Defining “IsoTonoMetrics” Some More – Most Importantly it should be “FUN”!

handclasps2 Recently on an internet forum, someone expressed doubt that Dr. Schwartz had promoted any other exercise protocol besides “HeavyHands”… especially one requiring NO EQUIPMENT! Why? Dr. Schwartz is known as the “HeavyHands” man! Unlike some fitness gurus who are “one trick ponies” it seems, Dr. Schwartz was too interested in learning new things and actually helping people even if it meant advocating a fitness method that worked without equipment! Working out without equipment was simply a logical extension of his findings while studying the impact of HeavyHands. As such, it was to be embraced on its own merits even though he never suggested that anyone STOP doing “HeavyHands”. They fit perfectly together in his mind.

In his patent filing on the matter, Dr. Schwartz defined his “IsoTonoMetrics” this way:

[This] fitness method for an exerciser combines the benefits of isometric-like exercising with isotonic exercising for simultaneous training of the exerciser’s cardiovascular and skeletal musculature systems and strength and endurance buildup. The method entails coupling the exerciser’s hands together in any one of a number of configurations and generating an isometric-like force during the coupling stage. The coupled hands can then be moved in any number of directions or coupled differently while maintaining or varying the isometric-like force during the movement. In addition, further training can be achieved by moving one or more other body parts during the coupled hand movement. The legs, torso, shoulders, and/or neck can be moved in any number of directions or sequences to exercise different muscle groups in conjunction with the muscle groups being worked by the movement of the coupled hands.

His now defunct “” website described both the process and benefits he believed the method had. Though the website is defunct, he believed that “IsoTonoMetrics” had precisely the benefits of HeavyHand Walking.

But to put it in his own fun way first he had this to say:

ISOtonometrics is not just exercise for you, ISO is YOU! Most popular exercise these days
involves apparatus of some kind. Others offer a linear approach to fitness; get your “aerobics” at one time, focus on “body-sculpting,” strength work, or other fitness factors at another. Sound familiar? Not with ISO!

Better prepare yourself for some quantum, perhaps heretical leaps! ISO is an exercise discipline that galvanizes most every bone, muscle, tendon, ligament and joint you’d care to include, well orchestrated with an increasingly effective heart action. All this can be accomplished with no hardware outside the very body whose function and structure you’re out to preserve, enhance and gussy up to look like you want it to. As a whole-body exerciser, your Isotonometric ‘gym’ is always located precisely where you happened to be! Once that sense of ‘autonomy’ is acquired you’re home free!

Along more technical lines, his website wrote of these benefits:

A “whole body” or Panaerobic exercise will give you a higher level of total fitness (the following are quotes from the old website which, in turn, quoted “The Heavyhands Walking Book“, page 3-4 (Dr. L. Schwartz)” ):

  1. Increased maximum capability: … After several weeks of training, subjects were either in a group that did leg alone exercise or whole body (panaerobic) exercise. Heart rates were lower in the combined exercise group compared to those trained by leg alone and even though legs were not the focus of the combined exercise group, their gains in leg capability were surprising.
  2. Increased intensity of comfortable exercise: Four limbed exercise selected by the trained group produce significantly higher intensities than known averages for most serious exercisers.
  3. Maximal strength endurance: Exercisers whose train with larger forces (resistance) over time, consistently outwork other athletes at tasks requiring rapid, generous limb movement of a resistance across a distance. Unlike conventional weight training, ISO provide excellent cardiovascular conditioning along with strength gains.
  4. More varied aerobic workouts: Nothing kills motivation to exercise like, “It’s boring.” If we only walk or run as the means for generating continuous workloads to keep us aerobically fit, we become overspecialized. Imagination is the only limit to how movement and muscles are combined. If a knee or other area is injured, it can easily be designed out of an ISO routine.
  5. More fat-fueled exercise: It is likely that those trained in a Panaerobic mode will come to use more fat to fuel their workouts at higher workloads than conventional aerobic practitioners.
  6. High oxygen pulse: Panaerobic exercise like ISO allows the use of more oxygen at progressively lower heartrates. That translates into more oxygen consumption per heartbeat. You can think of this in terms of calories of heat expended per beat of the heart. A powerful oxygen transport system means melting fat faster while using a relatively slow heart pump.
  7. More total exercise: How hard should we work out, and for how long (intensity vs duration). Panaerobics allows more vigorous work done more comfortably. This work is distributed in such a fashion as to reduce the possibility of injury. This fact ensures both ultimate cardiovascular benefits and body-weight control.

In the past he admitted he’d downplayed an important aspect: Having Fun. That was particularly important to him as a psychiatrist. Here’s what he said about that:

Important to me, while I was at it, was making it fun. In my first book, Heavyhands: the Ultimate Exercise System, a primer teaching a hand weight-assisted whole body exercise system, I simply ducked the fun issue. That’s because the physician/psychiatrist part of me was getting more excited about the varied and growing list of measurable benefits of exercise as well as the well-documented added risk that came with being sedentary. Fun was okay, even pure wonderful, maybe for many it is motivational must. But twenty years ago, I didn’t want to leave people with the impression that the down and dirty benefits weren’t good enough to be worth the toil – even if the process wasn’t pure pleasure!

Furthermore he expected his IsoTonoMetrics to be “fun”. He said: With a little practice you will find yourself IN the exercise enjoying increased body freedom and efficacy. You’ll work on the fitness factors that are important to YOU, all with a perception of “this is fun, this is easy!”

As to the process, his motto was “We never do strength training without aerobics. We never do aerobics without gaining strength”.

Another post on the PROCESS IsoTonoMetrics will be coming soon!

2 thoughts on “Defining “IsoTonoMetrics” Some More – Most Importantly it should be “FUN”!”

    1. Adam,

      Yes, I’m very familiar with John’s Iso Bow and IsoMotion. There are some similarities between what he’s doing and IsoTonoMetrics that may be addressed in a future post.

      Having used the Iso-Bow (the blog links to it in the store!) as an adjunct to IsoTonoMetrics and as John describes it, it can be helpful if people don’t feel they can generate enough force with a handclasp.

      By using the device instead of a handclasp, however, pushing moves aren’t immediately available as the “reverse” action of the pushing movement.

      Another major issue that I notice is that the users of the Iso Bow for exercise focus on upper body work primarily. Now admittedly John says to throw in leg work like lunging, knee bending, etc. to activate the lower body. I don’t think people learn how to do that unless they are studying Dr. Schwartz – both his theory of panaerobics in general (the necessity of activating as much muscle simultaneously as possible) and the moves Schwartz incorporates to activate the lower body and even other upper body muscles in the lower back. Most of these are demonstrated in the HeavyHands books even if you can’t find the “WholeBody Fitness for Seniors” video. Those will really make the Iso Bow a “panaerobic” tool.

      As things stand, I don’t think Iso Motion has reached its full potential, though it’s a start and the Iso Bow is a handy tool though I have to admit to preferring the handclasps!

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