Speed bag training to fight Parkinson's disease

The following series of videos shows that Mark Smith and I have improved our abilities to use a speed bag since February 2010, in spite of Parkinson's disease.

We began using the speed bag in 2009 but we were terrible at first so neither of us wanted to be videotaped. By February 2010 Mark had improved a lot on the speed bag and I had improved enough that we expected we would continue to improve, so we decided to record "before videos" before we got better. Mark then produced the following video about benefits of speed bag training for people with Parkinson's disease, and posted this video on YouTube.

An excellent book:  The Speed Bag Bible, by Alan Kahn.    Alan has posted many advanced speed bag videos on YouTube



I especially like the comments Mark included in this video:  "Slowly to my surprise, my abilities with the speed bag improved. This was very significant because when you have a progressive degenerative neurological disease, things that improve are very rare!"...... "I cannot say with any degree of certainty that use of a speed bag has slowed or reversed neurological degeneration due to Parkinson's disease but I can say that the HOPE alone that results from seeing something that has slowly degraded for years actually turn around and get better is worth the world to me."

Since February 2010, Mark and I have continued speed bag training and have continued to gain hand speed and coordination.

It is quite difficult to figure out precisely what parts of our neuromuscular function we have improved as a result of speed bag training. In case any experts are reading this, Mark and I agree that inability to move our more affected arm as fast as our good arm is the most noticeable effect of Parkinson's disease on our ability to use the speed bag, and speed bag training has increased the speed of both arms but the bad arm improved disproportionately more than the good arm.


The following video shows Mark Smith on speed bag March 10, 2011


David Blatt on speed bag February 2010


David Blatt on speed bag May 13, 2011


David Blatt on speed bag October 6, 2011


David on speed bag February 2012



Benefits of speed bag training in people with Parkinson's disease:


  • Speed bag training improved our functional abilities (coordination, speed of movement, muscle power), and we enjoy the improved function now.
  • We have much more hope now partly because our neuromuscular function has improved and especially because we improved our function by our actions rather than waiting for researchers to figure out new treatments.

I encourage anyone with Parkinson's disease who can stand to use a speed bag.

I predict most people with Parkinson's disease can improve their abilities to use a speed bag much more than they expect. Just be patient and keep practicing, no matter how awkward and uncoordinated you feel.


Services provided

Exercise training: classes, individual training

Counseling patients and families on how to cope with the many challenges of Parkinson's disease, and how to progress toward thriving in spite of these challenges

Public speaking: to patients, health care professionals, and students

Links to photos and videos

Boxing speed bag


Alpine skiing

Hiking to summit of South Sister, Oregon (altitude 10,358 feet)

For more videos, go to my YouTube channel www.youtube.com/user/davidhblattmd

Exercise is something we have to do for ourselves. No one else can exercise for us and no pills can do for us what exercise does for us. There is no such thing as an exercise pill.