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Inertial Exercise the Concept is Born



Although exercise without inertia is a physical impossibility, the concept of training the body in dealing with inertia in a terrestrial environment without gravity is new.  Many high performance activities have little or no gravity involved.  In the drive of golf, like in the pitch in baseball, less that 10% of the forces involved in the travel of the ball is affected by gravity. Dr. William McLeod (Ph.D. Biomechanics) had observed this relationship of gravity and force.  As a researcher of Biomechanics, working with the Houghston Clinic (1979) in Columbus Georgia, he observed the rehabilitation processes involved with the throwing shoulder.  He realized that all of the processes of exercise for the shoulder involved some form of gravity or elastic resistance.  He also realized that throwing has little if anything to do with gravity or external elastic forces.  He began searching for a method of exercise that concentrated on acceleration and deceleration.  He envisioned a method of exercise that would deal exclusively with the effects of inertia on human motion.


In the pursuit of this and other biomedical interests, he discovered other professionals with like interests.  Steve Davison, an Industrial Designer and Mechanical Engineer; Dr. Tom McLaughlin, a Biomechanist;  Ron Peyton, a Physical Therapist; and Dr. McLeod formed a company for the pursuit of new exercise related technologies. In this pursuit, the concept of Inertial Exercise was born. 


The first device used in the experimentation of Inertial Exercise was constructed in 1980.  By the spring of 1983, it was clear that this concept had many applications in the health field.   However, convincing the medical community of the concept’s merits was a greater effort than the group could or would muster.  In the summer of 1983, Steve Davison and his company, Engineering Marketing Associates, assumed the sole responsibility of developing this important new technology. 


By the end of the summer of 1984, clinical trials and experiments were completed, and the development of a durable medical product was complete. From 1984 to 1987, the Inertial Exercise System was generally accepted as a high performance-training device and was quickly accepted by trainers at many high performance athletic organizations.  During this time, therapists utilized it only during the final phases of treatment, when patients were near release from service.  Feedback from therapists using the device with patients helped to develop training techniques and pointed to a new philosophy in the application of the technology.  Strength, power, range of motion, and compliance to pain all became treatable with this new philosophy.  With the use of gravity free inertia as an instrument, neuromuscular education was the reward.  Training technique of motion became the goal.  Thus the instrument inherited the name Impulse Inertial Exercise Trainer.  It became obvious that the device was an instrument.  The more practice one did with the device the greater a variety of patients could be served by it.  


Presently, the Impulse is used in the treatment of everything from coordination maintenance of high performance major league baseball pitchers to reeducation of motion by long term care geriatric patients.  Although the Impulse is an excellent instrument for the continued reeducation of coordination, the philosophy and approach to training indicates other devices, already in use, can be utilized as Inertial Exercise tools. After all, Inertial Exercise is the application of inertia as the sole resistive medium in exercise.