Fast Velocity Resistance Training (2)
Isometric Exercise (23)
Marketing Program (1)
Sports Training (13)
Static Contractions (6)
Strength Training (20)
Weight Lifting (21)
Weight Loss (9)
YOUNGER NEXT YEAR: METABOLIC AGE STORIES
By Brian Murray, M.Ed.
Director of Clinical Research, ViiV Fitness
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.
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...
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.
THE NEW MINIMUM EFFECTIVE DOSE
By Brian Murray, M.Ed.
Director of Clinical Research, ViiV Fitness
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:
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
By Brian Murray, M.Ed.
Director of Clinical Research, ViiV Fitness
Will use of the ViiV-Rx be sufficient for significant muscle growth? Yes.
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?
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?
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?
By Brian Murray, M.Ed.
Director of Clinical Research, ViiV Fitness
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.