February 15, 2011 9:32 AM   Subscribe

What is astrowheeling?

While browsing the internet, I stumbled upon this cryptic reference to something called "Astrowheeling".

Does anyone know what astrowheeling is? Okay, I mean, is this a joke? Do people actually spin wheels like this? Where can I get one? Apparently there is a book, but attempts to google have turned up very little info.
posted by satori_movement to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It's not a joke. The centripetal force from the spinning wheel is countered by the muscles in your arms/wrists. It is meant to be a strength training exercise. But the forces involved are rather small so it's not an entirely useful exercise.
posted by dfriedman at 9:40 AM on February 15, 2011

I've never seen that done as exercise, but wheels are used like that in a common physics lab demonstration showing conservation of momentum. Lotsa examples. Usually they just use a bicycle wheel with handles attached (welded?).

A related exercise (actually done for exercise--but not by me) is the Powerball "gyroscopic exercise tool".
posted by anaelith at 9:48 AM on February 15, 2011

Also, classic and awesome video showing one of the bicycle wheel gyroscopes.
posted by anaelith at 9:50 AM on February 15, 2011

Cool, thanks for the answers. The powerball truly looks to be the spiritual successor.
posted by satori_movement at 10:46 AM on February 15, 2011

Also try this experiment...
Hold the the bike wheel with two screwdrivers as shown in the Wikipedia page.
Sit on a revolving office chair or utility stool.
Spin the wheel and then hold the wheel sideways.
The centrifugal force will then spin you in your chair in the direction the wheel spins.


I'd assume there is some muscle resistance in this Astrowheeling business, but not
enough to do it rather than simply lift weights. It's what bored bike mechanics do.
posted by No Shmoobles at 11:33 AM on February 15, 2011

If you're ever in Seattle, the Pacific Science Center has a display in which you use astrowheeling to rotate on a platform. It's pretty cool, or at least I always thought so as a (very nerdy) kid.
posted by ErikaB at 11:42 AM on February 15, 2011

Yes, this involves physics (conservation of angular momentum, actually), and yes, it's a common physics demonstration. You can buy the apparatus here (for example).

But the OP's question is whether playing around with a spinning object is a practical form of exercise. If it is, who is practicing it and where?
posted by exphysicist345 at 4:16 PM on February 15, 2011

Exphysicist345, you ROCK. I cannot believe you found one of these! Of course, as you point out, we still have no info on the exercise portion.
posted by satori_movement at 8:11 AM on February 22, 2011

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