Saturday, February 22, 2014

HIT Resurgence: Biomechanics for Safer Exercise

Exercise should challenge your fitness; not your safety.
Brief biography:
            Personal trainer since 1983.  Currently ACE-Certified Health Coach and Orthopedic Exercise Specialist; previously NSCA-certified CSCS and Personal Trainer.  Ruptured my own biceps and triceps in 1998, which led me to biomechanics textbooks, and then to develop the biomechanics-based approach described in Moment Arm Exercise, Congruent Exercise, and videos.
            Train out of my studio, Optimal Exercise, in central NJ. 
             Recently involved as a Wellness Partner for Leisure Fitness (residential and commercial equipment retailer, including Nautilus).  Feel free to use my 15% discount online, in-store, and commercial (see contact info at end).

Today’s presentation:
I’ll describe the modifications I use for six exercises to make them safer and easier on the joints. 

45 degree hip extension bench: glutes, hamstrings, deep back
·        Maintain spinal curves by avoiding hyperextension and insufficiency
·        Straight knee, straight hip, to bent knee, bent hip
·        Weight progression limited by complexity of the movement

Nitro Hip abduction
·        Glutes without involving the spine
·        Anchor the pelvis to prevent changing the lumbar curve under load

  ·        (Adduction: involvement of hamstrings)

Medx seated leg curl
·        Hamstrings without involving the spine
·        Start short of full knee extension to maintain lumbar curve
·        Full knee flexion with toe lift to avoid gastroc insufficiency

Medx leg extension
·        Knee as pulley, screw home mechanism
·        Start: no less than a right angle at knee; probably less if knee pain
·        Terminal knee extension as a separate exercise


Barbell Bench press
·        Spotting the return
·        Safe reps, then set extenders
·        Machine chest press range: “keep your hands in your peripheral vision”
(See the Moment Arm Exercise Chest videos at and

Assisted chin
·        Start with shoulders down and back at bottom
·        Lean back to start to avoid “pure overhead”
·        Grip: supinated (biceps), parallel (pecs engaged), wide (lat. emphasis)
·        See also the Congruent Chin Up video at

References:  diagrams from The Atlas of the Human Body, Professor Peter Abrams, 2009, except for adductors, hamstrings, quadriceps from The Concise Book of Muscles, Chris Jarmey, 2003.
Contact information
Bill DeSimone
Optimal Exercise, 27B Maplewood Ave, Cranbury, NJ 08512
On Amazon: Moment Arm Exercise
and Congruent Exercise (code WPDESIB0034 for 15% off)


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