Text translated from Spanish edition of Men´s Health (March 27, 2019).
Developed by the company Micaton and engineers of the Industrial School of Vigo, the Handy Gym is a small portable training machine that weighs less than two pounds and offers a resistance of up to 220 pounds.
It’s called Handy Gym and it’s already known as ‘the smallest gym in the world’. It is an invention of the Micaton company that, in collaboration with the School of Industrial Engineers of Vigo, will allow you to exercise anywhere and at any time. It weighs less than two pounds, allows more than 200 exercises and exerts a resistance of up to 220 pounds.
How did the idea of the Handy Gym come about?
It was three years ago … Our company Micaton, dedicated to the world of tools, became known in 2015 when we won the Best Invention of the Year Award in Spain thanks to magnetic rings for screwdrivers. That allowed us to move from startup to company, with new partners. And the idea came up when we saw our Parkinson’s sick CEO exercising in the morning – he has to do it every day so he does not go slow then all the day. He trained with a rudimentary invention, homemade, to do stretching and so on. An engineer from the University of Vigo saw it and told us about inertial technology.
What is inertial technology?
The inertial technology was developed by NASA so that the astronauts did not lose muscle mass in the space and because, in addition, to raise every pound of material above was very expensive. They did an ideas contest in the eighties and that’s how it came about. The function of the muscles is to hold the skeleton, but of course, without gravity, because they do not need anything. And the inertial technology that allows is to do concentric and eccentric exercises at the same time, and so the muscle that you create is of better quality. That is, it was the perfect method for astronauts to be in shape quickly and effectively.
And how were you developing the product?
Until now there were conical pulleys and others with this inertial technology, but they are expensive and not easy to use devices. We wanted something portable and comfortable, so we made it much smaller. The Handy Gym is very small, it almost fits in a hand without the inertial discs on the sides. Those who see it are surprised that something so small exerts such an amount of force. But the inertial concept is that, to get resistance through rotation instead of weight. By quickly turning the discs on the sides, you get a resistance of up to 220 pounds. Who proves it, hallucinates.
How does it work in muscle building?
The muscle is created in three ways: performing concentric, eccentric and / or isometric exercises. And what the latest studies show is that eccentrics create much better quality muscle than concentric ones. And now, not looking for hypertrophy as much as being in good physical condition and working full muscle groups, this device is a delight. “I’ve used it for a month and a half and I’ve worked the core like never before. Resistance makes you work when pulling and stretching, and it does so automatically.”
And it also prevents injuries, right?
Yes, it is. When you lift weights, sometimes you get injured when you lowe them; that is, when you train, many people use force to concentrate the muscle and then simply drop the weight or the dumbbell by the effect of gravity, and of course, from the initial concentration to that rapid extension is where most of the the lesions occur. The window of isoinertial technology is that it forces you to hold in the eccentric phase so that the chances of injury are minimized. The elastic bands also has an eccentric phase, but it only lasts the milliseconds after the maximum tension, however Handy Gym, maintains this important phase until the end.
Can you work the whole body with him?
Of course, it allows to perform functional training, it is used to exercise all the muscles, and above it is portable, with systems that allows to use it anywhere, at home attaching it above a door, outdoors on any railing, in a park you can attach it to a tree or a column, you can exercise wherever and whenever you want. It allows to perform a variety of exercises, for example women love to do squats, since it allows to work the hamstrings in an incredibly effective way, with less repetitions they obtain incredible results in their glutes. We have really achieved an effective product, very versatile and completely transportable.
What do the people who have tried it tell you?
The most common thing is is the possibility of training in a concentric and eccentric way, and above all, being able to work with it anywhere, even taking it on a trip. Many tennis players and elite athletes and soccer teams already have inertial machines, but they are quite expensive, bulky or heavy. We hope that Handy Gym revolutionizes the training of athletes and people who do not have access to these super devices. Technology and portability is our strength.
What price will it have?
We are waiting for the final prototypes, so we’ll see. There are many pieces and the idea now is to make it known through our account on Instagram @HandyGimFit and make a Kickstarter campaign, which is a crowdfunding platform to find financing. Creating the molds costs a lot … If someone likes this product, can buy it before it goes on the market and will costs much less. They are presales and in Spain it is difficult because in our culture we do not trust, but in the USA. Canada, England and Australia, which take 80 percent of sales, works very well. In our first crowdfunding we sold the product in 80 different countries. Handy Gym is a product that allows free training, working unilaterally, when personal trainers, physiotherapists and physical trainers of individual athletes, or football teams, basketball see it, they tell us they want one as soon as possible. In addition, as it is sensorized, it allows you to measure your activity through an application. In our plans is to try to incorporate it to all sports; in the case of golf, tennis, rowing or paddle, for the movements they perform, it would be very useful. This is a product that has been developed from the point of view of engineering and technology. We are currently working with the personal trainers, physical trainers, athletes and physiotherapists, who are the ones who are getting excited and are telling us how Handy Gym is great for them.