drawings of muscles and exercise apparatus

Friday, December 26, 2008

Strong glutes for the 'horsepower' factor

Kelly Baggett is an Arizona-based "performance consultant" who specialises in "increasing raw explosiveness, acceleration and jumping ability." In an article on his site Higher-Faster-Sports.com titled "The plague of the mediocre athlete; no glutes equals no results," he claims that the main difference between average and good athletes is in "the functionality of the feet, as well as the strength, development, and function of the glute musculature."

Baggett argues that the glutes are mainly responsible for the 'horsepower' factor and does not believe that an athlete can have too much glute strength. He maintains that "due to their natural strength and the leverage advantage they have over your legs, the glutes should always be the primary muscles that drive lower body movement.

Inhibited glutes and overshadowed glutes

In extreme cases the glutes may be inhibited to the extent that they don't contract when walking, standing or even playing sport, but the more common problem for the athlete is having "overshadowed glutes":

Here the glutes DO fire correctly, but are not as strong as other lower body muscles (like the quadriceps), thus the body will use other muscles to do what the glutes SHOULD be doing, resulting in inefficient
performance and often some type of pain or injury over the long haul. Whenever you perform a movement such as a squat, lunge, deadlift, jump, sprint, or any exercise that involves several different muscle groups, the majority of work will tend to be done by the strongest of those muscle groups.

People who don't have superior glute activation patterns and whose glutes are not naturally stronger than their thighs perform exercises in the weightroom that should be strengthening their glutes but typically end up with most of the strengthening occurring in the thigh muscles. Then "when you throw them into an athletic environment the body will naturally use the strongest muscles to control movements, so now their quads and other muscles will want to do what the glutes should be doing." People who tend to easily develop massive quadriceps are usually not very impressive athletically:

A person with overly developed quadriceps and lack of hamstring and glute development will tend to be a heel to toe runner and have trouble gliding, planting, and getting off on the balls of their feet. ... Even if the posterior chain is developed, in someone that has massive quadricep development, they will still struggle with ideal movement patterns because their body will try to do things that favor the stronger muscle groups.

Extensor dominant movement for speed

In another article, "Squats and speed development?" Baggett suggests that blazing speed derives from "extensor dominant movement." He advises:

for speed development you get away from focusing on exercises where you "bend your knees" and focus on exercises where you extend your hips. So, get away from squatting and focus on extending, where the focus is high RPM strength, which I truly believe a person can never have enough of. That means everything on the backside of your body becomes more important.

Hip-joint-specific strength apparatus

MyoQuip's latest release, the MyoHip, provides a biomechanically efficient means of exercising and strengthening the hip extensors - glutes and hamstrings - without activating the knee extensors. In addition it is very effective in strengthening and enhancing the functionality of the hip flexors, which are the antagonists of the hip extensors.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

World champion rower uses the MyoThrusta and MyoTruk for strength training

Dual world champion sculler Bronwen Watson has been making extensive use of the MyoThrusta and MyoTruk machines installed at Sydney University's athletes' gymnasium. Watson who won gold in the Lightweight Women's Quad Scull at the 2007 World Rowing Championships at Munich, Germany repeated the achievement at the 2008 Championships at Linz Ottensheim, Austria.

She had 'retired' from rowing after winning bronze at the 2003 World Championships, then took it up again socially in England in 2005 before coming back to Australia to take up a Head Coaching position as a Sydney girls' school, but "I found sitting in the speed boat a really frustrating way to be on the water so started doing a bit of paddling. Before I knew it I was spending more time in lycra and training 6 days a week!"

Now aged 31, she intends to continue rowing for a few more years:
Rowing is a sport where you are continually trying to find the perfect stroke and the perfect mental approach - which all takes time and a lot of determination. I guess that's part of the reason some of the great rowing athletes have endured for so many years - it's a sport of patience and perseverance. So, even though I have been around for a while and developed a good base, I still think I have a lot to improve on!

Rowing training is particularly gruelling, with long sessions on the water supplemented by hour-long ergometer rows, heavy gym training and bike rides that extend for hours. Lower lumbar injuries are an extremely common problem for elite rowers, making it difficult to continue doing the traditional lower limb multi-joint extensor exercises such as the squat and deadlift. Having access to equipment that creates maximum tension in glutes and quads without appreciable spinal loading is a huge benefit.

During the second half of 2008 Bronwen had commenced a new career, working as Executive Assistant to Sydney Uni Sport & Fitness Executive Director, Rob Smithies, but the move was short-lived when she was given the opportunity to take up a full-time scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sport.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Announcing the MyoHip - the ultimate hip joint strength machine from MyoQuip

At last! A single simple-to-operate apparatus that effectively develops the all-important muscles of the body's great hinge mechanism - the hip joint - in both opening and closing; extending and flexing.

Despite its critical importance for human motion and posture, the hip joint has been basically neglected in terms of specific exercises and apparatus to improve its strength and functioning.

The primary hip extensor, the gluteus maximus, is the largest muscle in the human body. Very coarse in texture, it is heavily endowed with fast-twitch fibres. As a result it plays a central role in sports which involve sprinting and jumping. Conventional methods of strenthening and developing the glutes such as the barbell squat simultaneously activate the knee extensors or quadriceps. As a result optimal development of this vital muscle group is rarely achieved.

The MyoHip is unique as it is an accommodating or variable resistance machine which isolates the glutes and its synergistic muscles. Therefore the exerciser can focus on developing that muscle group. The possible range of movement for the exerciser on the MyoHip is 45° either side of the vertical, meaning that the included angle of the hip joint can extend from 45° to 135°, sufficient to ensure strong muscle activation.

The sequence below shows the apparatus being used in extension mode with the exerciser's back to the roller pads:

With modern sedentary lifestyles and the general aversion to walking anywhere, it is not surprising that many people have tight hip flexors which do not function effectively.

In order to use the MyoHip to develop and strengthen the hip flexors the exerciser simply changes their seating position to face the roller pads. The handgrips can be used if the pressure of the roller pads on the chest is uncomfortable. As in extension mode the exercise range can extend from 45° to 135° included angle of the hip joint.

In both extension and flexion modes the variable resistance mechanism compensates for gravitational attraction on the user's upper body. At the start of either movement the user has to overcome the effect of gravity on their trunk and head, while at the finish gravity makes it easier to push the roller pads. Therefore the machine's resistance is configured to become progressively greater throughout the exercise movement.

The sequence below shows the apparatus being used in flexion mode with the exerciser facing the roller pads:

Strengthening and developing the human body's great hinge, the hip joint

The MyoHip is an important addition to the exerciser's arsenal of strength-building equipment. For too long the muscles of the hip joint have been largely ignored. To some extent this could be because most exercises were originally developed and popularised by body builders whose desired body shape does not include large buttocks. They also have little interest in the hip flexor muscles since they are deep-seated and not visible.

However, for a large range of sports the hip extensors and flexors are vital. These include those sports where sprinting or jumping is involved and also rowing where the trunk swing is a major contributor to the power of the rowing stroke

Even more importantly a large proportion of the population experiences hip joint dysfunction. The MyoHip offers a very convenient and effective way to avoid these problems or to undertake rehabilitation.

Contact MyoQuip for further information or to obtain a quotation on the MyoHip. If you are located outside Australia we can quote in your own currency with alternative shipment options.


Friday, November 28, 2008

BBC (Broad Biomechanical Correspondence) Technology - the effect of varying pin settings on the operation of MyoQuip machines

MyoQuip's BBC Technology is designed as a compensation mechanism for biomechanical disadvantage. When a limb is fully flexed, i.e., the foot or hand is close to the trunk, the muscles of that limb are operating in a position of considerable biomechanical disadvantage, but as the limb extends away from the trunk it moves into a progressively more biomechanically efficient orientation.

An example of this changing biomechanical efficiency can be seen with the barbell squat. When the hip and knee joints are flexed as in the deep position of the squat, the lifter's capacity to cope with resistance is considerably reduced; but as they rise and the joints fully extend, the amount of resistance that can be coped with increases dramatically. This is why there is a very strong tendency for unsupervised and inexperienced lifters to perform only partial squats and why the squat does not effectively work the leg extensor muscles through their full range.

MyoQuip's machines such as the MyoThrusta and the MyoTruk use Broad Biomechanical Correspondence Technology to provide increasing resistance throughout the exercise movement. This enables the exerciser to operate comfortably and effectively in the region of biomechanical disadvantage. In addition the technology exposes them to substantial effective loading and high-range muscle fibre recruitment throughout the whole range of movement.
MyoQuip MyoThrusta uses broad biomechanical resistance technology

BBC technology is an easily adjustable form of accommodating resistance. The rate at which the effective resistance changes is varied by selecting different pin positions on the machine's adjustment bar.

Mid-range pin settings

These are designed to broadly compensate for the improvement in biomechanical advantage throughout the exercise movement. The increase in effective load from the start of the movement to full lockout is intended to match the body's capacity to handle resistance, so that the exerciser has to expend basically the same degree of effort throughout the movement; in other words to provide broad biomechanical correspondence between the exerciser's load-bearing capacity and the effective load. This can be contrasted with the barbell squat where considerable effort is required at the bottom of the movement and very little at the top end.

Thus with a mid-range pin setting on apparatus such as the MyoThrusta the leg extensor muscles experience substantial activation throughout the whole range of movement.

Low-range pin settings

Here the increase in effective load from start to finish of the exercise movement is greatly increased. These notch settings are ideal for practising explosive or ballistic movements. The exerciser chooses a weight load they can comfortably handle at the start of the movement and then attempts to perform the concentric part of the exercise as rapidly as possible. However, as they move toward full leg extension the effective load is rapidly increasing thus slowing their momentum. As a result there is a "ballistic braking" effect toward the end of the movement, eliminating the need to decelerate. Because of this the exerciser can utilise explosive strength over the full range of the movement.

This range of settings is particularly useful with the MyoThrusta where concentration on plyometric-type movements can be expected to produce significant improvements in vertical leap.

High-range pin settings

The increase in effective load from start to finish of the exercise movement is greatly reduced. High pin settings are ideal when the focus is on overcoming inertia, i.e., moving a heavy load from a position of rest. A typical real world application is in rugby when there is the need to "shunt" the opposing pack. A similar situation applies in the rugby lineout when a lifter with poor vertical jumping ability has to be rapidly hoisted.

High-range pin settings are also useful when the MyoTruk or MyoThrusta is being used to improve performance in the barbell squat, because the additional loading at the start of the movement conditions the leg extensors to operate more effectively in the region of greatest biomechanical disadvantage, e.g., in the deep squat position.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Benn Robinson popping Phil Vickery in the scrum

I know it's impolite to gloat and tempting the fates for an Australian to boast about Wallaby scrummaging but the Green and Gold Rugby blog site has the most extraordinary footage of the Wallabies tearing apart the English pack and in particular Benn Robinson turning Phil Vickery inside out. The sequence cycles endlessly in the post, Robinson smashes Vickery showing very clearly the delivery of force from the players behind the dominant prop.

It is the most wonderful feeling when you are the 'popper' and both humiliating and often frightening when you are the 'poppee'. I don't know whether that's a word but it is now.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

At last! A dominant Wallaby scrum

Aussie aficionados of trench-warfare rugby will enjoy the video, "Wallabies scrums from Twickenham video highlights" posted on Green and Gold Rugby - THE Aussie Rugby Blog.

It's been a long time between drinks for the Aussie engine room, and great to see them vindicated after the bagging they copped pre-game from the English press and frontrowers. Considering the improved scrummaging on this tour, perhaps the fact that the Wallabies and all four Australian Super 14 franchises use the ScrumTruk is beginning to pay dividends.

Still one egg doesn't make an omelette, and the Green and Golds have to show they can do it again against the French this weekend. I am not sure that the English front row, Andy Sheridan in particular, are going to be in too good a shape to back up again against the Springboks.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Fast-tracking the development of young rugby players in the four "esses" - size, strength, speed and skill

Sydney University centre Mitch Inman breaking a tackle

A two-year program of accelerating the physical and skill development of young players at Sydney University has returned big dividends.

Within days of losing the 2006 First Colts Grand Final due to being out-muscled at the breakdown, University coach Nick Ryan met with his team and together they made a pact to never again be pushed off the ball. The players allowed themselves a mere three weeks break before getting back into training for the 2007 season at a level of intensity not seen before in Sydney club rugby. The off-season training regimen consisted of 4 weights sessions and 3 field sessions per week, switching to 3 weights and 2 to 3 field sessions during the playing season plus regular individual video analysis and field sessions with the coach.

The central ingredient of the training has been the strength and conditioning components devised by Martin Harland and administered by him and his assistant, Tim Leahy. "I guess we have two training tenets" Harland explains, "that is to always train hard and to train hard in the right areas. Thus developing the culture of no short cuts and to attend to the things in a prioritized plan from what we lack the most or what will help us the most on the park." Harland's programs for rugby players place a high degree of emphasis on basic strength development, increased bodyweight and speed. At the same time, given the year-round training commitment, great care is taken to guard against player burnout.
"We are consistently monitoring signs of overtraining," says Leahy. "Our in-season training structure does differ from our pre-season regime. The two key factors that help us guard against overtraining and player burnout is to firstly ensure our players are educated and understand the importance of post-game recovery strategies. "Secondly a close working relationship with coaching staff to ensure on field and gym volumes are of an optimal load. All variables as well as player’s subjective observation of energy, fatigue levels and contra indicators to injury are taken into account when prescribing volumes."

With a strong strength and fitness foundation laid, Nick Ryan and his team coaches are free to focus on technical proficiency and team cohesion. "The aim of our training sessions," says Ryan, "is to up-skill and empower the players, so that when they take the field not only can they read the game and make the right decisions, but then execute and finish off the activity with the help of team mates who are on a similar skill level and wave length." The payoff in terms of enhanced performance from the integration of strength and rugby coaching has been dramatic.

In the 2007 season University First Colts lost just one game out of 25 in winning both Minor and Major Premierships. Seconds and Under-19 Colts also won both Minor and Major awards. The dramatic improvement in the physical development of players can be seen from the Table below. As compared with the 2006 First Colts team, the 2007 forward pack's average bodyweight increased 5kg to 104.3kg; the backs 5.8kg to 86.2kg; and the team as a whole 5.3kg to 95.8kg.

Average bodyweights of Sydney University 2006, 2007 and 2008 Colts teams; average bodyweight of 2008 Wallabies squad

The second year of intensive training produced even more impressive results. In the 2008 season all three Colts grades won both Minor and Major Premierships, with First Colts remaining undefeated throughout their 24-game season. Despite the age limit for Colts having dropped from Under-21 to Under-20, players' bodyweights again increased by 0.2kg for the forwards; 2.8kg for the backs; and 1.5kg overall.

"physical domination ... has enabled us to build a very strong defensive wall and to implement a highly structured game plan which we can maintain for the full 80 minutes."

To put the 2008 figures in perspective the Table also shows the bodyweights of the best professional rugby players in Australia, the current Wallabies squad. They outweigh this club-level Under-20 team by just 6kg per man in the forwards and 4.4kg in the backs. And this team of university students is currently on an unbroken 34-game winning streak! It is almost time for the administrators of Australian rugby to recognise and to take seriously the great experiment that is going on in their own backyard.Sydney University forward Ben McCalman finishing a tackle

Colts coach Nick Ryan has the extraordinary record of taking his team to the Grand Final in each of the 7 years he has coached; with his only loss the 4 point defeat in 2006. He says, " A very important outcome from the intensive training regime of the past 2 years has been our ability to achieve physical domination in matches. This has enabled us to build a very strong defensive wall and to implement a highly structured game plan which we can maintain for the full 80 minutes." As with the weight training, Ryan ensures that the field sessions are short and frequently varied, with the emphasis on having his team peak on Grand Final day in September. He certainly achieved this in 2008 with the winning scoreline 39-5.

In the regular season in 2008 Ryan's team averaged a 40-point winning margin and conceded only 8 points per game. Seconds and Thirds Colts also conceded just 8 and 5 points respectively per game.

A distinctive feature of the Sydney University rugby program has been its reliance on the MyoQuip range of strength building equipment. For the past four years the University gymnasium has been the primary development site for these machines. Not surprisingly MyoQuip's ScrumTruk and Hipnee Thrust* have been extensively used for lower body strength development. Martin Harland says, "These two lower limb extensor machines have been integral to training a wide cross-section of athletes in different sports at the University. In rugby they enable us to reduce the deleterious effects of heavy lower leg extensor exercises and on-field running loads. Traditional heavy squats & deadlifts are great for strength and size but are only moderately compatible with higher running loads for field or court sports. and incompatible with a sizeable subset of your player population for various reasons. To be able to de-load players spines while building hip & knee extensor strength through range of motion means more athletes able to train intensely in the gym and front up for intense speed & fitness work in the same week.” "

The combination of an intensive, well-structured and coordinated training regimen and the use of strength apparatus with high specificity for rugby can be seen to have produced accelerated physical development which has enabled players to perform at a consistently high standard.

*In recent months the University gymnasium has replaced its ScrumTruk and HipneeThrust machines with the more advanced and compact MyoTruk and MyoThrusta models.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

The MyoTruk replaces the ScrumTruk in the MyoQuip range

MyoQuip is proud to announce the release of the MyoTruk, the second release in our Myo range of strength equipment embodying direct-linkage force transmission through heavy-duty industrial bearings.

The MyoTruk replaces the ScrumTruk, the first and only rugby-specific strength machine. The ScrumTruk has proven effective in safely enhancing the strength, power and body mass of rugby players, both backs and forwards, as well as athletes in other sports. Unlike most variable resistance machines the ScrumTruk was designed for complex, multi-joint and large muscle mass movement.

In rugby the ScrumTruk has been adopted by the Wallabies; Emirates Western Force; HSBC Waratahs; Queensland Reds; Auckland Blues; Northampton Saints; Sharks; Golden Lions and other leading clubs and schools.

Already its successor, the MyoTruk, has been adopted by the CA Brumbies; the New South Wales Institute of Sport (NSWIS); and Sydney Uni Sport & Fitness

Find out more about the MyoTruk

Monday, October 06, 2008

Comparative Bodyweight of Australian Professional Rugby Union and Rugby League Players

Over the past few decades Australian Rugby Union and Rugby League players have been getting progressively heavier. Contributing factors have included an increased emphasis on heavy weight training, the use of dietary supplements and the high proportion of Pacific Islanders in teams of both codes. Nevertheless there remains a clear tendency for professional Union players to be heavier than League players as the following table illustrates:

Comparative Bodyweight of Australian Professional Rugby Union and Rugby League Forwards and Backs

Squad/Team (2008)

Av Weight (kg) - Forwards

Av Weight (kg) - Backs


Rugby Union

Australian Wallabies - Squad




NSW Waratahs - Squad




ACT Brumbies - Squad




Rugby League

Manly Sea Eagles – Grand Final Team




Melbourne Storm – Grand Final Team




Like Soccer and Australian Football, Rugby League is a continuous-flow type game, whereas Rugby Union is characterised by frequent stoppages with a significant time lapse before play restarts. Thus Union players require a lower level of aerobic fitness. Not surprisingly then, Union players whether backs or forwards tend to be heavier than their League counterparts.

The table indicates that the difference between the body weights of professional Union and League backs is not particularly great, whereas it is much more substantial in the case of forwards. One reason for this is the need for tall, heavy lineout forwards in Union, who are often around 200cm in height with corresponding body mass. With their high centre of gravity, such players are generally unsuited for Rugby League.

But the main reason for the weight disparity relates to the fundamentally different dynamics of the modern forms of each code. As I pointed out in a 2006 article, "Rugby - the most strength-oriented code of football":

"Rugby players spend considerably more playing time in physical contact and contest with opponents than players in other forms of football.

"Much of this contact involves extended grappling and wrestling, but what is also characteristic of rugby is the amount of time spent attempting to drive forward under loads considerably heavier than bodyweight. Obviously this is so in the scrum and maul, but also at the tackle. Both ball-carrier and tackler may strive to drive one another backward for an extended time after engagement. American football and rugby league are also primarily collision sports, but their tackles tend to terminate much more quickly."

There is an obvious advantage in having greater body mass where the sport requires extended physical engagement, although this may have a cost in terms of reduced mobility. Thus it can be confidently anticipated that Union forwards will always tend to be heavier than League forwards.

Those who advocate or foresee a merging of the two codes of Rugby fail to comprehend the fundamentally different physical demands placed on forwards in Union and League.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Champion Australian rugby club powered by MyoQuip strength equipment

Australia's premier rugby club, Sydney University, has completed another outstanding season in 2008. A significant factor in its success in recent years has been its use of the MyoQuip ScrumTruk and HipneeThrust to build the size and strength of its players.

Some of the Club's achievements:
  • Has won the Sydney First Grade Premiership for the past four years
  • Has defeated the Brisbane Club Premiers in both 2007 and 2008 to claim the title of Australian Club Champions
  • Has won the last five Sydney Club Championships as well as the last four Colts Club Championships
  • Has won Premierships in all three Colts Grades in both 2007 and 2008
  • Was undefeated in 24 matches in First Grade Colts in 2008

In June 2006 I wrote an article titled "Building bigger and stronger rugby players - the Sydney University experiment" drawing attention to the increasing emphasis on size and strength in modern rugby:

"Modern defensive alignments and strategies have transformed rugby matches into contests of attrition where bigger and stronger teams tend to wear down their smaller and physically weaker opponents over the course of a game. Perhaps the most notable change has been the increased importance of physical dominance in the backline.

"Responding to this, Sydney University's rugby club has been able to demonstrate that with the right combination of coach and infrastructure, it is possible to fast track the physical development of players outside a professional playing environment. In fact within a couple of seasons these players are able to achieve a body mass comparable to that of seasoned professionals together with a solid foundation of basic strength."

Current-year data confirms that this is still the case. Based on the player data listed on their websites the average body weights of the current squads for the Wallabies, Waratahs and Brumbies are 103.0, 103.3 and 102.0kg respectively. The average body weight for Sydney University's starting fifteen in this month's First Grade Grand Final was 101.5kg. It is true that this team included three Wallabies in Phil Waugh, Al Campbell and Dean Mumm, but even with these players excluded the team's average body weight was still 100.1kg. It can be seen that the young, part-time, unpaid Sydney University players weigh only a couple of kilograms less than seasoned professionals.

For the past five years the University Club has been operating an Elite Development Squad (EDS) program for its top Grade and Colts players. Utilising one of the best equipped gymnasiums in Australian rugby, players train for eleven months of the year and undertake four weights sessions per week off-season and two to three while playing.

The program's strength and conditioning components have been devised by Martin Harland and administered by him and his assistant, Tim Leahy. Harland's programs for rugby players place a high degree of emphasis on basic strength development and rugby-specific fitness. A distinguishing feature of his approach is a concentration on heavy lower body work. In the past couple of years he has decreased the amount of squatting and deadlifting and and made more intensive use of the MyoQuip ScrumTruk and HipneeThrust, apparatus that targets the large mass leg extensor muscles, specifically the gluteal and quadriceps groups.

Exposing backline players to basic strength training

Another distinctive feature of Martin Harland's rugby training regimen is his requirement that backs undertake the same rigorous basic strength routines as forwards. Many strength and conditioning coaches reserve the heavy "grunt" work for forwards, or even restrict it to the tight five.

Exposing backs to very serious weight training has produced quite significant results at Sydney University, as evidenced by the following table comparing body weights of forwards and backs for the Wallabies, two of the four Australian Super 14 franchises and Sydney University:

Comparative Bodyweight of Forwards and Backs

Squad/Team (2008)

Av Weight (kg) - Forwards

Av Weight (k) - Backs



Wallabies - Squad




NSW Waratahs - Squad




ACT Brumbies - Squad




Sydney University – Grand Final Team




Not surprisingly, the University's young forwards are outweighed by each of the professional squads. However, in the backs the situation is reversed with the University players outweighing the national and provincial squads.If we look at the column showing the difference in bodyweight between backs and forwards it can be seen that for Sydney University it averages 12.4kg, against 17.1 to 17.7kg for the professional squads, a very substantial difference.

The Sydney University experiment seems to be providing clear evidence that the bodyweight of rugby backs can be dramatically increased through serious weight training, and the results achieved by the Club in competition suggest that there has been no adverse impact on their playing performance.

The main justification for building heavier backs with superior leg drive lies in the already mentioned importance of physical dominance in the backline. With the modern emphasis on structure and coordination in defensive alignments, bigger and stronger backs are better able to continually repel opposition attacks and also over the course of a game are likely to create physical and mental fatigue in their counterparts.

Martin Harland has also regularly used both the ScrumTruk and the HipneeThrust in conditioning the University's rowers and female basketballers. The Rowing Club is currently ranked No. 1 in Australia, while the Sydney University Flames have appeared in the two most recent Grand Finals of the Australian Women's National Basketball League. The MyoQuip apparatus would appear to have strong applicability to not only these sports but also to other football codes such as American football, Australian football and rugby league.

(In recent months the Sydney University Gymnasium has replaced its ScrumTruk and HipneeThrust machines with the more advanced and compact MyoTruk and MyoThrusta models.)


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

MyoQuip releases the MyoThrusta leg extensor strength builder

MyoQuip has released the first of its Myo range of strength equipment. The Myo technology embodies direct-linkage force transmission through heavy-duty industrial bearings rather than the cables and pulleys used in our previous models.

The MyoThrusta replaces the HipneeThrust but takes up 40% less floor space and eliminates problems of cable slack and increasing friction with extended operation.

Unique features and performance characteristics of the MyoThrusta:

· Fully recumbent exercise position.

· Comfortable and natural body position throughout the full range of movement ensuring no adverse loading on spine, hips or knees.

· Exercise movement range from extreme flexion of hip and knee joints to full extension.

· Uses MyoQuip’s patented technology providing effective activation of hip and knee extensors over the full range of movement

· Synchronised joint angles distribute load evenly between hip and knee extensors.

· Pin adjustment of the rate of change of load providing multi-functionality of the apparatus.

· Intuitive operation - no requirement for instruction in correct technique.

· No danger of exerciser being trapped under excessive load.

· No stress on ankle joint - no imposed dorsiflexion of the ankle.

· Ideal for rehabilitation of hip or knee joints.

High functionality for developing and strengthening leg extensors

The leg extensors - primarily the gluteus maximus and quadriceps - constitute the body's largest and most powerful muscle group. They are also vitally important for a wide range of athletic and sporting activities.Traditional methods of developing and strengthening leg extensors include the barbell squat and the leg press and leg extension machines. However each of these has significant limitations. They do not adequately exercise the muscles from full flexion to full extension, and there are also issues associated with adverse loading and excessive shear forces on the lumbar region and knee joints.The MyoThrusta has been designed to overcome these problems.

As can be seen in the figure above the athlete operates from a supine position so that the action of the extensors can be effectively isolated. The recumbent position also means that the spine can comfortably cope with the compressive forces generated.The arc through which the foot plate of the machine moves is designed to closely parallel the path that the feet would normally traverse if moved from flexion to extension without resistance. It also creates a natural tendency for the two joint angles to vary synchronously so that they are effectively sharing the load throughout the exercise movement.

Exercises the total range of limb movement

It can be seen that at the start position both hip and knee joints can be tightly flexed. As the feet move forward the trunk and shanks remain virtually parallel until the legs are fully extended. Thus the potential range of movement is from included angles of around 30° to 180°. (In fact, by starting with the feet placed low on the footplate it is possible to hyper-extend the hips beyond 180°.) Throughout this extreme range of movement high range muscle fibre recruitment is achieved by means of our patented technology.

With an exercise like the squat or a machine such as the conventional leg press, exercisers attempting heavy loads tend to restrict themselves to modest degrees of hip and knee flexion. This is because as joint flexion increases, the exerciser's capacity to cope with resistance decreases. By contrast, with the MyoThrusta the effective load is automatically reduced when the joints are flexed and increased as they extend.


The rate at which the effective resistance changes is varied by selecting different pin positions on the adjustment bar.

With mid-range pin settings the effective load from the start of the movement to full lockout is intended to match the body's capacity to handle resistance, so that the exerciser has to expend basically the same degree of effort throughout the movement.

With low-range pin settings the increase in effective load from start to finish of the exercise movement is greatly increased. These notch settings are ideal for practising explosive or ballistic movements. When utilising heavy loads there is a "ballistic braking" effect toward the end of the movement, eliminating the need to decelerate.

High-range pin settings are ideal when the focus is on overcoming inertia, i.e., moving a heavy load from a position of rest. For example, if the objective is to improve performance in the barbell squat, the additional initial loading conditions the leg extensors to operate more effectively in the deep squat position.

Laying a foundation of basic strength

Until the introduction of the HipneeThrust athletes had no means of developing optimal muscle strength through the full range of a complex bi-articular movement. The MyoThrusta provides an even more effective way to adequately strengthen the major extensor muscles of the lower limbs before focussing on sport- and activity-specific tasks. This results in obvious and significant performance and injury-reducing benefits.

Contact MyoQuip for further information or for a quotation on the MyoThrusta.