Gymrat\’s Weblog

News from the world of muscle

How do you exercise by lifting weights in space?

Yesterday, a novel attempt in solving the problem with one of the International Space Stations solar panels not folding fully was tried:

The problem lies in a guidewire that is stuck in one of the eyelets, causing the array to billow. NASA will try helping it along by jiggling the array in hopes that will push the wire through the hole.

It plans to move a joint on the panel to shake it, and may also ask one of the astronauts to break a sweat using a bungee bar-like exercise device. NASA officials recalled an incident where the space agency saw an array shaking and found the cause was astronaut Leroy Chiao working the device hard in his squats and lifts.

The attempt didn’t succeed though; Vigorous exercise unable to jiggle solar array into cooperating:

German astronaut Thomas Reiter of the European Space Agency was told to do 30 seconds of robust exercise on a bungee-bar machine in an attempt to vibrate wires on the 115-foot solar array and prevent an unplanned, fourth spacewalk.

Mr. Reiter tried several times, but his exercise did not appear to change the solar array.

How do you exercise by lifting weights in weightlessness? Well, apart from the current set-up on ISS, scientists at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, is developing the next generation of training equipment to be used – the Yoyo strength-training equipment.

Earlier this year the Swedish magazine which I work for (BODY Magazine) was asked to help recruit volunteers. One of the chosen was our magazines sales chief; Stefan Elfving. Here is a photo of his earning his volunteer fee on the machine:

Weightless strength training

More about the machine can be read at Also, here’s a two page article from the magazine Medical Science at Karolinska Institutet that explains the “Space Gym”: Space Gym – a health issue for astronauts (PDF, in English):

The “Space Gym” by


December 16, 2006 - Posted by | Exercise, Humor, Sports Medicine, Weightlifting


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