Dick Hartzell conceived an idea of using rubber bands to duplicate what is being done in gyms and weight rooms. His invention of rubber bands is the closest thing to a portable gym. It uses heavy-duty, continuous bands of rubber and tubular pipes to improve strength, speed and flexibility.
Rubber Bands have proven to be of great value to everyone from sedentary individuals to professional athletes. They provide a low-impact, low- stress workout in the gym, home, hotel, or anyplace you exercise.
Whatever your exercise, activity or sport, a muscle specific workout can be utilized to improve performance. By adding bands, the pressure can be adjusted from one to 2000 pounds. Just as individual weight machines strengthen particular muscle groups, rubber bands can be used to isolate and strengthen individual muscles. For example, a team’s workout to improve their vertical jump produced amazing results. It occurred as the result of doing squatting and thrusting activities with the bands attached to the base and positioned over the shoulders. The Youngstown Pride of the World Basketball League used this workout to help them jump to two league championships in four years.
Fernando Montes, strength coach of the Cleveland Indians, stated, “We started using the bands in spring training and made it part of our daily routine throughout the season. We had fewer lower-leg and groin injuries and saw a marked improvement in our flexibility. This was instrumental in helping us get to the World Series.”
For those of us not needing muscle-specific training, a general workout of the major muscle groups is all that is necessary. This can be accomplished with the basic band, which weighs one pound and can be carried in a purse or small bag. Flexibility can be improved at any age and the basic band allows isolated active stretching to improve range-of-motion, increase strength, and decrease the chance of injury.
Medical professionals use rubber bands for rehabilitation. They are being used in hospitals, nursing homes and physical therapy as a low impact, non-injurious way to strengthen or provide motion.
Bud Simon of Youngstown, Ohio, fell a distance of more than 30 feet, shattering several limbs and damaging internal organs. Knowing the value of immediately starting to exercise the functional parts of the body, Simon called Hartzell to the hospital. Hartzell designed an exercise program that Simon instituted while still in intensive care. The hospital staff was amazed. Among other remarkable feats, Simon took his first step at 6 weeks vs. the projected 20 months and he had the 11 pins removed from his hands after 6 weeks versus the projected 24-28 months before the hands were expected to be functional.
Hartzell has used bands to strengthen his once weak ankles and demonstrates the results by jumping up and coming down with full body weight on the side of his ankles. Lee Morrow, strength coach at East Tennessee State University, uses the bands for injury prevention. “Our football program is a believer of the bands and has used them since 1983 to increase flexibility and prevent injuries.”
Hartzell is in demand as a speaker and demonstrator at sports, health, and fitness conventions and symposiums. “Traveling gives me an opportunity to meet with users of,” Hartzell stated. “The past decade has seen older adults display a real interest in fitness. It is great to see our age group being active. Using the bands is a safe, effective, and efficient way for adults to exercise.”