Flywheel Exercise Device (FWED)
The Flywheel Exercise Device (FWED) is a non-gravity dependent resistance exercise device that acts to countermeasure muscle atrophy, bone loss, and impairment of muscle function in human beings, which develop in response to long duration spaceflights.
The FWED is a strength training system that uses a rotating flywheel that replaces weight plates and other means of resistance training devices that rely on gravity.
The resistance is provided by spinning flywheels with a cord being wound and unwound around the axle of a fixed flywheel. A concentric muscle action overcomes the inertia of the flywheel, accelerating it. A subsequent eccentric muscle action is required to decelerate it.
The more force used when accelerating the flywheel the more force will be required to decelerate it.
Its variable resistance offers unlimited training potential to any user with virtually no limit to the amount of force or power that can be produced. The FWED will provide increased load during eccentric contraction (i.e. eccentric overload), which has been shown to be a very potent stimulus, giving muscle hypertrophy and increase in strength.
The design of the flywheel is based on an existing Yo-Yo Technology device which is the subject of a European and USA patent.
Resistance exercise programmes, using both concentric and eccentric muscle actions, are more effective in inducing increases in muscle strength and mass than training using concentric muscle actions only. Astronaut strength training programmes require combined concentric-eccentric exercises. Increases in strength and muscle size, also appear better preserved if eccentric actions have been incorporated in the programme. Furthermore, resistance exercise compromising both concentric and eccentric actions is more time-effective than training using concentric actions only.
Strength training exercises
A variety of different exercises can be performed that target different muscle groups. The present FWED is designed for eight exercises: Three that are mandatory:
- Squat/Leg Press
- Calf Press/Heel Raise
- Dead Lift/Back Extension
And five optional exercises:
- Seated Row
- Upright Row
- Lateral Shoulder Raise
- Biceps Curl
- Reverse Curl
The graphic below provides an overview of the operations for the Flywheel, from launch until return.
Last update: 23 October 2009