Leveraging workouts for more safely and productivity

Demanding exercise is what stimulates positive change. Well designed exercise equipment will often use changes in leverage to make exercise more demanding and, interestly at the same time, safer.  

Wedge a crowbar under a heavy object and apply pressure at the very end of the crow bar. Your leverage decreases and difficulty level rises as you place your hands closer and apply pressure to the heavy object. MedX exercise equipment (the kind we use at our Austin Fitness Training facility) utilizes the same principle; while the weight stays the same throughout the range of motion, the leverage and difficulty level change.

Throughout a muscle's range of motion there will be points where the muscle is weaker and other parts of the range where the muscle is stronger. A muscle is more effectively fatigued when it works against a resistance it can barely handle at every part of its range of motion.  MedX equipment is engineered so that the resistance increases when you are in the strongest part of your range of motion and decreases when you are in the weakest part (the sticking point).  As a result you can eliminate thedangerous acceleration needed to get past that sticking point and complete the movement. It's a safer way to exercise.

The elimination of explosive accelerating movements obviates the need for warm-up sets. Demanding work produces change not warm-up sets. With MedX equipment you can confine your workout to safe, efficient, productive, demanding work. If you exercise in such a manner with minimal time between exercises you will find that in 20 to 30 minutes your muscles will be totally exhausted and your heart will be pounding. It produces an endorphin-inducing natural high. You’ll feel better, and with rest and recovery, you will come back stronger with more endurance.

My pain is gone

Imagine living with pain every day.  You are getting older and your life has become compromised. The prospect that the pain will always be there presents a bleak picture.  It does not have to be that way.  

At both our locations, Austin Personal Trainers and at New Orleans Personal Trainers, our trainers use MedX rehabilitative exercise equipment.  It is used by elite athletes as well as those recovering from injuries.  

Gretchen, one of our trainers, trains Larry. Larry is recovering from injuries sustained as a result of a motorcycle accident.  Prior to beginning exercise he lived in pain every day.

A quote from Larry:  

“Prior to starting at Kelly Personal Training  I was taking at between 4 and 8 ibuprofens a day just so my knees, back, and shoulder weren’t hurting. I was icing my back a couple times a week. Now I don't need anything for pain because the pain is gone. My work requires me to walk around in attics. I can tell my balance has improved as well. The slight discomfort during the workout is well worth the benefits. I have lost 32 pounds too.”

Our equipment is better tolerated by those who have physical limitations, and workout itself will alleviate pain.  Many live in a state of chronic pain.Years ago I was one of them for almost three years. With the right exercise that can change dramatically. 

Heavy Weights with Minimal Force Can Be Safer than Light Resistance with a Lot of Force

Care should be taken to minimize the likelyhood of injury when exercising. At New Orleans Personal Trainers and Austin Personal Trainers we use smooth controlled movement that minimize the ballistic forces that can cause injuries.  We also will use MedX medical rehab equipment that can be used by both athletes and those recovering from injury.

Chronic pain: Exercise can bring relief

Exercise can be a great way to ease chronic pain. There are risks associated with inactivity and benefits associated with movement.

When you're in pain, exercise is probably the last thing on your mind, but regular exercise can be a versatile weapon in the fight against chronic pain.

When you're inactive, your muscles — including your heart — lose strength and work less efficiently. Your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes increases. Inactivity can increase fatigue, stress and anxiety as well.

"Years ago, people who were in pain were told to rest," says Edward Laskowski, M.D., a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist and co-director of the Sports Medicine Center at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. "But now we know the exact opposite is true. When you rest, you become deconditioned — which may actually contribute to chronic pain."

As tough as it may be to start an exercise program, your body will thank you. Exercise can:

  • Prompt your body to release endorphins. These chemicals block pain signals from reaching your brain. Endorphins also help alleviate anxiety and depression — conditions that can make chronic pain more difficult to control."Endorphins are the body's natural pain relievers," Dr. Laskowski says. "Endorphins have the potential to provide the pain-relieving power of strong pain medications, such as morphine."
  • Help you build strength. The stronger your muscles, the more force and load you'll take off your bones and cartilage — and the more relief you'll feel.
  • Increase your flexibility. Joints that can move through their full range of motion are less likely to be plagued with aches and pains.
  • Improve your sleep quality. Regular exercise can lower your stress hormones, resulting in better sleep.
  • Boost your energy level. Think huffing and puffing through a workout will leave you wiped out? Not likely. Regular exercise can actually give you more energy to cope with chronic pain.
  • Help you maintain a healthy weight. Exercise burns calories, which can help you drop excess pounds. This will reduce stress on your joints — another way to improve chronic pain.
  • Enhance your mood. Exercise improves blood and oxygen flow to your muscles and contributes to an overall sense of well-being. Looking and feeling better can improve your confidence and self-image as well.
  • Protect your heart and blood vessels. Exercise decreases the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack and stroke.


For those with chronic pain consult your doctor to be cleared to exercise. It's natural to be worried about hurting yourself or making your pain worse, but with your doctor's reassurance and guidance, you can safely exercise with the knowledge that your pain isn't serving a useful protective purpose. Regular exercise actually eases chronic pain for many people.

Even if you recognize the benefits of exercise, staying motivated can be a challenge. "Remember to start slowly," Dr. Laskowski says. "Don't rush into a strenuous workout regimen before your body is ready. Consistency is more important than intensity — especially if you have severe pain." It's also helpful to build your exercise program around activities you enjoy. As your energy increases and your mood improves you may actually look forward to exercising.

Also it helps to have the very best equipment. At Austin Fitness Training and New Orleans Fitness Training we use MedX medical rehab equipment that is better tolerated by those with painful joint problems.

Exercising the cardiovascular system with minimal stress on the joints

According to Runner's World 80 percent of all runners will experience an injury in a given year.  That is counterproductive to what you set out to accomplish.  I was slow to learn this.  Years of running has taken its toll on my joints.  Fortunately I have found a piece of aerobic equipment that enables me to effectively work my cardiovascular system with minimal stress on my joints.  We have this piece of equipment at our New Orleans Personal Trainers and our Austin Personal Training locations.

Isolating and exercising the lumbar muscles can make the pain go away

I first used the MedX lumbar exercise machine in a doctor’s office.  At the time I had been suffering for two years with constant back pain. I thought that I was destined to live that way the rest of my life.  Amazingly my pain went away.  Many of our clients have had similar results. Their stories and further explanation here and here.   

When attempting to exercise the lower back typically the more powerful muscles of the hips do much of the work while the lumbar muscles move through a limited range of motion and contribute little to the movement. The MedX Lumbar Machine safely addresses that problem by isolating and effectively working the lumbar muscles.  The video explain how that works.

At Austin Fitness Trainers and New Orleans Personal Trainers we have the MedX lumbar machine plus full lines of MedX strength training equipment. 

Avoiding hyper-extending the knees on the leg press

Most leg press machines provide movement in a straight line. With straight line movement there is more shearing force at the end point of the movement, and if one locks out at the end point there is greater potential for hyper-extending the knee. As an example see here (warning graphic).  At Austin Fitness Trainers and at New Orleans Fitness Trainers  we use MedX equipment. The MedX leg press provides an arcing range of motion similar to the rotation of the knee, and it can be set so that there is no locking out at the end point.

Strengthening lower back muscles

MedX put 90 million dollars into research to develop safe effective exercise equipment for the lower back. This equipment is often used for rehab. I first used this equipment in a doctor's office. Their Core exercise equipment was developed to strengthen the muscles of the abs and lower back.  At Austin Fitness Trainers and New Orleans Personal Trainers we have all the MedX Core equipment plus full lines of MedX strength training equipment.  The equipment and the protocol we use has contributed to our success working with those who have back problems.

Golfing without the aggravating back pain

MedX® manufacturer of rehabilitative exercise equipment commissioned research to see if their core exercise equipment would be helpful to golfers. The results: The golfers had more range of motion, greater club head speed, and hit the ball farther.  Butch Harmon, Tiger Woods’ swing coach, used MedX equipment at his Las Vegas golf school. MedX once provided a bus that was equipped with their patented core exercise equipment.  It followed the golfers from tournament to tournament on the Senior PGA tour.

You don’t have to be a professional to benefit from the program.  Marcus, 72 years old, went from be limited to playing nine holes every other day to being able to play 18 holes in back-to-back outings.

More recently a new client, Mike, had back problems when he went golfing, so much so that he took Ibuprofen before teeing off and took some more on the back nine. He goes golfing about for five times a year. He would go more, but it aggravates his back.  The next few days after golfing, he often finds himself stiff and sore.

Mike completed his 18th exercise session the other day. The nine hours of exercise total.  He went out golfing this past weekend and played all 18 holes with no pain, none at all. The MedX core exercise equipment will strengthen the back and facilitate increased range of motion.  More motion and more strength mean better circulation and better lubrication of the discs resulting in a healthier back.  At Austin Fitness Trainers and New Orleans Personal Training we have full lines of MedX equipment.  We have helped golfers up their game, and we have had success working with those who have back problems.

Alleviating back and neck pain

Mark was plagued by neck and back problems. He had very little range of motion, little strength, and a lot of pain. He ended up having neck surgery, went through physical therapy, and after he was finished he began training at our facility on our MedX rehabilitative exercise equipment.

One of the features of the MedX equipment is that the resistance is provided in an arc. Bow your head and then lift up and look at the ceiling. Your neck follows an arc. The same if you bend over or if you flex the lumbar region. Your body follows an arc.

All barbells and many types of equipment provide linear (straight line) resistance. The MedX low back machine provides resistance in an arc congruent with the arc created by the motion of your back. This makes for a much safer exercise. You don’t have weight bearing down on your back from above, so there is no vertebral compression.

We follow is that we restrict the range of motion to a pain-free range of motion. With our equipment we are able to restrict the resistance to just a few degrees of motion if need be. Overtime that range will likely increase. It is a wonderful feeling when over time that range increases without pain. For safely we are able to make very small increases of weight as strength improves; over time you will dramatically increase your strength. More motion and more strength mean better circulation and better lubrication of the discs resulting in a healthier back.

I had once lived in constant back pain for two years. I first started the MedX equipment in a doctor’s office 25 years ago. That pain is gone now. Others report similar results.  Now Mark reports greater range of motion and more strength which have enabled him to purchase a treadmill and walk at an incline daily. He has a better quality of life, and his wife, also a client, is very happy to see her husband return to "himself". At our Austin Fitness Trainers facility we have had success working with those who have back problems. Come see us.

Exercise for those with shoulder injuries

This man (pictured here at this link toward the bottom) used to spend 12 hours a week in the gym.  By age 24 he'd already had two rotator cuff operations.   Because of his rotator cuff injuries he couldn't lift a 100 pound barbell over his head without aggravating his shoulders. He began training with us on our MedX rehabilitative exercise equipment.  With the MedX overhead press he did not aggravate his rotator cuff and his strength improved; he eventually was able to lift 316 pounds smoothly and safely using the MedX overhead press.  He reported that he was stronger than he'd ever been.

At New Orleans Personal Trainers and Austin Personal Trainers we use smooth controlled movement that minimize the ballistic forces that can cause injuries.  We also will use medical rehab equipment that can be used by those in a delicate condition and also by those in great shape.   The weights can be varied as little as two pound increments, and the weight stacks go up to 1000 pounds.   The range of motion can be adjusted to as little as just a few degrees depending on the limitations of the client.   Regardless of your physical state we can help you safely find out just how much exercise you need to produce positive change.

More article about the shoulder here

A Strength Training Program For Cancer Survivors

Several years ago I was discussing with a cancer survivor the possibility of her starting an exercise program.  I told her it might be difficult.  She replied, “John, I survived cancer; I can do your workout.”  Boy was she right.  She responded very well to exercise.  All the cancer patients we worked with have responded positively to exercise - everyone, but some cancer survivors were often discouraged from exercising.   A quote from this New York Times article,Balancing Painful Swelling With a Desire to Exercise:

 “FOR almost 20 years, the prevailing wisdom among most doctors has been that breast cancer survivors at risk of contracting lymphedema — a debilitating, irreversible swelling of one or both arms — should avoid most upper-body exercise or lifting anything heavier than five pounds. For many women, the stern warnings meant they could not shop for groceries or even carry their children. Running and walking were safe, but anything that taxed the arms was considered dangerous. ”

And this:

“But a study at the University of Minnesota that was released this week contradicts decades of restrictions. It found that slow, progressive weight training did not increase the onset of lymphedema in breast cancer survivors who had had lymph nodes removed, nor did it worsen the symptoms of longtime sufferers.

‘While current clinical guidelines say that this type of exercise may be harmful, our research indicates that it is indeed safe,’ ”

Slow, progressive weight training is the preferred protocol at Austin Personal Training and New Orleans Fitness trainers.  By minimized the acceleration with slow smooth movements we minimize the forces that cause injury. The muscles are safely fatigued.  This fatigue is what signals the body to become stronger.

The protocol is performed on MedX medical rehab equipment.  The protocol and the equipment have allowed us the effectively work with many people with a wide range of conditions. We can help you set up a program that will produce positive change regardless of your condition.

MedX low back exercise

Arthur Jones the founder of MedX and Nautilus is said to have spent 100 million dollars on the development of the MedX low back machine. Arthur said that if everything in his life up to that point were evil this exercise machine more than made up for it. As one who has suffered serious back injuries I can attest to the positive resultsStudies report amazing results, and our clients have benefited

Some of the advantages the MedX low back machine:

· The range of motion can be precisely confined to a pain-free range of motion.

· The resistance is variable – it becomes lighter in the part of the range of motion where you are weakest. This makes for a much safer exercise.

· The exercise can be performed through a full range of motion that supplies resistance even at the full contraction.

· Resistance is always at a 90 degree angle to the back regardless of where you are in the range of motion. There are no compression forces on the vertebrae. When you are in the finished position of a dead lift there are compression forces.

· The knees and hips constrained so that the lumbar is isolated and must do the work.

As we age we become less flexible. The lumbar becomes increasingly inflexible leaving muscles supporting the hips and knee to do much of the work. This machine done properly will give you more flexibility and strength plus an added measure of protection from back injuries. You’ll less likely have chronic back pain with strong flexible back muscles. 

You are not likely to find this equipment in most health clubs. We have extensive lines of MedX equipment at both of our locations: New Orleans Fitness Trainers and Austin Personal Training.

After Ten Exercise Sessions Dramatic Increases in Back Strength

We lose flexibility in our backs as we age. To avoid injury to our backs we become increasingly less inclined to go to the fully contracted or stretched position position. It's a classic case of if-you-don’t-use-it you-lose-it; we lose considerable strength in the fully flexed and extended positions.

From this study Effect of resistance training on lumbar extension strengthcome some significant results. Subjects exercised using the MedX lumbar exercise machine. Once a week for ten weeks subjects performed one back exercise of six to 15 repetitions. Subjects in the study made the following improvement:

* At fully flexed position (72 degrees) strength increases ranged from 427% to 607%

* At the fully extension position (0 degrees) strength increases ranged from 180% to 364%

The largest increases in back strength were at the fully and flexed extended positions. There were two components to the improvement:

* The newly acquired strength in excess of what had been their previous peak strength,

* The recovered lost strength.

At the mid-range there was less loss of strength, so the improvement was not as pronounced.

Subjects experienced a serious increase in back strength after just ten exercise sessions. Half of Americans will suffer back pain in the course of a year. Most wait until they experience back pain to do anything about it. A proactive program of regular back exercise can help prevent back injury. A stronger more limber back is less likely to get injured. It does not require hours in the gym. As one who has broken bones in my back on two separate occasions, I can attest to the results that come from minimal back exercise using the right equipment and the right protocol.

At Austin Fitness Trainers and New Orleans Personal Training we have hadsuccess working with those who have back problems. For that purpose we use MedX strength and rehabilitative exercise equipment.

Pictured above is a lady who had three herniated discs as a result of a car wreck. Two doctors told her she required an operation. She opted for exercise instead; her back problems disappeared.

MedX exercise equipment

Twenty years ago John Kelly, the owner of Austin Personal Training and New Orleans Fitness Trainers, had been living with chronic back pain for three years. Sitting was painful; he avoided long trips and going to the movies. Even at night school which would often last more than two hours he would stand the entire time. He did everything he could short of the recommended surgery to alleviate it; he walked, swam, stretched, and bought a new bed. About this time he began using the MedX Lumbar machine in a doctor's office twice a week and then once a week. Over several weeks his back finally became pain free. Studies show others have had similar results. For the last twenty years he has remained pain free except in rare times when he has strayed from a regime of regular exercise for his back. Others have had such profound improvement in the health of their lower back they have bought this $7000 piece of equipment for their home.

There a number of devices for of exposing your muscles to the demanding work that stimulate the muscles to become stronger: heavy rocks, bar bells, a variety of brands of strength training machines, elastic bands, and there is MedX rehabilitative exercise equipment. Researchers at MedX spent 100 million dollars developing the first piece of MedX exercise equipment, the lumbar machine. Their exercise equipment has numerous patents that other exercise machine manufactures have tried to copy. The difference is MedX does not cut the corners that cheaper imitations often do. The result is equipment that is unmatched in it smoothness and safety. This allows us to eliminate jerking movements that cause injury, and smooth movement means minimal momentum. Minimizing momentum increases the intensity which produces the results you are looking for. This makes MedX uniquely suited for high intensity training (H.I.T.).

With most other equipment is it just not possible to move as smoothly because of all the friction. The result is a workout that is not as safe or as productive. The higher intensity allows us to get the job done more effectively and efficiently. There is no need to spend time dissipating energy on warm up sets. The equipment allows to safely and controlled momentum that increases intensity that produces the results.

For many the biggest benefit of strength training is to lessen the likelihood of injury and the pain that comes with it. The trouble is exercise for some can cause injury, or exacerbate an already aggravating condition. That can be caused by too much exercise, repetitive use injuries. These can take years to become evident. One of trainers, Kyle Kloor, has had two rotator cuff operations as a result of years of doing too many shoulder exercises. He cannot even do a conventional overhead press, but he is able to work out with over 300 pounds using the MedX overhead press because of its unique design. His shoulders are stronger than ever.

Injury can also be caused by doing the wrong type of exercises. Exercise done with great force, strain not only the muscles, but the joints and the connective tissue. In one single instant of great force one can sustain an injury that will heal. Those injuries often come back to haunt you. The injured joint is never quite the same as it was before the injury.

Because of the unique design of the MedX machines you are able to go through a much greater range of motion safely without the risk of injury. A muscle group can be worked effectively through a greater range of motion without resorting numerous less effective exercises for the same muscle group.
There are several routes to take to obtain a strong healthy body. It often comes down to personal preference or it comes down to what one can afford. The protocol and the equipment we use allows us to get it done in 30 minutes, without multiple sets, warm-ups sets or set of limited effectiveness.