New tricks for old muscles
Neil Cole is a tall, muscular young man who knows his way around a gym-and also holds a Ph.D. in muscle physiology from the University of Michigan. Since Neil started the business in 1993, the two brothers and their father, Walt, have been designing and building devices used in research studies to measure muscle performance.
Their first commercial product is BLAST (Bio Logic Advanced Strength Training). Still a prototype, it's intended for use in gyms, physical therapy clinics, and nursing homes. Its purpose is to help older people increase muscle strength, reducing their risk of painful and potentially deadly falls.
Strong hip and thigh muscles are the best defense against falls. With age, muscle fibers atrophy and muscle mass decreases. But seniors often avoid weight training and conventional gyms because they worry they'll hurt themselves.
BLAST looks like a typical leg press, except there's no weight stack. You push with your legs against a metal plate while the machine moves the plate back and forth. A computer monitor shows how much force your muscles are exerting. As you get stronger, the machine increases the resistance.