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Auxotonic training

Auxotonic, the origins

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The prefix 'auxo' is the first element of some compound terms used mainly in the medical field. It means growth
(National Personal Trainer School)

To identify the origin of auxotonic training we have to go back over a century to the beginning of the 20th century . The pioneer of this type of activity was the famous Prussian bodybuilder

Sandow Eugen (born Friederich W. Mueller 1867 - 1925), who is also credited with the invention of body building. He used elastic resistance for his strength sessions .
In the 1960s , physical therapists were already using rubber bands , which were actually surgical tubes (tourniquets) or inner tubes. It was only in the late 1970s that rubber bands appeared on the market as we know them now: with different levels of resistance that can be recognized thanks to the color code.

But how does it work?

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To introduce the auxotonic contraction and its functioning it is appropriate to refer to the definition given to him by J. Weineck in 2001, where it is defined as muscular tension useful for the development of strength . He states that it represents a combination of isometric and isotonic tensions , a process where the neuromuscular system adjusts through a continuous insertion and disengagement of neuromuscular units, to the change of moments of force of the weight and to the variations of speed.
The Italian Fitness Federation defines auxometric contraction as a concentric contraction , in which muscle tension progressively increases as the muscle shortens . This occurs when external resistance tends to increase during contraction.
Auxometric contractions are those that are often identified with the use of rubber bands (but also chains and springs). But what does the term auxotonic mean in summary? In a nutshell, it means that the tension builds up as the muscle contracts and shortens .
The FIF, to better understand this concept, presents some interesting example cases.
If you did an elastic curl by locking one end under the foot and grabbing the other with your hand, what would happen during the concentric phase? When I flex the forearm on the arm (also called positive phase ) the elastic will stretch with greater resistance and my muscle will be forced to increase its strength to overcome this progressive tension.
As resistance increases, the muscle must therefore express a proportional increase in tension . As the elastic stretches, the muscle tension increases, in fact it is precisely for this peculiar characteristic that auxometric contractions are called progressive contractions .
The phenomenon described does not occur with the use of free objects such as barbells, dumbbells or kettlebells which, conversely, are contractions with variable resistance. In this case, exactly the opposite of an auxometric contraction, the tension varies with the variation of the lever, the angular momentum, the gravity and decreases as the muscle contracts and shortens.
As mentioned above, such contractions are not only identifiable with rubber bands, but also with other objects . For example, if you were to bench press and connect two chains to the end of a barbell, what would happen during the exercise? In the eccentric phase (when the barbell goes down towards the chest) the chains will touch the ground and progressively reduce their resistance. Conversely, when I push the rod and it moves away from the chest (in concentric phase), the chain will come off more and more from the ground increasing the load. Here my muscles will have to exert more resistance to overcome the progressive force of the chain .
With springs the principle is inverse to the elastic (when it is shortened, the tension increases) but still similar. As the spring reduces its length, its resistance increases and to overcome it I have to put more tension on it. Basically and summing up, with rubber bands, chains and springs we can obtain auxotonic contractions.

Auxotonic or free weights? The differences between the training methods

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To better understand not only the substantial differences between the auxotonic methodology and the others (in particular isotonic), but also the effects that these forms of activity have on the human body, we refer to the words of Vincenzo Canali , former coach of the Italian national team. female artistic gymnastics and elastic trampoline both male and female, expert on the subject at the University of Parma.
He states that the auxotonic method, thanks to the characteristics described above, can be combined with the isotonic system and, at the same time, can replace it .
Briefly, he says, the auxotonic system can be defined as a balance between strength and stabilization .
Numerous researches have been carried out on the subject and we report below some extracts from publications that can help us in understanding this important concept.
The first study reported is signed by Dr. Fabiano F. Lima (Universidade Estadual Paulista) and collaborators in 2018. The objectives of the study were to compare the effects of resistance training using an auxotonic system with conventional weight machines on muscle strength , functional exercise capacity and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in healthy middle-aged and older adults .
In this clinical trial, twenty-nine middle-aged adults were randomly assigned to one of three a priori defined groups: elastic tube resistance training (ETG), conventional resistance training (weight machines) (CTG), and control (CG).
Both the ETG and the CTG followed 12 weeks of resistance training (3x / week - upper and lower limbs). Muscle strength, functional exercise capacity, and HRQOL were assessed at baseline, 6 and 12 weeks. CG underwent the three assessments without any formal intervention or business advice being provided. ETG and CTG similarly and significantly increased muscle strength (16-44% in ETG and 25-46%), functional exercise capacity (ETG 4 ± 4% and CTG 6 ± 8%;). An improvement in the 'pain' domain of HRQOL could only be observed in the CTG (21 ± 26%).

The CG showed no statistical improvement in any of the variables studied.
The study found that resistance training using the auxotonic system and conventional resistance training using weight machines promoted similar positive effects on peripheral muscle strength and functional exercise capacity in healthy middle-aged and older adults.
The positive effects of auxotonic training had already been previously studied on the muscle bands of the hip adductors by Dr. M. Brandt and collaborators (National Research Center for the Working Environment - Musculoskeletal disorders - Copenhagen), who had shown, in a 2013 study, that although elastic resistance and the classic weight machine seem equally effective for recruiting muscle activity, the elastic resistance condition was able to demonstrate greater muscle recruitment than the strength machine during exercise aimed at training. hip abduction.
Also in Copenhagen in 2012, Dr. Markus D. Jakobsen published a study that predated that of his colleague, where he highlighted how knee extensions performed with elastic tubes induce similar quadriceps muscle activity (> 70% nEMG) during concentric contraction phase, but slightly lower during the eccentric contraction phase, such as knee extensions performed using a strength training machine.
Even before the Danish study, in 2010 a team of Spanish researchers, led by Dr. Colado, JC had collected important information in a publication whose results indicate that Resistance training using bungee tubes or weight machines or free weights exhibits equivalent improvements in isometric strength in short-term programs applied in young women, such as amateur sportsmen and athletes .
Once the difference between auxotonic activity and other forms of training has been clarified, it is important to understand, as the FIF further explains, whether or not this type of contractions increases the production of lactic acid within the muscle.
The answer is to be found in time under tension (TUT) : if I use an elastic with a sufficiently high resistance for my physical condition, and I perform a series that allows me to take advantage of the anaerobic lactacid system, I will produce an accumulation of lactate on a par with other types of contractions .
In short, as the FIF always states , lactate stimulates the anterior pituitary to produce growth hormone . This hormone is essential for hypertrophy and therefore for the strengthening of weak areas or areas to which we want to give greater development. This is crucial not only for purely aesthetic purposes but also for the functional recovery of areas that have weakened following trauma with possible prolonged use of plasters / braces and that have forced us to inactivity .

The auxotonic in physiotherapy

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To define the role of auxotonic training in physiotherapy and functional recovery, we refer to the words of Prof. Roberto Calcagno (author of the book "The winning diet", text adopted by the ISEF of Turin, faculty where he was a consultant external).
In his writings, he stresses that it is essential to keep in mind two characteristics that make auxotonic contractions not always adequate : the progressive load and the absence of 'stasis phases', which can lead to rebound (ballistic) movements. In fact, the progressive load, if badly managed , can be contraindicated in the recovery from injuries, because the loads that increase when the range of motion (ROM) increases, for example in the case of injuries to the ACL, can be risky.
As for ballistic movements , often and willingly, both in sport and especially in fitness, they are found to be useless , and sometimes harmful .
Despite this preface, he states that rehabilitation through the auxometric method is a basic technique of motor rehabilitation which consists in the execution of physical exercises aimed at exercising the muscles, through the tension of elastic bands . The basis of the method is first of all the prevention of pathologies of the spine and of all large joints through protocols with auxotonic work and muscle rebalancing. These elements represent a fundamental prerequisite for maintaining a good state of health of the various joints of the body.
The method is dedicated to motor therapies of a general nature , use in recovery and specific preparations, training dedicated to the development of resistance and proprioception .
It also defines the ideal auxotonic method for a correct progression of loads during the rehabilitation process.
He highlights the benefits of this type of activity in the properties of elastic force .
The elastic force is a force directly proportional to the force applied for its extension from a starting position to rest; moreover it opposes deformation, so it follows that, as the tension is increased, the intensity required for elongation also increases .
In conclusion, he suggests resorting to auxotonic contractions because increasing the range of movement increases the contraction , with the maximum load at the end of the stroke. This particular condition tends to stabilize the joint .
Once again it is the FIF to clarify these contrasts, formulating a reasoning on the physiotherapeutic role of the rubber bands and in general of auxometric contractions .
The characteristic of increasing resistance when the muscle shortens, make them interesting if you analyze and think about the fact that in this condition the joint works in a less dangerous ROM .

We are offered the example of the flat bench: does the shoulder suffer more when the barbell is close to the chest, or at its maximum height? Undoubtedly when it is at the bottom , therefore in that point the use of chains or rubber bands would mean a low tension. As I climb and the shoulder increases its 'stability' the resistance increases , thus making the exercise more intense but also safer at the joint level.
We can extend this reasoning to any exercise, and this explains the fact that in the early stages of rehabilitation , elastic bands are preferred over other types of objects.
Finally, the FIF underlines an aspect that should not be underestimated: with regard to these instruments we can find different types of articles on the market, from those with low, medium or high resistance but also with different lengths since we cannot think of using the same in all exercises. .
For example, for the lower districts it will be advisable to budget longer bands than those for the upper limbs. In any case it is necessary to evaluate the different lengths to choose according to the exercises I intend to perform with these very interesting objects.

See the bibliography


Rush is the auxotonic Spacewheel machine for
training and rehabilitation
Possibility of working up to a maximum of 24 meters
distance from the car
Easy modulation of workloads
Up to four working points simultaneously


columns for space optimization



from training to physiotherapy

The Dynamic series is the Spacewheel isoinertial machine line, intended for all phases of physical activity: from preparation to rehabilitation.
The isoinertial exercise involves an improvement of the coordination functions of the body and a complete training in both the muscle stretching phase (concentric phase) and the contraction phase (eccentric phase)


effective and safe auxometric training


The Infinity series is the Spaceweel line of isoinertial columns, intended for all phases of physical activity, for the whole body.

Infinity was born for the optimization of the workspace.

With its extremely versatile models it is also possible to work in two at the same time.

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