Heavyhands – The Ultimate Exercise by Leonard Schwartz – Book Review

Many years ago I discovered Heavyhands, the invention of Doctor Leonard Schwartz. These small hand held weights couped with vigorous leg exercise gave a cardio/aerobics workout comparable to a good hard run without any of the negative high impact to my knees or feet. The good doctor prescribed three hours a week as more than enough to maintain a good level of fitness. A search of online used books finds that there is still a good supply of his books available at reasonable prices. If you are looking for a simple exercise that has the addition of feeling good and that is fun, I recommend that you take a look at his books.

“Heavyhands – the ultimate exercise” was Dr. Schwartz’s first book published in 1982. He writes in an easy, readable style but gives a full explanation of his extensive self testing that led to the development of heavyhands. There are many varieties of exercises including walking, in place exercise, dancing, group exercises, etc. Some where in all of this you are sure to find an exercise with a special appeal to any individual.

One of my favorites is an exercise he labels double ski poling. This involves striding out while moving the arms in wide swings similar to the motion in cross country skiing. This exercise was inspired by studies that the top cross country skiers often have cardio fitness and aerobic capacity greater than runners due to the fact that more muscles are involved at any one time.

The author did extensive lab testing to determine the energy requirements of the various exercises and the effect of adding additional pounds to the hand weights. The energy expenditure in exercise is often measured in mets, where one met is the energy expended by the body at rest. A ten minute mile running pace requires about ten mets. This can be matched by doing double ski poling at a forty cycle per minute pace with one pound weights. This increases to 13 mets with five pound weights. The adjustable weights allow for progression and also make the exercise a challenge even for super athletes. If you could ever manage this with ten pound weights, the energy cost would zoom to twenty mets.

The book contains both drawings and photos illustrating the many possible exercises. Easy to read charts and tables show the energy requirements and calories burned by the seemingly endless selection of different exercises. Increasing the exercise duration beyond the minimum required for fitness results in a very effective enjoyable weight loss program.

I recommend you buy a copy of this book and discover a great exercise system that can be used regardless of your fitness level or age. The purchase of a set of heavyhands is a small investment that will return huge lifetime benefits.