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Old 10-06-2010, 07:51 PM   #11
Casey Crooks
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Re: From charlespoliquin: The "Functional" Training Delusion

^^^ how do the two seem at odds?
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Old 10-06-2010, 08:48 PM   #12
Chris Mason
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Re: From charlespoliquin: The "Functional" Training Delusion

I hate to say it, but he is right in this case.
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Old 10-07-2010, 09:18 AM   #13
Ari Sherwood
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Re: From charlespoliquin: The "Functional" Training Delusion

Isn't it kind of obvious why they're at odds?

Yes, Minor later basically argues not to dismiss single-joint exercises, but the fundamental thesis of Minor's article was:

"Functional training is not superior to traditional strength training for developing usable strength and fitness.
...
The “functional” coaches promote the delusion that single-joint exercise, exercise machines, and split routines are non-functional and only useful for aesthetic purposes. This stance is not supported by research or empirical evidence."

Poliquin argues just the opposite in reference to squats vs. leg extensions. Leg extensions, to me, seem like the classic example of "isolation" exercises, and are indeed described as such by Poliquin. Poliquin essentially dismisses this "single-joint exercise" done on an "exercise machine" as being wholly unequal "in terms of gains in strength, hypertrophy and power." This is in complete disagreement with Minor's opening statement. Maybe I'm obtuse, but am I missing something?
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Old 10-07-2010, 01:05 PM   #14
Andrew James
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Re: From charlespoliquin: The "Functional" Training Delusion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ari Sherwood View Post
Isn't it kind of obvious why they're at odds?

Yes, Minor later basically argues not to dismiss single-joint exercises, but the fundamental thesis of Minor's article was:

"Functional training is not superior to traditional strength training for developing usable strength and fitness.
...
The “functional” coaches promote the delusion that single-joint exercise, exercise machines, and split routines are non-functional and only useful for aesthetic purposes. This stance is not supported by research or empirical evidence."

Poliquin argues just the opposite in reference to squats vs. leg extensions. Leg extensions, to me, seem like the classic example of "isolation" exercises, and are indeed described as such by Poliquin. Poliquin essentially dismisses this "single-joint exercise" done on an "exercise machine" as being wholly unequal "in terms of gains in strength, hypertrophy and power." This is in complete disagreement with Minor's opening statement. Maybe I'm obtuse, but am I missing something?
Poliquin says squats and leg extensions are unequal. He does not say that leg extensions are useless.
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Old 10-07-2010, 02:01 PM   #15
Ari Sherwood
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Re: From charlespoliquin: The "Functional" Training Delusion

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Originally Posted by Andrew James View Post
Poliquin says squats and leg extensions are unequal. He does not say that leg extensions are useless.
Hmm. This argument seems really contrived to me. Maybe nobody actually clicked on the link and read the rest of the article like I did? Here it is in its entirety:

"Why the Leg Extension Machine Is Still Around
Sep 23
Written by: Charles Poliquin

The leg (or knee) extension machine has endured as one of the most popular exercise machines in health clubs, school weightrooms and physical therapy clinics. Here are five reasons for its popularity:

1. Most individuals will avoid squats because they are way more taxing than leg extensions. In other words, our culture teaches us to use the easiest route, not the most rewarding one. However, in life you get out what you put in. No amount of leg extensions will equal a full squat in terms of gains in strength, hypertrophy and power.

2. Most geeks will rationalize (i.e., “rational lies”) that isolation exercises are better than compound exercises – this way they can repress their feelings of guilt for avoiding demanding, gut-wrenching exercises. Many trainees believe leg extensions isolate the quadriceps better. Not so. Even though your quadriceps are actually isolated during leg extensions, this exercise has very little actual transfer capacity to daily activity.

3. The early ’70s philosophy of “machines are better than free weights,” which was launched by exercise equipment companies such as Universal and Nautilus, made gym owners jump on the bandwagon and purchase leg extension machines by the thousands. (As with Coke, this turned out to be a major marketing success story.)

4. You can be a motor moron and still be able to perform the leg extension.

5. Most personal trainers are hired on two premises: they have a pulse, and they’re old enough to make someone sign a contract. Not having to be concerned about coaching enables them to focus on making sales

If you’re still on the fence about using leg extensions, here are a few facts to consider.

The leg extension exercise is a so-called “open chain” exercise, which means that the resistance encountered is overcome by the force applied by the working extremity. With this type of exercise, the recruitment patterns of the muscles and kinematics of the joints are completely out of phase with a closed-chain activity, such as squatting or skating.

When you walk or squat, your femur (the upper thigh bone) moves across your tibia (a lower thigh bone). As it does so, the body must balance its center of gravity over the base of support (or within a recoverable-stance phase), which requires force-coupled actions from a variety of muscle groups. In contrast, the fixed, stable position inherent in the leg extension doesn’t require the recruitment of the numerous synergistic muscles that are involved in walking. In other words, due to the unidimensional action of the leg extension, the brain can disproportionately recruit prime movers in relation to stabilizers and neutralizers. As such, these smaller muscles don’t get the proper workout they would get in a squat.

Of course, the squat is an exercise that needs to be taught properly, and it’s not always the best option for a beginner who has certain orthopedic issues. If you want to learn how to squat properly, I suggest that you enlist of a PICP coach certified at Level 2 and beyond
."

It's pretty obvious that Poliquin considers leg extensions to be useless in terms of real-world applications. Heck, the title alone ("Why the Leg Extension Machine Is Still Around") basically screams it!

In the end, I think it comes down to efficiency. Sure, you could do lots of single-joint exercises and achieve your goals, but it would (theoretically) take a heck of a lot longer and still not necessarily achieve the same result, at least according to Poliquin himself.

Unless you:

- have a very sport-specific need (e.g. a running back doing bicep curls to strengthen his ability to hold the football while running),
- have an injury/imbalance/ortho issue, or
- are a bodybuilder only concerned about hypertrophy,

it seems that isolation exercises are a much less efficient way to train. Are they completely useless? Of course not, but Poliquin himself seems to argue that they are vastly inferior. This doesn't agree with the basic thesis of Erick Minor.

Last edited by Ari Sherwood; 10-07-2010 at 02:26 PM..
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Old 10-07-2010, 02:37 PM   #16
Ari Sherwood
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Re: From charlespoliquin: The "Functional" Training Delusion

Here's another article about leg extensions, which cites an additional argument relating to increased injury risk of doing leg XT's. There are several empirical studies cited.

http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_...leg_extensions {WFS}

"
The Truth About Leg Extensions
The popular leg exercise goes under the microscope!
by Eric Cressey
.....
.....
Closing Thoughts

Let's take a step back and examine our risk-to-benefit situation now:

Leg Extension Risks:

1. Increased patellofemoral joint reaction force, knee movement, and joint stress in the most commonly used range of motion.

2. Reduced hamstrings activity.

3. Reduced VMO activity and late onset of firing.

4. Non-existent hip adductor and abductor contribution.

5. Increased rectus femoris firing.

6. Constant ACL tension.

7. Higher patellar ligament, quadriceps tendon, and patellofemoral and tibiofemoral forces with the most commonly utilized loading parameters.

8. Increased lateral patellar deviation.

9. Insufficient involvement of surrounding joints to ensure optimal functioning.

10. Poor training economy (no carryover to closed-chain performance from open-chain exercises).

Leg Extension Benefits:

1. Will give you a good pump, but not even close to the benefits you'll get from squatting and single-leg movements.

2. Uh, wait, there's really only one benefit — and it's pretty weak.

Whether you're a patient or not, the take-home message is the same: if you want more bang for your training buck you should be squatting, not doing leg extensions. Factor in the additional loading that squatting allows, and it should come as no surprise that you'll see better gains in size, strength, and functional capacity
."

Not that Cressey is the only expert either, but I'd say that's a pretty strong indictment of a single-joint exercise.
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Old 10-07-2010, 05:42 PM   #17
Lonnie Johnson
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Re: From charlespoliquin: The "Functional" Training Delusion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ari Sherwood View Post
it seems that isolation exercises are a much less efficient way to train. Are they completely useless? Of course not, but Poliquin himself seems to argue that they are vastly inferior. This doesn't agree with the basic thesis of Erick Minor.
Erick's basic thesis isn't that one type of movement (single or multi-joint) is better than the other universally, but that both can be "functional" depending on what you are trying to get out of them. Or, to state that a single joint movement is less functional is false, just as a multi-joint movement always being more functional is also false. It simply depends on what you are trying to get out of the chosen movements.

So, Poliquin stating that in general a multi-joint movement like squats is usually a superior training method over leg extensions doesn't conflict with Minor's thesis that a single-joint movement can still be "functional" such as in the case where a weakness in a multi-joint movement is being addressed with a single-joint movement.
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Old 10-07-2010, 06:25 PM   #18
Chris Mason
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Re: From charlespoliquin: The "Functional" Training Delusion

The idea a leg extension would not benefit one's squat, especially if said squat is quad focused (read Olympic squat) is wrong. Leg extensions can help build the quads. If one's quads get stronger and one squats in a quad focused manner then the squat will go up as the quad strength increases. In other words, if the leg extension is used as an accessory movement for the squat then it can benefit the squat.
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Old 10-08-2010, 05:54 AM   #19
Ari Sherwood
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Re: From charlespoliquin: The "Functional" Training Delusion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Mason View Post
The idea a leg extension would not benefit one's squat, especially if said squat is quad focused (read Olympic squat) is wrong. Leg extensions can help build the quads. If one's quads get stronger and one squats in a quad focused manner then the squat will go up as the quad strength increases. In other words, if the leg extension is used as an accessory movement for the squat then it can benefit the squat.
Perhaps, but given the injury risks cited above, the benefit to risk ratio doesn't seem in favor of doing them.

I don't know, maybe it's just me, but I don't think a reasonable person would read Poliquin's article and consider him to be in favor of using leg extensions for anything.
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Old 10-08-2010, 05:57 AM   #20
Ari Sherwood
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Re: From charlespoliquin: The "Functional" Training Delusion

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Originally Posted by Lonnie Johnson View Post
Erick's basic thesis isn't that one type of movement (single or multi-joint) is better than the other universally, but that both can be "functional" depending on what you are trying to get out of them. Or, to state that a single joint movement is less functional is false, just as a multi-joint movement always being more functional is also false. It simply depends on what you are trying to get out of the chosen movements.

So, Poliquin stating that in general a multi-joint movement like squats is usually a superior training method over leg extensions doesn't conflict with Minor's thesis that a single-joint movement can still be "functional" such as in the case where a weakness in a multi-joint movement is being addressed with a single-joint movement.
Well, maybe we're devolving into a semantic argument here, but Minor's primary thesis is not that single-joint movements can be functional (which is hard to disagree with), but rather is stated in the opening line: "functional training is not superior to traditional strength training" while Poliquin seems to be arguing just the opposite.
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