Posts Tagged ‘Leonard Schwartz’

SandowSchwartz (1)

Eugene Sandow Leonard Schwartz

Sometimes, HeavyHands users get stuck in a rut…the standard “pump and walk” exercise is usually the first one we learn and becomes the one we “default” to.

Though Dr. Schwartz wrote two books highlighting many different techniques for obtaining the variety needed to keep HeavyHands interesting mentally while providing a full body workout, sometimes other variations may be desirable.

As I was out on an hour and a half walk recently, I remembered some exercises I’d read about in David Bolton’s The Lost Secret To A Great Body.

Walking along I found myself going through the parts of this workout that I could remember and it kept my heart rate up nicely while being a bit of “active recovery” during this lengthy walk. It enabled me to exercise using muscles relatively untouched by the standard “pump and walk” and which, by that time, were getting fatigued.

As I was reflecting on it later, though Dr. Schwartz wasn’t interested in being as well muscled as Eugene Sandow who was arguably the first “bodybuilder”, Schwartz’ physique was along Sandow’s “classic” lines. Though as a physician Schwartz didn’t care about “bodybuilding” for its own sake,  the type of “useful” muscle and proportion Schwartz considered the ideal was something he shared with Sandow in many ways.

“Pump and Walk” Courtesy

So what is Bolton’s book about?

Sandow’s Dumbbell

David Bolton in his research into the use of light dumbbells (3 to 5 pounds) found that Sandow, his instructor, and most of the old time advocates of dumbbell training suggested virtually the same routine and considered that routine fundamental to overall fitness. Even the ones not selling body building courses by mail (Bobby Pandour) ascribed to the same system of training basically.

Men at their peak like Sandow reportedly used 7 pound dumbbells (Pandour used 10 pound bells), but so that students would understand the mental focus required, Sandow produced a special dumbbell/gripper that demanded constant tension!

HeavyHands users will find it interesting that Dr. Schwartz – while using heavier weights for some specific exercises like Double Ski Poling – tended to max out with walking weights in the 8 pound range and often used lighter weights for faster movements and more “work”. He too derived long term benefits from weights easily dismissed as “too light” by many. His understanding of exercise was much different than Bolton’s, but those differences aside, this article mention’s Bolton’s exercises for the variety they can add to a HeavyHands routine.

As our understanding of “progressive resistance” increased, these claims to benefit from insanely light weights seemed preposterous, and things like Sandow’s strength and muscularity were attributed exclusively to “secret” training he never talked about.

As Bolton studied the matter, he concluded people had missed something… the mental action and tension that attends the exercise and gets effects that are not dependent solely on the weight. That seemed to jibe with a McMaster’s University study mentioned toward the end of Bolton’s book.

I understood this better after I’d been swinging the HeavyHands already and was warmed up first. I could “feel” the movements better than simply doing them “cold”.

One thing that modern fitness folks are starting to comprehend as they revisit some of the “old ways” is the impact of muscle control and focus in the use of light weights (or simply tensing muscles alone) and how that relates to strength and endurance performance… ask Pavel sometime as he lectures on Maxick, a famous muscle control artist and strongman.

Of course Sandow and others used the qualities developed through their dumbbell work to attend to their strength feats later… in Sandow’s case literally later in the evening during his performances! The dumbbells were the base workout.

So what are some of the exercises in Bolton’s book?

  • Alternating Dumbbell Curls
  • Alternating Reverse Dumbbell Curls
  • Alternating Crucifix Dumbbell Curls
  • Simultaneous Crucifix Dumbbell Curls
  • Standing Dumbbell Pectoral Fly’s
  • Alternating Dumbbell Presses
  • Alternating Dumbbell Front Raises
  • Simultaneous Arm Circles Dumbbell Wrist Circles 1 (Clockwise)
  • Dumbbell Wrist Circles 2 (Anti-clockwise)
  • Dumbbell Punching Movement
  • Dumbbell Good Morning Deadlift
  • Dumbbell Shrugs
  • Dumbbell Crossovers
  • Dumbbell Side Bends
  • Simultaneous Dumbbell Back Extensions
  • Calf Raises
  • Toe Raises
  • Deep Knee Bend On Toes
  • One Legged Squat
  • Straight Legged Sit-Ups
  • Leg Raises
  • Hyperextensions
  • Push-Ups

Of course not all these exercises are things you’re going to do on a HeavyHands outing… and they’re not “panaerobic” unless you’re moving at the same time… and some – like shoulder shrugs – were always mentioned by Dr. Schwartz.

Still Bolton’s book is an interesting read, provides thoughts on variations for HeavyHands training at the very least, and reminds us that while many people may underestimate the value of training with light weights (a common criticism of HeavyHands), they may not have the last word on the subject if the weights are being used correctly!

Is Body Pump “basically the same as” HeavyHands or Panaerobics? (more information can be found here:

Some say that there is a similarity because both seem to use relatively light weights and high reps.

Is that true? Is the defining aspect of Dr. Schwartz’ exercise systems “high reps”? Or even the use of weights necessarily?

In reality, HeavyHands isn’t JUST about light weights and high reps. It’s about much more. But it’s easier to identify the differences between BodyPump and HeavyHands or Panaerobics after spending some time understanding what’s involved in the process of the BodyPump workout.

In case you haven’t heard about BodyPump before, here’s how Wikipedia describes the fitness method…

For BodyPump, the full class consists of 10 tracks, each (except for tracks 1 and 10) targeting a specific muscle group. The full class (including time between tracks for weight changes) runs for 60 minutes.

For the 60-minute format, the class is arranged to the 8 tracks on a CD produced by the company, timed to allow for around 60 minutes of exercise and 2 minutes of weight changes between tracks.

  • Track 1: Provides a warm-up with the lowest weight of the class. During the warm-up, most muscle groups are trained in short succession, and stance and barbell grip is often changed when cycling through all different exercises.
  • Track 2: Squats. This track targets the legs, notably the quadriceps and glutes and participants are advised to use the highest weight of the entire class. A typical weight for squats ranges between three and four times the warm-up weight. The weight is placed on the traps of the participant.
  • Track 3: Chest. In this track, participants are invited to lie on their backs on a step, and perform chest presses with the barbell. Sometimes, depending on the choreography of the release, these are combines with chest push-ups. A typical weight will be around two times the warm-up weight.
  • Track 4: Back. In this track, participants stand up and train the muscles of their back. Exercises performed vary from release to release, but mostly contain dead lifts, dead rows and sometimes clean-and-presses. A typical weight selection will be the same as chest, or slightly more.
  • Track 5: Triceps. As the first of the smaller muscle groups, participants will select a lower weight, usually slightly above warm-up weight and perform triceps exercises. These change per release, but mostly consist of triceps extensions with a barbell, triceps pushups, kickbacks with a single free weight and dips on a step.
  • Track 6: Biceps. After the triceps, participants stand up again and use the barbell to do bicep curls and sometimes bicep dead rows. The weight will remain the same as for triceps, or slightly less.
  • Track 7: Lunges. Participants take on a heavier weight, usually the same as the chest track. In this track, squats can be included but most of the time will be spent doing lunges to train the legs and glutes. Lunges can be performed with the barbell on the traps or holding plates. Sometimes plyometric jumping will be included at the end of the track.
  • Track 8: Shoulders. The participants select a weight similar to the tricep track on the barbell, and two free weights. The track traditionally starts with pushups, after which the participants use free weights for shoulder raises, either to the side or to the front. At the end, the bar is used for upright rows and overhead presses. Sometimes the choreography adds another set of pushups at the end.
  • Track 9: Abdominals and core. Usually no weights are used, and participants perform abdominal crunches or planks to strengthen the core.
  • Track 10: Cool down and stretching.

A new BodyPump release, consisting of new music and choreography, is developed and released to health clubs and instructors every three months. Muscle groups are always worked in the same order as stated in the Les Mills Instructor Resources, allowing for consistency across releases. Instructors can choose to work with one release, or mix tracks from multiple releases, to target strength endurance gains for their particular class. Instructors and trainers are provided with guidance from Les Mills International regarding the mixing of tracks for classes. The pre-choreographed class meets the Les Mills methodology that students will find a more consistent experience when attending a BodyPump class in any location around the world.

Now that we have an overview of how BodyPump operates, let’s consider how this method of working out is significantly different than HeavyHands or Panaerobics!

First, it IS true that HeavyHands, in general, uses high repetitions and relatively low weights in the 1lb to 5 lb range depending on the individual, though Dr. Schwartz reportedly could use up to 23% of his bodyweight for ‘Double Ski Poling” for very long periods of time! Even when weights are not involved (in “Longstrength Bodyweight” moves and “IsoTonoMetrics”) the range of resistance can go from “heavy” to “light” but in general is on the lower side of the spectrum to allow exercise to be performed long enough to produce a cardio-respiratory response.

Here’s how HeavyHands and Panaerobics of every variety DIFFER from the BodyPump approach in crucial ways.

BodyPump is many things that HeavyHands are not… choreographed for a group instead of individually designed by the user according to their own interests and needs, lasts a predetermined time instead of a time determined by the user, and requires a professional instructor instead of a book or video and a hand weight. It’s probably safe to say that while BodyPump has done its best to explain the scientific validity of it’s choices, HeavyHands developed out of laboratory studies regarding oxygen use during exercise and was validated every step of the way through the same testing. That leads to the crucial distinction between the two.

BodyPump is a “Circuit” training system that works the body parts in sectors instead of simultaneously. To quote Mark Twain, that’s the difference between “lightning” and a “lightning bug”.

There was a scientific reason that HeavyHand and Panaerobics are not “circuit training” as Dr. Schwartz explains in his “Strength Endurance Fitness Method” patent:

Efforts to increase the number of repetitions and to make weight training methods more continuous, etc., by having the exerciser move swiftly from one “station” to the next with only short pauses, have also failed to produce significant benefits with respect to endurance (aerobic) capacity. Thus subjects trained by the so-called “circuit” method, while achieving relatively high heart rates during the exercise, have not, generally speaking, increased their oxygen uptake capacity (work capacity) significantly over extended training periods.

These facts provoke the question as to whether or not strength oriented physical training methods can work toward the improvement of the cardiovascular system. This improvement would include such elements as slowing of the heart rate both at rest and at any greater workloads, usually lowering of the systemic blood pressure, along with various enzymatic and other metabolic changes that are readily measurable.

The crucial flaw in methods that attempt to couple strength and aerobic capacity may be their general failure to employ sufficient muscle mass during given exercises. Thus strength training methods typically work one or a few muscle groups at a time. The high heart rates achieved under those conditions do not represent the same physiologic events that general high heart rates during continuous (aerobic) exercise (jogging, brisk walking, swimming, rowing, bicycling) that employ a relatively large percentage of the body’s muscle simultaneously provide.

In other words, Dr. Schwartz believed he had scientific reasons for avoiding “circuit training” regardless of the name because while it raised the heart rate, it’s focus on isolated muscle sectors and their focus on activating minimal muscle mass during most exercise sessions kept “circuits” from increasing aerobic capacity.

The “trademark” of HeavyHands or Panaerobics which BodyPump does not aspire to is the use of as much muscle as possible at the same time. By isolating body sectors as it does, BodyPump makes having a workout in the “HeavyHands” sense impossible.

In reality, most HeavyHanders or folks doing panaerobics don’t seek a “pump” or even to exhaust isolated muscle groups one at a time. The idea of using all four limbs at the same time is supposed to DECREASE the overall sensation of stress by spreading the work out over as many body parts as possible. HeavyHanders build the muscle necessary for continuous work against the highest resistance they can manage, but not by adapting Bodybuilding’s muscle isolation exercise techniques.

This is not a criticism of either BodyPump or those who enjoy it. People should be encouraged to exercise however they feel inclined and in the way that helps them stay with it. The point of this article is that, contrary to what some may think, BodyPump and HeavyHands are built around fundamentally different approaches and are not “basically the same”.

Pan-X Apparatus

Leonard Schwartz’ Pan-X Apparatus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Creative Commons Licensed Image

Creative Commons Licensed Image

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HeavyHands DuckWalk

HeavyHands DuckWalk

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

Check out Dr. Schwartz’s books here…

Click here to be redirected to the Leonard Schwartz HeavyHands Video

Click here to be redirected to the Leonard Schwartz HeavyHands Video

One of the most popular search terms used to find this blog is “Leonard Schwartz HeavyHands Video”.or “HeavyHands Workout Video”.

Most of Dr. Schwartz’ videos like this were on VHS. There is one known version of it streaming online. If you’d like to see it, please visit this link: Leonard Schwartz HeavyHands Video

This presentation is approximately 59 minutes. It is titled “HeavyHands Panaerobics” because HeavyHands was, indeed, the first version of “Panaerobics” pioneered by Dr. Schwartz and subsequently followed by “Longstrength Calisthenics” and “ISO”.

Unlike Dr. Schwart’z <a href="” target=”_blank”>HeavyHands books like “HeavyHands Walking” or “HeavyHands: The Ultimate Exercise” which emphasize the use of weighted hands while walking, jogging, or even running, this HeavyHands video portrays a workout system designed to be done indoors with only a few steps (usually no more than 4) in any direction.

While walking or jogging with HeavyHands cannot be said to display a “Dancelike” motion (some pictures of groups walking with HeavyHands doing back exercises look anything but dance like – and, in fact, make the walkers look more like a flock of DoDo birds!), Leonard Schwartz’ HeavyHands video offers a dance like exercise with plenty of “flow” emphasizing what Dr. Schwartz called “grace”. He enjoyed performing his exercise indoors and to music… it’s easy to see how HeavyHand performed this way could be benefited by music.

Leonard Schwartz’ HeavyHands Panaeorbics – as displayed in the linked video – is still going strong for a group of devoted users. Hopefully this blog will help encourage a RESURGENCE of Dr. Schwartz’ exercise insights! If you’re interested in the video just as a refresher because you’ve been doing HeavyHand Panaerobics for years, please take us up on our invitation below! We’ve found that many folks communicated with Dr. Schwartz directly and consider themselves “his students”. If you learned something from Dr. Schwartz that you don’t think is properly being passed on to folks today, take this opportunity to “set the record straight” and help more folks learn about panaerobics!

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


If you’re familiar with Charles Atlas or other self-resistance exercise systems (sometimes called “Dynamic Self Resistance” or “DSR”) Dr. Schwartz’ IsoTonoMetrics may still seem baffling to you. Don’t worry, many people are similarly baffled at first!

Look at it this way, if you’re familiar with a variety of self-resistance exercises already, you’re half way there!

The difference between a classic dynamic self-resistance exercise and an “IsoTonoMetric” is that in addition to the basic self-resistance movement other movements are added to

A. Activate all four limbs
B. Involve as much muscle as possible
C. To build strength and endurance simultaneously

Ok so let’s get more specific and turn a classic dynamic self-resistance exercise into an “IsoTonoMetric”!



In the video below you can see people participating in the “Dragan Challenge”.  Dragan Radovic is well known for a particular strength endurance feat … the alternating one arm curl and press which he calls the “vertical lift”. He’s famous for challenging not only individuals but whole teams to do more of these lifts than he can. To date, he has never been beaten even by 10 people!

So how will a 70 year old man hold up to the challenge?

As he describes in his book (left), he came to two conclusions over time. First was the importance of the free squat as a lower body exercise. He may do 1000 or more per day as a foundation for any other exercise. Much later he came to a conclusion very similar to Dr. Leonard Schwartz. “Why can’t the arms be used to drive endurance exercise like the legs?” The title “Fitness 4×4” comes from his desire to harness both arms and legs for total fitness like a four wheel drive vehicle. Fans of Leonard Schwartz will have heard that before. The main difference is that Schwartz wanted the arms and legs moving together at the same time. That factor is not part of the “Challenge” though it can be seen in the “Hour of Power” workout Radovic also developed.