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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 9:13 pm 
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Matt Z wrote:
The Gospel according to Joe ..... Praise be to Weider


Bow your head insolent dog!!! :lol:


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 3:02 am 
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Chris_A wrote:
Ironman wrote:
Even with steroids you can only do so much. Only people with exceptional genetics have the superhuman recovery powers of the Olympians.


Everyone is different, and it must be noted that there are many that respond well, and sometimes only, to high volume training. I've tried lower volume training, recently as a matter of fact, and I couldn't handle it. It was too little, and I felt lazy, and was actually backsliding.

In the bodybuilding world, multiple angles of work, multiple exercises, and multiple methods of attack are the norm. In the bodybuilding world, variety is key. It always has been.

V---A---R---I---E---T---Y

With a shoulder routine, you are looking to incorporate 2 exercises per delt head. Anterior Delts have many exercises. Posterior Delts have many. Laterals don’t. How do you get more variety into such a limited exercise set? Machines of course.

No one said drop free weights for machines. ADD the machines for extra work. Obviously, extra work means more growth, thus you are able to fill out a lagging body part.

Do a DB Lateral raise for 8-10 reps then immediately superset it with a lighter weight on the Lateral Raise machine. That’s variety and extra work.

On the other hand, You could also do drop sets with nothing but DBs. Do the DB Lateral Raise to failure, drop the weight and do it again to failure, then drop the weight and do it again to failure. Yes, that is a valid option. But is it one you want to do every single routine? Not really, you want some variety.

Let’s be honest here, you can get a good workout with nothing but a barbell and some plates. You can even do isolation work with a barbell. Upright Rows for Lateral Delts, Overhead Extensions for Triceps, Curls for Biceps, Overhead Press for Anterior Delts, One Arm Rows (shove one end of BB into a corner) for Posterior Delts, Standing Calf Raises (hold one end of BB in hand), etc, etc, etc.

Clearly, all you need is a Barbell and some plates. Yet, we all have Dumbbells as well (I have four DB handles with collars). What about a high pulley for front pulldowns? And a rope attachment for triceps pressdowns. And a V-Bar for CG pulldowns. And a D Handle for reverse grip pressdowns. Or how about an EZ Bar for Curls and Skullcrushers.

Nice stuff, but really not needed since you can get a full workout, including auxiliary work with only a Barbell.

Unless, of course, you would like some VARIETY and some extra work for a lagging body part.

I know there are a lot of people here that are proponents of the big three lifts and doing those in 3x5s or 5x5s for power. I know there is an inclination here to full body training only and that isolation work is shied away from as if it were a leprosy infected mass of rotting meat.

That’s all well and good, but it is only one point of view to the iron game. If you’re a newbie with less than a year’s experience, by all means, stick to the full body compound movements. When you first start, you will make gains no matter what you do.

But, there is another side to the iron game. There are those of us that have years of training under the belt and are looking to specifically target parts of our body in order to achieve better symmetry. The quest for well rounded symmetry in the bodybuilding world has nothing to do with explosive power or compound movements. It’s about multiple angles of attack that require lighter weights with strict isolation work.

It’s a different world from the power lifters, but it is still a valid one. You say you’re seriously into bodybuilding? Then you should be fully aware of how to use machines and various tools for hitting a muscle from different angles. How to use supersets and drop sets. And you should know that the bodybuilding world does not do away with free weights. No. Bodybuilding is high volume work, so machines are ADDED to free weight exercises. Extra work and variety are the keys to growth and avoiding plateaus in the bodybuilding world.

But hey, different strokes for different folks right?

And wow, this thread has gone nuts. I've said all I can. Some may never understand the bodybuilding POV, but I hope I've expressed that this thread was about adding VARIETY to a routine as well as extra work. I never meant for it infer that basic free weights and compound movements are to be done away with. So, thats all I've got. :grin:


I'm not saying there is anything wrong with high volume. Quite the contrary, I do high volume fairly often. I do greater frequency too. I am an advanced bodybuilder. But I don't use machines because they suck. Muscles do not have angles. Variety is good, but not if it means wasting your time.

How many times do I have to explain that? Please tell me how 1 muscle with 1 neural connection can contract a different way?

You are misusing "angles". A major muscle group has angles. You do rows and then chins to hit the back from a different angle, you do flat and incline to hit chest form 2 different angles. Shoulders have 4 "angles", lateral delts is 1. 1 muscle, 1 neural connection, 1 angle.

Try reading stuff that is based on science rather than selling magazines.

The other thing that is common is random bodypart splits. Those really suck. Splitting by function is much better.

Sometimes you don't want to split, you use high frequency. And I am not talking about a beginners full body workout. Just look up high frequency training. Look up Cosgrove and Waterbury.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 2:07 pm 
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Ironman wrote:
You are misusing "angles". A major muscle group has angles. You do rows and then chins to hit the back from a different angle, you do flat and incline to hit chest form 2 different angles. Shoulders have 4 "angles", lateral delts is 1. 1 muscle, 1 neural connection, 1 angle.

Try reading stuff that is based on science rather than selling magazines.


Are you serious? I thought you were into bodybuilding. Hold on a second, let me consult my Physiology textbook one more time........yep, just as I remembered. The Deltoid muscle, at one time referred to as the “Deltoideus”, surrounds the shoulder. The anterior fibers are used for shoulder abduction, the posterior fibers are for transverse extension, while the lateral fibers are involved in shoulder abduction. Notice that each fiber group moves the shoulder in a different “angle”. It seems it is you that misunderstands what is meant by an angle. In bodybuilding, when the term angle is used with reference to a muscle, you are referring to changing the “angle” of a joint in order to stimulate a different area of a large muscle.

For example, you can work the deltoid, a single muscle, with all pressing movements, but the anterior fibers will receive the brunt of the work. So, you change the “angle” in which you move the weight from a press to a lateral raise and presto, you shift stress to the lateral fibers of the deltoids. Bend yourself at the waist, and the angle in which your shoulder moves again changes and you can do bent laterals to target the posterior fibers.

Please remember that the deltoid is one muscle with three distinct groups of fibers. But, it is not three individual muscles

So yes, I do read more than just glossy magazines. Might I suggest you try to become more familiar with the terminology of a sport you purport to participate in.

Machines suck. In your opinion. Spilt routines suck. In your opinion. Cool. But that is just your opinion, there are thousands more that disagree with you. But, you are entitled to your own.

And before you go off again, to your credit, you actually said “random” splits suck. I assume you mean splitting Shoulders away from Chest or Back? Maybe you aren’t as advanced as you thought, but there is definitely a time to concentrate just on shoulders, especially depending on your genetics.

The anterior fibers of my delts grow like weeds, but I actually use 30lbs more weight in the Bentover row than the Benchpress, yet the posterior fibers of my delts lag behind the lateral and anterior fibers of my delts. To compensate, I do extra posterior delt work, and on occasion, like possibly tonight, I will work just shoulders (including upper traps) where lateral and posterior fibers get a lot of attention. I’ll also probably throw in some calf work because extra calf work is good for me.

Do I use a shoulder only routine a lot? No. I prefer a Push/Pull/Leg split. And in that split, I add extra shoulder exercises. But do I use that 3 day split exclusively? No. I mix it up and even throw in full body routines on occasion. It just depends on how I feel, how much volume has been accomplished in a week, and what I want to work on. You can't do the same thing over and over again and expect continued results. And you can't ignore a lagging body part and expect it to come up on its own.

And machines have a place for the advanced bodybuilder, especially one that trains alone. For example, when I was going to a commercial gym, I loved the pec dec machine because it had a foot press that you could use to assist in moving the weight. Not only did this allow me to work to absolute failure, but I could also do forced reps, and eccentric only work....all of which I did alone. Doing that kind of advanced work alone is simply impossible with free weights.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 5:47 pm 
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You did very poorly in reading comprehension didn't you? Either that or you're some kind of a moron. I said quite clearly the shoulders have 4 angles. Not 1, but 4. I said the LATERAL delt is 1, I did not say the whole thing is. You have your 3 delt heads and the upper traps.

So lets start again, the lateral delt is 1 angle, how is it not?

Machines aren't as effective as free weights, thats a fact. People just use the machines because they think they need 5 different ways to do the same movement. That all came about because Joe Wieder needed to sell magazines. There is no research to support that.

I am as advanced as I think. Of course I only mean body part based splits. You wouldn't get very far without varied types of splits. Even if you are doing full body it doesn't really mean you hit every angle of every muscle group each day. One day you do flat for chest, then you work it again in a couple days and do inclines. One day you do rows for back, another day you do chins.

You should try dumbbell bench press, that will hit your chest better. You probably do your bent over rows, not bent over enough and with a narrow grip. This reduces the rear delts and brings your lats into play. Rear delt rows are good for bringing rear delts up.
Do calves as heavy as you can. They are stubborn but lots of heavy sets with increase frequency will make them grow.

For a lagging body part, you lower volume on other stuff to a maintenance level. Then hit the lagging part hard, heavy weight, very high volume and work it several times a week. You can even work it every day for week. That's a good way to make it catch up.

Absolute failure is overrated. It's a great trick to pull out sometimes. But you can't do it all the time. It is VERY hard on the CNS. More often than not I like doing more sets with less rest. You can also work things in pairs so you can decrease the rest time to 60 seconds, and still have 120+ seconds before working the same muscles again. That way you get well recovered, but can get in more sets. Then maybe go to failure on the last one.

Forced reps are only for getting past a sticking point or something like that. They burn out your CNS too fast. You would be better off just doing more sets with free weights.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 6:13 pm 
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Quote:
You did very poorly in reading comprehension didn't you? Either that or you're some kind of a moron. I said quite clearly the shoulders have 4 angles. Not 1, but 4. I said the LATERAL delt is 1, I did not say the whole thing is. You have your 3 delt heads and the upper traps.


Nice ad hominem.

But you said:

Quote:
Please tell me how 1 muscle with 1 neural connection can contract a different way?


I took that to mean you were speaking of the lateral fibers of the deltoid as if the lateral fibers were a separate muscle. As we all know, the lateral fibers are simply part of one muscle, the deltoid. It is ONE muscle, thus you must change the ANGLE of the shoulder movement to put more stress on the lateral fibers.

If you meant something else, I apologize for misreading your statement.

Quote:
Machines aren't as effective as free weights, thats a fact.


No it is not a fact. The Smith Machine squat can be modified by foot placement so that you shift stress from the quads to the hams and glutes. You can not do that with free weight squats. On a Smith Machine Bench, you can do single arm eccentric work (both hands for concentric, and a single hand to lower on the eccentric), but you can’t do that on a free weight barbell. On a pec dec machine, you can self spot with the foot lever and go to failure, do forced reps, and work eccentric alone which you can’t do with free weights. On a Smith Machine, you can do vertical leg presses alone which you can not do with a free weight bar. On a leg press, you can use poundages heavier than any free weight squat and have the safety of the stop pins for self spotting. Etc, etc, etc. All facts.

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People just use the machines because they think they need 5 different ways to do the same movement. That all came about because Joe Wieder needed to sell magazines. There is no research to support that.


Certainly you aren’t proposing that doing the same thing over and over again is all you need? It’s actually a fact that any given routine will stall and you must change your training method. Do you have to use machines? No. You can vary reps, weight, tempo, frequency, exercises, etc. But do machines make some things easier such as self spotting, isolation, and eccentric work? Yes they do.

Quote:
You wouldn't get very far without varied types of splits. Even if you are doing full body it doesn't really mean you hit every angle of every muscle group each day. One day you do flat for chest, then you work it again in a couple days and do inclines. One day you do rows for back, another day you do chins.


Agreed.

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You probably do your bent over rows, not bent over enough and with a narrow grip. This reduces the rear delts and brings your lats into play.


No. I use a shoulder width or wider pronated grip.

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Rear delt rows are good for bringing rear delts up.


With DBs? That is a great isolation exercise, but I prefer bent laterals.

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Do calves as heavy as you can. They are stubborn but lots of heavy sets with increase frequency will make them grow.


Agreed.

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For a lagging body part, you lower volume on other stuff to a maintenance level. Then hit the lagging part hard, heavy weight, very high volume and work it several times a week. You can even work it every day for week. That's a good way to make it catch up.


That is one of the many ways. Yes, agreed.

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Absolute failure is overrated. It's a great trick to pull out sometimes.


Agreed.

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But you can't do it all the time. It is VERY hard on the CNS.


Agreed.

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More often than not I like doing more sets with less rest.


Ala Jay Cutler and Phil Heath. Agreed. Short rests worked so well for Heath that he gained 16 lbs of lean muscle in 11 months, and many in the BB world have coined the phrase “Heath Up” meaning to work fast and pack on muscle quickly. But you know, Heath does use machines for some things like “Shoulder Day”.

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Then maybe go to failure on the last one.


Agreed. You shouldn’t go to failure on every set, but the last one is a perfect target.

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Forced reps are only for getting past a sticking point or something like that.


Agreed. One of the many very effective tools for busting through a plateau.

It seems we have more in common with our POVs and training methodologies than either would like to admit. But I’m not resorting to ad hominems.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 7:07 pm 
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Ok, sorry, it was just a misunderstanding then.

I have to disagree on the smith squat. It puts excessive sheering force on the knees. The smith machine locks you into 1 plane of motion and takes some stabilizers out of it. The stuff you are talking about is for limited application too. It can be done with a dumbbell and a spotter if you want. But I don't see a reason to over load on single limb work.


Doing the same exercise for many sets helps overload the muscles and improve the recruitment of fibers by the CNS. I vary by the way they are split, frequency, volume, rest, loading, grip, reps and more. I use weighted, barbell and dumbbell. With just a little cable and machine here and there. With the exception of calves of course.

I usually do rear delt row with a barbell. I like it over laterals because you can load it heavier mostly due to having the rear delts at a mechanical advantage as compared to bent over laterals.


Yea, except I don't go for the weider 3 to 5 exercises thing, or all the machines. I like the very old school stuff, or the new post modern approach to advanced bodybuilding. I require proof, or at least a very good source.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 7:20 pm 
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Ironman wrote:
The stuff you are talking about is for limited application too. It can be done with a dumbbell and a spotter if you want.


Yes it is for limited use. Sadly, I don't have a spotter. My wife tries, but gets scared of the heavy weight so I don't put her through that.

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But I don't see a reason to over load on single limb work.


It's not something you do a lot of, but to bring up symmetry where your left pec or tricep is smaller than your right (a problem I've worked diligently to fix), it comes in handy. Using DBs for unilateral work helps, but sometimes you need a little extra push for one side or the other. But, you could just simply do more DB work for that side and skip the machine. I'll concede machines aren't needed. But I do like some of their perks, and the variety makes it fun. And if it's fun, you're more likely to want more and more.

Hell, I'm not even sure why I'm fighting for the machines since I don't use them now. It's been years, and all I use now are free weight exercises. I guess it's because I have limitations in the things I can do with free weights alone. Back in the commercial gyms when I worked alone, the machines offered a lot of things that a spotter can give you without having to have a spotter.

In my home gym, my greatest toy is the high pulley and many attachements. That, and the 30 feet of 1" diameter rope hanging from the tree out back. Great work climbing that thing to the top and slowly lowering back down, especially with a weighted backpack.

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I usually do rear delt row with a barbell. I like it over laterals because you can load it heavier mostly due to having the rear delts at a mechanical advantage as compared to bent over laterals.


I always feel my traps are helping too much with this move. Do you not feel it in your traps (middle fibers)?

Quote:
Yea, except I don't go for the weider 3 to 5 exercises thing, or all the machines. I like the very old school stuff, or the new post modern approach to advanced bodybuilding. I require proof, or at least a very good source.


To be honest, I've recently gotten very interested in Olympic lifting. It's not something I can do at home due to space, but maybe in an open minded gym. Just look at moves like the Clean and Press (or Clean and Jerk). That single move combines bits of a Deadlift, Upright Row, Shrug, Squat, and Military Press. Talk about efficient use of your time.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 9:27 pm 
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You have to do rear delt row with a wide snatch grip to get the traps and arms out of it. I also jerk it a little so that I'm pulling with the rear delts as much as possible.

If you really want to fry rear delts, do a clean/rear delt row superset. I usually do a clean and press, but if your anteriors are too big you just do the clean. Or you can do a rear delt row after a bent over or pendlay row.

Oly lifts have their place, but you can't expect a clean and press to take the place of a deadlift due to loading. It will help your pressing and rowing though. It can also help your back stabilizers to bring up your deadlift.

That reminds me, high pulls are another lateral delt exercise. I can't do upright row in any variation, but I can do high pulls. I do them from a hang position, so they are really hang pull after 2nd rep.

I use those kind of lift for cutting too. You just do a light weight set for 10 to 12 reps, which will have you totally out of breath. then walk for 60 to 90 seconds to recover. It's a great way to do intervals. You can do the lifts with barbells or dumbbells. Even single limb if you want to use heavier weight.

So it is kind of odd, but very possible to use oly lifts in a bodybuilding routine with great success.


One other thing that came to mind, pullups don't really use rear delts, but chins with a more narrow grip do. You might switch those. Or if you use cable, just change your grip.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2008 4:02 am 
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Couldn't help myself...

Chris_A wrote:
No it is not a fact. The Smith Machine squat can be modified by foot placement so that you shift stress from the quads to the hams and glutes. You can not do that with free weight squats.


This depends entirely on how you squat.... sit back with more forward lean, and it's a glute ham and lower back exercise. Keep your torso upright and use more dorsiflexion, and you'll hit the quads more. This is why many PL's will train either the squat, or the deadlift, because they basically use the same muscles (if you squat like that).

KPj


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 1:39 am 
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KPj wrote:
Couldn't help myself...

Chris_A wrote:
No it is not a fact. The Smith Machine squat can be modified by foot placement so that you shift stress from the quads to the hams and glutes. You can not do that with free weight squats.


This depends entirely on how you squat.... sit back with more forward lean, and it's a glute ham and lower back exercise. Keep your torso upright and use more dorsiflexion, and you'll hit the quads more. This is why many PL's will train either the squat, or the deadlift, because they basically use the same muscles (if you squat like that).

KPj


There is no way you can have your feet 12 inches in front of you with a free weight squat. But you can with smith machine.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 3:18 am 
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Chris_A wrote:
There is no way you can have your feet 12 inches in front of you with a free weight squat. But you can with smith machine.


Of course I don't. Although I didn't actually say that.

I said you can shift stress from the quads to the glutes and hams in a free squat depending on how you squat.

KPj


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 2:47 am 
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Like I said, bad for the knees. It locks you into a bad ROM and it takes out stabilizers. The worst thing is the sheering force on the knees. I know I already said it was bad for your knees, but I though I should say it again since it is kind of important. Did I mention the whole knee thing?

Here is an article about it that people paste into message boards kind of like I am doing now.

Why You Should Avoid The Smith Machine


Machines are never superior to free weights. Never. Ever. I’ll say it again….Never. And the Smith machine is the worst of the worst. Yes, I know your trainer or your best friend told you that the Smith is a wonderful thing, and one of the most functional and safest pieces of equipment in the gym. They may have even told you to stop using free weights and to use the Smith because it's safer. They’re dead wrong, and I'm going to tell you why.

1. Pattern Overload Syndrome: The Smith machine locks you into a fixed plane of motion, which can lead to what is known as 'pattern overload syndrome'. The more fixed the object, the more likely you are to develop a pattern overload, and the Smith follows an extremely fixed pathway. This fixed pathway repetitively loads the same muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints in the same pattern, encouraging micro-trauma that eventually leads to injury. If you always uses a Smith machine for your bench presses, you end 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 brachii, anterior deltoids, and serratus anterior. You can't change the pathway; the bar will always be in the same position. This commonly leads to chronic injury over time.

2. Reduced Stabilizer Training: The weight is stabilized for you. However, joints normally operate in multiple planes, and recruit a myriad of other muscles to help stabilize load. Use of the Smith machine greatly decreases this stabilizer activity. This creates a problem when translating your strength and muscle gains back to real life. If you have not trained the stabilizing muscles, you create size and strength imbalances in these muscles that would normally be assisting in the lift. In addition, having weak stabilizers will serve to shut down the prime movers before the prime movers are ready to shut down. If the stabilizers cannot maintain joint integrity there is a feedback mechanism that will cause the prime movers to shut down, or “fail.” When you’re helping your buddy lift that heavy piece of furniture, or pulling that heavy sack of groceries from the back seat of your car, it won’t be attached to a bar that assists your move and travels in a straight up and down plane of motion.

3. Compromised Center of Gravity: When you squat with your knees out in front there is added pressure on the spine. When you free bar squat, the path of the bar is traveling over the instep of your foot and you are driving through your natural center of gravity (COG), the COG you create by moving your hips back and bending your knees on the decent of the squat. When you are on a smith machine with your feet positioned out in front, you are causing your body to drive through a false center of gravity. Now, instead of the weight being over your feet, it is directly in-line with your spine and your feet are out front, placing your new (false) COG somewhere about mid thigh. The problem this poses is that your spine is not in a healthy position to stabilize force. Your hips are there not only to move the lower body, but also, to stabilize forces being placed on the body. If you put them out front you take that ability away from them causing all of the weight to be compressed on the spine without anything to absorb the shock. NOT GOOD!

These principles clearly apply to any exercise you might want to do on the Smith. Take, for example, the squat. 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 the plane of motion for efficient movement of the joint, thereby predisposing the knee to harmful overload via lack of accommodation. And, for all of you that like to put your feet out in front of you, in addition to the COG problems outlined above, if your feet are out in front of you, you tend to push back against the bar. Doing so changes the function of the hamstrings role in the move, removing it’s stabilizing, protective effects on the knee joint. The result is an increased sheering force on the knee. Again, over time, chronic injury, and even possible traumatic knee injury.

So. Now that you’re armed with the facts, you know to stay away from the Smith (actually any machine that locks you into one plane or arc of movement, but we’re taking about the Smith here). Do yourself a favor and get acquainted with the barbells and dumbbells this fine establishment has to offer.



Then of course there is this too.

http://www.exrx.net/Questions/SmithSquat.html


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 3:45 am 
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Good post Ironman.

If i'm being honest I hate the Smith Machine. The only thing I hate more than the smith machine is people who ask for a spot when using the smith machine. What's that all about?

KPj


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 11:44 pm 
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It's "The Thread That Would Not Die"! :green:

But Ironman, you miss the point, the Smith Machine allows you to do things you can’t do with free weights. And that is a fact. On a squat, you move your feet forward to shift emphasis to the glutes and hams. The further forward, the more the glutes and hams are used. EMG studies have proved this, and you can’t do it with free weight squats.

On a Smith Machine, you can do single arm eccentric work to bring up a lagging body part. On a bench-press, use both arms for the concentric, and use only the lagging arm for the eccentric. Try that with a free weight bar.

Is the Smith Machine the only way to hit glutes and hams or do unilateral eccentric work? No. Is a Smith Machine ideal for a regular squat? No.

But you’re only limiting yourself if you don’t recognize that every tool has a function that you can use. Is one better than the others, maybe. EMG studies have certainly shown that modified Smith Machine squats hit the glutes and hams far better than a standard deadlift….wow, efficiency anyone?

Or we can just go back to the stone ages and all lift rocks day in and day out. No need to specialize or add variety right?

There are some out there that want to know how to do it all. Just like there are some that want to speak more than one language. Then again, there are some that are perfectly happy speaking only one language. It just depends on how educated and varied you want to be. Just because English is a very popular language doesn’t mean it is THE perfect language. Same with weight training. Free weights are great and very popular, but there are many more ways to communicate with your muscles than just free weights. One way is usually good enough, but if you want more and want to be more well rounded with a veritable arsenal at your finger tips, then broaden your horizons. Finding something worthwhile in varied techniques doesn’t make you a traitor to free weights, it makes you more educated and well rounded.

But I know, I know, I know……free weights are “Da bomb”, “free weights are all you need”. Yeah, and eggs are all the protein you’ll ever need as well. That is a fact…..but do you eat other kinds? Why? Eggs are all you really need for protein. The highest and purest source so why go elsewhere?


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 12:28 am 
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Machines are never superior to free weights. Never. Ever. I’ll say it again….Never.


Ya think? That is a really broad generalization you’ve made there, and it is one that falls apart under scrutiny.

Are free weights the best for a beginner or intermediate trainer? Yes.

But what about the experienced and advanced trainer. Say you have a bodybuilder that has years of experience needing to bring up a lagging bodypart. Oh, heaven forbid anyone with experience would come to this site, so maybe we should just assume every visitor here is a beginner….but let‘s suppose there are some advanced lifters wanting info on isolation and symmetry.

On posterior delts, lets try to isolate them to bring them up with the lateral and anterior delts. You could do BB or DB bent rows with arms flared, or you could do Reverse Pec Dec rows on a machine.

But the bent free weight rows are better! Right?

Why? Because they call your core into play. Nope, that is exactly why they are NOT a good alternative. When you want to isolate a muscle fiber, you want to ISOLATE it. When you are working your posterior delts, you want to work your posterior delts and not your “core”.

So often you hear people whine about machines because they don’t’ work the core. Well that is precisely why they are so good for isolation. The less energy you expend on core contraction the more you spend on your isolation moves meaning bigger gains in those lagging body parts.

No one, and I repeat, no one…..let me repeat one more time…..NO ONE is saying machines should take the place of free weights. But, I am here to tell you that after 5 days of heavy free weights where your core got blasted, having a 6th day of TRUE isolation to bring up lagging body parts is a good thing, and that is where machines shine.

If you don’t like ‘em, then don’t. But that doesn’t change the fact that they are a true tool for ultimate isolation……which, of course, a beginner will not need. Will a powerlifter ever have use for a machine. Doubt it. Will an OLY lifter have use for a machine? Doubt it. Will a MMA fighter or Sports Enthusiast have use for a machine? Doubt it.

Will idiot noobs flock to machines in a gym out of sheer ignorance? Probably.

But that doesn’t make them bad. There are practical applications for machines for the serious bodybuilder. Resistance is resistance. Most machines simply take out the core stabilizers while locking you into a specified ROM which is what you want for true isolation.

If you have no need for true isolation, then yeah, you have no need for machines. I’ll concede to that.

Again, if you have no need for isolation, then I can see why you’d have no love for machine work.

Isolation.

True isolation.

This is beginning to become one of those silly gym lores. Someone says, well if machines are so bad, why are they so popular. The response is, most people are idiots. True. They are idiots because they don’t know how to use them. I can drive a nail with a crescent wrench, but is that what it is made for. Heck no. Educate yourself and use the right tool for the job!

Same with Flex magazine. Everyone says it is just there to sell supplements. The mag has a ton of Ads, true. But NONE of the training articles written by the authors advocate any single name brand supplement. None. The training articles are actually ad free. That’s a fact.


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