This is cool.
I found an interesting Q&A exchange with the inventor and developer of Heavyhands and a long time Heavyhander in the archives of an old Heavyhands blog run by the old distributor of Heavyhands.
This was at a time, over a decade ago, when Heavyhands was poised for a comeback into the mainstream of America.
Here is the question . . .
Hello, and Happy New Year to all
I am a retired pathologist living in Cape Town, South Africa
Len Schwartz has been an inspirational eminence in my life since 1984 when I was 38 years old. A moderately good but rather heavily built recreational runner (10k in 34:15; marathon 2:50; 170+lbs at 5’10)
I happened upon the first HH book in a local bookstore in Upstate NY and the B&W photos of the 57 year old were an epiphany.
That was the kind of body I wanted to have
The exercise physiology expounded seemed plausible.
I bought and experimented with a selection of generic dumbbells 1-15 lbs.
And quickly I made great improvements in my upper body endurance and strength.
Before I could test whether the enhanced muscularity of upper body was detrimental to my running, I tore a meniscus in my knee playing racquetball.
This was in the early days of arthroscopic surgery.
I couldn’t run for over 12 years without knee pain.
But I kept up religiously with HH walking medleys with lots of double ski poll exercises in particular
I, too, rarely ever saw anyone else doing Heavyhands right!
At age 50, I gingerly started running again as my knee pain seemed under control and entered some 5ks/
Interestingly, my age adjusted running times were several notches higher than almost a decade and a half earlier.
I was matching and often easily beating my erstwhile nemeses who had continued running and training hard all the while.
Now retired, I have recently taken up competitive race walking, a very challenging sport, but one far more suited to my (panaerobically conditioned) physiognomy.
Whereas I was an 84% level 53 year old runner (national class), I am a 90% level race walker at 57 (3k in 14:00 in judged competition – world class for age)
Clearly, quite consistent intense training with HH over 15 years has in my case been crucial in mitigating the usual or expected age related decline in aerobic capacity.
Aerobically trained upper extremities are a definite advantage in race walking (as predicted by Leonard Schwartz in his walking book)
A few questions for LS (I have many):
Len, would you say your originally rather heterodox ideas have now entered the mainstream in exercise physiology circles, or are there still doubters?
What was your (amazing) combined VO2 max of ~ 80 at age 57 estimated at?
What has been your personal experience with respect to VO2 Max decline in your 60s and 70s
What about your % BF and MHR/RP?
How recent is the great looking color photo on the HH website?
Monday, January 05, 2004
Responses to the questions posed by N.F. from Len Schwartz
N.F.: Would you say your originally rather heterodox ideas have now entered the mainstream in exercise physiology circles, or are there still doubters?
Schwartz. My guess is that the infiltration is both spotty and iffy! It appears that this ‘heterodoxy’ has been either bypassed or over a short time frame-adopted as the only way to go. This feast or famine quality may have to do with the fact that Long strength hasn’t really been presented to the public so that men and women would get involved. Same applies in physiologic circles. It appears that the folks at the University of Pittsburgh are eager to reengage = Heavyhands (Panaerobics-Longstrength) research. There are many interesting pockets of doubt, just as in all the basic areas of fitness/exercise research, but that’s where the fun lies!
N.F. Why was your (amazing) combined VO2 max of ~ 80 at age 57 estimated?
L.S. As I recall, we had measured my 02 pulse at various levels of continuous intensity earlier. That made it feasible for me to estimate V02s by merely pulse counting. With later direct measurements (many) this level was reaffirmed. I remember one level of 70 ml/kilo/min-1 was directly measured at a pulse of less than 120/bpm! A famous U.S. physiologist, looking at my findings was prepared to say that was indeed a most high test! Actually, given the likelihood of the reentrance of genetic and technical issues I make much less fuss about V02’s. We do what we can, period! More important, I think are those sub maximal V02s which is where the work of exercise is accomplished!
N.F. What has been your personal experience with respect to VO2 Max decline in your 60s and 70s
Schwartz. Surprisingly little, if any decline. A couple of years ago I did walk ‘n’ pump treadmill test that appeared to be as high or higher than that direct test. The literature indicates that there is a fall off in performance among aging, regular, aerobic type athletes. I do believe that eventually Long strength type athletes will record some of the highest sub maximal performances. These could well be accomplished by athletes who handle heavy weights while doing comparatively many repetitions (perhaps a thousand or more), within the aerobic sphere. The work of Pavel Tsatsuline at Dragondoor is fascinating in this respect.
N.F. What about your % BF and MHR/RP?
Schwartz. Perhaps 3-5% at my petite 130lbs! Resting pulse 40-50.
N.F. How recent is the great looking color photo on the HH website?
Schwartz. Pretty recent, within 5 years.
To read more original post of Heavyhanders and answers from Dr. Lenard Schwartz,
go to. There is some great history here to be discovered here.