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

Itís 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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Thread: Smith Machine

  1. #1
    Proud Father Maki Riddington's Avatar
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    This thread stems from another thread that touched on the negatives of the smith machine.

    Now I personally don't think that using it in moderation ( definition of moderation will vary between individuals) is going to really inflict any type of injury in the long term that might be conjured up during the use of this machine.

    I do believe the smith machine has it's time and place in the gym.

    What I want to focus on is why people should be wary of this piece of equipment.

    Whether it is for work, sport, bodybuilding or play, static and dynamic stability is an issue.
    The use of machines usually makes it quite apparent that these two variables have been erased from the equation. The use of machines support our body whether it is leaning, sitting, or standing. because of this we are not activating (which has been pointed out by various members) the bodies static stabilizers or our postural system which are being taxed to great extent in free weight and other various movements.
    This is one reason why you will note a difference between a movement performed on the smith machine as opposed to a movement performed using sports ball, wobble boards, free weights, elastic bands etc...

    Furthermore anytime a machine guides your path using a fixed or even a semi fixed axis of motion there is a reduction in the need to activate the bodies own Intrinsic and Extrinsic stabilizers.

    Intrinsic Stabilizer: muscles crossing any given joint complex

    Extrinsic Stabilizer: muscles crossing multiple working joints.

    Stability in most cases is the limiting factor in performance. To ensure joint, tendon and muscle safety, the body has been packaged so that the neuromuscular, neuromechanical receptors are located throughout the muscles,tendons and joints.
    If the exercise performed doesn't adequately prepare the static and dynamic stabilizer systems faulty joint motion during exercises using machines such as the smith machine will inevitably lead to injury.

    One other reason the smith machine is not a wise choice is that the torso or as a lot of experts like to say "core" is not allowed to fully provide proper activation to the lower and upper extremities because of the fixed path and plane the smith machine requires.


    I just brought up a couple reasons and I'm sure others can chip in and explain why the smith machine may not be the wisest choice.
    Maki Fit Blog

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    "Soli Deo Gloria"
    "Test all things; hold fast what is good.": 1 Thessalonians 5:21

    "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
    So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord!"
    Romans 7:14-25

    "Judo is not about strength. Yet in the learning curve, all Judokas get strong. Only with time do you learn where to apply that strength."
    The Art of Judo

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  3. #2
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    That is a bunch of pseudo-science b.s. All of this "real life" movement vs. weightlifting stuff is really misguided. In "real life" no one performs squats with 300 lbs or bench presses with 300 lbs. There is no movement which one does during the practice of weightlifting which directly translates to "real life". The perfect example of this is the World"s Strongest Man competitions. The man who is able to squat the most, deadlift the most, or bench the most is often not the winner because the strength developed during the performance of these exercises does not translate directly to the events of the competition. In order for the Strongest Man competitors to do well in the specific events they must train for those events. Lifting weights will build general strength for the muscles involved in a lift and specific coordination to the lift performed, nothing else (well, it will build mass as well). A big bench press does not equal a big shotput. So, to say that training with machines will somehow limit "real life" strength is silly in my opinion.

  4. #3
    bone crusher
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    i dont like the smith machine because your simply limited to two dimensional motion wheras all of the motions of the body occur in three dimensions

    i do like it for behind the body shrugs chris mentioned a while back though. That movement would be hard to safely move or rack with a bar, muchless maintain balance.

  5. #4
    Player Hater PowerManDL's Avatar
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    There is a large difference between strength carryover from machines vs. strength carryover from free weights.

    Think how you want, but someone who squats, deadlifts, cleans, etc., is going to be in a much better position athletically than someone who squats in a smith rack, uses machines for the back, and avoids Olympic movements.

    And it basically comes back to the stabilizer function-- simply put, you're able to do *more* just because you're not only performing the movement, but stabilizing the body in the process.

    Even though the actual movement may not be performed in competition, there is a carryover; what it really boils down to is how much specificity is needed?

    Simply put, athletic performance isn't achieved with the body seated or supported. Its achieved largely with the body standing and in motion. This fact alone gives free-weight exercises more "specificity" in training.

    Almost certainly, the "basic" movements should be incorporated into every athlete's routine in some form or another to form that general foundation of strength, mass, and power; the remainder of their training should focus on drills that emphasize their sport skill(s).

    And this is not to say that machines can't be useful for athletic training. They certainly do have a place in developing strength and mass. However, I feel that their use should be limited. A trainee shouldn't rely on the Smith machine for squats, nor should they use any machine as a foundation. The core of their training should be free weight, with machines used to supplement that.

    Of course, as bodybuilders, I feel you should use machines as needed and required. If you have no particular need or desire for athletic prowess, then this argument really has little impact on you.

    However, it should be of note that free-weight exercise involves more muscle tissue than a machine, and thusly is more effective for stimulating overall growth simply because of that fact.

    All in all, though, the debate isn't so important for bodybuilders as it is for competing athletes.

    Power
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  6. #5
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    You know, I find it funny that just about every professional sports team's weight room is filled primarily with machines, being that they are so inferior for athletic performance and all......

  7. #6
    Player Hater PowerManDL's Avatar
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    And those teams who's weight rooms are filled with machines tend to perform at a much lesser level than those who prioritize around free weights.

    Power
    Vin Diesel has a fever.. and the only prescription is more cowbell.

    Budiak: That girl I maced
    Budiak: macked
    Budiak: heh maced
    Budiak: I wish

    ShmrckPmp5: a good thing people can't fire guns through the computer...your ass would have been shot years ago

    Y2A 47: youre smooth as hell
    Y2A 47: thats why you get outta tickets, and into panties

    galileo: you're a fucking beast and I hate you
    galileo: hate

    assgrabbers are never subtile, they will grabb ass whereever they go,public or not, I know the type, because I am one. - Rock

  8. #7
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    Exactly which team, that is successful, uses primarily free weights (on the professional level)?

  9. #8
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    PowermanDL back that statement up. Give an example.

  10. #9
    Player Hater PowerManDL's Avatar
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    Vin Diesel has a fever.. and the only prescription is more cowbell.

    Budiak: That girl I maced
    Budiak: macked
    Budiak: heh maced
    Budiak: I wish

    ShmrckPmp5: a good thing people can't fire guns through the computer...your ass would have been shot years ago

    Y2A 47: youre smooth as hell
    Y2A 47: thats why you get outta tickets, and into panties

    galileo: you're a fucking beast and I hate you
    galileo: hate

    assgrabbers are never subtile, they will grabb ass whereever they go,public or not, I know the type, because I am one. - Rock

  11. #10
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    I disagree with the article. machines have their part to play in weight lifting. It can give you some things that free weights can't give you like constant resistance throughout the movement. Also it provides stability when lifting heavy, or if you don't have a spotter. Machines have it's place. Using free weights with machines can give you the best of all possible worlds.

  12. #11
    Player Hater PowerManDL's Avatar
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    Breeze, read what I originally posted.

    Power
    Vin Diesel has a fever.. and the only prescription is more cowbell.

    Budiak: That girl I maced
    Budiak: macked
    Budiak: heh maced
    Budiak: I wish

    ShmrckPmp5: a good thing people can't fire guns through the computer...your ass would have been shot years ago

    Y2A 47: youre smooth as hell
    Y2A 47: thats why you get outta tickets, and into panties

    galileo: you're a fucking beast and I hate you
    galileo: hate

    assgrabbers are never subtile, they will grabb ass whereever they go,public or not, I know the type, because I am one. - Rock

  13. #12
    Proud Father Maki Riddington's Avatar
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    Originally posted by chris mason
    That is a bunch of pseudo-science b.s. All of this "real life" movement vs. weightlifting stuff is really misguided. In "real life" no one performs squats with 300 lbs or bench presses with 300 lbs. There is no movement which one does during the practice of weightlifting which directly translates to "real life". The perfect example of this is the World"s Strongest Man competitions. The man who is able to squat the most, deadlift the most, or bench the most is often not the winner because the strength developed during the performance of these exercises does not translate directly to the events of the competition. In order for the Strongest Man competitors to do well in the specific events they must train for those events. Lifting weights will build general strength for the muscles involved in a lift and specific coordination to the lift performed, nothing else (well, it will build mass as well). A big bench press does not equal a big shotput. So, to say that training with machines will somehow limit "real life" strength is silly in my opinion.

    *** Translation.... You did not understand my post.

    Anyways the point of the thread was to spark a debate which the members of this board could learn and provide input.
    Maki Fit Blog

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    "Soli Deo Gloria"
    "Test all things; hold fast what is good.": 1 Thessalonians 5:21

    "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
    So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord!"
    Romans 7:14-25

    "Judo is not about strength. Yet in the learning curve, all Judokas get strong. Only with time do you learn where to apply that strength."
    The Art of Judo

  14. #13
    Proud Father Maki Riddington's Avatar
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    Originally posted by breeze
    It can give you some things that free weights can't give you like constant resistance throughout the movement.

    *** Breeze, this statement is incorrect. Machines do not provide constant resistance. Where did you hear this?
    Maki Fit Blog

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    My articles on Wannabebig

    "Soli Deo Gloria"
    "Test all things; hold fast what is good.": 1 Thessalonians 5:21

    "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
    So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord!"
    Romans 7:14-25

    "Judo is not about strength. Yet in the learning curve, all Judokas get strong. Only with time do you learn where to apply that strength."
    The Art of Judo

  15. #14
    MulletII - AKA Ninja Boner Gyno Rhino's Avatar
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    I'm in the middle on this one.. I think free weights are better for athletic endeavors, but I also DO think that the stabilization/core **** has gone too far. Damn, everyone now is scared of doing seated movements cause you aren't activating all the stabilizers.. Damn, if that's true, why don't you all bench press with one leg above you and one holding a circus monkey while your head is as far back as you can get it and you're holding a ball between your knees. That would sure activate a lot of stabilizers, eh? But at the other side, an athlete that has NO explosive power would be quite comical as well. "Oh, you want me to tackle him? Have him line up on the 45 and I'll stand exactly three paces in front of him and push him over, just like the Hammer Strength power jammer machine.." Just shut up and press the bar up. Damn.

  16. #15
    As I Am Paul Stagg's Avatar
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    The main differences between a well designed machine and free weights seems obvious to me.

    - Free weights require the use of stabilizers, and using those stabilizers will lead to injury protection

    - Machines restrict the movement of the resistance. Sometimes, this is a good thing, sometimes not.

    - Machines don't fit everyone (this is a big one, IMHO)

    Certainly, machines have their place, some are very good. The Smith has its place, and I agree with Maki, that moderate or occasional use probably won't hurt you. Reliance might.

    A poorly designed machine, however, is just dangerous.

  17. #16
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    I will say that the article Powerman referenced shows that Louie Simmons is a misinformed and misguided individual. To say that training with HIT methods (as he pigeonholes them) will make one weaker than they appear is quite silly. I am a perfect example of this being untrue, I am actually stronger than I appear, and guess what, I train with low volume and high intensity....go figure! He also states that most machines use the "peak contraction" principle and then goes on to state that these machines require a maximal effort to commence the movements which is a direct contradiction to the peak contraction principle. Seems he has a lack of understanding there!

    This next excerpt is just plain bullsh*t!!!

    -----? I also talk to a head strength coach that has been affiliated with a winning tradition in the NFL who tells me, although he is ashamed to admit it, that he has linemen coming into the league that can't vertical jump 19 inches or squat 300 pounds. He related to me that these players are from "high-intensity training" (H.I.T.) schools and that this type of weight program is making his job next to impossible.
    A pro-lineman told me while I was at their camp that when he was placed on the H. I.T. program in college, his team was the top 5th school his senior year. He thought he was strong until the combines. When he got only 12 repetitions with 225 pounds, he was embarrassed. He was picked by a pro-team that utilized our training and that has an excellent strength coach. In 2 years this lineman did 17 reps with 315 pounds. He made a remark that machines and H.I.T. were useless. This got back to his old college team, who immediately banned him for life from their weight room. Gee, what a pity.
    -----------

    That is the biggest bunch of blatant lies I have ever read in my entire life. What a fuc*ing joke! First, I am to believe that a NFL team has lineman (albeit just coming in) who cannot squat 300 lbs? I would like to see that one! I would like to see a 275 lb + man in today's sports environment that works out with weights who cannot squat 300 lbs. Man, anyone who reads this b.s. and believes it must be a true fool! How about the lineman who supposedly trained with HIT methods in college and could only bench 225 lbs for 12 reps???? I believe that one, no really, I do! If he only did 12 reps, he wasn't training in a HIT fashion in college, or he did during the season and then quit completely during the off-season. Of course, again, we are asked to believe that this weak pus*y got a chance to play in the NFL This article is so ridiculous it makes me want to cry !


    How about this excerpt:

    ----
    Along the same parameters are the findings of Dr. Tamas Ajan and Prof. Lazar Baroga. They describe the zones of intensity as follows: 30 to 50% is low intensity; for speed-oriented sports; 50 to 85% is medium intensity; for force-oriented sports such as weightlifting; 85 to 95% is high intensity, for weightlifting and other sports; 1 00% and above is maximum and over-maximum Intensity, for the development of absolute strength.

    ------

    Hmmmm, isn't it the the HIT proponents who emphasize training with 100% intensity??? Does Louie's qoute above not say that 100% intensity is for the developement of absolute strength? Did our friend Louie not just say a little earlier in the same article that HIT builds weak pus*ies???? Poor Louie..... I think Louie needs

  18. #17
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Paul Stagg

    A poorly designed machine, however, is just dangerous.

    Uh, really??? What sort of a silly statement is that? Poor exercise form is dangerous. Poorly designed machines could be dangerous. Poor advice can be dangerous. You have stated the obvious, bravo!

    ** Did I do something to offend you? Was this called for?
    Last edited by Paul Stagg; 07-24-2001 at 08:44 AM.

  19. #18
    Senior Member Cackerot69's Avatar
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    Chris, you're dangerous.

  20. #19
    Cardio bunny Alex.V's Avatar
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    I think for me it's essentially a mechanics issue. True, there is the stabilizer/core strength/etc. bit that has been beaten to death, so there's no need to say more on it. However, I DO believe that different bone structures, different bodily proportions, etc. all make lifting highly individual. There is no motion curve that is identical across all individuals; therefore it is silly to assume that a machine is likely to be designed in such a way to maximize benefit while maintaining optimal form.

    For example, prone hamstring curls, pec decks, lateral raises, shoulder press, bench press, etc.... I've tried many machines for each of these, and each and every one feels somewhat different. Some shoulder machines pinched my joints quite awfully, while others simply worked a very odd range of motion, with sticking points either higher or lower than normal.

    For me, this is the chief criticism of machines. They do not allow the lifter to optimize the lift to his or her basic shape, and as a result, the chance of injury may be higher, and the efficacy of the exercise may be lower.

    Ergo, I avoid machines.
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  21. #20
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    Hey, am I missing something here? Do you guys have different machines than I have encountered? Are the machines at your gyms not adjustable ?

  22. #21
    MulletII - AKA Ninja Boner Gyno Rhino's Avatar
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    Training with 100% intensity IS used to train for absolute strength. I don't remember in ANY HIT program, ever hearing someone train with 100% intensity. EVER. Let's all remember the definition of intensity. It relates to your 1RM, remember? So 100% intensity is just a max lift. HIT doesn't advocate maxing out on anything, right? So Louie is right about HIT not using 100% intensity and whatnot. Also, I've been training with an abbreviated HIT routine for 75% of the time I've been lifting, and I'm much weaker than I appear. It's embarrassing.

  23. #22
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    You haven't used the proper routine just yet! Actually, the article never defines intensity so we really don't know what exactly he is referring to, although I agree that the definition he is using is probably what you are mentioning. Of course, where is it written in stone that you cannot perform low volume with low reps? That is what I do for the most part, for legs I do go higher because I think the legs respond better to higher reps and because of injury.

  24. #23
    Cardio bunny Alex.V's Avatar
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    Moving the seat up and down is not enough to correct the problems I'm talking about.
    "Except Belial. He knows everything. This isn't a sarcastic attack, either. He really knows everything." -----Organichu
    "Alex is all knowing and perfect"-----Jane (loosely paraphrased)
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  25. #24
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    What Belial said...esp since, from a female perspective, most machines are designed for male proportions.

    But, in general, it's nice to have lots of options. I love the free weights, but sometimes I use certain machines for various reasons...

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  26. #25
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    I cannot use a Pec-Dek machine, however that does not make me condemn all machines....

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