Fitness, Astronauts and YoYo technology

Fitness, Astronauts and YoYo technology

 

This technology originally developed to help Astronauts on keeping fit at low gravity could take over on conventional weight machines on fitness centers and this is why.

In the late 1980s, the growing interest in long-term space travel posed the problem of astronaut health. In the absence of gravity, their musculoskeletal system, no longer called upon to support the weight of the trunk, undergoes a marked muscular atrophy (loss of mass and strength) and a decrease in bone mineral density. For this reason, the American (NASA) and European (ESA) Space Agencies have begun to seek a solution to the problem of training astronauts in space.

The solution came from the studies of Per Tesch and Hans Berg, two researchers at the prestigious Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, which annually awards the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology. Using a flywheel rotated by a belt, Tesch and Berg have created a machine for resistive training that works regardless of the force of gravity. This technology, also known as isoinertial, has been patented with the name YoYo Inertial TechnologyTM for its similarity with the homonymous toy.

In scientific literature YoYoTM devices are also referred to as flywheel exercise devices.

The system works as follows:

  • During the concentric phase (CON) of the exercise, the muscle is contracted with the maximum possible force by pulling a belt (or a rope) rolled up on the flywheel axis, rotating it at high speed. The belt is of such length that it can be completely unwound at the end of the movement.
  • Due to its inertia, the flywheel continues to rotate by rewinding the belt in the opposite direction, pulling the limb towards itself and starting the next eccentric phase (ECC). After a mild initial resistance, the subject begins to brake by pulling the belt until the flywheel stops completely.

Disclaimer: the above images are courtesy of nhance (http://nhance.se/). These machines are powered by the original YoYo Technology

By starting to pull again, the next repetition begins, and so on for the duration of the exercise. It is possible to vary the inertia by mounting a greater or lesser number of flywheels. The effectiveness of isoinertial technology has been proven by numerous independent laboratory studies and more than 150 publications in international scientific journals.

Its application has been successfully extended to the sports sector, where it is used for training and injury prevention in athletes and elite teams. Since muscle atrophy and bone decalcification are effects that can also be observed in patients forced to immobility due to trauma, disease or age, the use of YoYoTM technology can also be extended to rehabilitation and geriatric medicine.

One of the main differences compared to conventional exercises (weight machines, barbells or dumbbells) is that, while with weights the resistance is constant and equals the set load (isotonic exercise), in YoYoTM devices the resistance is variable and is at all times proportional to the force developed: the greater the force, the greater the acceleration with which the flywheel reacts (isoinertial exercise).

With weights, the exercise ends when the maximum force that you can develop drops, due to fatigue, under the set load. It follows that all repetitions, except the last one, are by definition sub-maximal. Conversely, in a YoYoTM device, each repetition is always carried out at the maximum strength that the athlete is able to produce, even if this decreases with fatigue. It follows that the “dose” of training (work) for a given number of repetitions is higher than with weights. Furthermore, since there is no minimum load threshold, it is possible to continue the exercise until exhaustion.

Due to the constant load, the weight machines also require special cams to compensate for the changes in the lever arm of the muscle along the joint excursion. These cams, designed for “medium” anthropomorphy may not be optimal for athletes with non-standard stature or with deficits at particular joint angles, for example following injuries. Thanks to the variable resistance, YoYoTM devices instead adapt optimally to the force that the athlete is able to develop at each moment and at each joint angle.

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Furthermore, while in a traditional exercise the choice of load is critical in determining the number of repetitions per series, in a YoYoTM device it is possible to use the same inertia for a very wide range of use, both at very low and very intense forces. Unique peculiarity of iso-inertial machines, inertia rather establishes the speed at which the exercise is performed. In other words, each repetition is always maximal, and inertia only determines the speed of execution: the lower the inertia, the greater the acceleration and deceleration of the flywheel, the speed of execution and the consequent “explosiveness” of the athletic gesture .

Lastly, the iso-inertial exercise, being with variable force, is much more similar to the normal functioning of the muscle than a constant force exercise. In sports, for example, the great majority of gestures concern the acceleration and deceleration at high force of an inertial mass (for example a ball or a part of the body itself). A YoYoTM machine recreates the same operating mode, transforming the acceleration of a rotating inertial mass (the flywheel) into a mono- or multi-articular gesture.

10 thoughts on “Fitness, Astronauts and YoYo technology

  1. Avatar
    Massimo Puckett says:

    Our body has evolved to live on Earth, where gravity plays a fundamental role and where there is ample space to move.

  2. Avatar
    Ralphie Esparza says:

    I wonder how can the heart continue to circulate the blood when in space the gravitational pressure becomes 8 times greater than that of earth?

  3. Avatar
    Hafsah Kelley says:

    For the ISS (International Space Station) a machine called ARED (Advanced Resistive Exercise Device) has been designed which uses piston-operated cylinders to simulate weight training, so as to allow all space travelers to train in strength even where weight is a non-existent concept.

  4. Avatar
    Miriam Dudley says:

    For anyone who wants to try something like an astronaut workout, try the Pilates Full Teaser, an exercise useful to strengthen the bust: lie on your stomach on a mat, keeping your legs raised with an inclination of 45 degrees , you try to get to touch the toes with your hands with extremely slow and controlled repetitions.

  5. Avatar
    Amy Steele says:

    Over hundreds of thousands of years of evolution, our organism has adapted to live in the most varied and extreme conditions offered by our planet, but always remaining under the reassuring protection of our atmosphere and under the full influence of the force of gravity on Earth.

  6. Avatar
    Savannah Marin says:

    According to research published in Science, Scott Kelly’s body has undergone some changes that have not been found in Mark Kelly, his “copy” remained on Earth. Many of those changes disappeared after Scott’s return, leaving no permanently disturbing changes from a clinical point of view.

  7. Avatar
    Marsha Gross says:

    astronauts’ eyeballs tend to pinch slightly and swell, for causes that are not yet fully understood

  8. Avatar
    Sandra Cash says:

    Various experiments are conducted on the ISS every week, but what is often not understood is that the greatest experiment of all concerns precisely the stay of the astronauts on board the Station

  9. Avatar
    Zoe Sears says:

    As for vision, the researchers explain in Science that they noticed a slight thickening of the part of the optic nerve near the retina. This change has meant that Kelly’s vision has worsened, but it is still not possible to say if it is a permanent effect or if there is room for improvement.

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