Handheld Stabilizer Users... How do you reduce forearm and back fatigue? at DVinfo.net

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Old April 23rd, 2006, 06:40 PM   #1
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Handheld Stabilizer Users... How do you reduce forearm and back fatigue?

I have recently bought Terry's Indicam Pilot sled, which is comparable to the Glidecam 4000 with added features. However, despite reading all the posts about forearms hurting, I thought I would be able to handle it ;) Boy, was I wrong!

Not only do the forearms get tired and my hands start shaking, but also, the right side of my mid back starts to get sore after a while.

The only remedy I have come up with is to keep carrying around the stabilizer until my muscles get used to the idea and just deal with it but I think there are better ways.

How do you guys handle the muscle aches associated with your handheld stabilizer?

What exercises do you do to build up those muscles?

What techniques do you use to reduce the fatigue associated with these muscles?

Thank you! I'm looking forward to a less painful experience ;)
:-Peter
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Old April 23rd, 2006, 10:03 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Chung
I have recently bought Terry's Indicam Pilot sled, which is comparable to the Glidecam 4000 with added features. However, despite reading all the posts about forearms hurting, I thought I would be able to handle it ;) Boy, was I wrong!

Not only do the forearms get tired and my hands start shaking, but also, the right side of my mid back starts to get sore after a while.

The only remedy I have come up with is to keep carrying around the stabilizer until my muscles get used to the idea and just deal with it but I think there are better ways.

How do you guys handle the muscle aches associated with your handheld stabilizer?

What exercises do you do to build up those muscles?

What techniques do you use to reduce the fatigue associated with these muscles?

Thank you! I'm looking forward to a less painful experience ;)
:-Peter
I spend an average of 6 hours a day, doing a wide range of strength and endurance exercises. But, the most helpful exercise I do, for camera-carrying abilities, is picking up a pair of dumbbells that weigh from 25 to 35 lbs. each and carrying them for a mile or two. Sometimes, I carry them at my sides and part of the time, raise them to my shoulders. I swing them around and hold them at odd positions for several seconds as I walk. If you start out with light weights and build up over time, your capabilities as a pack-mule could increase a lot. My shoulder-mount/stabilizer and camera weight varies from 8 to 23 lbs., depending on the model I use. When I go on a 12-mile Nature hike with my full-sized Beta, that counts as a whole day's worth of exercise. That's just what I did yesterday, on Earth Day.
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Old April 23rd, 2006, 10:22 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by J. Stephen McDonald
I spend an average of 6 hours a day, doing a wide range of strength and endurance exercises. But, the most helpful exercise I do, for camera-carrying abilities, is picking up a pair of dumbbells that weigh from 25 to 35 lbs. each and carrying them for a mile or two. Sometimes, I carry them at my sides and part of the time, raise them to my shoulders. I swing them around and hold them at odd positions for several seconds as I walk. If you start out with light weights and build up over time, your capabilities as a pack-mule could increase a lot. My shoulder-mount/stabilizer and camera weight varies from 8 to 23 lbs., depending on the model I use. When I go on a 12-mile Nature hike with my full-sized Beta, that counts as a whole day's worth of exercise. That's just what I did yesterday, on Earth Day.
Wow, Stephen, you are INTENSE! Intense but a good idea at that! Thank you for sharing. I guess by carrying a pair of dumbells, you even out your muscles instead of becoming lopsided from only carrying the stabilizer and camera ;-P
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Old April 24th, 2006, 03:17 AM   #4
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Wow, Stephen, you are INTENSE! Intense but a good idea at that! Thank you for sharing. I guess by carrying a pair of dumbells, you even out your muscles instead of becoming lopsided from only carrying the stabilizer and camera ;-P
Peter, I should add that I'm very fussy about the shoes I wear. They make a big difference in how well I hold up when packing extra weight. I use running shoes, but always a heavier and more supportive type, for carrying video gear or weights. Turntec is my brand of choice. Flexibility and warmup exercises are also important. I go through a long routine of stretching, before I do any exercise. All this preparation pays off, as I seldom have any aches and pains.
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Old April 24th, 2006, 08:33 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by J. Stephen McDonald
Peter, I should add that I'm very fussy about the shoes I wear. They make a big difference in how well I hold up when packing extra weight. I use running shoes, but always a heavier and more supportive type, for carrying video gear or weights. Turntec is my brand of choice. Flexibility and warmup exercises are also important. I go through a long routine of stretching, before I do any exercise. All this preparation pays off, as I seldom have any aches and pains.
Can you expound on your stretch routine? Do you focus on stretching your arms and back only or your whole body?

As for the shoes, I am having a hard time locating the Turntec brand. I had never heard of them until you mentioned them but they seem to exist only on ebay?

Thanks, Stephen.
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Old April 24th, 2006, 10:16 AM   #6
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In a never-ending quest to find the best shoe for Steadicam work (understand that the rig I carry daily averages between 55-70lbs depending on camera), my current pick is this.
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Old April 24th, 2006, 08:32 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Peter Chung
Can you expound on your stretch routine? Do you focus on stretching your arms and back only or your whole body?

As for the shoes, I am having a hard time locating the Turntec brand. I had never heard of them until you mentioned them but they seem to exist only on ebay?

Thanks, Stephen.
Peter, in the first place, any exercise and flexibility program must be started slowly and carefully. If you have any special problems with your back or joints, then even more care must be taken. I started my athletic training when I was age 4, so I've had plenty of time to develop my routines and allow my body to safely tolerate them. A life that includes a good diet with enough calcium and also adequate sunlight to generate Vitamin D, is needed to have strong bones. There's other ways to get calcium and Vitamin D, but if they come from natural sources, they are much more effective than what you get from supplements. However, I do take daily supplements of glucosamine and MSM for my joints and it really works. I'll be 67 in a few months and I'm functioning better than I did when I was 1/3 my age.

For flexibility, I usually start with simple movements. I bend over and touch my fingers and then my palms to the floor, doing about a dozen repetitions. Then, I squat all the way down and come up 6 times. I spread my legs out and do 12 lateral rotations, touching my opposite hands to the floor, two feet past my feet. Then, I go down on my knees and bend all the way back, touching the back of my head to the floor several times, holding it there for several seconds. I stand and raise one foot to a bar that is 5 feet off the floor and bend forward, touching my chin to my knee several times and reversing sides. Then, I grab a doorknob for steadiness and bend laterally at the waist in the opposite direction and hold it for several seconds and repeat 6 times on each side. This is to stretch the ilio-tibial bands (IT bands) that run down the outside of the legs, from the pelvis to below the knees. If the IT bands become too tight, they may cause severe pain along the outside of the knees or hips. In addition, I do many strength exercises that also serve to increase flexibility, such as lateral rotations when standing and doing a two-handed pull on a handle from a cable and pulley machine, at chest height.

I do quite a few exercises when hanging from overhead bars that are parallel and 20 inches apart. These include pullups, straight-leg or bent-knee raises and lateral rotations. I may do these exercises at a fitness club or use the full set of apparatus I've incorporated into the structure of my garage and covered patio. There's also a lot of hard bike riding, running, weightlifting, foundation gymnastics exercises and Kayak paddling in my activities. I've pretty much had to give up ball sports, as there's no time for them. I hope you can pick some useful ideas from this. Good luck in your own workouts.

You should be able to find Turntec running shoes at many of the better athletic shoe stores. I get them at a cut rate at a Big5 store, that's part of a large chain. The parent company of Turntec is American Sporting Goods, which also owns Avia and several other brands. The owner of this company and also the brilliant design engineer who developed the shoes, is Jerry Turner. He's the one who overhauled the shoes made by Brooks, before he started his own company.

Charles, those semi-hightop shoes look very substantial. I can imagine how they would have all the characteristics your demanding work would require. If I didn't have the burden of carrying a strong personal prejudice against that company and its products, I'd probably want to give them a try. This is odd, as I was the first paying customer they ever had, being a friend of their original sales agent.
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Old April 24th, 2006, 11:18 PM   #8
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Most back problems occur from weak abdominal muscles. Work your abs evey week. When carrying a load always tense yor abs to help support your back. If you are overweight with a big belly you are asking for trouble.
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Old April 25th, 2006, 01:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J. Stephen McDonald
Peter, in the first place, any exercise and flexibility program must be started slowly and carefully. If you have any special problems with your back or joints, then even more care must be taken. I started my athletic training when I was age 4, so I've had plenty of time to develop my routines and allow my body to safely tolerate them. A life that includes a good diet with enough calcium and also adequate sunlight to generate Vitamin D, is needed to have strong bones. There's other ways to get calcium and Vitamin D, but if they come from natural sources, they are much more effective than what you get from supplements. However, I do take daily supplements of glucosamine and MSM for my joints and it really works. I'll be 67 in a few months and I'm functioning better than I did when I was 1/3 my age.

For flexibility, I usually start with simple movements. I bend over and touch my fingers and then my palms to the floor, doing about a dozen repetitions. Then, I squat all the way down and come up 6 times. I spread my legs out and do 12 lateral rotations, touching my opposite hands to the floor, two feet past my feet. Then, I go down on my knees and bend all the way back, touching the back of my head to the floor several times, holding it there for several seconds. I stand and raise one foot to a bar that is 5 feet off the floor and bend forward, touching my chin to my knee several times and reversing sides. Then, I grab a doorknob for steadiness and bend laterally at the waist in the opposite direction and hold it for several seconds and repeat 6 times on each side. This is to stretch the ilio-tibial bands (IT bands) that run down the outside of the legs, from the pelvis to below the knees. If the IT bands become too tight, they may cause severe pain along the outside of the knees or hips. In addition, I do many strength exercises that also serve to increase flexibility, such as lateral rotations when standing and doing a two-handed pull on a handle from a cable and pulley machine, at chest height.

I do quite a few exercises when hanging from overhead bars that are parallel and 20 inches apart. These include pullups, straight-leg or bent-knee raises and lateral rotations. I may do these exercises at a fitness club or use the full set of apparatus I've incorporated into the structure of my garage and covered patio. There's also a lot of hard bike riding, running, weightlifting, foundation gymnastics exercises and Kayak paddling in my activities. I've pretty much had to give up ball sports, as there's no time for them. I hope you can pick some useful ideas from this. Good luck in your own workouts.

You should be able to find Turntec running shoes at many of the better athletic shoe stores. I get them at a cut rate at a Big5 store, that's part of a large chain. The parent company of Turntec is American Sporting Goods, which also owns Avia and several other brands. The owner of this company and also the brilliant design engineer who developed the shoes, is Jerry Turner. He's the one who overhauled the shoes made by Brooks, before he started his own company.

Charles, those semi-hightop shoes look very substantial. I can imagine how they would have all the characteristics your demanding work would require. If I didn't have the burden of carrying a strong personal prejudice against that company and its products, I'd probably want to give them a try. This is odd, as I was the first paying customer they ever had, being a friend of their original sales agent.
Stephen, I am thoroughly impressed and encouraged that you have maintained your health and continue to do so at such an age in your life when others are ready to retire and do nothing! Thank you for sharing some of your stretch exercises as well. Prevention is the best health care, in my opinion.

Yesterday, I took a pair of dumbbell weights and carried them around with my elbows bent at a 90 degree angle to stimulate the stabilizer muscles ;)

Thanks for your input and suggestions!

Peter
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Old April 27th, 2006, 09:56 AM   #10
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I really wonder if Glidecam Body Pod works well or not for this situation.
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Old April 27th, 2006, 10:13 AM   #11
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Shoes, shoes, shoes...

Just out of curiosity, do you guys have a nicer pair of shoes, for when you do nicer dressed functions? I got a pair of David Taylors at Sears, and they aren't quite as comfy as running shoes, but way better than my boots. Nice black suede and soft soles, sort of corporate casual.
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Old April 27th, 2006, 10:36 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Ozan Karakoc
I really wonder if Glidecam Body Pod works well or not for this situation.
From what i read, the bodypod is just to relieve stress, and is not a stabilzer system. The next closest thing is the smoother shooter but then again, that has its weight attached to it also.
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Old April 27th, 2006, 10:45 AM   #13
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From what i read, the bodypod is just to relieve stress, and is not a stabilzer system. The next closest thing is the smoother shooter but then again, that has its weight attached to it also.
Sure it's not a stabilizer system but the pressure applied to our bodies would be more balanced when used, I think. Of course excercise is still very important.

Thanks for the reply.
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Old April 27th, 2006, 10:51 AM   #14
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From what I understand, the bodypod is best used in between shots to give your wrists a rest. I suppose you can use the bodypod to shoot, but I think it translates your up & down movement from walking to the camera since it is connected to your body...

I have no experience with it but that's what others have said. Pease correct me if I'm wrong.
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Old April 27th, 2006, 11:52 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Peter Chung
From what I understand, the bodypod is best used in between shots to give your wrists a rest. I suppose you can use the bodypod to shoot, but I think it translates your up & down movement from walking to the camera since it is connected to your body...

I have no experience with it but that's what others have said. Pease correct me if I'm wrong.
You are right. The body pod is for static shots. It has no articulation, so walking is not really an option. It also does not spead the load from what I have seen in the pictures.

If you want something else, you would go up to Terry's Indicam or Glidecam's vest for the 2000/4000. The Glidecam wrist brace is supposed to help and someone recently mentioned using a sports wrist brace found at WalMart or a drug store also helped decrease arm fatigue.

Edit - other tactics are to work on lightening the camera package. Use multiple small batteries. Don't use a quick release mount. I did two parades with my 2000 with a VX2100 (not continous - only about 1.5 hrs of tape). Bayer Back and Body Pain is in my kit (my rotorcuff and elbow joint seem to get it the worst.)
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