One-of-a-Kind Prosthetic Arm Accelerates Bodybuilder’s Workout, Sparks Viral Video

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Max Okun was born with a left arm that ends above the elbow and was recently fit with a customized weightlifting prosthesis made by Advanced Arm Dynamics. His Instagram posts featuring the unique arm sparked a viral video and inspired Okun to educate other amputees about this life-changing technology.

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My new prosthesis is my most prized possession. I can't imagine going to the gym without it.

Bodybuilder Max Okun was recently fitted with a custom weightlifting prosthesis that revolutionized his life and was featured in a 2016 You Tube video with millions of views worldwide. His success motivated him to reach out to traditional and digital media outlets and bloggers with information about this new, one-of-a-kind prosthetic arm that could benefit thousands of upper limb amputees, including nearly 2,000 American troops who lost one or more limbs from combat injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan.(*1)

Okun was born with a left arm that stopped growing at the elbow and spent most of his 25 years navigating life with one hand. In 2013, he developed a bulging disk in his back due to constant overuse of his right arm and resulting uneven body mechanics. His doctor said he might require surgery or become much more disabled in the future. Okun said he wouldn't accept either of those outcomes.

He started going to the gym every day in an attempt to balance out his body with weight training. His posture improved and his back pain lessened. There was just one problem: Okun wanted to be able to do more. The absence of a left elbow, forearm and hand was clearly limiting his potential.

In 2015, he sought out Advanced Arm Dynamics, a team of specialized, upper limb prosthetists and therapists, and they collaborated with Okun on the design of a new, one-of-a-kind prosthetic device specifically for weightlifting. Okun began wearing the activity-specific prosthesis in 2016 and his Instagram posts were the subject of a You Tube video with millions of views worldwide.

The robust arm is fabricated from carbon fiber, and features a newly designed elbow and interchangeable attachments for gripping handles, hanging from bars and doing push-ups. "For the first time, I can use my left arm to do anything that requires a bend or a push, so I can lift in a more complete way and my health is much improved." Okun said. "My new prosthesis is my most prized possession. I can't imagine going to the gym without it."

Okun describes his highly customized prosthesis as life-changing and he is committed to spreading the news about this powerful tool to other people with upper limb loss. Each year in the U.S. about 19,000 people become upper limb amputees(*2) and almost 50 percent of people with upper limb loss do not use a prosthesis(*3). It is challenging for prosthetic consumers to locate information about new, customized, one-of-a-kind prosthetic solutions. Okun would like to potentially improve the lives and health of thousands of upper limb amputees by sharing this information with key media outlets. HD photos and video of Okun using his prosthesis are available.

*1:The Associated Press. Military medicine works on better prosthetics for young, active, disabled combat veterans. July 2014.

*2: Dillingham TR, Pezzin LE, MacKenzie EJ, et al. Limb amputation and limb deficiency - epidemiology and recent trends in the US. South Med J 2002;95:875–83.

*3: Dao, J. Learning to accept and master a $110,000 mechanical arm. NY Times 2012;
Media Contact: Carol Sorrels, 1.405.250.8555,

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