The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness
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The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness

It’s no secret that when people contradict themselves, it has the effect of making the flaws in their actions or statements seem glaringly obvious. But what about when WE ourselves get caught contradicting ourselves by someone else?

By: Nick Tumminello Added: January 6th, 2014
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  1. #1
    humble the proud kevowamo's Avatar
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    Check this article out...is this man crazy???

    This article was on MensFitness.com today. I went there because I got a subscription promo in the mail and was wondering if the mag was worth buying. Based on this article, it's a definite no. But I figured I would get everyone elses opinion. By the way the comments following the article (not shown) weigh more on the "is this guy nuts?!" side.
    It's called '10 Exercises That Suck'.

    1. THE PEC-DECK FLY This lift simply doesn’t allow you to move enough weight to overload the muscles and elicit growth. Moreover, most guys unintentionally allow the arm pads to hyperextend their shoulder joints as they per- form the lowering phase of the lift, and that causes injury. And no, it doesn’t “bring out” your middle chest.

    DO THIS INSTEAD: The blast-strap push- up. Blast straps (available at elitefts.com) are basically nylon leashes with metal handles that can loop around a chinup bar, tree limb, or practically any other apparatus and provide the means to do a limitless number of body-weight exercises. Using them to perform pushups forces each shoulder to stabilize itself, increasing muscle activation. Wear a weighted vest or rest your feet on an elevated surface, and you’ll have an exercise that fries the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core.

    2. THE LEG EXTENSION Like the pec-deck fl y, this lift doesn’t allow the quads (some of the strongest muscles in your body) to move much weight. Worse, the more weight you use, the greater the shearing forces you place on your knees, risking injury.

    DO THIS INSTEAD: The single-leg squat with back foot raised. Bend one knee, raising your lower leg behind you so that you’re standing on the opposite leg. Rest the top of your raised foot on a bench or other elevated surface so that it’s level with your butt. Now squat down and up with your supporting leg. Because you’re supporting your weight on only one leg, this move trashes the quads and glutes, and challenges your balance. Your hips move freely, too, which is safer for your knees. When you can’t get to a gym, this move provides a great leg workout without weights.

    3. THE SMITH-MACHINE SQUAT Since the bar travels along a fixed track, it virtually eliminates the need for your core to stabilize your body. Not good. Because your abs and lower back aren’t working like they should, frequent Smith- machine squatting leads to muscle imbalances. Also, because the track won’t allow your hips to bend like they do on a free-weight squat, you may overstress your knees.

    DO THIS INSTEAD: The box squat. Set up a box behind you and then lower your body until your glutes touch it. Touching the box requires you to “sit back” as you squat, as if you were lowering yourself into a chair, and this action gets the glutes and hamstrings maximally involved in the lift. It also helps you to perfect your squat form. You can start with a higher box and gradually move to smaller boxes as you improve, ultimately training your body to squat below parallel with no box at all. Better still, the box squat places no strain on the knees, so even people with knee problems can attempt it safely.

    4. THE CONCENTRATION CURL Though it’s probably the second-most common exercise in the gym (after the bench press), bag it! The weight you can use is very limited and the movement has no function in daily life or sports.

    DO THIS INSTEAD: The modified preacher curl. Raise the height of a preacher curl bench so that you can curl on it while standing. Grab a bar- bell and position your triceps against the pad, as in a normal preacher curl. As you curl, bend your upper body forward to somewhere between a 45- degree angle and parallel to the floor. After you’ve curled the bar as high as possible, slowly bring your body back to upright as you lower the weight. By leaning forward as you curl, you change the angle of your forearms in relation to the floor and allow for more tension at the end of the range of motion. The payoff: You can go heavier.

    5. THE LEG CURL The only time your hamstrings will ever work in isolation is when you do this exercise. The hams are meant to act in unison with the glutes and lower back, so training them alone only leads to imbalances, especially in the posterior chain—the interrelated muscles on the back side of your body that are responsible for explosive speed and power. And that’s not just bad, it’s a catastrophe, because a faulty posterior chain can leave you with an excruciating hamstring pull—even if you’re just out for a jog.

    DO THIS INSTEAD: The weighted 45- degree back extension. Use a back extension apparatus while holding a weight plate to your chest; do not use a machine. This exercise works the hamstrings, spinal erectors, and glutes together. While you’ll probably never find yourself in a leg-curl position outside the gym, you’ll always be bending forward to pick things up off the floor, and the back extension trains all the muscles that make that possible.

    6. THE TRICEPS KICKBACK Never mind that it’s a lift women often perform with soup cans, the kickback is just too easy. The way your body is positioned—with the arm parallel to the floor and the elbow pointing up—the triceps only really have to work to lock the elbow out at the end of the lift’s range of motion. And since the weight you’re forced to use is so light, you won’t get stronger (unless you normally have trouble lifting soup cans).

    DO THIS INSTEAD: The Warren press. With a shoulder-width grip, grab a bar and lie on your back on the floor. Hold the bar overhead and begin lowering it in a straight line to right above your neck. Allow your upper arms to lower as in a bench press and your forearms to simultaneously bend back toward your head as in a triceps extension. Stop when either your triceps touch the floor or the bar is six inches off your neck, and then reverse the motion. That’s one rep. Combining a compound and isolation movement
    allows you to blast the tri’s with heavy weight.

    7. THE ROLLING SHRUG You know this move: Roll your shoulders forward, then shrug to your ears, then roll your shoulders back behind you before lowering the weights. Whoever invented this exercise forgot one key thing: Gravity pulls downward, not forward or back. So not only will you look like you’re going into convulsions, you’ll take tension off the traps, and you’ll grind your shoulder joints.

    DO THIS INSTEAD: The seated dumbbell clean. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing behind you, and sit at the edge of a bench. Lean forward 45 degrees and then explosively straighten your body, shrugging the weights and then bending your elbows and flipping your wrists up so that you finish in the bottom position of a shoulder press. Reverse the motion to return to the starting position. That’s one rep. Seated cleans work the entire upper back, traps, and shoulders, giving you a thick-necked look without damaging your shoulders.

    8. THE LATERAL RAISE While most guys use bad form anyway, swinging the weights up to shoulder level as if they were birds flapping their wings, this exercise blows even if it’s done right. The shoulders get plenty of work from presses, pullups, squats, deadlifts, and just about any other exercise you do. The lateral raise just isn’t necessary.

    DO THIS INSTEAD: The muscle clean and press. This may be the best shoulder builder of all time, and it works so many other muscles that it’s also one of the most efficient moves you can do in a time-crunch workout. To perform it, just think of a clean and press, but with no thrust from the hips: Use a shoulder-width grip and perform an upright row explosively (keep your lower body in one place). Then, still using the momentum generated with your shoulders, rotate your forearms to the ceiling and press the
    bar straight overhead.

    9. ANY CRUNCH PERFORMED ON A CRUNCH MACHINE Crunches are a poor ab exercise, period, given that abs don’t perform crunching motions in daily life. Adding a machine to the mix only makes the move less effective. Machines limit the involvement of the lower- back muscles, which the abs aren’t designed to contract without. This leads to muscle imbalances and—you guessed it—injury.

    DO THIS INSTEAD: The modified Turkish getup. Hold a dumbbell in your left hand and lie on the floor with your left leg bent and left foot flat on the floor. Your right leg should be straight and your right arm angled 45 degrees to your side. Now raise your torso off the floor, keeping your left arm perpendicular to the floor. Once you are up, turn to your right side and raise your hips off the floor, supporting yourself with your
    right arm and right leg (you will be balancing on the side of your right foot). This old-school move works all your muscles, enhancing core strength and your six-pack.

    10. ANY EXERCISE DONE STANDING ON A BOSU BALL “Functional-training” gurus will tell you that performing your lifts on an unstable surface, such as a Bosu, will build more muscle than lifting with your feet fl at on the ground. It won’t. The ball makes your body so unstable, you can’t handle much weight. So you’ll burn fewer calories, work fewer muscles, and end up training half as hard.

    DO THIS INSTEAD: Anything!

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  3. #2
    THUNDER THIGHS! Fuzzy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevowamo View Post
    This article was on MensFitness.com today. I went there because I got a subscription promo in the mail and was wondering if the mag was worth buying. Based on this article, it's a definite no. But I figured I would get everyone elses opinion. By the way the comments following the article (not shown) weigh more on the "is this guy nuts?!" side.
    It's called '10 Exercises That Suck'.
    1. THE PEC-DECK FLY This lift simply doesn’t allow you to move enough weight to overload the muscles and elicit growth. Moreover, most guys unintentionally allow the arm pads to hyperextend their shoulder joints as they per- form the lowering phase of the lift, and that causes injury. And no, it doesn’t “bring out” your middle chest.

    DO THIS INSTEAD: The blast-strap push- up. Blast straps (available at elitefts.com) are basically nylon leashes with metal handles that can loop around a chinup bar, tree limb, or practically any other apparatus and provide the means to do a limitless number of body-weight exercises. Using them to perform pushups forces each shoulder to stabilize itself, increasing muscle activation. Wear a weighted vest or rest your feet on an elevated surface, and you’ll have an exercise that fries the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core.
    Resistance added pushups are a great way to train, and he is right, much better the flyes. and comon, if he knows elitefts, he is already a cut above the rest

    2. THE LEG EXTENSION Like the pec-deck fl y, this lift doesn’t allow the quads (some of the strongest muscles in your body) to move much weight. Worse, the more weight you use, the greater the shearing forces you place on your knees, risking injury.

    DO THIS INSTEAD: The single-leg squat with back foot raised. Bend one knee, raising your lower leg behind you so that you’re standing on the opposite leg. Rest the top of your raised foot on a bench or other elevated surface so that it’s level with your butt. Now squat down and up with your supporting leg. Because you’re supporting your weight on only one leg, this move trashes the quads and glutes, and challenges your balance. Your hips move freely, too, which is safer for your knees. When you can’t get to a gym, this move provides a great leg workout without weights.
    Also agree, single leg squats are a leg killer, so far so good.

    3. THE SMITH-MACHINE SQUAT Since the bar travels along a fixed track, it virtually eliminates the need for your core to stabilize your body. Not good. Because your abs and lower back aren’t working like they should, frequent Smith- machine squatting leads to muscle imbalances. Also, because the track won’t allow your hips to bend like they do on a free-weight squat, you may overstress your knees.

    DO THIS INSTEAD: The box squat. Set up a box behind you and then lower your body until your glutes touch it. Touching the box requires you to “sit back” as you squat, as if you were lowering yourself into a chair, and this action gets the glutes and hamstrings maximally involved in the lift. It also helps you to perfect your squat form. You can start with a higher box and gradually move to smaller boxes as you improve, ultimately training your body to squat below parallel with no box at all. Better still, the box squat places no strain on the knees, so even people with knee problems can attempt it safely.
    While i dont agree with hip back squatting, this is still alot better then a smith machine squat, atleast its a freeweight variation and the box will keep people consistent.

    4. THE CONCENTRATION CURL Though it’s probably the second-most common exercise in the gym (after the bench press), bag it! The weight you can use is very limited and the movement has no function in daily life or sports.

    DO THIS INSTEAD: The modified preacher curl. Raise the height of a preacher curl bench so that you can curl on it while standing. Grab a bar- bell and position your triceps against the pad, as in a normal preacher curl. As you curl, bend your upper body forward to somewhere between a 45- degree angle and parallel to the floor. After you’ve curled the bar as high as possible, slowly bring your body back to upright as you lower the weight. By leaning forward as you curl, you change the angle of your forearms in relation to the floor and allow for more tension at the end of the range of motion. The payoff: You can go heavier.
    He thinks too much, do a curling motion, contract the bicep, and walla! You have trained your bicep.

    5. THE LEG CURL The only time your hamstrings will ever work in isolation is when you do this exercise. The hams are meant to act in unison with the glutes and lower back, so training them alone only leads to imbalances, especially in the posterior chain—the interrelated muscles on the back side of your body that are responsible for explosive speed and power. And that’s not just bad, it’s a catastrophe, because a faulty posterior chain can leave you with an excruciating hamstring pull—even if you’re just out for a jog.

    DO THIS INSTEAD: The weighted 45- degree back extension. Use a back extension apparatus while holding a weight plate to your chest; do not use a machine. This exercise works the hamstrings, spinal erectors, and glutes together. While you’ll probably never find yourself in a leg-curl position outside the gym, you’ll always be bending forward to pick things up off the floor, and the back extension trains all the muscles that make that possible.
    Much safer then Stiff legged deads, and a million times better then curls, this is good advice.

    6. THE TRICEPS KICKBACK Never mind that it’s a lift women often perform with soup cans, the kickback is just too easy. The way your body is positioned—with the arm parallel to the floor and the elbow pointing up—the triceps only really have to work to lock the elbow out at the end of the lift’s range of motion. And since the weight you’re forced to use is so light, you won’t get stronger (unless you normally have trouble lifting soup cans).

    DO THIS INSTEAD: The Warren press. With a shoulder-width grip, grab a bar and lie on your back on the floor. Hold the bar overhead and begin lowering it in a straight line to right above your neck. Allow your upper arms to lower as in a bench press and your forearms to simultaneously bend back toward your head as in a triceps extension. Stop when either your triceps touch the floor or the bar is six inches off your neck, and then reverse the motion. That’s one rep. Combining a compound and isolation movement
    allows you to blast the tri’s with heavy weight.
    Once again, the overthinking comes out, typical mag writer... clse grip bench or dips will do.

    7. THE ROLLING SHRUG You know this move: Roll your shoulders forward, then shrug to your ears, then roll your shoulders back behind you before lowering the weights. Whoever invented this exercise forgot one key thing: Gravity pulls downward, not forward or back. So not only will you look like you’re going into convulsions, you’ll take tension off the traps, and you’ll grind your shoulder joints.

    DO THIS INSTEAD: The seated dumbbell clean. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing behind you, and sit at the edge of a bench. Lean forward 45 degrees and then explosively straighten your body, shrugging the weights and then bending your elbows and flipping your wrists up so that you finish in the bottom position of a shoulder press. Reverse the motion to return to the starting position. That’s one rep. Seated cleans work the entire upper back, traps, and shoulders, giving you a thick-necked look without damaging your shoulders.
    Um... people usually shrug u, but ok... as fo rthe dumbell cleans, wtf, what a silly lift, shurgs, power shrugs and good ol deadlifts will do just fine.

    8. THE LATERAL RAISE While most guys use bad form anyway, swinging the weights up to shoulder level as if they were birds flapping their wings, this exercise blows even if it’s done right. The shoulders get plenty of work from presses, pullups, squats, deadlifts, and just about any other exercise you do. The lateral raise just isn’t necessary.

    DO THIS INSTEAD: The muscle clean and press. This may be the best shoulder builder of all time, and it works so many other muscles that it’s also one of the most efficient moves you can do in a time-crunch workout. To perform it, just think of a clean and press, but with no thrust from the hips: Use a shoulder-width grip and perform an upright row explosively (keep your lower body in one place). Then, still using the momentum generated with your shoulders, rotate your forearms to the ceiling and press the
    bar straight overhead.
    I am wary o anyone doing Olympic style lifts, the clean should never my muscles, but still one hell of a shoulder blast, Im surprised he has even heard of cleans.

    9. ANY CRUNCH PERFORMED ON A CRUNCH MACHINE Crunches are a poor ab exercise, period, given that abs don’t perform crunching motions in daily life. Adding a machine to the mix only makes the move less effective. Machines limit the involvement of the lower- back muscles, which the abs aren’t designed to contract without. This leads to muscle imbalances and—you guessed it—injury.

    DO THIS INSTEAD: The modified Turkish getup. Hold a dumbbell in your left hand and lie on the floor with your left leg bent and left foot flat on the floor. Your right leg should be straight and your right arm angled 45 degrees to your side. Now raise your torso off the floor, keeping your left arm perpendicular to the floor. Once you are up, turn to your right side and raise your hips off the floor, supporting yourself with your
    right arm and right leg (you will be balancing on the side of your right foot). This old-school move works all your muscles, enhancing core strength and your six-pack.
    Yes, ab plaks are good ass well, so are over head squat especially one handed ovrhead squats.

    10. ANY EXERCISE DONE STANDING ON A BOSU BALL “Functional-training” gurus will tell you that performing your lifts on an unstable surface, such as a Bosu, will build more muscle than lifting with your feet fl at on the ground. It won’t. The ball makes your body so unstable, you can’t handle much weight. So you’ll burn fewer calories, work fewer muscles, and end up training half as hard.

    DO THIS INSTEAD: Anything!
    Doing stuff n stability ball can be fun, I would never make it a core part of my core workout (baaaaaaaaad joke) but it's a different challenge and the abs are targetted differently, I am over being a tightass 'squat for biceps' and 'deadlift do abs' everything has it's place, though obviously some people took it too extreme.

    All in all not bad, he thinks too much, does things too fancy, but he has a reasonably sound idea, much better then the average writer
    Being a strong teenager means nothing.

    My wrists hurt, but some people don't have wrists to be sore. My knees have tendinitis, but some people don't have legs to get tendinitis in. I seem to be going backwards with training, yet some people can't even walk let alone lift 400 pounds on a daily basis.

    Dust out the vagina, and keep on lifting.

  4. #3
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    Little overblown, but looks pretty solid to me.
    A child does not learn to squat from the top down. In other words, he does not suddenly make a conscious decision one day to squat. Actually, he is squatting one day and make the conscious decision to stand. Squatting precedes standing in the developmental sequence. This is the way a child's brain learns to use the body as the child develops movement patterns. Therefore, a child is probably crawling, rocks back into a squatting position with the back completely relaxed and the hips completely flexed, and stands when he has enough hip strength. This approach makes a lot of sense and can be applied to relearning the deep squat movement if it is lost. -Gray Cook
    Lifting Clips: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=johnnymnemonic2
    Blog: http://squatrx.blogspot.com/

  5. #4
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    He's not crazy, might be a little dramatic, but good advice overall.

    OP, what part did you think was crazy?

  6. #5
    humble the proud kevowamo's Avatar
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    well the crunch part and the smith machine squat i agree with...i just thought the lateral raises and leg extension/curl recommendations were a bit out there. thats why i posted it though. you guys seem to think he's right, so im learnin!

  7. #6
    5-0-9 Barbell WORLD's Avatar
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    I actually agree with most of this article. Most of the exercises he recomended are actually better.
    "Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan "press on" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race." - John Calvin Coolidge

    9 months-20lb gains! (2005 Newbie gains)-A bit of motivation for beginners

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  8. #7
    Squat Heavy, Squat Often Cards's Avatar
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    He probably needs to be alittle dramatic as everyone puts it because he's writing for a magazine, if I was getting paid I would be dramatic also. That being said, I agree with it as well.
    H: 5'7" W:185
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  9. #8
    Banned bjohnso's Avatar
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    It all looks good to me.

  10. #9
    Work in Progress Lumiel's Avatar
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    I actually agree with almost all of the article.
    Lumiel's BGB Weightlifting Journal

    32 y/o, 6' tall, 205 lbs

  11. #10
    student of the game Runty's Avatar
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    Hmmm. Never thought of doing 45degree back raises instead of leg curls. Probably just convinced me to get rid of the leg curls.
    "Fine, if I'm not allowed to light it on fire, can my imaginary friend?"

  12. #11
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Runty View Post
    Hmmm. Never thought of doing 45degree back raises instead of leg curls. Probably just convinced me to get rid of the leg curls.
    Well, like I said, it's overblown... IMHO, it's not a bad idea to include a knee flexion exercise somewhere - not everyone needs it necessarily, but it won't hurt you.
    A child does not learn to squat from the top down. In other words, he does not suddenly make a conscious decision one day to squat. Actually, he is squatting one day and make the conscious decision to stand. Squatting precedes standing in the developmental sequence. This is the way a child's brain learns to use the body as the child develops movement patterns. Therefore, a child is probably crawling, rocks back into a squatting position with the back completely relaxed and the hips completely flexed, and stands when he has enough hip strength. This approach makes a lot of sense and can be applied to relearning the deep squat movement if it is lost. -Gray Cook
    Lifting Clips: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=johnnymnemonic2
    Blog: http://squatrx.blogspot.com/

  13. #12
    Yeah, I know.....Its huge Ockhams_Razor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sensei View Post
    Well, like I said, it's overblown... IMHO, it's not a bad idea to include a knee flexion exercise somewhere - not everyone needs it necessarily, but it won't hurt you.
    Yeah, thats about the only thing i really found that was over exaggerated. You still need to have the normal lifts in there like squat and dead lift, but there is nothing wrong with hitting curls or extensions once in a while. and i've yet to find something that just hits the hams like leg curls at the end of a good leg workout.
    "Only advantage of having a larger ROM in the gym is to punch newbies who try to steal your equipment." -mikey4402

  14. #13
    WBB's Juggernaut/Liason BigCorey75's Avatar
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    yeah hes a bi over dramatic in his writings but i agree with all of his reccommendations


    especially with the ****ing bosu ball
    Why live if one can not Deadlift?- John Paul Sigmasson

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  15. #14
    Senior Member BFGUITAR's Avatar
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    Yeh not a bad article. I disagree with some things but hey, thats life.

  16. #15
    Senior Member noahfor123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevowamo View Post
    1. THE PEC-DECK FLY This lift simply doesn’t allow you to move enough weight to overload the muscles and elicit growth.
    I've heard this alot, but I don't understand why it's true. I'm definitely not doubting it, just trying to understand. Why does weight matter? Don't the muscles still have to contract with as much force as possible to lift even a small weight if it's difficult to lift that small weight? I mean with levers and pulleys I could make squatting 1 pound feel like 300, but I assume that the exercise would sill be as effective, or wouldn't it? Isn't that just the kind of thing that's going on internally?
    The Iron never lies to you. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go, but 200 pounds is always 200 pounds - a warm-up.

  17. #16
    Senior Member RichMcGuire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noahfor123 View Post
    I've heard this alot, but I don't understand why it's true. I'm definitely not doubting it, just trying to understand. Why does weight matter? Don't the muscles still have to contract with as much force as possible to lift even a small weight if it's difficult to lift that small weight? I mean with levers and pulleys I could make squatting 1 pound feel like 300, but I assume that the exercise would sill be as effective, or wouldn't it? Isn't that just the kind of thing that's going on internally?
    Thats actually what Chris Mason talks about in one of his articles.

    http://www.wannabebig.com/article.ph...id=11&pageid=2
    First Bulk pics VS Starting pics, take a look!! http://www.wannabebigforums.com/show...=1#post1616109

    Progress pics of a cut using bodyweight only movements http://www.wannabebig.com/forums/sho...45#post2405745

    Generally, if you read a piece of advice on the internet, assume it's wrong until proven otherwise. This applies especially to "conventional wisdom". -Belial

  18. #17
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    Looks fine to me except for the mentioned above.
    January 07-164 pounds
    *Bulking*
    Deccember 07 - 225 pounds

    June 08 - 205
    *Currently Cutting*
    Goal-190

    November 08-238 pounds
    *Bulking till January 1st*

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