Isometric Exercise | ViiV Fitness Blog
Isometric Exercise

TRAIN FAST WITHOUT MOVEMENT


TRAIN FAST WITHOUT MOVEMENT
By Brian Murray, M.Ed.
Director of Clinical Research, ViiV Fitness

Fast Velocity Resistance Training


Did you know you can train fast without any movement whatsoever?

I recently stumbled upon a 2019 review article published in Strength and Conditioning Journal titled: "Why Fast Velocity Resistance Training Should Be Prioritized for Elderly People". This small review of 56 studies compared the improvements in muscle strength, power output, explosive force, muscle mass, and functional capacity after resistance training with slow or fast contraction velocities in older adults. 

The Summary?

Fast velocity resistance training is superior for improving maximal isometric strength, power output, explosive force, and functional capacity; all things that every person needs and should strive for, no matter what their age or level of physical fitness.  

But why are the results better with fast velocity training?

The Rate of Force Development is faster.

And so I realized this paper could easily be re-titled: "Why Five Seconds of All Out Isometric Effort Should be Prioritized for Everyone".

Why?

Five seconds of maximum isometric effort on the ViiV-Rx and intentionally moving a weight as fast as possible have something in common: the rate of force development is fast.

This is important. 

The faster rate of force development makes people more powerful, capable, and independent by protecting the larger, stronger neuromuscular units that become inactive and largely account for age-related weakness (See my previous article titled AGE-RELATED WEAKNESS: NERVE OR MUSCLE).

Roughly 80% of our population doesn't get any exercise. About 50% are Baby Boomers, the group of people that desperately need improved power output and functional capacity the most.

With ViiV, we have the ability to make older individuals more powerful without any movement whatsoever, and this capability is then ready and waiting for them to use as they move throughout their daily activities. 

Our bodies need to move regularly, but we can become better movers with a few seconds of no movement.  

85 SECONDS TOO LONG


85 SECONDS TOO LONG
By Brian Murray, M.Ed.
Director of Clinical Research, ViiV Fitness

Timed Static Contractions TSC

You can give it everything you've got for 5 or 10 seconds. Those are your options with the ViiV-Rx.
However, we occasionally get questions about why there aren't more options for longer durations. 

Most often the people who ask this question have heard about something called Timed Static Contractions (TSC). This practice generally involves 20-30 second stages of subjective sustained effort progressing from 50% up to 75%, then on to 100%. Although there is nothing wrong with doing TSC, I'm going to tell you why the ViiV-Rx options are just right, and why TSC is mostly a waste of time if you want optimum benefit.

Consider the following data comparing maximum force generated going all-out during the final 30 second phase of TSC vs. going all-out over 10 seconds (one week between measurements):


GENDER          AGE                90 SECONDS               10 SECONDS
1. Male             Age 72                    460                                  570
2. Male             Age 90                    260                                  400
3. Male             Age 70                    507                                  612
4. Male             Age 45                    650                                  775
5. Male             Age 65                    280                                  600
6. Male             Age 60                    450                                  570
7. Female        Age 75                    400                                  505
8. Female        Age 72                    201                                  400
9. Female        Age 62                    560                                  695

Disclaimer: No human beings were harmed during 10 seconds of maximum effort.

I have been publicly criticized by a small contingent (a badge of honor I wear proudly) for practicing and advocating going all-out for 5 seconds right out of the gate. They feel my approach is "dangerous." 

Puhleeeez.

This group continues to abide by a "theory" that fatiguing your muscles is a requirement prior to exerting maximum effort, and that this practice offers some kind of injury-preventative effect. They say this makes isometrics "safer."

Save it.

Over the past 17 years, I have worked with hundreds of people of all shapes and sizes, fitness levels, and ages, and not one musculoskeletal injury has resulted (see my previous article Why Short Duration All-Out Isometrics Are The Natural Thing To Do).

There is simply no evidence to support the claim that 90 continuous seconds of slow ramping effort is any safer than 5 seconds of all-out effort. None. 

This leads me to a few other observations about TSC as taught by this contingent:

First, it plants a seed of doubt. People learn to be afraid that if they exert force quickly they will get hurt. Here's an excerpt from a response to one of my past articles that is a perfect case in point:

"I would be very concerned about having a client put in a position of maximum muscle torque (pulling or pushing as hard as you can from the jump)
Not something that I would be willing to do to myself. I think a 90 second repetition...would be a much more appropriate way to approach these static exercises." 

Is this advice and concern based on experience? Nope. Why? Because this person was told it is dangerous. There is an expectation that injury will occur. 

Second, it creates a habit of slowly applying force. I recently had a conversation with someone who has practiced this slow, gradual ramping of effort in his workouts for 20 years. When I reassured him he could go all out right from the start he told me, "I've been doing this for so long that it's been hard to break the habit." Others are challenged by this as well, but it's not because they can't do it. It's because they think they shouldn't.  

This practice is unnatural. You aren't going to win any gold medals by training to apply force slowly, unless your sport is curling! Nature favors power, and we are hardwired to go from 0 to 60 just like that at any time, at any age. 

Third, the above two factors keep people from learning what it feels like to be powerful. They don't obtain maximum neurological impact and tap into their true strength potential. 

Obviously all of the people in the data above are capable of so much more than TSC allows. What they thought was their best effort during the last 30 seconds of TSC wasn't even close to their true maximum capability. 

BTW, Which number do you think these people were more proud of? 

I know. Dumb question.

Getting to the highest load is important. As I wrote in ViiV-Rx Makes Weight Lifting Obsolete?, higher loads lead to significantly higher increases in the ability to voluntarily activate your muscles, greater changes in neurological efficiency, and greater strength increases.  

Getting to the highest load quickly is so important, that you don't want fatigue to get in your way. The rate of force development is a huge determinant of muscle contraction force; this determines motor unit (MU) recruitment and firing rates. 

In a review by D.G. Sale titled INFLUENCE OF EXERCISE AND TRAINING ON MOTOR UNIT ACTIVATION, it was found that a 3-4 times larger fraction of the MU pool is engaged in producing a fast contraction than in achieving the same force in a slow ramp or sustained contraction. Maximum firing rates are also highest. 

With ViiV the 10 second option is a great starting point for most who are learning how to approach maximum effort. It allows enough time to ramp more slowly, while testing new sensations of higher exertion but not too much to be wasteful of nervous system energy. After a few weeks of this, however, it will be time to shift gears to something even better.

The 5 second option is perfect because you can have a fast rate of force development, but not so fast that you cannot achieve maximum force before time is up. As you become more neurologically efficient and comfortable, you will achieve peak force within 2-3 seconds.

With the ViiV-Rx, you will train your clients/patients to improve their power to weight ratio. This is what matters most. The 80 year-old woman who stumbles and needs to quickly break a fall, or to punch someone who is trying to take her purse, will be so much more thankful she knows how to quickly fire, activate, and develop force, versus being a tentative, slower, weaker reactor. 

As I wrote in Age-Related Weakness: Nerve or Muscle?, voluntary inactivation is largely responsible for the decrease in strength with age. The MUs most affected are the larger, stronger units, and the best way to activate those is by developing maximum force rapidly.

Be powerful. Five seconds will get you everything you need. TSC is 85 seconds too long. 

THE ViiV-RX SEAT ANGLE


THE ViiV-RX SEAT ANGLE
By Brian Murray, M.Ed.
Director of Clinical Research, ViiV Fitness







The ViiV-Rx 90º Seat Angle. It's a subject that arises occasionally, so let me put your mind at ease.

I firmly believe that most of the concerns related to the seat angle on the ViiV-Rx stem from teaching and tradition, not from personal experience. In other words, most people go on what they have been taught or told it should be, instead of actually feeling it and thinking for themselves.

Many years ago I was one of those people blindly following what I was told. Then I tried it and it was even better than I thought. I experienced benefits that I wouldn't have thought possible.

The first thing you have to remember about this seat angle is that the ViiV is an isometric machine. There is no movement. Your knees don't move back and forth as you lift and lower weights, so there is no need to recline the torso to relieve possible congestion when the thighs get closer to the belly.

Isometrics, not dynamic movement. HUGE difference.

The second thing to think about is that reclined seat backs invite back problems because the natural lordotic curve is encouraged, and potentially increased, as the torso lays back. When pushing with the legs the ability to extend the lower spine to assist with hip and thigh extension is much greater, and this is a recipe for back strain.

Also, angled seat backs allow the body to "slide up” the seat back. At best, this creates less downward pressure between the buttocks and seat bottom and at worst, a slight amount of space. Either situation allows lateral movement of the hips. The combination of all of this can result in simultaneous extension and twisting of the spine.

Why bother with that?

All of that is non-existent with the ViiV-Rx. When you start pushing with your legs, the pelvis is driven down and back. Your lower back is comfortably flattened against the seat back. You can contract your hip extensors intensely without any possibility of extending your lower back for extra help.

It's beautiful. It's comfortable.

The third thing to consider is that with an upright seat angle there is no need for ANY kind of restraint system. Your hips are "locked-in”. Even with a restraint system on a reclined seat back, you still can't get the kind of "locked-in” that you can get on the ViiV-Rx. With the ViiV you can actually say, "Look Mom, no hands,” because you don't need to hang on to anything. It's that good.

Don't believe me? I understand. I didn't believe it either until i felt it.

But it's real.

For more information please check out my video on our YouTube channel:

https://youtube.com/user/LessIsMoreFit



WHY PINK FLOYD'S ROGER WATERS BOUGHT A VIIV-RX


WHY PINK FLOYD'S ROGER WATERS BOUGHT A VIIV-RX
By Brian Murray, M.Ed
Director of Clinical Research, ViiV Fitness

Roger Waters with ViiV

The short of it is: He likes the motionless style and simplicity of the ViiV-Rx. Despite owning a room full of exercise equipment, he hates working out. "I'm a musician, not an athlete," Roger said. He loves that he only needs a ViiV session once a week or even less. It's exactly what he wants.

Roger is no longer
another brick in the wall. He gets it. He knows what feels right.

A ViiV session feels right because it mimics a natural human reflex designed to energize the body, increase alertness, and elevate our sense of well being. It satisfies a primal urge.

We don't need no education
We don't need no thought control


Mother Nature has our back. We just need to trust what she is telling us.

We want to feel good. We have better things to do with our time. We don't want to make weights go up and down. We don't want to be sore. We don't want a "workout hangover." Besides, what leads up to that is not nearly as much fun as what we can't remember lead up to a real hangover.

no dark sarcasm in the classroom.

If given a choice between a ViiV session and all the other options out there, the millions of people in this country who desperately need help getting on the path to improved health and physical fitness will choose ViiV every time.
How can they not? It's a powerful visceral connection. The results are much better too.

is there anybody in there?
nod if you can hear me
is there anyone home?


When the 'rona closed everything down, Roger wanted something for his home. When he found the ViiV he was so eager to have one immediately that instead of waiting for us to build him a brand new one, he decided to buy our demo unit.

What was he doing before the ViiV?

Roger was working with a personal trainer on the ARX, but not in isometric mode. He was moving against resistance through a full range of motion, just like we are told to do. And then he found the ViiV. Game over.

A-B-C-U-L8TR-ARX.

Like I said, if given a choice between ViiV and anything else most people will choose ViiV every time. It feels natural.

Want to know what finally sealed the deal for Roger? Metabolic Age.

Roger was sold on the concept of being able to turn back the hands of time metabolically. With the ViiV you can change the trajectory of the aging curve by activating your primitive neuromuscular connection, becoming ridiculously strong, preserving your lean body mass and improving your body composition.

Swimming in a fish bowl
Year after year
Running over the same old ground
What have we found?


There is a better way and ViiV Fitness is proving it. The change is here and it's growing.
Why stay on the dark side of the moon? Step into the light and provide your patients/clients with what they really want and need. Like Roger, many more people will discover ViiV and the life-changing results that incredible simplicity can provide. Don't be left behind.

How I wish, how I wish you were here.
Run Like Hell
The Happiest Days of Our Lives are near
Feel the new wind of change

Just
Breathe
With ViiV there's nothing to fear

Great to have you on board Roger.
Welcome my son, welcome to the machine.

YOUNGER NEXT YEAR- METABOLIC AGE STORIES


YOUNGER NEXT YEAR: METABOLIC AGE STORIES

By Brian Murray, M.Ed.
Director of Clinical Research, ViiV Fitness



metabolic age

Would you like to be younger next year? Of course you would. Who wouldn't?

You know you can do it with the ViiV-Rx.

Although chronological aging will continue no matter what we do, metabolically we can actually age in reverse. Yes, you can make your metabolic age go back in time as the candles on your birthday cake get more and more crowded each year.

How? 

Here's a story about Brenda that was documented in my book, STOP TRYING TO LOSE WEIGHT YOU'RE MAKING YOURSELF FATTER. When I first began tracking Brenda's body composition she was 52 years old with a metabolic age of 50. Every quarter for the next 4 years I took a body composition reading. At that point she was 56 years old with a metabolic age of...

42! 

Wow! Her metabolic age went backwards 8 years and the gap between her chronological and metabolic age widened by 14 years over the course of 4 years. Now that's aging in reverse. And for Brenda it was obvious. She had the energy to outwork 25 year old men and she looked great too.

Did she make any conscious targeted lifestyle changes to make this happen. No. She just lived her life as she always had day by day.

The one constant? Once a week she gave it everything she had for a few seconds isometrically and kept getting stronger. Over time her body composition changed to resemble that of a younger person. 

That's the key.

The most important factor used to determine metabolic age is your body composition -- the amount of fat mass vs. the amount of fat-free mass you have on your body. The extent to which you change this ratio can have a large impact on how old you really look and feel inside and out. 

But if you do want large changes in your metabolic age quickly here is a great example of what can happen when you focus on your diet and losing body fat:

Several years back Ellen went through my 6 week fat loss program. At the start she was 52 years old with a body weight of 130.0 LBS, FAT MASS 41.1 LBS, FAT-FREE MASS 88.9 LBS and a METABOLIC AGE of 39. After 6 weeks her body weight was 119 LBS, FAT MASS 31.1 LBS, FAT-FREE MASS 87.9 and a METABOLIC AGE of 26!

In just 6 weeks she lost 10 pounds of FAT MASS and her metabolic age decreased by 13 years to half of her chronological age. She achieved the body composition typically seen in a 26 year old female. And her exercise consisted of 3 stations, 5 seconds of all-out isometric effort, 15 seconds a week. That's it! And I have the pictures to prove it.

C'mon ladies, tell me you and your patients/clients wouldn't like that?

But the most dramatic change I ever saw was by Laura Owen. In fact, I devoted an entire chapter to Laura's story. She was also a participant in my 6 week fat loss program and her changes were nothing short of amazing.

At the start she was 46 years old and began with a body weight of 152.8 LBS, 44.5 LBS of FAT MASS, 108.2 LBS FAT-FREE MASS and a metabolic age of 35. After 6 weeks her body weight was 148.4 LBS with 30.0 LBS FAT MASS, 118.4 LBS FAT-FREE MASS and a metabolic age of 17!

In just 6 weeks Laura lost 14.5 LBS of FAT MASS, gained 10.2 LBS of FAT-FREE MASS and reduced her METABOLIC AGE to that seen in a female teenager! She did this with as little as 2 exercises and a few seconds of her best isometric effort each week. The pictures don't lie.

C'mon. Who wouldn't want to do that?

Your patients/clients want the most efficient and comfortable way to stay young, vibrant, capable, and independent. Why not give them what they are desperately craving. They don't want to move weights up and down anymore. Listen to them!  

The ViiV-Rx is a perfect tool for aging in reverse because you can become ridiculously strong in just a few seconds without any movement, and have the proof to back it up. With the ViiV-Rx you have the opportunity to deliver a uniquely fresh approach that stands out rather than continuing to be just one of the many lost in the noise of the same old same old.

What's your metabolic age?

Would you like to be younger next year? And the year after that? Everyone would. 

AGE-RELATED WEAKNESS: NERVE OR MUSCLE?


AGE-RELATED WEAKNESS: NERVE OR MUSCLE?
By Brian Murray, M.Ed.
Director of Clinical Research, ViiV Fitness

age related muscle weakness

For a long time now it has been assumed that the primary cause of the age-related decline in strength is the loss of muscle mass. Consequently, medications were developed to act on muscle to enhance muscle function and physical capacity. Unfortunately, all of them failed, and for a good reason.

It's not about muscle.

A 2019 paper by Clark et. al. titled Voluntary vs Electrically Stimulated Activation in Age-Related Muscle Weakness studied the role of the nervous system in clinically meaningful age-related weakness in a cross-sectional group of 66 older adults (age range 67 to 85 years). Participants were characterized as weak (the oldest group with an average age of 78.4 years), modestly weak (average age 74.9 years), or strong (the youngest of the bunch with an average age of 72 years). The researchers specifically sought to determine if weak older adults exhibit reduced ability to activate their lower extremity muscles compared to their stronger counterparts. The degree of voluntary inactivation was calculated for each group by comparing maximum voluntary and electrically stimulated muscle forces.

The results of this study found that the weak older adults exhibited significantly higher levels of voluntary inactivation compared to the strong older adults (14.2% vs 7.1%). What makes these findings even more interesting is the fact that lean thigh mass for all three groups was nearly identical.

Think about this. Same muscle mass, dramatically different ability to activate that muscle mass. That's pretty strong evidence that age-related weakness is not necessarily a disorder of the skeletal muscles. In fact, Dr. Clark stated "It's confirmatory evidence that the nervous system is a key culprit in weakness."

In a 2009 study by Delmonico et al. titled Longitudinal Study of Muscle Strength, Quality, and Adipose Tissue Infiltration, 1,678 participants were followed for 5 years. It was found that loss of muscle torque was 2-5 times greater than the loss of muscle cross sectional area. In other words, loss of strength was weakly associated with loss of muscle mass. So something else accounted for the large drop in strength.

It's the nervous system.

This fact is why the ViiV-Rx Isometric Machine is the perfect tool for reversing age-related weakness, increasing strength with advancing age, and preserving that strength 'til death do us part. It's perfect because isometrics are the most effective and efficient way of producing changes in the nervous system that really matter for improving physical capacity.

Here's why:

Performing a maximum voluntary isometric effort in your most efficient joint angle for producing maximum force leads to the greatest improvements in strength and neurological efficiency (Read my previous article ViiV-Rx Makes Weight Lifting Obsolete?). Isometric contractions also yield far greater improvements in voluntary activation compared to concentric or eccentric contractions.

For nearly 20 years now I have had clients give it everything they've got for 5 seconds at 1-4 stations. I have worked with people of all ages for many years in a row, many of them in their 80's. I have yet to see someone max out their strength or lose their ability to voluntarily activate their muscles over time. My experience has shown me that no one is too old or too inactive to reawaken dormant nervous system pathways and achieve life-changing-long-lasting improvements in physical capacity.

Age-related decline in muscle strength? Nah. The muscles are just fine.

It's all about your nerves.

The ViiV-Rx is the perfect nervous system anti-aging treatment.

Problem solved.

THE NEW MINIMUM EFFECTIVE DOSE


THE NEW MINIMUM EFFECTIVE DOSE
By Brian Murray, M.Ed.
Director of Clinical Research, ViiV Fitness

Minimum Effective Dose of exercise

A popular buzzword in the high intensity training strength training community is Minimum Effective Dose (MED). This simply means the smallest dose that will produce a desired outcome. Well, if the desired outcome is improved strength and physical fitness the following takes MED to a completely new level.    

Based on my experience over nearly two decades of observing and listening to the feedback of hundreds of clients I decided to have some fun and conduct a small research project using the ViiV-Rx. The ViiV-Rx is a perfect research tool because it allows for force measurement, standardized duration of effort, and accurate reporting.

This project involved both men and women and the study design was this:

PRE-TEST

Week 1: Maximum isometric effort for 5 seconds on 5 stations in the following order: CHEST PRESS, LEG PRESS, CORE PULL, VERTICAL LIFT, and SHOULDER SHRUG.
 
WEEKS 2-7

Maximum isometric effort for 5 seconds on VERTICAL LIFT 
only. This exercise was chosen because it was hypothesized that it would have the greatest total body impact.

POST-TEST

Week 8: Maximum isometric effort for 5 seconds on the same stations tested in week 1 in the same order.

To recap, only one exercise was performed each week between pre and post testing. Exactly 5 seconds of effort was put forth each week for a total of 30 seconds of effort over the 8 week span between full body workout tests.

RESULTS

The average improvement in total body strength was 30%. That's a 30% improvement that includes increases in the neuromuscular performance of specific anatomical actions (CHEST PRESS, LEG PRESS, CORE PULL, SHRUG) that were 
not directly activated for two months! 

Now that's getting something for nothing.

In addition, the feedback from the participants was consistent. They all commented on how much more energetic they felt, how much better their posture was, how much stronger they felt, how much easier all their daily activities became, and how hard it was to believe that just a few seconds of effort could make such a huge difference.  

How's that for a Minimum Effective Dose?

DISCUSSION

Why did this happen? How can such a small amount of maximum effort affect the entire body?

It's simple. Strength improvement is primarily neurological. It's the nerves that change your strength, not changes in muscles (Read my article titled 
Muscle Growth with ViiV-Rx). Maximum voluntary isometric effort also leads to much greater improvements in neurological efficiency that are long lasting (Read my article titled ViiV-Rx Makes Weight Lifting Obsolete?) The higher the degree of effort, the higher the degree of voluntary activation and the greater the reach into the entire body.

Remember, it all starts in the brain then flows downward and outward.

The results of my informal study are consistent with findings from unilateral training studies. In a 2018 paper by Andrushko et al., titled 
Unilateral Strength Training Leads To Muscle-Specific Sparing Effects During Opposite Homologous Limb Immobilization, forearm muscle strength, muscle thickness, and muscle cross-sectional area were all preserved in the casted limb after 4 weeks of eccentric wrist flexion 3 times a week. 

The point is this: It's all about the nervous system. 

I'll leave you with this:

"Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."
-- Antoine de Saint Exupery


This information shows us that we can get pretty damn close to perfection. This is yet another reason why maximum effort isometrics will continue to spread and attract the attention of everyone. 

Get on board with us now. ViiV Fitness is so far ahead of everyone else that whoever is in second place isn't even close.

MUSCLE GROWTH WITH THE ViiV-Rx


Muscle Growth With The ViiV-Rx
By Brian Murray, M.Ed.
Director of Clinical Research, ViiV Fitness


Will use of the ViiV-Rx be sufficient for significant muscle growth? Yes.

muscle growth with isometric exercise

In a 2014 study by Maeo et al titled Neuromuscular Adaptations Following 12 Week Maximal Voluntary Co-Contraction Training, subjects stood with their arm fixed at a 90 degree angle and performed a maximum voluntary isometric contraction for 4 seconds followed by 4 seconds of relaxation. This was considered one repetition. One set was 10 repetitions. They performed five sets per day (50 repetitions), three days per week for 12 weeks. Both muscle strength and size increased significantly in the training group with no change in the control group.

So there you go. If you want to increase muscle size you can do so with the ViiV-Rx. All you need to do is increase the 
volume of your contractions (the same thing you do when you lift and lower weights). And with the ViiV you get the bonus of being able to measure your force output for each and every one of those contractions.

But there was another very interesting thing about this study that needs to be discussed:
The increase in muscle size did not contribute to the increase in muscle strength.

This isn't surprising. There has never been any evidence that muscle growth and muscle strength are related. The story that exercise-induced changes in muscle size lead to improved muscle strength is a legend. It is folklore. Furthermore, "building muscle" is an illusion, and it certainly doesn't matter.

Stay with me while I explain.

1n 1955, 
The Problem of Muscle Hypertrophy: A Review by PJ Rasch was published in The Journal of American Osteopathic Association. This paper examined the lack of direct evidence that muscle hypertrophy from exercise plays an important role in increasing strength.

In 2016, Buckner et al had the benefit of examining an additional 60 years of evidence in 
The Problem of Muscle Hypertrophy: Revisited. Certainly an additional 60 years of technological advancement combined with a greatly expanded knowledge base would yield more answers, right? Nope. Nothing has changed.

We still have no answers to explain why:

1. Changes in muscle size do not contribute to changes in muscle strength. 

2. Muscle growth gained is lost quickly when workouts stop, yet muscle strength gained persists above baseline for months/years. In fact, it has been demonstrated experimentally that doing a 1 repetition maximum (1RM) test once a month maintains 1RM strength,
despite a complete loss of muscle hypertrophy.

3. Muscle growth is the same for low-load or high-load training, yet muscle strength is wildly divergent. High loads produce much greater strength improvement than lower loads.

Yet, here we are 65 years later, in the year 2020, and we continue to believe that changes in muscle strength are contingent upon changes in muscle size, and evaluate the effectiveness of resistance training devices and programs on whether or not they "build muscle."

It's all fiction.

So how did we get here?  

In a 2019 review titled 
Exercise-Induced Changes in Muscle Size Do Not Contribute to Exercise-Induced Changes in Muscle Strength, Loenneke et al concisely outlined the historical context of how we arrived at the traditional narrative. They present strong evidence that muscle growth is not necessary, sufficient, or contributory for changes in muscle strength. The two seem to be separate and unrelated adaptations to resistance training.

Now let's talk about another misconception: muscle growth.

If a change in the size of your muscles as a result of exercise does not make you stronger, and the relatively quick loss of that increase in size does not make you weaker, and you can get the same change in size if you use a low or high amount of your maximum effort, what is this change and what is the benefit?  

There is no benefit.

In the 1963 textbook 
Physiology of Exercise, Morehouse and Miller  wrote "It has not been proved that hypertrophy is necessarily a desirable reaction ... it may be simply a by-product of training, perhaps a noxious one." 

Perhaps noxious? Well, considering the various injuries that typically occur as a result of resistance training it can certainly be argued that it is harmful. It's also no secret that multiple markers for tissue damage and skeletal muscle necrosis are significantly elevated after resistance training. 

Is this really a good thing to do on a regular basis?

Is it natural to frequently expend extra energy to move weight through your most inefficient joint angles to achieve a point of discomfort that leaves you inflamed, weakened, stiff, and sore just to temporarily increase the size of your muscles? For no gain? 

Doesn't make sense. 

Here's the truth: Your muscles are perfectly capable of propelling you through life just the way they are. Your nervous system adjusts to yield more strength when you need it and improves its efficiency to handle future demands deep into the future. No change in muscle size is required. The fact that exercise-induced muscle hypertrophy goes away quickly after a few days makes it perfectly obvious that this is not a necessary or even desirable state to achieve. 

Remember, based on all the evidence since the beginning of time, exercise-induced strength gains persist despite a complete loss of exercise-induced hypertrophy gains. Are you seeing the theme here? 

Muscle size doesn't matter. Muscle strength does.

So what is exercise-induced muscle hypertrophy?

It is a by-product; a temporary shift in fluid and blood flow specific to the muscle trained. You may know it as "the pump." It is similar to the increase in size your ankle displays when you sprain it. It is an injury. 

How do you treat an injury? Rest and ice.

In a 2019 study titled 
Cold Water Immersion Attenuates Anabolic Signaling and Skeletal Muscle Fiber Hypertrophy But Not Strength Gain Following Whole Body Resistance Training, Jackson et al found that muscle hypertrophy was reduced in a group immersed in cold water after each resistance training session compared to a group that passively recovered. Strength was not reduced in either group. 

So a total body "ice pack" reduced hypertrophy? No, it reduced swelling which is typically called
hypertrophy.

In a 2015 study by Roberts et al titled 
Post-Exercise Cold Water Immersion Attenuates Acute Anabolic Signaling and Long-Term Adaptations in Muscle to Strength Training, after 12 weeks of resistance training two days per week, muscle mass accretion was significantly smaller while total fiber cross sectional area and myonuclei density per fiber did not improve significantly in the cold water immersion group (COLD) compared to the active recovery group (ACT). Maximum leg press strength significantly improved in both groups. 

Wait a minute. If the increase in muscle hypertrophy is not just swelling, then why would the COLD group see no significant improvement in fiber cross sectional area and myonuclei density while the ACT group did and they both used the same training program?  

If hypertrophy is real a little cold water shouldn't stop it from happening.

But it isn't. It's an illusion.

Here's the deal. Mother Nature favors power; she likes the greatest strength improvement for the least amount of change in body mass. It's smart economics.

What matters most is what you can do with your body when you want to, or need to. The size of your muscles doesn't propel you out of bed in the morning. The strength of your muscles does.

My focus is on improving the physical capacity and quality of life of the millions of people who want and need the smartest, most efficient and sustainable way to get there. The ViiV-Rx is a perfect fit; it is a great tool for improving neurological efficiency, maximum strength and power to weight ratio.

Strength is all that matters.

IS THERE ANY RESEARCH?


IS THERE ANY RESEARCH?

By Brian Murray, M.Ed.
Director of Clinical Research, ViiV Fitness


Here's a common question we receive: Is there any research that shows the efficacy of the ViiV-Rx Isometric Machine?

ViiV Research Studies

Yes, there is a ton of peer-reviewed research on isometrics. Just ask Google and you will have more than enough to make your head spin. But before you go and do that, let me save you some time and aggravation.

As the old saying goes,
"Necessity is the mother of invention." That is where my journey with isometrics began.

Back in the day, I used to have clients lift and lower weight very slowly on a few pieces of selectorized weight machines. Then, one day, along came Seymour, a 93 year old gentlemen with an artificial hip. This would be my first experience working with an artificial hip.

As I got Seymour positioned to move some weight on the leg press, it was immediately obvious that he had very little range of motion; so small that it wasn't worth attempting movement. This forced me to quickly improvise. I made a few position adjustments, added a lot of extra weight, and told him that together we were going to lift the weight into a more extended position where he would push against a range limiter that prevented his legs from extending any further. Once we got there, I told him to push as hard as possible to prevent the weight from descending until he couldn't do it anymore.

He loved it! He got stronger each week and his quality of life improved dramatically.

As a result of Seymour's success, I started to experiment with this technique on other clients who needed a change of pace due to injuries or stalling progress. Everyone started having success and enjoyed it. It was hard to ignore what was happening.

Did I look for research before doing this? No. I didn't have time. Did I ask other people for their opinions? No. It started with an idea and it worked! From there I observed, listened, and tweaked as it evolved into something that became very effective for all clients, even those with normal healthy joints.

My point is this: There is no substitute for your own personal experience. You don't need any reassurance or evidence from a laboratory to try something new or pursue development of an idea.

YOU are the research! YOU are the best scientist there is! Try it first and see how it works for you. All you have to do is start playing.

I understand that the approach we take with the ViiV-Rx is radically different from what is considered mainstream. I understand that the ViiV-Rx is a big purchase. I understand there is comfort in numbers; going along with the pack is easier than breaking away from it. So I understand why people ask "Is there any research?"

Yes, scientific evidence may give us some peace of mind, but there are some things you need to keep in mind about peer-reviewed research.

First, you can find 10 studies to support what you want supported, and 10 studies that show the exact opposite. What's the tie-breaker? Your own experience.

Second, the training methods in research studies are typically not anything close to what you will use in real life. Also, what is realistic for your clients/patients will often times produce better results than the methods employed in studies.

Third, you and your clients/patients don't really give a damn about research. The truth is, all of you care about one thing: does it work or not?

I have collected a mountain of data and stories over the past 17 years. If you need research, get in touch with me and I will shower you with hours of stories about the life-changing effects of 20 second isometric workouts. And my research is even better than peer-reviewed studies because it is longitudinal. I've had the benefit of working with individuals for up to 20 years! That's a lot better than the 6-8 weeks you will read about in a study.

The ViiV-Rx and the methods we promote at ViiV Fitness are backed up by many years of continuous research; the best research there is: How it actually works in real-world conditions for a wide range of ages and fitness levels over a long period of time. It doesn't get any better than that, and besides, nothing is better than a personal story.

The use of isometrics is growing rapidly. If you need research, you can find a bunch of it on our website or contact me directly. Most importantly, you need to start doing it for yourself. You can't be a rock star without first learning how to play the guitar.

ViiV-Rx or ARX?


ViiV-Rx or ARX?
By Brian Murray, M.Ed.
Director of Clinical Research, ViiV Fitness

ViiV vs ARX

We regularly hear from people who wrestle with this question so I will address it en masse. Before I begin, there are two things you need to understand:

First, I want to say that I have nothing against ARX. It is a fine product produced by a company that has vision and great intentions for changing the landscape of the fitness industry. I wish them continued success.

Second, we are the fattest, sickest, most unhealthy country in the world and my research interest has been to find the best way to change the lives of millions of people who want to get on the path to improved health and quality of life.

My goal has been the discovery of the closest thing to exercise in a pill by refining things down to what is necessary, what isn't, what is most sustainable, and what will have maximum impact with minimum downside.

That being said, it is my opinion, backed up by 17 years of research, that the ViiV approach is much further ahead of ARX due to one major thing: simplicity.

We are waiting at the finish line for ARX to get there.

I've said it for a long time now: This is where everyone is going, they just don't know it yet.

For 17 years, I have used four stations (or less), with five seconds (or less) of maximum isometric effort, 20 seconds (or less) total
motionless workouts that produce a euphoric energized feeling which changes lives. And people LOVE it! 

As Da Vinci said: "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."

Think about that for a moment.

It is incredibly difficult and time consuming to continuously refine something down to being so simple that it is almost unbelievable, yet, that is what you have with the ViiV.  While others strive for sophistication through evolving more complex layers of technology and granularization, the sophistication of the ViiV approach lies in the lack of complexity, combined with its ability to produce life-changing results in a matter of seconds. So what is more sophisticated?

So let's talk about some of the common questions that arise:

RANGE OF MOTION

There are two questions here:

1) Don't you only get stronger in the range of motion you train in?

2) Don't you need to move through a full range of motion? 

Your muscles have an origin and insertion point between bones. Muscle cells run the entire length of the muscle. The muscle either contracts or it doesn't. The fact that movement is prevented or allowed is irrelevant. There is no adaptation to becoming stronger in only one joint angle and weaker in all the others. It doesn't happen that way in real life, and I’ll bet you can't find one person who could ever pinpoint that adaptation while going through real life movement. 

Please don't misunderstand what I'm saying. Even though I advocate a motionless method for improving your physical capacity, I am not a proponent of being motionless. Far from it. Movement is absolutely necessary for good mental and physical health, and I tell clients to get a lot of it. However, it is not necessary to move your joints through a full range of motion against resistance to receive enormous health and fitness benefits.

I have been documenting this for
nearly two decades. As I wrote in my last article, "ViiV-Rx Makes Weight Lifting Obsolete," isometric contractions expose you to the highest loads possible in seconds. Moving through a full range of motion doesn't allow you to even come close to that kind of loading.

Just look at a force vs. joint angle curve. Maximum neuromuscular engagement is best in your most efficient joint angles (which is what you do on the ViiV). Moving through a full range of motion is inefficient and places unnecessary stress on your joints.

WHAT ABOUT THE NEGATIVE?

Believe me, I wrestled with this question myself a long time ago because I liked the negative only technique.

But suddenly the answer hit me: The most your muscle can do is the most it can do, no matter what type of contraction you are doing.

It doesn't matter if you can lower 50% more weight eccentrically when your concentric force production doesn't even come close to what you can do isometrically. Isometric force production still blows the others away.

Again, as I wrote in my last article, the increase in voluntary activation with isometric contractions is significantly greater than that of concentric and eccentric contractions, with eccentric contractions coming in last place.

What about the negative? I say what about it? The key to getting stronger is improving the efficiency of your nervous system. This doesn't just happen in the first few weeks of a strength training program as conventional wisdom says, it happens continuously. The ViiV will get anyone much stronger (more neurologically efficient) with much less wear and tear on their body. Positive/negative is rendered obsolete.

FATIGUE AS THE STIMULUS

I understand why dynamic contractions are hard to leave behind. It's what we've done for a long time. Change is difficult. Part of this is the adherence to the "fatigue as the stimulus" way of thinking. We like the sensation it provides, and the immediate effect on our muscles: temporary swelling, fatigue, and soreness.

But it isn't necessary for wowing clients/patients with life-changing improvements in health and physical fitness. I've experienced how brutal a maximum positive and maximum negative repetition on ARX can be, and you must keep a few things in mind.

If you were to experience this incredibly stressful event in nature on a weekly basis, you were either very unlucky or very stupid. This is unnatural. To do this on a regular basis puts undue stress on the body,
ages you in fast forward, and it isn't necessary. Our primal hardwiring does not like to do this.

The masses do not like it either. With ViiV, you get seconds of relatively comfortable and painless stress that leaves you energized and ready to take on the world. The improvements to your nervous system also make everything you do in life easier. A ViiV session appeals to our natural instincts.
What do you think most will opt for?

THE PRICE TAG

Imagine this: you walk into the showroom and see the car you want. The price is 25 grand. You write the check and pay in full, but there's one catch: In order to drive it, you have to make monthly car payments for the remainder of the time you own it. Huh? That is ARX.

With the ViiV-Rx, you pay for the car in full (12 grand) and get to drive it right away with no further cost to you. The software is accessible by an app that you download  from the app store free of charge. When we notify you of an update, all you do is download the update. Or set your included iPad to download it automagically. How simple and cost effective is that?

A great example to tie all of this together is a very important lesson learned by people who tackle the challenge of hiking the Appalachian Trail. Upon completion, all of them will tell you that they learned how little they really needed to be comfortable, productive, and happy. When you hike for that long it quickly becomes apparent that things you thought you needed weren't worth the extra weight, space, or cost, especially when other necessary items in your backpack could do the same job and get you the same outcome. 

ARX offers the ability to blast yourself with positive/negative, along with isometric capability. The question is, do you really need the extra stuff? Does the cost justify it?

I say no. Call me crazy, but the way things are moving, I think that many ARX owners, despite the extra tools, will eventually have a very costly isometric machine, because in the future they will be using it in isometric mode almost exclusively.

Why do I think this? The masses are going to drive you in this direction. Why? The spread of OSTEOSTRONG franchises and the current rise of independent businesses that use isometrics exclusively.

Not only does this growth help bring more attention to ViiV, it wakes more and more people up to how simple and easy it is to get life-changing results in seconds a week. Believe me, once they get a taste, they aren't going back the other way.

I've been to your future already. It's isometrics. It's the ViiV-Rx. Trust me, if you want to wow your clients/patients and change lives, it doesn't take much. Use the KISS principle. Keep It Simple Stupid. 

ViiV-Rx MAKES WEIGHT LIFTING OBSOLETE?

With the ViiV-Rx you have the ability to measure and safely expose your body to the highest loads possible in just a few seconds. This improves your neurological efficiency. This gives you greater strength increases. This makes everything you do less taxing. Isn't greater strength why people lift all those weights?  
Read More…

LIFE-CHANGING RESULTS IN SECONDS

Obviously someone noticed a change in Jill, and now three weeks after her first few sessions others have noticed a change in Jill as well. Even Jill's sister, who had not seen Jill in nearly 4 months couldn't believe how much better she was walking. And no, she still has not told anyone what she is doing. 
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HOW YOU SHOULD FEEL AFTER A WORKOUT

So if given a choice, which of these options would your current and future clients choose? If they can get the same benefits from something that leaves them feeling fantastic, and they will, why would they want to endure the discomfort, technique-laden requirements, and potential joint issues associated with moving weights up and down?  Remember, we're talking about what they want, not what you want.
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WHY ALL-OUT ISOMETRICS ARE THE NATURAL THING TO DO

General George Patton said, "If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking." The purpose of this article is to get you thinking differently about an old form of exercise, and to put your mind at ease. Contrary to what you may hear or believe, there is nothing dangerous or limiting about giving it everything you've got against an immovable object for a few seconds. Mother Nature says it's ok. Listen to your mother.
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INTRODUCING THE VIIV-RX

For the past 16 years I have been using maximum isometric contractions exclusively with clients. The results from 20 second workouts (yes, you read that correctly, 20 SECONDS!) have been fantastic. Isometrics are simply safer, more comfortable, more efficient, and easier for your clients to understand and perform.
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