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
    WannabePLer fpr's Avatar
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    Head "drive" while benching?

    I've seen videos as well as people in the gym raising their head up (and upper back?) -- basically as if they were looking to see if the bar touched their chest -- as they bring the bar closer to the chest, and then 'reset' their head on the drive. Is this actually helping them put up the weight or is it just a habit of some people.

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  3. #2
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    Helps bring the bar down lower when shirted benching.

  4. #3
    SFW! drew's Avatar
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    I don't know why guys raise their head, it works for some people (see Mark Bell). If you bench with an arch, raising your head will flatten you out and make your belly go down, making it harder to touch.

    Stats: Age: 34 Weight: 205 Height: 5'6"
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  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by drew View Post
    I don't know why guys raise their head, it works for some people (see Mark Bell). If you bench with an arch, raising your head will flatten you out and make your belly go down, making it harder to touch.
    not necessarily i can and have seen others keep their arch and belly up while raising the head., but you do have to remember to keep the belly up.

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by fpr View Post
    I've seen videos as well as people in the gym raising their head up (and upper back?) -- basically as if they were looking to see if the bar touched their chest -- as they bring the bar closer to the chest, and then 'reset' their head on the drive. Is this actually helping them put up the weight or is it just a habit of some people.
    Yea, this make sense. I posted information on it. http://www.wannabebigforums.com/search.php?searchid=1874650

    Here some intersting information on how the Tonic Neck Reflex (Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex) and Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex increases strength. Most lifters/athletes do it without thinking about it, it is a reflex.

    One of the prime examples of the Tonic Neck Reflex occurs in the bench press. (Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. 5(4):188-191, November 1991.Berger, Richard A.; Smith, Kirby J.)

    When most lifters bench, they drive their head into the bench as they push the bar up. Doing so elicits the Tonic Neck Reflex.

    Driving the had into the bench causes the reflective response of the arms straightening. Thus producing a stronger pushing movement when bench pressing.

    In my observations, many heavyweight lifters evoke an even more pronounced Tonic Neck Reflex by driving the head into the bench when bench pressing. These heavyweight lifters will lift their head up off the bench as the bar is lowered to the chest.

    Just as the bar touches thier chest, they simultaneously drive their head in to the bench. This appears to increase the Tonic Neck Reflex, producing more drive in pushing the weight up.

    In a bilateral (two hand) pulling movement, the Tonic Neck Reflex is elicited when the lifter pulls their head forward, tucking their chin into their chest.

    An example of this is cable rows or barbell curl. As you pull the weight into you, tucking you head into your chest causes your muscle to flex. Thus, you pull more weight.

    In unilateral (one arm) movements, the Assymetrical Tonic Reflex increase strength. This reflex is know as the "fencing reflex." The movement like that of a fencer with a sword.

    Turning the head to the right side, extends the right arm while flexing the left arm, and vise versa.

    So, when performing a dumbbell over head press with your right hand, turning your head to the right causes the reflex of your right arm straightening, increases you strength.

    By the same token, when performing a dumbbell curl with your left arm, turning your head to the right cause a reflex of your left arm flexing (curling into you), thus increasing how much you curl.

    You can see Asymmerical Tonic Reflex in bikers when they pull on the handle bars with their arms. Instinctively, as they pull with their left arm they turn their head to the right. Then as they pull with their right arm they turn their head to the left.

    Kenny Croxdale

  7. #6
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    That's pretty interesting.

  8. #7
    Wannabebig Member Kiknskreem's Avatar
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    Adults do not display the Tonic neck reflex... it goes away when you are an infant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smokinHawk View Post
    not necessarily i can and have seen others keep their arch and belly up while raising the head., but you do have to remember to keep the belly up.
    The only guy I've seen do it with real success is George Halbert. Keeping the head down keeps you tighter in the hole and your belly up higher. I would always recommend keeping the head down.

  10. #9
    Westside Bencher Travis Bell's Avatar
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    I'd be one of those guys who raises their head


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  11. #10
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    I raise my head because it makes it easier to touch. Once I've touched I go back to normal with my head planted.

  12. #11
    Senior Member smalls's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiknskreem View Post
    Adults do not display the Tonic neck reflex... it goes away when you are an infant.

    Exactly, except in cases of persons with brain injuries, or some severe developmental problems, so unless the person who wrote that article was talking about patients with brain injury then he should be discredited. How the hell did that get published?

    As Rhodes stated keeping your head down carries with it other benefits, not infantile reflexes.
    Last edited by smalls; 12-21-2008 at 11:46 AM.
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  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiknskreem View Post
    Adults do not display the Tonic neck reflex... it goes away when you are an infant.
    The tonic neck reflex is displayed by adults in movements. I listed those in an above post.

    Kenny Croxdale

  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by smalls View Post
    keeping your head down carries with it other benefits, not infantile reflexes.
    In my observations, many heavyweight lifters evoke an even more pronounced Tonic Neck Reflex by driving the head into the bench when bench pressing. These heavyweight lifters will lift their head up off the bench as the bar is lowered to the chest.

    Just as the bar touches thier chest, they simultaneously drive their head in to the bench. This appears to increase the Tonic Neck Reflex, producing more drive in pushing the weight up.

    One of the best benchers who did this was Doug Young. In this tribute to Doug Young, Young demonstrates it to perfection. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlmS1porR7E

    Evidently, George Halbert utilizes this method.

    Athlete's utilize the tonic neck reflex in movements without thinking about it, for the most part.

    Kenny Croxdale

  15. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bell View Post
    I'd be one of those guys who raises their head
    Do you drive your head back into the bench as you push the weight up?

    Kenny Croxdale

  16. #15
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    [QUOTE=smalls;2059519]so unless the person who wrote that article was talking about patients with brain injury then he should be discredited. How the hell did that get published? QUOTE]

    The National Strength and Conditioning Association published the article [Tonic Neck Reflex occurs in the bench press. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. 5(4):188-191, November 1991.Berger, Richard A.; Smith, Kirby J.]

    The National Strength and Conditioning Association is a reputable organization the examines effective methods of improving sports performance.

    Research by other support the use of the tonic neck reflex enhancing movement in sports, as well.

    Kenny Croxdale

  17. #16
    Super Moderator vdizenzo's Avatar
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    I hate tonic and especially gin and tonic.


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  18. #17
    Wannabebig Member Kiknskreem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenny Croxdale View Post
    The National Strength and Conditioning Association is a reputable organization the examines effective methods of improving sports performance.
    The NSCA also put out a study concluding that squats don't work the hamstrings....

  19. #18
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    The NSCA is a F@#$ing joke!

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    NSCA.....hahahahah...I remember thinking this was it for strength and conditioning in undergrad, and most of my GA.........I lost some good yrs training/training athletes like a dumbass!!!

    Still certified by them thou,.... just in case a new job would open up.....There are still a lot of schools/gyms out there who still consider it gold.......

  21. #20
    Senior Member smalls's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AJL11 View Post
    NSCA.....hahahahah...I remember thinking this was it for strength and conditioning in undergrad, and most of my GA.........I lost some good yrs training/training athletes like a dumbass!!!

    Still certified by them thou,.... just in case a new job would open up.....There are still a lot of schools/gyms out there who still consider it gold.......
    Almost every organization considers it gold, because most organizations can't possibly think for themselves, but also because everything that compares to it is even worse, lol. The CSCS is one of the best training certifications out there, which gives you an idea of how crappy they all are.

    Never judge a trainer, an article or anything for that matter just by the organization or the certification. Be smart enough to judge the material they are presenting.

    If infantile reflexes persisted past childhood we would all do some strange and non-functional things. Using reflexes in sport movement is a theory, a bad one.
    Diet is key, the calorie is king

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    Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education 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."
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    "If you want to look abnormal you have to eat abnormal,lol."--ST

  22. #21
    Atheist Lifter evilxxx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by butcher2 View Post
    I raise my head because it makes it easier to touch. Once I've touched I go back to normal with my head planted.
    Same here
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  23. #22
    SFW! drew's Avatar
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    Kenny Croxdale,

    How much do you bench?

    Please answer in less than 3 words. Thanks.

    Stats: Age: 34 Weight: 205 Height: 5'6"
    Gym PRs: Squat:635 Bench:560 Deadlift:495
    Meet PRs: Squat:575 Bench:525 Deadlift:510 Total: 1605@220

  24. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by drew View Post
    Kenny Croxdale,

    How much do you bench?

    Please answer in less than 3 words. Thanks.
    Why?

    Kenny Croxdale

  25. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiknskreem View Post
    The NSCA also put out a study concluding that squats don't work the hamstrings....
    Exactly, what study?

    Kenny Croxdale

  26. #25
    Wannabebig Member Kiknskreem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenny Croxdale View Post
    Exactly, what study?

    Kenny Croxdale
    This will have to do.

    http://www.strengthmill.net/forum/ne...quote=1&p=6704

    Quote Originally Posted by craigrasm View Post
    Rip-

    I was curious if you saw the last NSCA Journal article on the squat titled “Optimizing Squat Technique” from December 2007. It was stated on page 12 in regards to hamstring activation on the squat “Research suggests that the squat, regardless of technique variation, produces minimal activity in hamstring muscles.”

    My initial thought (without going through the references given), is what kind of “technique variations” were used in the studies? I unfortunately don't have easy access to the references so it will be some time before I can check them out.

    Did you see this article and any thoughts on this statement?
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    This kind of **** is why I am no longer a member of the NSCA. It is literally impossible that this study was performed correctly, and a quick reading of the paper would reveal why, but since I am not a member -- and have not been since this time last year -- I do not have this volume of the Journal. If anybody involved with this "study" had ever personally done squats themselves using correct technique and as a result gotten sore hamstrings, this embarrassing paper would not have appeared in this poorly reviewed form. And if peer-review actually worked as it was supposed to, instead of merely functioning as peer-approval, it would have been sent back to the authors for revision. They probably used a Smith machine in the study. Seriously, I have read such things in their journals.

    This type of thing has been a common feature of both of the NSCA's journals for quite some time now, ever since the Physical Therapists took over the organization. I commented on it specifically in an article for the CrossFit Journal entitled "Silly Bull****", and that appears in my book Strong Enough? . I fully expect a revised position statement on the Full Squat any day now. Bad for the knees, you know.
    Last edited by Kiknskreem; 12-22-2008 at 09:13 AM.

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