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Thread: Help Convince My Gym to get a Squat Rack

  1. #1
    Wannabebig Member
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    Help Convince My Gym to get a Squat Rack

    I've been working out at the Y for about 6 years. When I joined in 1999, I approached the management about adding a squat rack. At that time I was told "we have a Smith machine, and that's the same thing." I argued, but to no avail.

    Luckily, a Y across town had a squat rack, so on Leg Day, I'd just head over to the other Y. That worked out great until the "other" Y decided to undergo renovations. They moved the equipment to a new smaller facility, and put the squat rack in storage until renovations are completed - in 2007.

    So, I decided to bring up the issue of the squat rack again at my regular Y. I was immediately asked (in a defensive manner) "Why? Don't you like the Smith machine?"

    I told them that if money is the issue, I'd gladly buy one and donate it to them, but then they said "Well, it might be a liability issue...you know, kids using it and 'falling forward' and hurting themselves..." Again, total crap. The gym has a leg press, free weights, flat and incline benches, etc., and a squat/power rack is no more dangerous than these.

    I asked to speak to the Y director, which I will be doing on Monday, and I want to be prepared for the meeting.

    I've been squatting almost 12 years now. I know the Squat is far superior to the Smith machine. I know that the Squat works stabilizers that the Smith does not and that the Smith machine is a very specialized type of exercise. However, I would like to take some "documented proof" with me to the meeting that will carry weight with the Y director.

    So, I thought I'd ask you guys for help. Can anyone point me to "respected" sources of information that I can use for the basis of my argument on Monday?

    Thanks, and Happy New Year

  2. #2
    Just watch me ... Built's Avatar
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    Okay, here's something:

    1. Machines are never superior to free weights.

    2. The Smith machine locks you into a fixed plane of motion, which develops what is called 'pattern overload syndrome'. This was coined by Paul Chek and is explained as

    People get a pattern overload from using the Smith machine. The more fixed the object, the more likely you are to develop a pattern overload. This is due to the fact that training in a fixed pathway repetitively loads the same muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints in the same pattern, encouraging micro-trauma that eventually leads to injury. If Johnny Lunchpail always uses a Smith machine for his bench presses, he ends up working the same fibers of the prime movers in the bench press all of the time: triceps brachii, pectoralis major, long-head of the biceps, anterior deltoids, and serratus anterior. But he can't change the pathway, the bar will always be in the same position. This commonly leads to chronic injury over time. The weight is stabilized for you. However, the joints operate in multiple planes. Use of the Smith machine, greatly decreases stabilizer activity. That creates a problem when the trainee returns to free-weight training. When that happens, the trainee is exposed to the three-dimensional environment called real life.

    This clearly applies to any exercise. Because of the mechanics of the knee joint, the body will alter the natural bar pathway during a free-weight squat to accommodate efficient movement at the knee. A fixed bar pathway doesn't allow alteration of this pathway for efficient movement of the joint, thereby predisposing the knee to harmful overload via lack of accommodation.

    3. If your feet are out in front of you, you tend to push 'back' against the bar. Doing so forces the hamstrings to function as extensors which decreases their protective effects on the knee - the result is increased sheering force on the knee. Again, over time, chronic injury.

    4. Some might bring up the issue of 'knees going over the toes' with free bar/full squats. It's a simple biomechanical misunderstanding.

    See the following:

    If one were to assess knee injuries in athletic (read as: sport) environments, it becomes apparent that a high percentage of patellar trauma cases are sustained while the knee is beyond the all-sacred toe-line. In a misguided attempt to avoid knee injuries, the exercise community has therefore made this knee position taboo. In reality, the opposite reaction would have been preferential. Since this knee position is unavoidable in sports, or even in everyday life (try walking up or down stairs or a hill without your knee crossing your toe line) the proper way to prevent injuries is to strengthen the musculature around the joint by allowing the knee to travel into the “unsafe” zone in a controlled environment.

    All joints contain feedback mechanisms inside the connective tissue and joint capsules called proprioceptors. These communicate with your nervous system to tell your brain what position your joint is at. This is how you can close your eyes and be aware of exactly what angle all of your joints are at without actually seeing them. To simplify a complicated issue, the more time you spend with your knee past your toe-line, the more you teach your nervous system to activate the protective soft tissue around the joint therefore PREVENTING injury during athletic situations (Supertraining, Siff & Verkoshansky, 1993). Close your eyes and think of a highly succesful strength coach. Yep, he agrees. Somehow, this news just doesn’t buy column space in Muscle and Fatness


    The take home message - learn how to squat with a bar and you'll be well on your way to some sweet legs and a nice, tight, little booty.

    Erik Ledin, CSCS, CISSN
    Lean Bodies Consulting, Inc.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    The following article is a pretty balanced view of machines vs. free weights by the late Rosemary Vernon. She was a pretty smart lady. http://www.dolfzine.com/page349.htm

    I'd quote Siff, but I lent out my copy of Supertraining... Here's some Pavel Tsatsouline, quoting Siff and Chek (from Power to the People):

    "Machine training is often hyped as the thing to do for beginners because free weights are harder to control. 'Contrary to common belief,' state Prof. Verhhoshansky and Dr. Siff, 'the novice must be taught from a base of mobility to progress to stability, just as an infant learns to stand by first moving, staggering and exploring the environment.'
    ...In addition to the acute injuries you are asking for if you try to test your machine-based strength in the field, you will be building up micro-trauma for future problems. 'The more fixed the object, the more likely you are to develop a pattern overload,' explains Paul Chek. 'Training in a fixed pathway repetitively loads the same muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints in the same pattern, encouraging micro-trauma which eventually leads to injury.' (pp. 30-31)
    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
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  4. #4
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    Convince them by saying that it is the single best way to develop your legs, and that if you don't develop your legs you're not a MAN (or a woman)

    Smith machine sucks for squats, end of story

  5. #5
    Former Fatass Unreal's Avatar
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    See if the other one will store the squat rack in your garage or living room.

    If not, find a real gym. No one likes being bitter because they wanted to be the sailor, and not the damn indian.
    Nick V

  6. #6
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    i agree, find a real gym, not a place with 70 year old people trying to tack on another 6 months to their life

  7. #7
    Skinny Fatass
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zep
    Can anyone point me to "respected" sources of information that I can use for the basis of my argument on Monday?
    Point to your butt, and tell the director of the Y that it is shrinking. Tell them that your butt needs squats.

  8. #8
    Wannabe Absolutely Huge trasmi21's Avatar
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    Proceed to use the Smith Machine for the next 6 months, then after six months, show them your lack of improvement .

    Just kidding.
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  9. #9
    Banned spencerjrus's Avatar
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    I would bring the article about the 13 year old boy who killed himself trying to bench on the smith machine.

  10. #10
    Baby Seal Clubber ElPietro's Avatar
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    I can't even convice my cheap ass gym to buy another set of spring collars for the bars.

    Good luck with the rack!
    Deadlifts are like women, they'll hurt you everytime, but they'll also make you a man. - Me

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  11. #11
    hammin'
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    Why not just tell them you need a squat rack to train squats because you want to enter upcoming powerlifting competition??
    They say that when your ships comes in
    The first man takes the sails
    Second takes the afterdeck
    The third: the planks and rails.

  12. #12
    Combat Infantryman
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    So you offered to buy it and give it to them and they said no?


    New gym time.

  13. #13
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    The person I talked to was just the "Director on Duty". I'll only find on Monday whether they'd actually accept my offer to buy a rack for the gym. With their attitude of "Squat Rack=Smith Machine", I'm just trying to prepare myself for a knowledgable rebuttal when they tell me they don't want a squat rack there.

    I was also thinking about asking other gym members (the ones who work out like they'd have use for a squat rack as well) to sign a letter of interest.

  14. #14
    Wannabe Absolutely Huge trasmi21's Avatar
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    The letter of interest wouldn't be too bad of an idea, power in numbers.
    Age: 19
    Height: 6'4
    Beginning Weight as of August '05: 210
    Weight as of December '05: 235
    Weight as of January '06: 240
    ***Now Cutting***
    Weight as of March 20th: 220
    BF%: Not sure, but it's better.

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  15. #15
    on the road to a 1.2ktotal
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElPietro
    I can't even convice my cheap ass gym to buy another set of spring collars for the bars.

    Good luck with the rack!
    hahaha
    but on a serious note, 80% of the clips/collars at the gym i go to don't do what they're supposed to do. (they're loose as ****)

    to the OP hey how is the Y's weight training area? i was thinking about signing up for one because it's a lot closer than my old gym since i moved. my friend told me he pays like 10-15 bucks a month for a weight room membership. is that right? thanks. good luck with the squat rack.
    19 yrs old
    5'9'' @ 165 lbs
    bf%: ?

    BB Bench Press: 275 lbs
    ATG Squat: 355 lbs
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  16. #16
    Iron4Life
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    Excellant article Built..

    Here are a couple more references for you Zep:

    http://www.med.und.nodak.edu/depts/p...essvsSquat.htm
    http://www.extremefitness.com/forum/...ad.php?t=34100 (good bullets in this one)
    http://forum.dutchbodybuilding.com/w...uat-29889.html (this one has has grat graphics and math equations - that way you can really show that Y director some research)

  17. #17
    Senior Member
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    Hahah great site. I love the Dutch guys response, "Hoort er ook nog bij..."

    LMAO
    Bulking is living.

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  18. #18
    In China tigo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spencerjrus
    I would bring the article about the 13 year old boy who killed himself trying to bench on the smith machine.
    this would be good.
    I don't have time. I make time.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by HelpMeLift
    to the OP hey how is the Y's weight training area? i was thinking about signing up for one because it's a lot closer than my old gym since i moved. my friend told me he pays like 10-15 bucks a month for a weight room membership. is that right?
    Y's can differ greatly, so you'll have to check it out first. Some cities I've lived in had great, fully-equipped facilities with pools, basketball courts, cycling rooms, full weight rooms, a track, saunas, free spinning classes, etc, etc., while other's just across weren't so good at all. One of the best parts, however, is that membership is generally accepted worldwide. I can use my Y membership in other cities, and even in Canada when I travel.

    I'm paying $40/month, which I've found to be a good deal in my area.
    Last edited by Zep; 01-02-2006 at 02:33 PM.

  20. #20
    Combat Infantryman
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    Quote Originally Posted by HelpMeLift
    hahaha
    but on a serious note, 80% of the clips/collars at the gym i go to don't do what they're supposed to do. (they're loose as ****)

    to the OP hey how is the Y's weight training area? i was thinking about signing up for one because it's a lot closer than my old gym since i moved. my friend told me he pays like 10-15 bucks a month for a weight room membership. is that right? thanks. good luck with the squat rack.

    The screws on our collars are so stripped we just have people nearby hold the weights on the bars. I'm not sure why they don't just buy clips.

  21. #21
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unreal
    No one likes being bitter because they wanted to be the sailor, and not the damn indian.
    What in God's name does that even mean?

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