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Calibrating Lifeline Chest Expander Cables - An Experiment

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#41 [url]

Feb 8 10 4:53 PM

Re: Resistance poundages of Lifeline cables

Elroy714 wrote:
Where would one get latex tubing or bands that are accurately represented? I've been using Lifeline's purple and red tubing for years, and although I like it and find it challenging, I would prefer to know exactly how much poundage I'm pulling.

I enjoy my Orange Lifeline cables too.  They have quite a different feel to the springs.

I have no knowledge of latex tubing or bands so can't comment on whether it's possible to accurately represent them or not.
However,  I think that most serious trainers would prefer to have some idea of the poundages they are pulling. After all,  I don't have to remind anyone in this forum that poundage is one of the fundamental parameters of one's progress.

I wouldn't have any problem with the Lifeline advertising if the actual tested pull-weights turned out to be plus or minus 10% of the advertised cable poundages. You could expect this with stretching rubber cables. But testing only one third of stated pull-weight is just too far off the mark.  

Imagine the disappointment of a dedicated strandpuller who had spent years working his way through the Lifeline colours and had finally arrived at three Blues,  only to find out he was pulling only 90lbs ( plus extra for his arm-span ),  not the advertised 270lbs.  What a let-down.  It's not good enough, especially from a company of Lifeline's standing.

  

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#43 [url]

Feb 9 10 5:41 AM

Re: Resistance poundages of Lifeline cables

Fatman 2 wrote:
On the other hand, if I could pull three blues I would be a very happy camper.

Tried those 3 yellows on the front chest pull the other day, didn't even budge them
I certainly would be happy too, Fatman.  Despite our test results,  three Lifeline Blues still seem to be a "rites of passage" in the Strandpulling world.
Mind you,  I would be damn happy just to FCP three Oranges right now for a few reps.

I can't believe you can't budge YYY for a FCP.  Scanning your 6 Feb workout, you're pulling YRY for 10 reps.  Even by Lifeline's advertising that should be only ten lbs ( plus arm-span extra ) less.
What's going on ?? 

  

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#44 [url]

Feb 10 10 4:02 AM

Re: Resistance poundages of Lifeline cables

macky wrote:

I can't believe you can't budge YYY for a FCP.  Scanning your 6 Feb workout, you're pulling YRY for 10 reps.  Even by Lifeline's advertising that should be only ten lbs ( plus arm-span extra ) less.
What's going on ?? 
 
Man, those "10 lbs." are just more than I can overcome right now.

Kind of like lifting dumbbells - sometimes you can hit weight X for five good reps, but a mere X+5 stops dead at your shoulders and turns into an isometric exercise. With a barbell you can gut out an extra 5-10 lbs through sheer mental effort or cheating, but on a dumbbell the 5 lbs. feels like 50.

Maybe I'll try the triple yellows before doing my working set next time. I can budge them a few inches, but that's about it.

Try inhaling on the pull, it will give you a couple of "free" inches and hopefully help you push past the sticking point. It's contrary to common "gym lore" on lifting weights (inhale on negative, exhale on positive), but it works.

Last Edited By: Fatman 2 Feb 10 10 4:05 AM. Edited 1 time.

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#45 [url]

Feb 10 10 4:31 AM

Re: Resistance poundages of Lifeline cables

Yes I suppose I should be reminded of the way three Oranges stopped me cold right at the start.  

The breathing with strandpulling movements I find very interesting,  and I take your comments on board about breathing IN on the pull,  rather than the other way around, as is usual with weight-training.

I do both,  according to how I feel on the particular set.  With higher reps I will not breath as deeply.

It would be interesting to hear how the other members co-ordinate their breaths,  especially with their heavier pulls.

Any word on your green cables, Fatman ?



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#46 [url]

Feb 10 10 8:58 PM

Re: Resistance poundages of Lifeline cables

macky wrote:

Any word on your green cables, Fatman ?
 

Nothing yet. I'm having them delivered within the US, then brought to me by a visitor.

However, since our US friends are currently in an uproar over the couple of inches of snow that have fallen in the last week or so, all deliveries have been suspended and/or delayed, so if they don't reach their US destination by Friday I'll have to wait until the summer.

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#47 [url]

Feb 14 10 4:49 PM

Re: Resistance poundages of Lifeline cables

Fatman 2 wrote:
macky wrote:

Any word on your green cables, Fatman ?
 

Nothing yet. I'm having them delivered within the US, then brought to me by a visitor.

However, since our US friends are currently in an uproar over the couple of inches of snow that have fallen in the last week or so, all deliveries have been suspended and/or delayed, so if they don't reach their US destination by Friday I'll have to wait until the summer.
No worries Fatman.  Would have been nice to have added your green cable measurements to my emails to Lifeline but I was contacted by them re an enquiry I made about the solid handles and spare cable sets,  so I replied and attached my first two emails back to them.
The handles are $9:95 but Lifeline's shipping charge is $45 so I'll give it a miss for a while.  I'm currently waiting on The Hook to arrive anyway,  so I'm really looking forward to that.  I'm of the opinion that when I start working with The Hook I won't want anything else.  Shen will like that :-)
Scanning your 10 Feb cable workout, you're not far off FCP YYY almost locking them out twice on 5-6 go's. That's a lot of tries at maximum, in itself a workout, I would think.
Curls look strong.
11 Feb W/O  Did you do our version of Archer's Pull or the usual Triceps Extension version ?

Previous workouts I notice "Deload" etc.  What is that, Fatman ??

  

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#48 [url]

Feb 17 10 2:41 AM

Re: Resistance poundages of Lifeline cables

Shamefully... the tricep extension version of the Archer Pull (faux APs).

"Deload" relates to my weight training program. It essentially means taking an "easy week" and working with very light weights for a few moderate-rep sets. I also add some conditioning work and hit the cables more often, because cable work doesn't hit my lower back at all and is much easier on the nervous system than (what for me is) heavy weight lifting.

Although I was initially sceptical about deloading, in the longer run it ensures continued progress. Working up to a peak over 3 weeks, then taking one as "deload", has a beneficial effect on my strength levels, much better than the "train balls to the wall, overtrain and give up" tactic I had been using previously.

On a much sadder note, the green cables are still far, far away. No show before the summer, I'm afraid.

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#49 [url]

Feb 17 10 4:31 PM

Re: Resistance poundages of Lifeline cables

Still pretty good for a triceps extension Fatman,  YY for 10 reps.

The deload makes a lotta sense.  I find I have to go light for a week ( light for me being lighter than the usual light ). I found when I was deadlifting in the mid-eighties that it was the nervous system that needed more recovery than anything else.  I've seen articles by power-lifters that speak of only one deadlift session a week because of its toll on the nervous system.  That's why I regard your poundages for nine reps etc as quite impressive.  Although I was never a strong weightlifter,  I had a best hacklift of 450lbs at 160lbs bodyweight,  but I was only good for a couple of reps d/lift at 330lbs.   Shortly afterwards I popped an inguinal hernia,  which Malcolm47 assures me is "in the family." My grandfather had them too.

Not to worry about the green cables.  I emailed Carrie Jensen back as I mentioned and she got back to me promptly with her email informing me she had forwarded my enquiries to Ray Rollins who is the Quality and Control manager, so I'll wait for his reply.

I received The Hook yesterday and have been trying things out with the loops and handles.  Very interesting piece of equipment and nice feel to the bands.  The handles have a solid heft to them,  however I wouldn't say at this stage that The Hook is entirely suitable for all the "Big Six Chest Expander exercises. With some adjustments it may well prove to be so, however, and it may well be just me having to adjust to it.
For two-arm curls and all sorts of raises and rows, coupled with the door attachment exercises,  it's a superb piece of equipment and Shen has done well in designing and building this unique addition to the world's gym equipment.






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#50 [url]

Feb 18 10 2:46 AM

Re: Resistance poundages of Lifeline cables

One has to wonder whether Lifeline has an I.E. department. What Lifeline should do for chest expander cable calibration is as follows:

Measure how much poundage is required to get from double expansion, to what ever expansion a tall man requires to complete the major exerices to the full extent of his arm span. Double expansion should be defined as double the length inbetween the handles (about 12") since the plugs held by the triple grip handles don't really expand.

I'd recommend randomly plucking 10 of each of the 9 colors of cable from production and doing these tests and averaging the results for each cable.

A color coded graph can then be made incuding all 9 cables from 24" to whatever the max is and this chart could be on the web site.

Additionally most users would like to know approximately how far they stretch the cables. For me I have about a 68" reach, so the insides of the handles are about 58" apart at full extension. I think that typically with triple grip handles the insides of the handles unstretched are about 24" apart, so I am stretching 34" to complete an exercise like the FP. This means that the unplugged part of the cables is stretched from 12" to 46".

It sure would be nice to see charts telling me how much force is needed across that range and it doesn't seem to be a difficult task for even a new hire Industrial Engineer.

In spite of this lack of customer support, I made a big order from Lifeline and bought, triple grip handles and door attachment and all cable sets from R5 thru R9. This will allow me to use any "poundage" (err Lifeline stated) between 50 and 270.

I felt that I needed to upgrade my setup using several sets of Gold's Gym tubing (WalMart) as I was nearly maxing out my available stock on power exercises like OHP and BP and wanted better microloading as well as to compare my progress with a standard in this sport. I calibrated my max OHP and BP at about 79 lbs and noting the I think the life line handles are about an inch or two closer together than what I use and that 3 Blues will claibrate at about 90 lbs, I should have a fun spring and summer trying to work up to that for at least one rep.

.. neilkaz ..

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#51 [url]

Feb 18 10 4:44 AM

Re: Resistance poundages of Lifeline cables

Hi neilkaz.
My emails to Lifeline were enquiries not complaints. I would still buy Lifeline equipment, whatever their answer.  Not their soft handles though.

Carrie Jensen did answer promptly when I emailed her directly   [email protected]  Why don't you email her with your recommendations.  She will make sure they go to the right person in Lifeline.  This could be another trainer's input for the benefit of us all.

It was the general Lifeline email address which wasn't being answered,  which of course is not good enough. 

But they generally present good solid equipment to the serious trainer,  and I see no reason why they can't take our test results in good faith.

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#52 [url]

Feb 18 10 6:48 AM

Re: Resistance poundages of Lifeline cables

Macky, once I get my cables and see exactly how they act at full stretch, I;ll email her with a detailed test recommendation and also how to do it, unless someone has allready done so.

th x.. neilkaz ..

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#53 [url]

Feb 23 10 1:27 AM

My Lifeline chest expander cables arrived over the weekend while I was away so I couldn't do a quick resistance check until this morning. Looking at the way the cables stretch when held by triple grip handles, it seems that the plug doesn't stretch at all, while every bit of cable inbetween the plugs stretches. The triple grip handle has some plastic the extends a little further down the center cable, but doesn't seem to prevent a cable like the orange I tested from stretching there near the handle.

Anyhow, I attached about 16.8 lbs (4.3 lb for loading pin and clip, and 12.5 lb in plates) to the opposite end of one orange cable and let it hang, and it stretched to almost exactly twice the distance between the plugs. 16.8 is very close to 1/3 the spec'd resistance of 50 lbs.

This is more evidence that while Lifeline states that they spec their cables as twice the stretch, it seems that something has been lost in the translation between the marketing and engineering depts and that 50 lbs is for three orange cables stretched to twice the length.

.. neilkaz ..

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#54 [url]

Feb 23 10 2:12 AM

Re: Resistance poundages of Lifeline cables

I dida quick calibration test this morning with an orange lifeline cable and indeed and within reasonable measurement tolerance, it takes 1/3 of the quoted resistance to stretch the cable to double the length inbetween the end plugs. I think we all can realize that something was lost in translation between Lifeline's engineering and marketing depts and that at double stretch, it takes 3 cables to get the quoted resistance rather than one. Note also that for most exercises we stretch the cables far beyond double, and thus near the conclusion of the movement we are exerting considerably more force that at double stretch.

This is my first experience with Lifeline tubing and I have to admit that I am quite impressed. My order arrived here in just days (Madison WI is little more than 2 hours drive so that helped speed shipping I guess) and the triple grip handles and tubing are very well made.

I am humbled by how difficult the tubing is, and just couldn't manage to do an OHP with three oranges (spec 150) but did manage 2 yellows (spec 140) . Fortunately I bought enough of an assortment of tubing that I can microload every spec'd strength from 50 to 270 in increments of 10 and hopefully this will help me progress. I also note how weak my upper back and lats must have been when I started with my own Walmart tubing about 18 months ago, since I think I've doubled what I can do with the major exercises since then.

I also note the narrow distance between the handles, which might make Lifeline's chest expander difficult for tall guys to use for some exercises. I measure 23 1/4" from the insides of the handles (ie where they touch the hands). To position for BP I do at least a partial OHP (palms out) and then position behind my back.

Thumbs up to anyone strong enough to work with 3 Blues.   .. neilkaz ..

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#55 [url]

Feb 23 10 11:27 AM

Re: Resistance poundages of Lifeline cables

Hi neilkaz

You've obviously reached the same results as Fatman and I did.  And you are correct in assuming your full stretch will be more than the double-length resistances.  But at 64" ( handle to handle ) my full stretch, the oranges were some 27lbs each,  still way below the advertised pullweights at double length.
A scale measurement of two cables ( three cables were too much for the scale ) came to approx 53lbs,  which ties in with the single cable tests.  Therefore the three oranges at full stretch only come to slightly over 80lbs. which is far short of the advertised 150lbs at double length.

Hey, I can't pull three oranges out, so I'm not saying Lifeline cables dont give you a good workout.  They certainly do.  Anyone who can work with the medium + cables is handling very commendable resistances,  but where Lifeline got their advertised poundages from,  I don't know.
What made the Oranges harder than springs for me, was that Lifeline cables are harder to start over the first 6-9" than my springs are.  Therefore although I can FCP five springs ( = 90lbs ) for five reps full stretch , I can't even start three Oranges at 81lbs full stretch.

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#56 [url]

Feb 24 10 1:55 AM

Re: Resistance poundages of Lifeline cables

Hi Macky,

Perhaps your cables are harder at the start than your springs since the distance between the insides of the handles is closer. My Lifeline tubing with triple grip handles is 23 1/4" between the handles at closest point (ie where it touches your hands). To see how I measure this distance, check here http://strandpulling.yuku.com/topic/547. The distance between handles for that apparatus is about 26.5".

Of course, I can do considerably more weight using my homemade apparatus than with the Lifeline and I am lots more likely to hit an early sticking point or to be barely able to start when using the cables with a smaller distance between handles.

What's the distance between the handles at the closest point for your springs?   .. neilkaz ..

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#57 [url]

Feb 24 10 2:16 AM

Re: Resistance poundages of Lifeline cables

There's a thread where Macky and I compared his Chinese springs with my Spenby springs and the Chinese springs were only about a third of the pull of the Spenby in the beginning of the pull. The Spenby springs were a few pounds harder to pull than the equivalent rubber cable at the beginning of the pull.


Paul.

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#58 [url]

Feb 24 10 5:24 AM

Re: Resistance poundages of Lifeline cables

neilkaz wrote:
Hi Macky,

Perhaps your cables are harder at the start than your springs since the distance between the insides of the handles is closer.

What's the distance between the handles at the closest point for your springs?   .. neilkaz ..
On the 4th Feb I did some measurements comparing my Springs with the Oranges and found that the Orange cables pulled out to 3",  6" and 9" were over twice the resistance of my Springs,  which answered my question as to why I could pull out 90lbs of Springs but could hardly budge 81lbs of Orange cables ( full-stretch pullweights ). This also proved why the Orange cables seemed to give me more of a workout than the Springs.
The thread is "Latest Workout Results re Lifeline Flexible Handles/Springs".   The distance between handles ( modified ) of the Lifeline is 22", and 24" for the red handles with the Chinese springs,  so I don't really think that had much bearing on why I couldn't pull out the Oranges, although it was worth considering.

What I must say, is that I'm utterly amazed at the poundages that Paul is hauling ( 140lbs + ) and also considering that the Spenby springs he is using are actually harder to start than the cables !  Paul is working on eight springs at the moment and I'm thinking I would be lucky to pull two out.
Along with Fatman's pullweights,  I look at my paltry efforts and weep,   but nevertheless I have an ongoing interest with Paul's and Fatman's progress as I'm fascinated as to just how far these two experienced trainers ( who must eat tons of bananas ) will go.
Obviously with Fatman three blue Lifeline cables will be the Big Day, I would imagine, but I'm also looking forward to when Paul pulls out 200lbs on his Spenby's and then goes into business demolishing houses with his bare hands.

  

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#59 [url]

Feb 24 10 6:26 AM

Re: Resistance poundages of Lifeline cables

I remember when I got my first Spenby and the first time I tried the FCP I only got 3 springs fully stetched. When I got to 5 I thought it was great and then I progressed from there and doing 7 the first time was a real all out effort. I've dropped down from 7 now so I can work on some higher reps and because you can't go all out all of the time without going stale. With it being winter here I find the higher rep stuff keeps me going at a good pace and keeps me warm during the workout. I train in my garage and it's been close to zero for a couple of months nearly now. Come March/April I shall get back into the lower rep stuff again and break into new territory over the summer.


Paul.

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#60 [url]

Feb 24 10 6:27 AM

Re: Resistance poundages of Lifeline cables

Macky, by pullout, what exercise are you referring to?

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