Trail Combo such as Palm Presses during high figure eights, I generated a faster pulse than I’d anticipated, and fatigued pretty quickly. A couple of months later it had become a favorite move, accomplished at a somewhat slower pulse rate! That’s what we’ve come to expect: the practice of each of many Clasps and practically endless Trails along with legs and trunk adds will enhance our totals of what we call Panaerobic/Longstrength. Each successful training segment hopefully gets us closer to that oftimes uncertain total fitness ideal! Each fitness gambit, like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, becomes part of our entire fitness picture. And I’m sure you know by now that I am convinced that what we become along the fitness spectrum can become important in shaping our entire life experience. If I seem to overshoot the importance of this idea a bit, you’ll forgive me. It may parallel the fact that I remain convinced that fitness can be a most powerful wellness collector.
A large variety of ISO movement pastiches are a good way of converting weak-awkwardness toward powerful-grace! As you discover your own areas of weakness, cardio limitation or a short shrift in ROM or flexibility, you will learn to seek specific ISO moves that will hack away at these limitations! ISO is endlessly customizable; by its very nature it invites modification and experimentation. In light of these advantages, some pupils already consider ISOexercise a unique winner.
More Clasps to Build Your Repertoire!
The first of these is an easy addition to the Palm Presses, called Palm Pulls. Just pull at the interlocking fingers as though to separate the hands but clearly short of success! Think about the muscles involved. With Palm Presses you’re using your biceps and your powerful pectoral or chest muscles. When you shift to a pulling Clasp you also shift to your deltoids, those inverted triangle-shaped muscles that cap the shoulder joints, along with your triceps. While many moves are expendable, each may retain elements that make it ongoingly useful, maybe even fun.
With your new proprietary interest in both Palm Presses and Palm Pulls, you get your first glimpse of the switching's which will soon include many Clasps and loads of the Trails you select along with plenty of leg and trunk work. And since you’re already armed with single, high-energy whole-body movement, you don’t need to be overanxious to expand your repertoire! Simply, you can afford to be more cautious about new movement adds.
How Many ISO Moves do you need?
Remember, these initial bare bones movements can actually convert to an entire fitness strategy! Initially, I demonstrated that to my own partial satisfaction by limiting my workouts for months at a time to ISOcise while looking for any signs of diminution of general and/or specific fitness levels. While I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone, keep in mind that a large majority of us don’t engage in any form of regular exercise, ever! A single combined movement practiced diligently by all of us could eventually make a huge positive difference in the National Health. In theory, the more Clasp ‘n’ Trail moves we add to our repertoire the more complete our muscular fitness, the more calories we can expect to spend per unit time along with a diminishing sense of overall effort per given workload. While thoughts like that may seem obvious, I consider them highly practical these days when exercise, whatever it is, hasn’t kept us slim as a population.
My rule, where it comes to how many moves you insert into your workouts is simple enough. If you enjoy these additions keep adding! If any feel clumsy, painful, worrisome or otherwise undesirable or just too inconsequential, skip them at least for now! Chances are good that subsequent trials will find you! One cautionary note would be that too many moves could conceivably dilute your intensity by too frequent switching!
Four More Clasps!
These next 4 Clasps differ from Palm Presses and Pulls in that the folded, clasped hands are rotated so that one hand/forearm rides above the other during the clasp’s sweeps across the workspace. In Palm Presses and Pulls-as you know-the folded hands are held in a vertical position, the thumbs on top. In these 4 ‘side lying’ clasps, the thumbs and pinkies stick out of the sides of the moving clasp. Pix useful!
Now we want to learn to construct these additional 4 Clasps. Look down on your folded hands with both their thumbs on top. (pictures)
Next, rotate or spin your folded hands clockwise so that your left-hand ends on top with your thumbs pointed to the right (picture).
Next, pull that Clasp in the direction of the poking thumbs, even further to your right, as far as you comfortably can. Next, spin the Clasp so that those same thumbs are pointed to your left. Your right hand will, of course, be on top now.
Then continue to rotate and pull the clasp with each alternate movement across the space in front of you. Pulling to your right, the left hand is on top; pulling to your left the right hand is on top. In this way we keep everything balanced so that training effects are symmetrical. (picture). I’m sure you realize that these specific right/left directions are scarcely necessary. Starting the movement in either direction will work well.
One more thing: With these traveling ‘side lying’ clasps, one hand does mostly pulling, the other hand HOLDS BACK! Naturally, if the Clasp is to move, the pulling hand must indeed muscle out the holding back hand by just enough! The exerciser does that without any conscious prompting on our part, thank goodness!
The Clasp we call (BOTTOM; Thumbs) is only short hand for: the BOTTOM HAND DOES THE PULLING (in the direction of the thumb side of the clasp), WHILE THE TOP HAND HOLDS BACK! Series of pix.
If you look down upon your rotated Clasps with one hand riding atop the other, you will notice that your little fingers (pinkies) emerge from this yet undiscussed side of the clasp.
So: we found a quick and easy way of labeling ongoing Clasp performance! (Give it a couple of days to sink in!). Once you catch on, they’re yours for life! First, you will decide which hand is doing the primary pulling and which one is doing the holding back part of clasp work. Note: once you’ve mastered a few Clasps and Trails, your ISO moves will become second nature! You own them! They’re yours to keep and vary at whim!
Thus, Bottom; Thumbs means the Bottom hand is the prime puller and it does that toward the direction of the sticking out thumb side of the Side Lying Clasp! I know that sounds like silly prattle. Again: Top; Thumbs means the Top hand pulls toward the Thumb side of the Clasp during its back and forth flights Pix.
And predictably, we use the same language with the other 2 clasps in which the direction of pull is always toward the pinkies or little fingers. Thus, we designate Top; pinkies and Bottom; pinkies. Pictures
Now, why all the Clasps you may ask! Each of these 4 Clasps offers the host certain advantages. When you do bottom/thumbs it will lend itself to quite long trails that can wrap around the body toward the back. Top/thumbs are good for shorter trails but also some great power effects for the forearms and great biceps work. Top/thumbs make an especially powerful mix with some of the leg moves. Top/Pinkies are a super Triceps trainer along with dozens of other muscles of the upper torso. Bottom/Pinkies is difficult for some beginners but becomes prized eventually. Bottom/Pinkies are also an excellent exercise for golfers and baseball players, and I wouldn’t be surprised, tennis players too.
You will design ISO workout combinations that will become your own. ISOfit partners well with those wonderful peculiarities of structure and function that help make good exercise a most individualized art.
Pecs, biceps, some Lats,
Golf, tennis, big time.
Good for Delts, Triceps
Golf, tennis, gymnastics
Lends itself to quite long trails that can wrap around the body toward the back.
Engages torso and abdominals which are useful in any sport more energetic than chess!
Best for shorter trails but some great power effects for the forearms, good biceps work. Core.
Makes a powerful mix with some sports like leg moves. Super for baseball and other ‘swinging’ sports.
super triceps trainer along with dozens of other muscles of the upper torso;
Throwing sports and many others. Also great for baseball force and prowess!
Requires more flexibility, shorter range of motion. Empowers swings, too.
Sometimes difficult for
Beginners. Great for golfers, tennis and baseball players. Increases bat, club speed.
Unique training impact upon the powerful deltoids, core, biceps, too. Great in conjunction with leg work, i.e., lunges. Remember to switch!
All sports that deploy the deltoids powerful/strong delts ‘n’ pecs, like baseball, golf, a variety of swim strokes
There is of course, great overlap here. Athlete types often enjoy powerful instincts in choosing bunches of moves that ‘work’ for them and soon define and expand their ‘zone.’ Also, it’s true that the advantages of some moves for specific sports are more evident than others. In many ways the doctrine of training specificity holds true: I’d rather train by a move that resembles the sport move involved than to simply activate the involved muscle(s). Sometimes it will happen that after a little time with a new move its functional usefulness suddenly hits you! The general axiom may apply when you land on something that reduces the felt effort you associate with a given sport, go for it! When new effectiveness at throwing, ball striking, the swings of tennis, baseball, etc., occurs, exploit the discovery, both on the playing field and during preparatory workout sessions!
As you get into these 4 side-lying clasps you can practice them by calling for a random selection of them. In just a few minutes you will see how smooth these shifts can be. No Clasp is far removed from any other, and one Trail typically slides smoothly into the next.
One more Clasp for now. I call it Tip Grips, because in fact it’s formed when the fingertips (no thumbs) of one hand grasp or hook upon the tips of the other. Picture. The accompanying pictures will make it obvious. One more peculiarity about tip grips: You must reverse the gripping position every so often in order to achieve-you guessed it-a symmetrical ISOcise. It could be after 10 moves or even 100 depending upon the amount of Tip Gripping, you’re into at the time, and factors like early fatigue.
I like Tip Gripping for its unique training impact upon the powerful deltoids, but it serves dozens of other muscles as well. You can Tip Grip your way through a great assortment of Trails, and they work especially well when doing high pumping verticals while trailing figure 8s!
This is real high energy ISO and will probably evoke a healthy pulse rate response for most initial adventurers. Don’t forget the switch-offs.
The ‘core’ of the matter: Abs a la ISOhands
In today’s fitness world no exercise method is worth its salt without adequate treatment of the ever present muscular abdominal wall! ISOhands may lay claim to at least its fair share of ab fitness because of its many, many moves that will harden and strengthen your abdomen from many angles while remaining in the standing position. Since most of ISOcise happens in the standing position and because much of the work includes continuous side-leaning, ISOhands can become an ongoing major contributor to that eventual, hopefully permanent toned tummy! Wheeling ISOhands brings additional body flexing to Iso practice! (See below). Suffice it to say that your abs will never receive short shrift in this whole-body effort! When wise nutrition as well as sensible calorie intake is added in, the abdomen becomes a source of pride rather than a blatant worry that we tend to hide from view!
In terms of the abdominal contribution to sport, the philosophy of Longstrength/Panaerobics could help ensure workouts which guarantee the strength and endurance of the musculature of the core so useful for powerful and winning ways along with fitness benefits. Finally, the gradual addition of abdominal work to your routines will come to mean major calorie losses in themselves for those interested in physique management: Be sure to develop the habit of contracting away at your abdomen while you put those muscles through their paces.
Accessorizing those Clasps!
All manner of objects can be added to your Clasps, depending upon what you’re looking to accomplish. Since you probably haven’t, you might try some of our suggestions all of which have been well practiced.
•Baseball Clasp Insert: makes it easier to do hard, folded loops with good biceps, pectoral work and forceful side-leaning! Push top; thumbs through unique and extreme angles. The ‘inner’ baseball promotes powerful top thumbs because of the greater leverages possible. All four side-lying clasps and even tip grips can be used with a baseball as accessory and will make your shoulders stronger. To check that out, note how much ‘lighter’ your clasp feels following even a short bout of baseball enhanced clasp ‘n’ trails!
•Other ‘accessories’ can be happily added to the clasp. Larger ones can obviously make greater demand upon Clasp/Trail dynamics. But you can go heavy to light, little to large, regular to irregular, squeezable to rock solid. Each insert brings a unique series of obstacles and motor opportunities. Of course, you have to be patient! Allow enough time for you to uncover its real advantages. A one minute trial won’t always do it. I usually like to leave a few days between initial trials and am often pleasantly surprised with better feelings about it-as though learning happens during ‘off’ time. I’m hardly the first person to have suggested that!
In time you’ll come to enjoy great control over your moves. You’ll dream up new possibilities. Every new Trail and Clasp variation puts you within striking distance of new exercise energy and with that, training changes toward the good!
There are some real challenges inherent in the ISO learning process. How to pull a Clasp while, squeezing an inserted soft rubber ball or other compressible item. How to keep the local, often complex manual pressures going in your clasps even while negotiating bunches of varying Trails. The key word here is while which implies simultaneity-a sort of multitasking, wouldn’t you say!?
I like the word discovery as a useful basis for an enjoyable, beneficial exercise habit. Clasp/Trail exercise can be full of the excitement of discovery as well as the magic of useful abandonments and rediscoveries! Clasp ‘n’ Trail modeling should become a skill in and of itself and a large part of your motivation toward beneficial exercise.
These themes and variations of both side to side and front to back movements will add favorably to any resistance-oriented training you wish to try. I make a point of adding heavy clasp ventures in the form of heavyhands or other handweights. I would caution against overdoing it early, being respectful of the possibility of injury if your ambition gets ‘out of hand!’
While clasp accessorizing can be fun and quite beneficial, keep in mind that with ISOfit technique you’re never out of equipment! Given proper awareness, you can duplicate any ISO workload without any Clasp additions/accessorizing.
I would like to leave you with some of my thoughts on the virtues of clasp versatility including ‘accessorizing.’
§ Helps to keep you honest about Clasp energetics
§ Can add serious strength by way of accessories
§ Pushes increases of range of motion and power simultaneously
§ Prepares for sports movements (empowerment!)
§ Increases Calorie losses per time unit
§ Adds whole body aerobics to resistance training
§ Enhances whole body fitness
§ Superior Core Exercise; can become even more so
§ Makes for new interest, pleasure, creativity, skills
The Clasps you will use in ISOhands will come on board surprisingly fast if you’re typical. Chances are you’ll resolutely adopt a couple to a few of them right off. An occasional steadfast pupil will learn all of the Clasps and invent some he/she likes more than mine.
But most of us will find our versatility in our Trails, which makes good sense, since that huge space in front, from top to bottom and around the sides, leaves us almost endless movement opportunity. Clasps are relatively fixed in their working configuration; Trails include zillions of loops, odd shapes and sizes, blatant momentary asymmetries, Star War-ish flitting’s of the Clasp etched through the inviting 3D playground of space we peer into when we work out with ISOcise.
You will doubtless come upon Trails that suit you perfectly and learn them so well that they don’t interfere with good TV viewing!
Putting it all together!
Isotonometrics offers a huge number of bits of exercise technique that you will gradually piece together in the form of whole-body movements that will heart and muscle train and tend to leave you leaner and more skillful! The idea of paring your body size while getting stronger has always appealed to me. As in other aerobics, measurably hard exercise will become almost imperceptibly easier with each passing day. As that happens, heart rates ordinarily tend to slow. If you then decide to return to those prior faster heart rates, you may be sure your average rate of calorie loss will meanwhile have escalated even further! And with it a leaner, more muscular, hence more efficient body machine!
Leg work should contribute mightily to the total fitness picture you draw from ISO. Being two legged critters makes it necessary to contribute plenty of energy to the hind limbs’ ability to get us about. When we ply the upper body with more work that contributes to larger total energy outputs, that helps reduce body fat while making us even more intelligent exercisers!
But that’s not the whole story. The evolution of the bipedal state has, at the same time, made things easier for the human leg. During ambulatory exercise, the force requirements are helped along by the mostly extended legs and the learned balance that ‘keeps us atop’ our stilt-like underpinning. Some of our ISOtonometric walk is therefore aimed at consciously increasing leg work, including strength, especially that of the mighty quads, hamstrings and calves. This additional leg power will, of course, be applied to the conventional work of the leg.
For more Advanced-ISOhands whole body moves, I like a variety of alternate kicks, squats, dips, lunges, side-striding, ISOwalking and ISOjogging, step-a-crosses and grapevines,. These choices (plus many others!) will help avoid boredom and teach more muscle the beauty of intensity along with comfort and grace.
Again, side-leaning and body flexing will add significantly to whole body work and can become a comfortable, constant inclusion in your ISOhands workouts. The well-developed Lats as well as other muscles of the upper body can add significantly to the total energy outputs. The muscles that mobilize twisting movements of the trunk activate the ‘transverse’ portion of your abdominal (‘core’) and can become a winning element in the fitness training of many athletes.
As you continue to experiment with the 7 Clasps and assorted Trails, you will begin to fit the movement parts into whole movements which you proceed to practice. These choices can and should vary-the process of choreographing your workouts will be taken utterly for granted as inherent to the method.
There’s an art to ISOhands and here and there a nucleus of science. You will continue to make better matches as to how the various move-parts fit together in practice. They should come to feel adventuresome.
Extra Clasps and other ISO Techniques
There are other Clasp possibilities. Try this Hand/Wrist Clasp for example. Grab your left wrist with your right hand so that your right palm lies atop the back of your left wrist! See Pix. During ‘trailing’ with this Clasp, as in tip grips, you must reverse things now and again to avoid asymmetry. In this position you can rotate the left wrist which changes the angle of the pulling right hand. I call this circumferential training of the limbs and it is a recurrent theme throughout all of ISOhands. Varied angles of kicks would be a good example of circumferential training of the legs if you kick at a lot of different angles. I personally like this clasp when I sweep it across the field about neck-high or higher; it increases the difficulty of the move when I’m up to it!
This Hand/Wrist Clasp is particularly advantageous to golfers who can make good use of this real upgrade of swing strength. Having said that, and despite the fact that I’m a rare golfer at best, I include some of these Clasp/Trail style in my everyday exercise. For active golfers this Clasp can follow almost precisely the arm/shoulder movements that go into the practice of an ‘effective’ golf swing. Like tip grips, this clasp must be reversed to even out its effects on both sides.
Adding Heavyhands to ISOhands!
There are times when I feel a need for a harder work at the Clasp. In a word, more strength without of course lessening its aerobic impact! For this, variously sized Heavyhands handweights to do the job admirably. If you try this approach you may wish to grip the Heavyhands Weight as suggested in the pictures. A single Heavyhands weight is more comfortably wielded than two half-sized weights.
The fingers are wrapped, then intertwined beneath the Heavyhand’s shaft which is oriented parallel to the long axis of the body. The strap faces you. The thumb tips are positioned side by side against the bottom edge of the top end weight! See pix. The weight is swung as if it weren’t there. That means traveling at somewhat less than your regular ISO tempos but usually with conventional leg and side lean action. You will eventually count pulse increases over unencumbered ISOcise. When that occurs, rest assured you’ll be using proportionately more calories per unit time!
Pulse rates and torso participation
It’s easy to run a small experiment that demonstrates nicely the independent but additive effect of working the legs and torso simultaneously. If you don’t have a metronome, repeats of short segment of recorded music with a beat will do nicely. Merely exercise to the music’s drum once you’ve isolated its rhythm. Go for three minutes at whatever intensity you wish to try. Do it three times: once with clasps alone, no legs or leans. Next, do precisely the same music, using only legs. Finally, try it as a whole-body gambit. Capture a pulse as soon as you finish each segment, (we call them ‘segs’) counting by your watch for 10 seconds starting with 0, not 1. The findings should interest you! If you did the experiment anywhere near correctly it should demonstrate the wisdom of doing lots of muscle simultaneously! Keep in mind that you must keep the variables constant to make it work: range of Clasp motion, force and tempo.
ISOrunning and ISOwalking are ideas I hope you will open to once you master some simpler in-place moves. I have never considered conventional jog/run to be a perfect exercise because in its modest claim as muscle loaders it omits from exercise some excellent aerobic drivers and much of the strength capability of arms, trunk and even parts of the powerful legs from the exercise.
It is well known for instance, that after runners complete an initial phase of their training their vertical jump heights actually diminish! The doctrine of training specificity may eventually hurt us in the long run because of that narrowing movement specificity that may come to omit too many of the muscle/heart cooperative possibilities!
It was not until I had logged long hours attempting to verify the practicality of stationary ISOcise that it occurred to me that, given a few alterations here and there, standard in-place ISOhanding could often replace the moving version, including its crucial airborne elements!
My first attempts were awkward to say the least! The arm and leg strokes in jogging and ISOjog or ISOrun are actually quite different from each other. Here’s what I wanted to accomplish by taking advantage of those differences:
§ A major increase in the upper body contribution to whole body exercise.
§ An exercise with high average intensity as compared with today’s conventional popular methods.
§ A novel version of muscular strength in arms, legs and trunk.
§ Increasing participation of the hip musculature.
§ Increased steady participation of many additional shoulder girdle muscles (delts, pecs, lats etc).
§ Enjoyable in-indoor choreographies.
§ Significant development of core musculature (abs).
While that may sound like a large order, I was already there with all of the elements but ‘the airborne’ aspect, and that proved surprisingly easy and made for a useful tactic for increasing the workload.
Exercises like running require an extended road or track or gym-floor or treadmill to make for comfortable continuing action involving mostly a single move. A bigger concern was that few beginners would risk making laughing stocks of themselves by engaging in these bizarre choreographies in public!
At the time our house contained a kind of second story bridge-like structure some 30 feet long that was to become my ISO track! I merely ISOjogged back and forth making sure that the reversals of direction at the ends proved difficult enough to negotiate so that my steady workload would not lessen significantly. I could opt to go either airborne or flat-footed, vary my arm and leg strokes, clasp and trail manipulations, work with many tempos, hand speeds and stride lengths. For me ISOrun was a good, somewhat belated substitute for the ‘real’ running I’d abandoned so many years earlier. It dealt with my already considerable investment in the upper body, in terms of strength, endurance and skill. These ISO workouts increased my overall leg strength to a greater extent than conventional running had, making me at the same time a far more powerful, durable walker!
Here’s a brief description of the stride/stroke pattern of ISOrun. Both strides (legs) and strokes (arms) begin simultaneously and arrive at their destinations about the same moment. You may experience some confusion and again, the graphics will be most helpful initially. Each stroke, unlike the stride, is made by the conjoined hands in a single, formed Clasp. So, we speak of an ISO arm stroke when the coupled hands swing first to the right, then left etc.
Note: ISOrun illustrates at least one fascinating difference between sport and fitness. The side to side sweeps of the Clasp were devised to maximize ongoing work along with winning ways (sports advantage). Thus, the arm work of ISOrun may be many multiples of the difficulty of running’s conventional arm carry! And so it is that even at relatively slow tempi the peculiar structure of the stride/strokes of ISOrun may make for larger calorie losses, a result of the high repetition of these forceful movements by a lot of muscles. Simultaneity of these events seems to pay off handsomely!
Wheeling: another ‘perpendicular’ approach to Clasping
Perhaps you’ve been wondering whether the concept of Clasp ‘n’ Trail is limited to side to side arm sweeps. The sagittal plane, the one that splits us longwise in half right between the eyes and through the belly button, can be powerfully invoked by Isotonometric technique. I call it ‘Wheeling.’ Here’s a sample of some of its prime moves.
I knew that eventually ISO would have to embrace the ‘fore to aft’ option of the exerciser’s space, and Wheeling makes it immediately possible. Bear in mind that these moves are always available as a useful alternative in the large group of ‘side to side’ sweeps.
Back to Wheeling Starting with Palm Presses as your clasp, draw a series of circles of various size that pass from near your nose to straight out in front of you, then around and back. Pic. Try these circles in both directions. As the Clasp approaches the front body wall, knee dips, body flexes forward and back extensions will feel right! Go easy at first, especially if you’ve a troublesome back. Ironically, these moves may one day soon be part of your ‘strategy for eradicating those chronic backaches even while you drop lots of calories and heart train.
Make your circles for Wheeling large or small, single or multiple, ovoid or pure round. And remember, those reversals can build a whole other force option into your wheeling workouts. And a lot more muscles trained, to boot.
Try your other useable Clasps to get the feel of them in the Wheeling Mode. Try switching from various fore ‘n’ aft positions to your usual side to side sweeps. Vary foot width stances so as to galvanize various novel muscle groups and to make for greater overall leg strength and to definitely increase your Clasp range of motion. Try lunges and squats and step-a-crosses and grapevines to suit your pleasure in the Wheeling Mode. Try different metronome or musical tempos. There’s much there for practice! Our claim to openness means always room for improvement!
I’d like to share a group of moves related to Wheeling that happen to be favorites. The first is of the side-lying variety: The Clasp moves in an up and down manner with one hand always on top and one on the bottom. The first includes curl-like moves with the bottom right hand pulling upwards aggressively, the top hand resisting. The second move does exactly the same thing, starting on the left side etc., etc. Many muscles will gain what I’m forced to believe is an unusual kind of whole-body muscle along with much aerobic power.
Another version of this finds the pulling done by the top, knuckles ‘up hand, the bottom hand simply holding back until the top of the move wherein the Clasp reverses itself and executes a downward move lead by the bottom knuckles! That make sense. These moves are not Wheels; rather, straight up, twist, then straight down. I find it useful and effective to slide my knees forward during the upswing, returning on the downward move. This adds those crucial leg components that complete the ‘work’ package.
If you’re interested in some faster pulse rates, try this group! If you hate them immediately, I can’t blame you but do keep them in mind on cold winter nights! They’ll warm your exerciser’s cockles more than most other body movement choices. Unlike much of ISOcise, this group is a direct biceps strengthener rather than gathering it from an angle as in Clasps like top and bottom: thumbs! Should produce excellent cardio responses in time.
Isohands can become an ideal technique for focusing on the muscles of breathing – the intercostals and the diaphragm, along with the heart and other skeletal muscles. There exist a large number of these breathing patterns almost any of which constitutes good exercise for the respiratory system. And it’s likely that Respiratory ISOcise will also upgrade your total caloric losses as a result of the considerable added muscular work being accomplished.
A simple tactic for beginners would be merely inspiring and expiring during one Clasp Cycle. In fact, that pattern is the one most often spontaneously selected by beginners. You merely switch respiratory phases (inhale and exhale) every time your Clasp changes direction.
Try experimenting with breathing in during three successive Clasp moves, followed by three more moves during your expiratory phase. Moreover, you can do three more Clasp moves while breath holding, then starting again with 3 moves during inspiration, three with expiration, etc. So, this could be thought of as a 9 stroke respiratory ISO pattern. Or you may choose to begin this exercise with an expiratory ‘trio,’ moving then to the inspiratory, then breath holding trios. Bear in mind that an initial inspiratory trio is a bit harder than doing expirations first, because you get a chance to ‘load up’ just before breath holding. If you’ve little stomach for these somewhat techy moves, just remember to do some heavy breathing during some of your ISOhands! We call them respiratory or breathing sprints.
Later, you might try a 5-move pattern. I tend to omit the even numbers, (like 2 & 4) since they lead to asymmetrical movements. Using odd numbers, we start each series with the alternate side. Pulling your abdominal wall in toward your spine will add core fitness to your respiratory and can be added to ambulatory ISO as well. Pix
These respiratory ‘extras’ add a kind of yoga quality to your ISOhands, and that can’t be bad.
I began thinking about whole body forms of exercise over 25 years ago. My somewhat obsessive interest in this idea and its continuous study were based on an intuitive sense that the ideal musculature would be one in which every skeletal muscle fiber is coupled to some extent with the heart pump; Things like strength and endurance, flexibility and skill.
I visualized the cardiomuscular system as a group of connections or duets between each muscle fiber and its delivering heart pump. I believed (though somewhat tentatively at first!), that more trained muscles could generate more efficient whole-body work outputs. Period.
Heavyhanders, then, not only train all of their musculature, but attempt to use it all-in whole-body orchestrations of both workable and graceful movements.
The advent of the current overweight/obesity pandemic has already caused us to upgrade our recommendation for weekly exercise totals.
The likelihood that trained-in whole body choreographies will eventually feel easier carries important implications for the future of exercise. Every average unit of upgraded intensity captures the prospect of sizeable increases in the lean fitness of our population. After that, duration becomes the limiting factor. When you think about it, time and intensity are always involved. That means how long you do it and how few heart beats are required to accomplish it!
These ideas led to the publication of Heavyhands in l980. I have felt strongly that for many exercisers weekly totals will soar, especially in those doing multiples of 10-minute daily exercise. For those with available time and such multiple daily routines may have powerful impact upon both the national musculature and cardio status as upon the thickness of that irrepressible sub-skin fat blanket!
Staying honest at ISOsize!
When you work out with a pair of handweights or do a few pushups or sit-ups you can be pretty sure each rep will mobilize nearly the same energies as did its fellows. That may not apply as neatly to your varied reps at ISOhands. You may find yourself unwittingly backing off, taking it easier, not always because of fatigue, however. This ‘loafing’ could be related to a momentary wave of boredom or just plain lagging attention or both. In any event, early in your experiments with ISO you might check your pulse now and again to estimate your workloads. The big variable will of course be your clasp-upper torso work which can account for large percentages of your effort with ISO, especially after a few months of training.
When that happens, you can check your heart rate to see if it’s holding up or perhaps a bit too fast. Remember that your easing off may have been too brief to affect your heart rate much. In my experience these episodic easing’s at the Clasp are not usually serious deviations from good performance and needn’t worry you. I merely mention them because they are commonplace. That said, early in the game ISOfit may require more conscious moment to moment adjustment of the exercise intensity than some other popular methods. I don’t read that as a disadvantage. Eventually everything turns happily automatic!
ISOcise as a Mix with other Exercise
I planned ISOcise to be a method structured as whole body ‘workouts’ or as ‘tweeners’ to fit into space/time opportunities for enjoying yourself while regulating your health, performance and appearance in the direction of better! ISO training should mix well and truly enhance just about every kind of exercise! It also offers the opportunity for specializing in a selection of muscle groups without losing sight of either cardio benefits or the feeling you get from whole body exercise.
A few Words about Practice!
I sure hope I’m still learning to practice! The sense of practice permeates and continues to energize my workouts and I hope it will never leave. Practice for me seems to convey a comforting optimism about the future. Exercise is acted out in the present, but its ongoing success predicts a better future! Sometimes I think that the plan to exercise may subtly include the equivalent of celebration of one’s general satisfactory state, and the intention to generate more of the same!
We hope ISOhands is experienced as a movement adventure for you too; that it actually comes to partner many things that are included in sport or play or fitness or work, for you.
All exercise worth its salt takes for granted the notion of improvement over time and perhaps specifically, the creation of new energies that can be turned to the various motor ambitions and tasks of life. Exercise and learning to do it more easily through the processes of training is a sure winner despite those few discomforts and failures that mar its perfection: It proves to be a highly practical and successful application of art and science to the other strategies of self-preservation. In my surely powerfully biased view, other factors identical, the degree of useable fitness predicts a happier life space than its absence! This all boils to the notion of exercise as a great teacher of the arts and sciences connected with energy manufacture!
Over my years of work and play with the variations and adventures related to exercise, the idea of dance is never far off. Twenty six years ago, when the text to be called Heavyhands: the Ultimate Exercise System surfaced, there indeed was a chapter devoted to dance executed while using rubber clad dumbbells and sporting easily interchangeable end weights and comfortable grips well suited to the prolonged whole body aerobics that pushed upper body but never neglected the underpinning or core.
Fifteen years later, the ISO idea gave even better legs to the concept of Panaerobics which always included that quartet consisting of muscle loading, verticality, large fitness factor mix and greater awareness of motor skill during training!
I’ve developed a form of whole-body dance which competes favorably as effective exercise that works without our beloved handweights! Now you’ll surely ask: What’s wrong with weights? Why divest your system of a great piece of hardware just when it has proven itself to make physiologic sense and is pretty inexpensive to boot!
In the first place, I had no intention of eliminating heavyhands, either its hardware or its theoretic underpinning! Just the opposite; I continually work on new HH moves and combos. Also, I continue to see the two systems as more than compatible; I see them as mutually enhancing, reciprocally advantageous if you want to wax fancy!
Years of both Isocise and Heavyhands have proven to me that I can quit either system for months only to return to it measurably improved following my limited program. Once I was reassured that my findings were within range, the idea of working dance into ISO began to tug at me! There would have been little point to introducing dance technique to a system that was itself ineffectual. Especially given the fact that I’m a mediocre dancer at best!
I believe dancing is pure wonderful and while skill is inevitably involved, great skill is not essential for we amateurs seeking fitness. The issue is quite open; so long as learning is possible in an endless pattern that allows for conversion of fitness into skill; skill into fitness. The fact that these conversions may happen below the level of awareness doesn’t seem to lessen their awesome personal value. Eventually they can be justified by the simple matter of counting a pulse or two.
Over the years I have tried mostly unsuccessfully to solve the riddle of the fusion of dance and exercise. It does seem apparent that the two are entirely miscible. I am convinced that there is little lost by way of the mixture. From the beginning I was convinced that aerobic dance was light on strength training which I thought could be easily fixed. Indeed, the typical tempos of dance are such that they could nicely accommodate the hard labors I have labeled Longstrength.
While exercise is often accorded the quality dubbed fun, dance would likely not be embarked upon without evident pleasure. Since fitness and muscular development will eventually come to include pleasure they are regularly prescribed as an exciting alternative to the heavyhands system. They produce similar training effects though these are hardly identical with each other. In other words, each has unique advantages in the teaching of muscle, brain and heart to make hard work more pleasantly manageable, progressively skilled activity endlessly available.
Chances are good most studied or spontaneous additions of dance will not prove unwise! All the categories of exercise can be enhanced by dance-like movements: strength, endurance, range of motion.
IS0hands Speak! (in random order for now)
§ Clasp-A series of two-handed positions which facilitate upper body exercise during whole body movements. There are more than 7 of them.
§ Trails-The various routes taken by various Clasps during ISOhands training. More numerous than Clasps by their very nature.
§ Loops-The various configurations of the arms and hands during ISOhands. These loops are walled by the Clasp, the arms and the anterior body wall. They may be large or small, ‘flat’ or ‘bent,’ depending in part upon the positioning of the elbow joints.
§ Top: thumbs-Means the top hand/arm pulls while the bottom hand holds back during movements toward the thumb side of the Clasp.
§ Bottom: thumbs-The Clasp configuration in which the bottom hand pulls while the top hand resists. This holds true while the Clasp moves in both directions.
§ Top: Pinkies-Top hand/arm pulls the Clasp while the bottom hand resists, the whole Clasp chasing the little finger side of it. Good triceps trainer.
§ Bottom: Pinkies- Bottom hand/arm pull the Clasp while the top hand resists, the whole Clasp chasing the little fingers
§ Palm Presses-Palms press against each other while the Clasp moves back and forth across the physical space in front.
§ Palm Pulls-The folded hands Clasp tries (unsuccessfully of course) to pull apart during both side to side movements. Superlative deltoid trainer.
§ Tip Grips-The palmer surfaces of the finger tips hook together and pull hard. In this Clasp the host must switch or reverse the grip periodically to avoid asymmetrical training. Excellent trainer of many upper torso muscles that are involved in sport.
§ Trajectory-similar to trails but focuses more specifically on attack angle.
§ Attack angle-the angle of the Clasp taken during Sweeps.
§ Sweep-refers to the movement of the Clasp across the available space in front of the exerciser. Sweeps can be fast or slow, high or low, hard or easy, persistent or changeable, of large or small range, etc.
§ Accessorizing-Means adding weights or various objects to the Clasp. When tempo and range of motion are maintained during accessorizing, the work will generally increase proportionately.
§ Shrugging-refers to the contraction of the trapezius muscles during Clasping a la ISO hands. Increases the total work when the other variables are maintained. Don’t overdo to avoid a neck ache!
§ ISOcore-refers to the inclusion of the abdominal muscles (recti and transverse muscles) during most if not all ISO exercise. Is mostly accomplished while standing but is available in supine movements as well.
§ Range of ISO motion-refers to the total length of the trails selected. At given tempos and force application, range of motion determines total ISO workloads. Good ISO habits include keeping track of these elements without the problems presented in multitasking!
§ Wideouts-The Clasp/Trail technique in which elongate Trails are pushed beyond the side of the body in order to train more muscle and to increase workload generally.
§ Dips-Really knee dips, that vary in duration, ROM (range of motion), tempo and the pattern(s) by which they are synchronized with upper body movements.
§ ISO calorie chasing-Various combinations of the ISO workload that lend themselves to more efficient calorie loss for various exercisers.
§ Leg ISOhands-leg movements typically make up a major portion of the work of ISOhands exercise. We include among others: dips, squats, abduction movements of the thighs, grapevines, lunges in various directions, leaps to the side, etc. These leg additions are not simply a matter of enhancing the entire, whole-body workload: Extra leg strength should be a fitness goal in all of us! It pays off in all the ways that make being a biped more fun and more productive.
§ Wheeling. A collection of IS0hands moves which depart from the usual side to side movements of the Clasp. In Wheeling a series of circular forms and other loops are inscribed by the Clasp in the vertical or ‘sagittal’ plane working space. These movements complement side to side work, bringing additional work to many muscle groups.
§ Respiratory ISO. Amounts to inserting increasing amounts of work by way of the muscles of respiration, i.e., the diaphragm and intercostal musculature. These additions can be conscious or unconscious, inspiratory and expiratory, fast or slow, of various ranges of motion. Recent literature suggests that highly respectable work intensities can be invested in respiratory based exercise.
§ Sag. Pronounced ‘saj’ Short for sagittal. Applies to all those iso moves that run in the sagittal plane, i.e., in the fore and aft rather than the side to side plane! Sag, along with endless moves that pass through other angles complete the ‘coverage’ of the workspace which corresponds with the combinations of the muscles we deploy!
§ ISOsprints. Short, peppy, ISO moves do for the whole body what running sprints do for legs, etc. Sprints of any sort are a good way to build upon the power attributes of any muscular combo. Today, with some burgeoning interest in anaerobic training if only as a powerful adjunct to aerobics, ISOsprints should quickly gain in popularity.
§ IS0dance. Simply means ‘adding’ dance or dancelike options to ISOcise. My tendency, it occurs to me, is to eventually add dance to most of my exercise ideas. Since these ‘adds’ don’t usually lessen the total work of exercise and since for most of us dance can be fun, why not give it a shot!? Here are a few of the advantages I think I see.
o Exercise time appears to pass faster when coupled with dance and music.
o Seems to diminish muscle tension in ‘vulnerable’ subjects.
o Good for groups or partners.
o Little or no reduction of isodance workloads.
o Is an artform for those interested in that without sacrificing fitness level.
o Could significantly increase total exercise by way of its unusual convenience almost anywhere.
o Enjoys a specific tendency to be coupled with other perceptual and motor events, like TV or music. Isocise has a natural multitasking penchant and should be exploited as a ‘brain-trainer, I’m persuaded.
§ Progressions or ‘Progs.’ Refers to varying the angles taken during a given iso exercise. We form them in order to maximize muscle deployment. I like to make the rough analogy to hitting a baseball thrown to various parts of the strike zone and elsewhere. In ISO, all the muscles in the area may be mobilized with generally good impact on both strength and endurance. For example, a flat trajectory using palm pulls may be switched toward vertically high but horizontal figure eights and other forms, traveling to many places during these progressions. You can switch with every sweep of the clasp, or as often as you wish. Occasionally you may wish to continue a given clasp/trail for 15 full minutes or longer to check your level of Longstrength with that move, perhaps to catch up on some groups that have been obviously neglected.
1.Balance and Isocise
2.Helping fix your aches and pains with ISOcise
Balance and the Role of IsoCise and Heavyhands
If you decided after reading ‘ISO’ that your fitness life could well do without ISO, I’d persist at you one more time if it were only for the improved balance the moves would capture for you. Seems most of us complain of perilous balance eventually, certainly as ageing proceeds. To be slightly honest, most of what I’m including here is autobiographical, including time spent sculpting made up ‘testing moves’ and google to gather more of the facts related to balance.
As I went through my early years, it seems the word ‘balance’ was seldom uttered outside the gymnasium, dance floor or the Circ de Solei! Tight rope walking is a good example of how a basic human ability marginally enjoyed by the population can become a terrific skill focus.
Kids don’t fuss over balance. Why should they? They own it! Most of us have old home movies of one or more of the family’s babies lurching through those initial clumsy strides. We know a good bit about the development of balance, dependent as it is upon the anatomy and physiology of portions of the brain and the inner ear (labyrinth).
If the moves you perform day in and day out don’t challenge your balance more than a casual stroll would, you’ll probably enter your
later years like the rest of us seniors, many of whom come to realize that we’re at risk of falling on icy winter days or while pushing out of our chair. As imbalance and age progress, accidental falls begin to occur on dry summery days as well. For many, walkers and wheelchairs eventually become a necessity.
Combing through the literature one is impressed by the results of the power different kinds of leg training have on the development, often belatedly, of balance.
After teaching a session of pretty standard balance exercises one day, I got to thinking how effectively both ISO and heavyhands could be placed in the service of what might be legitimately termed ‘power balance.’
So, I was particularly eager to try Clasp and Trail ISO to training for balance. Dragging various clasps back and forth across the body’s workspace with the feet positioned together narrows your base in order to make balance more difficult and then improve balance by strengthening the muscles that accomplish it. You may, of course, need to start with your feet set wide enough to keep you standing! In most instances a few sessions will put you on the road to felt greater balance. And the same muscles will help enhance crucial leg strength and hence even better balance during the perambulations of everyday life!
Once that new power is on its way you will find yourself able to apply more force to your winding clasp trails without losing your footing. Once you can iso with your feet together side by side, you can further narrow your base time your quads and hams and calves along with bunches of smaller leg by placing one foot precisely in front of the other. Now your base is only as wide as one shoe and you can shoot for a few consecutive minutes of that maneuver during your balance routine a la iso.
These balance/leg-strength combos, depending on your starting condition, train pretty fast! I recall the almost immediate sense of mastering our stairs! Your progress should continue so long as you train but will expectably slow down as you move forward with more difficult moves.
Again, what’s neat about this is that your general ISO training doesn’t usually sacrifice intensity which is taken up by your legs during squats, lunges and dips! Remind yourself when necessary to lengthen your trails and to increase the feeling of not being swept off your feet!
This is no place (even if I were an expert!) to deal with the effects of these exercises against such things as the arthritic changes among the ageing: clearly, we should employ the old saw that every bit helps. We’re dealing here with the general problem of motility, whether we’re thinking of fitness, dance, sport or the endless activities associated with work-related muscular and cardiovascular work. Balance simply must become part of our concern eventually. To train for balance without departing from the essentials of fitness just makes good sense and will pay off richly at some point.
Len Schwartz, M.D., Pittsburgh, l995