How to pump weights when there’s no gravity

Yo-Yo fitness trainer, using a flywheel to create the force against which to train

Exercise and fitness is part of every astronaut’s life before, during and after spaceflight. When it comes to fitness, it is merely the specialised support they receive when training for their missions that sets them apart from the rest of us.

As Europeans are seeking to take better care of their bodies, ever more are joining gyms, athletic clubs and generally taking an overall interest in being more active.

Much fitness training depends on resistive devices: dumbbells, weight stacks and so on. They’re heavy, and they work by forcing you to overcome Earth’s gravity to lift them. But in orbit, there’s no gravity against which to work. The cost of shipping equipment to space means that equipment has to weigh as little as possible. How, then, do astronauts train?

An example is the Swedish-designed Yo-Yo fitness trainer, using a flywheel to create the force against which to train. The design is light, compact, practical and incredibly suited for home fitness.

But there’s much that remains to be done. Innovative, lightweight, and compact equipment can be tested in the space environment. And the endorsement by ESA would set it apart from the competition.

Find out more about how you can join forces to put your distinctive fitness equipment to the test.

Last update: 14 October 2005

Copyright 2000 - 2014 © European Space Agency. All rights reserved.