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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  1. #1
    Determined View 1's Avatar
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    The no routine, routine

    When I got back into lifting about a year and half ago or so, I tried a lot of different routines (full body, BGB, body part splitís, Westside etc...) some worked others did not. Awhile back I took two weeks off from the gym (a long and much needed vacation). Before I went back I thought about what are my goals in the gym? The reason I started back in the first place was, wanting to improve my overall health and to lose weight. Iíve always wanted to be stronger, and while I do want to have more muscle mass than what I have, Iím not looking to be a mass monster either. Iíve deadlifted over 400 pounds, recently squatted over 300 for the first time, so Iím happy with what I have accomplished so far.

    When I started thinking about different routines, I just started to realize sometimes less is more. The more and more I thought about it for what I want to accomplish I donít need to be in the gym 5 days a week. Go to the gym stick the basicís hit it hard (with good form) and go home.

    I just stuck with a simple layout, same as bill stars 5x5 routine, except that I simply lift based upon how I feel. I may hit a exercise 3x8 this time, next time I may work close to a 5 rep max, maybe 4x10, etc. I did back squats on Monday maybe Ill do hack squats on Friday, instead of deadlifting maybe ill do rack pulls or good mornings this time etc.. I simply go in lift and go home. I write down every exercise and rep scheme that I do, and my only goal is to beat that next time I lift, whether I beat it by a adding more weight or by getting another rep, it doesnít matter. I will add in a couple of other exerciseís, some tricep work, reverse hypers, ghetto ghr, what ever I feel like adding that day, without overloading any given muscle group.

    I just donít feel so confined and in all honestly Iím the most happy with this routine. While some may or may not agree with this for me and what I want to accomplish it works.

    Just wondering if any one has done anything like this or not?
    Success is achieved by doing a little more than you thought you could, and a lot more than anyone else.

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  3. #2
    Just watch me ... Built's Avatar
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    I kinda do this, but on a framework. For example, it might be horizontal push pull day, but one week I'll start with back, then do chest or vice versa. Or I'll do straight sets one week, antagonist pairs the next. Or I'll vary the accessory work but keep the heavy compounds the same. I may choose to do direct bicep work on quad dominant day one week, the next I may just do a few sets of chinups between sets of squats.

  4. #3
    Ex-Manwhore KingWilder's Avatar
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    I've taken this approach before...usually when I'm sick of doing a specific routine or pressed for time...but after awhile I usually find my way back to a structured routine

    I like the structured approach more because it's easier to track progress, but that's not to say that you cannot track your progress on a "no routine, routine"
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  5. #4
    Banned bjohnso's Avatar
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    That's what I do - I just do whatever I feel like doing, and if I don't hit my goal with the exercise I picked, then I'll move on to something else that I know I can hit my goal with. Example: Today I was just feeling burned out on squats and missed my goal, so I did box squats and good mornings and was very pleased with the workout.

    I get very bored doing the same thing over and over, perhaps that will be my downfall.

  6. #5
    Bulk me. MJay's Avatar
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    When I did whatever I felt like it was really unstrutured in every sense but then I didn't really know what I was doing.
    I think at the moment I'd really struggle to manage avoiding over-training a muscle group and tracking progress if I did anything similar to what you've described.

  7. #6
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    If it works, then great, but it's tough to consistently manage fatigue when you have a "no-plan plan"... Usually people end up doing much more or much less than what they really need to make progress.
    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
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  8. #7
    Senior Member garjagan's Avatar
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    I guess it's an approach that suits certain personalities. Some need strict guidelines to feel motivated, some don't.

    I'm of the later and liked what I just read View 1. It made perfect sense.

  9. #8
    Too Hot To Be So Cold BBB's Avatar
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    I do this on and off. I'll do something structured for 6 weeks, then 2 weeks unstructured, the 6 weeks structured again. I get bored easily if I don't change it up pretty often.
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  10. #9
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garjagan View Post
    I guess it's an approach that suits certain personalities. Some need strict guidelines to feel motivated, some don't.

    I'm of the later and liked what I just read View 1. It made perfect sense.
    It depends on what your goals are, I guess.

    If you subscribe to the "no-plan plan", you can pretty much expect less than spectacular outcomes...

    Training without a plan is kind of like a soap opera - it can be interesting here and there, but the story is endless and generally goes nowhere.

    Charles Staley's "Why Periodization Doesn't Work" article is a great one for basics of planning training. Don't be fooled by the title, he's advocating periodization, just not how most people do it... http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=1519513
    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/

  11. #10
    Just watch me ... Built's Avatar
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    I do get my best results when I go in with a fully developed plan - no doubt about it. But I maintain nicely with a more amorphous mix.

  12. #11
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    A good plan should allow for flexibility - it's not a list of sets, reps, %s, and exercises to be adhered to dogmatically.

    I'm not saying that every training session I have is meticulously planned - I'm as guilty as anyone of meandering (maybe more so). But, I don't delude myself into thinking it's somehow better.

    If you don't have benchmarks/goals that you are working toward, and if the things you're doing in the gym aren't taking you towards them, you're probably going to be crying plateau a lot more than you would with a decent plan.
    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

  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by View 1 View Post
    I did back squats on Monday maybe Ill do hack squats on Friday, instead of deadlifting maybe ill do rack pulls or good mornings this time etc.. I simply go in lift and go home.


    I write down every exercise and rep scheme that I do, and my only goal is to beat that next time I lift, whether I beat it by a adding more weight or by getting another rep, it doesnít matter.?

    But if you are doing different exercises ("instead of deadlifting maybe ill do rack pulls..") how do you beat that the next time you lift?
    And you do have to follow a certain structure if you want to improve on your lifts...you wouldn't only deadlift once a month if you wanted to improve that lift would you?

  15. #14
    Get your tickets... Gunshow's Avatar
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    i pretty much have the basics layed out for me. for example i bench every chest day, squat every leg day, deadlift and row every back day, and overhead press every shoulder day. Every thing else i like to mix up once in a while for example one week i might do bench, incline bench, flies, dropset on a hammer strength machine.. the next week i'll do bench, DB press, and some DB pullovers. i find this works the best for me, as i never get bored with a set routine but i still have my heavy compounds which are the bricks and mortar of my routine.
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  16. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gunshow View Post
    i pretty much have the basics layed out for me. for example i bench every chest day, squat every leg day, deadlift and row every back day, and overhead press every shoulder day. Every thing else i like to mix up once in a while for example one week i might do bench, incline bench, flies, dropset on a hammer strength machine.. the next week i'll do bench, DB press, and some DB pullovers. i find this works the best for me, as i never get bored with a set routine but i still have my heavy compounds which are the bricks and mortar of my routine.
    i really like the sound of that.. i may try it out.

  17. #16
    Determined View 1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sensei View Post
    A good plan should allow for flexibility - it's not a list of sets, reps, %s, and exercises to be adhered to dogmatically.

    I'm not saying that every training session I have is meticulously planned - I'm as guilty as anyone of meandering (maybe more so). But, I don't delude myself into thinking it's somehow better.

    If you don't have benchmarks/goals that you are working toward, and if the things you're doing in the gym aren't taking you towards them, you're probably going to be crying plateau a lot more than you would with a decent plan.
    This is very true.

    I should be a little more specific as well. What I tend to do is stick to certain exercises ( Back squat, BB bench press, deadlift ) I switch them up every so often. I also try to keep one day a heavy day one day a lighter day ( with the squat and bench since they are preformed twice a week ). But I will switch up the rep patterns for those days, so say if Monday I'm lifting heavy I may use something like 4x6 or I may pyramid up to heavy set of 5 or 3 ( but not maxing out ).

    So what I do is not set in stone, I do have a structure to it. But if I'm having an off day, then Ill chose my rep pattern based on how I feel, as long as I'm hitting the muscle with good form and enough intensity I don't look at it as a negative if I didn't do a desired rep pattern.
    Success is achieved by doing a little more than you thought you could, and a lot more than anyone else.

  18. #17
    Determined View 1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Songsangnim View Post
    But if you are doing different exercises ("instead of deadlifting maybe ill do rack pulls..") how do you beat that the next time you lift?
    And you do have to follow a certain structure if you want to improve on your lifts...you wouldn't only deadlift once a month if you wanted to improve that lift would you?
    You are correct, but it also depends on what your goals are in the gym as well ( see my post above ). If I wanted to improve on my big 3 lifts then structure is a good thing, I've never heard of a power lifter that didn't fallow a set routine. When I did westside I had a set routine for the most part and hand no problem with it, it worked, the structure of the program is time tested and proven. But right now that goal is not my goal.

    The only goal I have in the gym is to deadlift 500. But there is more than one way to get there. If you look at westside they use good mornings to train for deadlift, if you look at a coach like Ed coan he use's alot of deadlifting in his routines. It all depends on your experience level and what works for you.
    Success is achieved by doing a little more than you thought you could, and a lot more than anyone else.

  19. #18
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    There's lot's of good routines out there, there's also lot's of sh***y one's too. I honestly think that because each individual is different, you should do a routine that works for you.

    I see a lot of newbie's come on here and ask for a routine, and people tell them to do this routine because it worked good for me. Well, there's no telling whether it'll work good for them as well. On the flipside, I see newbie's come on here and post there routine and say "is this a good routine?" Then of course, people start ripping them apart, which is bs because they've come on here for some friendly help. I'm kind of disgusted at how the same people rip apart the newbie's over and over again, when in some cases, they need to be ripped apart themselves.

    So here's my suggestion to anyone on here, newbie or no newbie. Read up on all the different routines, not necessarily on this site, but on others as well. Check them out, see if they look good, and try them. If you get sh***y results, then maybe it's time for a change.

    The best way to learn is through trial and error. Hell, I've been lifting for 12 years now, and I'm using a routine that I put together myself which uses the good parts of every routine I've ever tried.

    So just use do what works for you; not others.

  20. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by TommyBoy View Post
    On the flipside, I see newbie's come on here and post there routine and say "is this a good routine?" Then of course, people start ripping them apart, which is bs because they've come on here for some friendly help. I'm kind of disgusted at how the same people rip apart the newbie's over and over again, when in some cases, they need to be ripped apart themselves.

    .
    We must be on two different boards then. I see plenty of people ripping the routine apart but not the newbie. The newbie only gets ripped on when he refuses to listen to advice or defends said routine...or in certain cases when he posts an almost identical routine for the fifth time in as many days and asks is this good?

    But maybe I am wrong and you could provide links to say oh 2 threads where the newbie (NOT his routine) was "ripped apart" simply for posting a routine and asking for comments? If you post a bad routine, expect some harsh comments on it...but that is not a personal attack on the person.

  21. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Songsangnim View Post
    We must be on two different boards then. I see plenty of people ripping the routine apart but not the newbie. The newbie only gets ripped on when he refuses to listen to advice or defends said routine...or in certain cases when he posts an almost identical routine for the fifth time in as many days and asks is this good?

    But maybe I am wrong and you could provide links to say oh 2 threads where the newbie (NOT his routine) was "ripped apart" simply for posting a routine and asking for comments? If you post a bad routine, expect some harsh comments on it...but that is not a personal attack on the person.
    Ok, I agree with what you're saying. Basically, they rip apart the routine and follow it up with snarky comments directed at the person who posted the routine.
    Quote Originally Posted by Songsangnim View Post
    If you post a bad routine, expect some harsh comments on it...but that is not a personal attack on the person.
    I don't see why there is a need for harsh comments. I mean, some of the newbies have no experience at all. Sure you can tell them it isn't an ideal routine, and offer some suggestions/advice. But why be a prick to some new guy/girl who doesn't have any experience?

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