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Wellness with weights

By Pam Auchmutey

weightsImagine doubling your weightlifting ability without using your hands.

A study led by David Burke, chair of Emory’s Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, found that people ages 17 to 74 could greatly increase their strength and possibly receive significant health benefits by doing a form of Russian weightlifting once a week. The technique involves lifting free weights using a special harness without holding the weights. It was developed in Russia by a physiologist and introduced in this country in the late 1990s by Vladimir Chubinsky, a former wrestler from the Ukraine who operates the Atlanta Gravitational Wellness gym. There, participants in Burke’s study completed a weekly 30-minute weightlifting session.

Over 10 weeks, men using the belt lift, which builds core strength in the lower back and pelvis, averaged an increase in weightlifting ability from 654 pounds to 1,336 pounds. Women doubled their ability from 462 pounds to 949 pounds. “We found that subjects could lift remarkably heavy loads with significant strength gains per week, regardless of age or gender,” says Burke. “We also found that these short workouts, even with unthinkable weight amounts, led to very few injuries in the participants.”

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