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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Can you load it?

re-post from

I know this post is going to be controversial. I want to stir the pot, pose a question, and open some discussion. I am not speaking in absolutes, just giving an opinion and a thought on something. Although I am sure it will be viewed differently, I am not trying to displace certain exercises as “bad”.
The fitness industry, from what I’ve seen, can be comical at times. We all know the basics work, but we also know that in order to progress and stay relevant, we need to be innovative. In reality a lot of what you read has been said before, a lot. Coaches and trainers just re-package things, which is fine. Sometimes I find that in order to generate new content, or make some noise, they also come up with exercises, programs, etc. that are definitely different and thought provoking, but often times less productive than their less sexy roots.
I am not sold on exercises that continually make basic movements more complex.
Yesterday we talked about accommodation, and while a relevant concern, it’s definitely exaggerated. I don’t find people accommodate to basic movements as quickly as we seem to think they do. Additionally, exercise selection is only one of many ways to avoid accommodation. Changing a movement is not the only way to progress.
It’s called strength training, which leads me to believe the objective is to get stronger.
So why do we continually make exercises more challenging to load? Why do we add multiple components to a movement, that possibly take away from the main objective of the original movement?
Maybe it’s because squatting, dead lifting, lunging, pressing, and rowing get boring. I don’t think that’s a good enough answer. I mean we seem to tell people who want to lose body fat they need to eat real foods. There are only so many real foods, and while the grocery store offers a bazillion varieties, we tend to say “get over it” if you want to make the most progress.
If I want to get something done with a movement then I want to be able to LOAD it. I can load the squat, I can load the dead lift, I can load a bench press, push up, overhead press, barbell row, dumbell row, pull up, and lunge.
I can assign these movements with a very clear objective of what I am trying to elicit.
I can even take them and slightly change the range of motion, or how I’m loading it. I can easily quantify them, vary the loads, and total work done.
When exercises begin to combine multiple objectives, the point get’s lost on me. I can’t load a single leg overhead good morning. If that even exists, I’m sure it does.
Are the days gone where if you wanted a strong upper body, you pressed? If you wanted strong legs, you squatted?
Have they been replaced by exercises where you kind of get to press and kind of get to squat, at the same time, and never truly get too strong at either?
If you want training efficiency the answer has been around for a long time: Big movements, that you can load. Movements that put you in a great position to handle some weight (safely).
Training efficiency doesn’t equate to movements where you think you are accomplishing a lot because you add bells and whistles all around the root movement. Does it?
Want more activation? Do activation drills where you can focus on just that. Then go lift.
Want to get strong? Use movements that put you in the best position, and allow you to focus solely on moving heavy stuff.
I thought it was better to become a master at one thing, than sort of proficient at many things.
What do you think?

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