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

Its 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
    Soon to be lean... Joe Black's Avatar
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    NEW ARTICLE - One Quick Fix for a Stronger Back and Shoulders

    Think about all the pullups, bench presses, dips and rows youve done in the gym.

    Now what if I told you that you have been doing them wrong?

    This oversight is can make the difference between continual training and injury, between getting stronger and being stuck on a plateau and between developing a massive, well balanced upper back and being that guy who only looks like he works out until he turns around.

    The good news, though, is that its fairly simple to fix.

    READ NOW - One Quick Fix for a Stronger Back and Shoulders
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  3. #2
    Rory Parker Behemoth's Avatar
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    Hmm, hate to dis a wbb article because there's always something worth taking away from all of them and I'm sure this will aid some folks. I do agree -- poor exercise execution is rampant but this article was essentially correlating sex, and upper body flaws simply to shoulder blade activation. Maybe true, and maybe even frequently true (at least with the latter) but it ignored everything else in executing good upper body lifting manuevers which I could definetly see leading less informed lifters to think all their problems lie in scap retraction. I feel it should have at least touched on the full execution of these lifts instead of just the part relative to the shoulder blades.
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  4. #3
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    More analysis paralysis. The guys in the demos need to locate the nearest heavy barbel, stop over-thinking and start lifting.

  5. #4
    Soon to be lean... Joe Black's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Behemoth View Post
    Hmm, hate to dis a wbb article because there's always something worth taking away from all of them and I'm sure this will aid some folks.
    Again, I think thats the key thing here and with all articles.

    If I am honest, I doubt I will actively perform the scapula exercises in this article. I am sure I should, but realistically i just think its doubtful I will get round to them (although wall slides are part of my upper body warm up)

    But what the article did serve is a reminder to really focus on initiating from the scapula when I bench, chin and row. I know I SHOULD, but it's easy to allow the ego to kick in and get too focused on the numbers and its nice to be reminded to put some extra focus on form

    Craig, thanks for popping in also, its great to see an author get actively involved in the discussion thread of their article.
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  6. #5
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    I thought the message was a good one. Perhaps a little heavy for such a small topic, but still something good to think about.
    But, I workout alone, so no handoffs on bench in my gym. No wonder I'm such a piss-poor bencher
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  7. #6
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    I didn't really get much out of the article in terms of the pullups. I agree that you should try to focus on pulling with the back. But to go as far and say you have to be perfectly straight up and down and the bar has to be on your sternum is a little much. I feel like no one would be able to add any weight to the chain if they had to perform every rep just like this. This is especially true for us heavier guys who have enough trouble doing body weight with perfect form.

    However,I do agree that you can perform a seated cable row with perfect form as outlined in the article.

  8. #7
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    I always thought the chicks were looking at my ass and not my upper back, really???.

  9. #8
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    Behemoth Yes, I am correlating scapular function (if this is what you mean by "shoulder blade activation") to flaws in upper body aesthetics, as well as strength potential and injury propensity. Correlation means that it is positively associated with these things. It does not necessarily mean that scap function is the sole factor determining the appearance, strength or function of the upper body, as it's pretty obvious that there will always be myriad inter-related factors.

    The point of the article is that scapular function in many people are already predisposed towards dysfunction due to common lifestyle factors and a general lack of understanding of its importance.

    Yes, there are many more performance points involved in the execution of any upper body lift than just positioning of the scapulae. This article isn't a general how-to on doing pullups, rows or bench presses. Rather, it's an in depth look at a single common factor in each of these movements that is both fundamental to their proper performance and frequently overlooked.

    Mchicia I can squat way more if I only go a quarter of the way down, but this does not make it a good idea. Neither does discarding quality movement for the sake of more reps or higher weight on pullups.

    I sometimes train sixty people a day in my busiest facility, of three that I've opened. I've trained hundreds of Special Operators from the US military and several other countries, professional fighters from the WEC, Strikeforce, the UFC and Bellator, as well as a host of people ranging from housewives to snowboarders to powerlifters. I can assure you that bringing the bar to your chest on a pullup is not "a bit much." It's quality form and anyone without a significant injury or several dozen pounds of excess body fat is capable of it.

    If you can't currently manage it, I'd suggest either reducing the weight or breaking down your technique to identify movement flaws and then regressing the movement to more isolative exercises in order to reprogram that particular pattern towards optimal function. Do that, and once you work your way back up to weighted chins or pullups you'll have much better function and the movement will no longer be "a bit much."

    Focusing on function here, and on bringing your chin ups to a level of strength approximately equal to your bench press is entirely possible, beneficial for your other lifts (such as bench press) and crucial for long term shoulder health. Tony Gentilcore just put up a good article on that today. The staff at his facility all have weighted chin totals over 300 pounds (including their own bodyweight, I'd assume): http://bit.ly/bZ1xfr

    If you're looking for more particular tips on the pullup I've also got an article up on my site today on the biomechanics of the movement: http://bit.ly/9gVeEb


    KJD- It's both. Nate Green's research into that sort of thing is pretty interesting and you can find the experts he interviewed on the subject online. Harvard's Dr. Dana Carney has done quite a bit of work on the subject of the nonverbal expression of social power which is pretty insightful.

  10. #9
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    justaddweight - you obviously missed to point of the article - doing the mentioned exercises without regard to proper scapular function leads to poor movement patterns riddled with compensations. So, you can continue to lift "heavy" with poor form and get "stonger"on the short term, but you will eventually end up injured or your strength will stagnate. This is because the muscles that are compensating (providing movement they are meant to) will never be as strong as using the correct muscles in the correct manner. Your statement is equivalent to saying doing heavy deadlifts without correct form won't negatively effect you, you'll just continue to get stronger. Don't be ignorant and think lifting heavier is all that matters.

    mchicia1 - if you have trouble doing bw pullups correctly, regress the movement by using bands as assistance; you will quickly become much stronger than doing poor bw pullups
    Last edited by Behemoth; 11-18-2010 at 08:05 AM.

  11. #10
    Rory Parker Behemoth's Avatar
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    Craig, no disrespect and I appologize if I came off that way. My post was from my phone at work and not particularly well written or conveyed. It was a good article and I did enjoy reading it. Perhaps I would have been better just saying that I thought the subject of the article was too specific and it felt a little bit excessive. It could be somewhat relative to reading an article on how to arch your lower back in different lifts. Its not all that complicated of a procedure to grasp ahold of, and explaining how you do it in a bb row, a deadlift, a squat an OH press etc may feel a little silly to some. This isn't a completely fair comparision I know, I'm just explaining my thought process as I read it. This is my opinion and I may be completely alone it in. I do have no doubt this article is plenty applicable to many who have read it and will read it and appreciate the time you obviously spent on it. No hard feelings.
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  12. #11
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    I liked it! And as someone with a degree of scap dysfunction I can appreciate the message. It's something I teach for all pulling/rowing movements anyway.

    A pull/chin-up completed with retraction and depression of the shoulder blades is a different animal to an eeking the chin over the bar version - once you're good at them, they 'feel' far more secure, stable and powerful too.

  13. #12
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    I currently have a client that is a surgeon and is very well balanced,however he is always rolled forward and lacks any flexibility in the front squat or back squat due to this. I am a powerlifter and don't understand how he cannot function without this flexibility. Please give me any advice or comments on how to improve this.

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