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Fitness Theory and Practice. CrossFit's rationale & foundations. Who is fit? What is fitness?

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Old 12-03-2005, 09:01 PM   #1
Neal Winkler
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You can find the ACSM's position on Free weights vs. Machines here: http://www.acsm.org/certification/pd...05%20Cnews.pdf

In the following I will underline their various points and then respond to them...

Free weights demand more intermuscular and intramuscular coordination. Many muscles are required during free weight exercises for balance, stabilization, coordination, and control. Using many muscles together is what makes free weight exercises functional or mimic real life
movements.


Agreed.

Free weights allow for greater and varying ROMs that can accommodate different body frames.

Agreed.

Dumbbells enable a lifter to perform each arm independently. This is useful for correcting muscle imbalances and maintaining muscle symmetry.

Hmmm, we agree again. Wow, we're on a role...

Free weights also enable the performance of structural exercises (e.g., squat, deadlift).

Indeed, that could be very useful! Agree again.

For very small framed or overweight individuals, free weights may be best choice since these individuals may not fit into some machines properly.

Very true. Agreed.

Machines are safer to use than free weights. You can perform any machine without a spotter and you cannot get “trapped” on a machine.

It's true that you can get trapped during a bench press, that's really the only instance I can think of. People can trapped under a squat, but not if your in a squat rack with the pins in.

Machines are also easier to learn and perform correctly.

The variety of machines that one finds upon entering a commercial gym, especially the complicated multi-button treadmills and elitpical machines, can be somewhat confusing. However, I will concede this point. But just because something is easier to learn doesn't mean its necessarily a benifit.

Some exercises cannot be performed effectively without a machine. Machines provide varying patterns of resistance that would be very difficult to achieve with free weights1,2. For example, leg extension and leg curl machines provide rotational resistance that allows the quadriceps and hamstrings to be worked through a full ROM.

That's very true, but who cares?

Certain body movements are also best accommodated with machines or manual resistance. Movements such as hip flexion, hip adduction and abduction, and shoulder adduction are more easily and effectively strengthened with selectorized machines.

Hip flexion is more easily and effectively strengthened with machines? Ever heard of l-sits, hollow rocks, glute-ham sit ups, medicine ball and other weighted sit-up variations, ect.?

All we got for shoulder adduction is the iron cross. The iron cross is cool, and certainly better for building strength for shoulder adduction than machine exercises, but I don;t really exoect many people to be able to do it.

Point conceded for shoulder adduction, and leg adduction and abduction. Unless someone else can come up with better non-machine exercises for these movements.

Most selectorized machines offer some variable resistance. Variable resistance means the resistance employed varies through a given ROM...The resistance mimics the natural force curve of the working muscle(s).

Hmmm, I really don't know anything about this so I can't comment.

The emphasis or isolation of specific body parts is another unique characteristic machines offer... Muscles used for stabilization do not get loaded sufficiently for significant gains in muscle hypertrophy and strength.

What would be some examples of muscles that are usually used for stabilization, and that we would benifit from strengthening through isolation? None are given.

Machines allow for a more time efficient workout.

Do I really need to comment?

Thoughts?

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Old 12-03-2005, 11:40 PM   #2
Roger Harrell
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Hip abduction.
Hold a side support. A right side support would have your right hand and right foot on the ground, so you're supported, well, on your side. Now lift your left leg towards the ceiling. Rinse and repeat. Need more resistance? Add ankle weights. Excelleng hip abduction work, no machine, and you'll get to work core stabilization all at the same time.

Hip adduction. Lie on your side. Cross your top leg over so your foot is on the floor at about mid quad of your bottom leg. Lift your bottom leg as high as you can. Rinse repeaat, as above ankle weights apply. Good reahab/preventative for groin pulls.

You hit the nail on the head for should adduction. Though many won't ever do an iron cross, assisted/simulated iron crosses are doable by all. Just reduce the resistance.










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Old 12-04-2005, 07:57 AM   #3
Paul Symes
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What on earth does selectorized mean?

Is a make of machine?

(Message edited by symzie on December 04, 2005)
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Old 12-04-2005, 08:57 AM   #4
Neal Winkler
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Roger, duh, I should of thought of the leg abduction. This is way better because of the core workout, plus the lack of a machine for it saves space on the floor, and you can do it if there was a machine and someone was on it.

Leg adduction. Hmmm, that's neat I hadn't realized that before. But I can see a possible objection to it being that it doesn't provide a great of a range of motion than a machine can.
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Old 12-04-2005, 10:25 AM   #5
James R. Climer
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Using bands and/ or chains are means of variable resistance for free weights.

Skating or roller blading, and skiing can be pretty brutal on the adductors and abductors, especialy for a hack skiier like myself: much cramping.
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Old 12-04-2005, 11:04 AM   #6
Ross Hunt
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"Machines are safer to use than free weights. You can perform any machine without a spotter and you cannot get “trapped” on a machine."

"Most selectorized machines offer some variable resistance. Variable resistance means the resistance employed varies through a given ROM...The resistance mimics the natural force curve of the working muscle(s)."

If you really want an intelligent critique of the pro-machine position, you might check out Siff's Supertraining. With regard to these two points in particular, the late doctor made some very good observations:

Siff points out that many machines force the trainee to begin the motion from the position of least mechanical advantage; e.g., a chest press begins from the bottom of the ROM, robbing the trainee of use and training effect of the SSC.

With regard to the second point, he observes that the force curve is only ideal for the individual with ideal lever lengths; for everybody else, it's poor.

He also calculates that it would take over a dozen machines to work all the muscles worked in the clean and press.

- - - - - - - - - - -

Question about stabilizers and working the legs in wierd ways:

Is anyone here experienced with suspended split holds and squeezing up and down through the splits? Does the kind of strength that you get from this carry over to other applications in a useful way?
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Old 12-04-2005, 11:18 AM   #7
Lincoln Brigham
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Some exercises cannot be performed effectively without a machine...Certain body movements are also best accommodated with machines or manual resistance.

This is only true for the ignorant trainer.

Really, the only exercises that cannot be performed effectively with a machine are... machine exercises.
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Old 12-04-2005, 03:45 PM   #8
Travis Hall
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that article is incredibly simplistic in its comparisons and explanations. i don't even no where to start critizing...

0 outta 10. boo.


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Old 12-04-2005, 04:17 PM   #9
Nikki Young
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Speaking of adductors and abductors. What should the strength ratio be for them both? should they be of equal strength (and felxibility)?

Also while i'm at it. Whats the ratio of hamstring to quad strength? I know the quads should be stronger, but how much?
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Old 12-04-2005, 04:22 PM   #10
Neal Winkler
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Not much, I think less than 80% is bad.
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