The first resistance device, similar to the one used in the FIT10 program, (so it is told) was developed by a fireman back in the 1950s. He invented it to safely lower people out of a burning building. As the story goes, someone got hurt in the testing phase and he stopped using it as a result. A friend of his, who was strength and conditioning coach, at a local college, began testing its potential use in building strength.
During this time NASA was beginning the Apollo program. In this phase of space exploration, men would live for several days in gravity free space. After coming back from the first missions, they discovered that the astronauts had lost between three and thirteen percent of their bone mass!
Because of the dramatic effects of no gravity on the body, these men were experiencing—in just a few days—what so many Americans, who have lost their strength, are experiencing today; osteoporosis. Apollo really had a dilemma. Think about it. They couldn’t lift weights or do push-ups in gravity free space!
To make a long story short, the NASA scientists met with the strength and conditioning coach to see if his ideas and this device would work to exercise the astronauts in space. It would, and it did. They found it tremendously effective. So much so that when the astronauts returned, not only did they not lose any muscle or bone strength—they actually gained more!
Note: The above description of the “history” of this type of exercise comes from best recollections of what we have been told. It’s hearsay and may not be entirely accurate.
Some of the products and inventions used by the Space Program were marketed very successfully. Many were not. An example of a successful product would be Tang. Tang was initially intended as a breakfast drink, but sales were poor until NASA began using it on Gemini flights in 1965, and that use was heavily advertised. Since that time, it has been associated with the U.S. manned spaceflight program.
The same thing could have happened, and should have happened with this unique method of building strength in no gravity. But it was not to be. Oh, there were a few people, mainly high school and college coaches, who had the small resistance device duplicated, and sold it to other coaches.
One of the reasons it possibly did not take off on a bigger scale is that from this basic simple technique came the big machines using variable resistance. Soon everyone was well acquainted with the value of variable resistance equipment. Quickly these machines were prevalent and accessible to everyone at the local health club.
Dave Hubbard, America’s Fitness Coach, was given one of the small devices; similar to the one used by the Apollo astronauts, by a good friend of his. He wanted Dave to try it because he knew of his struggles to build strength using conventional methods with his back issues. Dave was impressed by the fact that he could put full effort into every exercise and not hurt his back.
Dave then began playing with different exercises with the idea of creating a fitness program that would virtually eliminate every excuse someone could come up with not to exercise. He eventually created his own resistance device. He did this primarily because all of the devices available were too expensive. He did not want money to be one of the excuses someone could use not to try the program.