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emorra92
07-24-2001, 12:10 AM
Dear Netters,

A colleague of mine is investigating a newly patented barbell design that
allows the weight to be supported by the forearm proximal to the wrist
during a curl exercise. The thinking is that it may allow individuals with
wrist or elbow pain the ability to lift free weights by reducing the loads
across these joints.

He developed a survey to help discern any benefits that such a design may
have when compared to a standard barbell of the same weight held in the palm
of the hand. He found that his subjects often make the following general
claims when using the novel barbell:

1) The curl workout provides a "better burn"
2) Curling "feels" more controlled
3) It is harder to get "stuck" towards the end of a set of repetitions

I was asked to comment on these observations from a biomechanical viewpoint
and was a bit stumped, as it is outside of my immediate expertise. I am
unsure how to translate what I considered to be perceptual claims into
biomechanical terms. My first cut at it is that the shorter moment arm from
the elbow to the weight:

1) Lowers the muscle force in the biceps to work in a more efficient range?
2) Allows finer control over the position of the barbell in its path
3) Less work is done to move the weight through a shorter path, leaving
energy in reserve to finish the set.

What are your thoughts on these translations?


- Ed -

Edward Morra, MSME
ed@orl-inc.com

Orthopaedic Research Laboratories
Lutheran Hospital
Cleveland Clinic Health System
1730 West 25th Street
Cleveland, Ohio 44113
USA
216.523.7004 vox
216.523.7005 fax

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