by John McKean
Chapter 2 – Dr. Leonard Schwartz and Heavyhands
A while back I lucked into a fantastic book which taught me more about a really proper, thorough warmup system than had all previous years of training. Titled Heavyhands, and written by Dr. Leonard Schwartz, who has since become a valued friend and teacher, the text revealed a unique aerobic training system involving many muscles working at one time. Light dumbbells are curled, swung and pushed for the upper body while simultaneously running, dancing, bending or twisting. Interesting combinations such as walking with forward raises, punching while bobbing and weaving, and overhead swings with forward bends are done for sessions of 12-40 minutes. Unlike the ridiculous notion put forth by some that standard barbell moves can become “endurance” training after a paltry 10 or 20 reps, Heavy hands exercise is true aerobic work (sustained by relatively easy movement for long periods of time) and, from my experience, absolutely fantastic as a warmup routine.
If you’ve read my previous articles on all-round strength training (issues 23 and 25 of HG) you know I favor short sessions featuring only 3 or 4 progressively heavy singles per lift. Many have asked, though, how it’s possible to do an initial attempt with 80% or more of a limit. Well, by simply following a few of Dr. Schwartz’s exercise guidelines, practically any reasonable opener is a breeze. Heavyhanding for 20 minutes leaves my entire musculature warm and ready to go, creates an inner exhilaration from the increased oxygen uptake, and provides that wide-awake feeling so necessary for pinpoint concentration. Additionally, in distributing this workload over many parts of the body at once, these warmups seem very easy and leave plenty of energy for the barbells. In strict laboratory tests, Heavyhands exercise has proven superior to common calisthenics, jogging, rowing machines, rope skipping, cycling, and other endurance activities, without creating any of the common fatigue or boredom.