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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:55 am 
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Jungledoc wrote:
Stay as far from the smith machine as you possible can.

hey now, the smith machine is a great place to do inverted bodyweight rows, boxing duck unders, and parkour underbars :p

(I think we all need an emoticon on the left here that stands for "what jungledoc said," it'd save us a lot of typing!)

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:53 am 
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I was going to suggest that it's good for inverted rows, incline pushups and hanging your towel on. I still can't think of any good use that involves actually putting plates on it though.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 1:08 pm 
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Dub, you mentioned some exercises should be higher reps. What I’ve read here is that includes abs, obliques and erector spinae muscles. Is that right? But how many reps are too many? For example, is anything more than 15 sit-ups wasted, meaning I should increase the incline or add weight?
Not necessary. Erector spinae is alright to do high reps, so are abs. But they can benefit from weight training and intensive core work. Stabilizing is the most important job of these muscles. Like these people have said, sit-ups aren't the best possible option. But they will not probably destroy your spine either. Sit-ups are just a bit boring, and usually if you increase intensity, it turns into hip flexor exercise. What I meant with high rep movements are moves for muscles like shoulders, rotator cuff and some hip movement muscles. Also Robert as one prefers high volume to back training. High rep is more for mobility, rehad and prehab than anything else.

On core training, THIS is a good starter article around the subject. It's written be Bret Contreras and Brad Schoenfeld

bobgr wrote:
But about the leg training…. I’ve read a lot of the articles in the weight training section of this site and my own experience suggests a contradiction. Somewhere I read that nothing beats doing your sport to train for your sport. And around here (hilly), I get little high rep spinning and lots of hill climbing. I thought the leg work in the gym was helping my cycling a few months ago but wasn’t sure if it was just the time on the bike and my weight loss that made me feel stronger. My one concern is with the hamstrings. They don’t get as much work cycling as the quads and calves. But working them increases time in the gym, and I really feel that controlling that time helps me be consistent with it.
Change your split to fit leg training into it. Two or three exercises a week isn't that much. Leg work might effect your cycling results, as it probably helps your body to handle and reduce the lactic acids you make in higher intensities. (Box)Squat and Deadlift. Hip thrust for glutes.

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What do you guys think of the one set of warm-up and one set at 3-8 reps? There’s evidence I read that more than one set after the warm-up is only minimally helpful.
No. I don't like that, especially with something like 6-8 reps. The exercise and rep range loses all meaning. 80% of results come from 20% of training. That's one "truth" that has been tossed around, and it just might be true. The first set is important yes, but I think the last reps of every set mean a lot more.


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Yes, I agree I should use more free weights, but I need to get to them gradually. For instance, after this month of Smith machine dead lifts I’m going to try barbell dead lifts next month. I also need to be careful due to chronic injuries. As a cyclist, I’ve had my share of falls and injuries – three broken collarbones, a broken scapula and countless cracked ribs. I also have some shoulder problems that make deltoids and some chest work problematic. But I do it.

Start with lower weight, do lots of warm-up reps (20-30) in several sets, increasing the weight to the actual work set. Focus first on the technique, then on the results.


And Stu, John Meadows have some points on smith machines. He's more a bodybuilder and these tips are not for me so to speak, but he makes good points.
http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_art ... th_machine

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:26 pm 
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Dub wrote:
...And Stu, John Meadows have some points on smith machines. He's more a bodybuilder and these tips are not for me so to speak, but he makes good points.
http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_art ... th_machine


I was exagerating of course, even machines have uses, but the way that John Meadows uses it is a far cry from the way the typical user uses it.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:58 pm 
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OK. A lot to process for this rookie.

Re the number of sets, I read: “The ACSM Weight Training Guidelines state more than one set may elicit slightly greater strength gains but additional improvement is relatively small (ACSM 1995).”
-- from "Low Volume, Progressive Intensity Training" on this site

If true, why bother doing more than one set if the benefit is marginal after a warm-up set? I’ve not benchmarked or measured improvement in the size of body parts. I’m trusting the mirror here.

Re Smith machines: I understand the benefits to stabilizing muscles when using free weights instead. But since I’m a rookie, I looked to the Smith machine to introduce me to the exercise. And in one sense it has paid off: I don’t think dead lifts are good for me. I have s herniated disc between S1 and S2. The Smith machine dead lifts seem to aggravate it, especially today. I may ditch it and use a gentler exercise for my lower back.

Re sit-ups: Say it ain’t so Jungledoc! Inclined sit-ups don’t seem to bother me. I like them. I don’t strain to get the last one, so I’ve had no trouble with my back from them. And they are just one of the ab exercises I do (also crunches, vertical leg-hip raises, cable kneeling crunch, level seated crunch, etc.) But I’ll look into Planks (whatever that is) and kettle ball swings. (Hey, if it’s good enough for Lance…)

I’ll read the links that have been posted. Thanks.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:47 pm 
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One set does not provide enough work for your body to say "we need more muscle", imo, ime.

I'm one rather inexperienced person though


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:53 am 
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Dub wrote:
Like these people have said, sit-ups aren't the best possible option. But they will not probably destroy your spine either.

Well, I'd have to disagree about the destroying your spine part. The problem is that it's a cumulative damage that won't be evident for many years. When I hear anyone under 40 say something like "I've been doing them for years, and I don't have any problem", I roll my eyes and say "just wait".

I still can't figure why anyone would want to train that movement. What is it good for?

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:17 am 
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Jungledoc wrote:
Well, I'd have to disagree about the destroying your spine part. The problem is that it's a cumulative damage that won't be evident for many years. When I hear anyone under 40 say something like "I've been doing them for years, and I don't have any problem", I roll my eyes and say "just wait". I still can't figure why anyone would want to train that movement. What is it good for?

I just can't say anything for sure. I'm more on the side of not doing sit-ups, and I never do them myself or straightforward recommend them. There are better exercises. I don't freak out if somebodys doing spine flexions. There are worse things you could do in the gym. I just have this problem not to go to either extreme. I've read a lot about the issue, and yes, it seems like it might damage your spine. But as of late the antiflexion is such a trend it has lifted also some negative opinions around the issue also. And I read those too. Many good strength and condition coaches (Like Eric Cressey for one) is one of those people who think this issue is overexaggerated. And yes, there might be some truth to it. I will not say that Dr.McGill is wrong by all means. I just read from both sides and really think this myself. I see good and bad sides. I still think we need more research around the issue. Or I need to read more research atleast.

Not everyone who has done sit-ups in their lives (practically everyone) have disc fractures in their older age.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:31 am 
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Jungledoc wrote:
I still can't figure why anyone would want to train that movement. What is it good for?


This has always been my main point, really. If someone with enough authority was to come out and prove that there was no risk, I still wouldn't see any real justification to include them in my program, or anyone else that I train. Not only that but, another point most probably don't realise about me is, I trained various variations of situps and crunches for years. First just for reps, which started when I was younger and done a lot of Karate, and situps were a staple. Then as a means of "getting a six pack" as I believed the spot reduction myth. Then as I first started training them and started adding load, too, when I began lifting, and done this for the first couple of years.

I could really abuse the data from my past training logs and say that since removing them, i've became much stronger and healthier than when I performed them regularly. Just like I "thought" doing 100 sit ups a day gave me a six pack at one point (nothing to do with the drastic change in diet, it was all situps! Or so I thought at that time...). However the truth is a lot changed in my training, not just the absence of situps/crunches, so I can't really say that. However I can say that nothing negative whatsoever happened from excluding them. Therefore in my eyes, they are at best a waste of time and at worse, harmful.

Then it's worth stating the point that I train for relative strength focusing on the big lifts. There is a lot of "risk" associated with this in itself. Grinding out heavy singles on the DL isn't exactly recommended rehab for a broken spine. In other words, if there was a good reason to include situps/crunches even with the potential for injury, I personally wouldn't hesitate as I actually relish in taking calculated risks when i'm training IF I may get something beneficial out of it.

KPj

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:39 am 
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I'll see if I can answer some of these...

bobgr wrote:
Re the number of sets, I read: “The ACSM Weight Training Guidelines state more than one set may elicit slightly greater strength gains but additional improvement is relatively small (ACSM 1995).”
-- from "Low Volume, Progressive Intensity Training" on this site


the way I see it, every good program written by a good coach has multiple sets, and every successful athlete or bodybuilder does multiple sets. Am I going to go with the zillions of success stories? Or one paper published that says otherwise?

bobgr wrote:
Re Smith machines: I understand the benefits to stabilizing muscles when using free weights instead. But since I’m a rookie, I looked to the Smith machine to introduce me to the exercise. And in one sense it has paid off: I don’t think dead lifts are good for me. I have s herniated disc between S1 and S2. The Smith machine dead lifts seem to aggravate it, especially today. I may ditch it and use a gentler exercise for my lower back.


the problem with using the Smith to introduce you to the movement, is it's actually going to teach you faulty movement patterns, so that when you try and do the actual movement, you'll suck at it and will probably injure yourself. It's bad news man. Smith machine deadlifts are possibly the worst exercise you could use it for.

bobgr wrote:
Re sit-ups: Say it ain’t so Jungledoc! Inclined sit-ups don’t seem to bother me. I like them. I don’t strain to get the last one, so I’ve had no trouble with my back from them. And they are just one of the ab exercises I do (also crunches, vertical leg-hip raises, cable kneeling crunch, level seated crunch, etc.) But I’ll look into Planks (whatever that is) and kettle ball swings. (Hey, if it’s good enough for Lance…)


I personally think the risk of sit ups is overblown, however I do understand the rationale behind them being considered harmful (and seeing as you have a herniated disc, it's something you should be conscious of). If you want to add muscle mass to your abs, you will need to use external resistance to make the muscles bigger, so something like cable crunches will work fine. However, a mistake many people make is thinking that their abs need more muscle, when in reality they just need less fat. If you have a low level of bodyfat (sub 10%) and you think your abs are lagging a bit behind your other muscles, then yes, external resistance to make them a bit bigger can help. You just have to be honest and ask yourself if this really applies to you.

There's actually a magical exercise that'll build muscle mass and strengthen your core at the same time, so not only will your midriff get better built, it'll also function better as to its original purpose. The name of this exercise? The roll out. Buy one of those little ab roller wheels, and get going. Do them on your knees, and then once that gets too easy, do them with your knees elevated. Once that gets too easy do them standing, but that is a very advanced exercise so you probably won't be doing it anytime soon.

Hope that helps


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:50 am 
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Dub wrote:
I just can't say anything for sure. I'm more on the side of not doing sit-ups, and I never do them myself or straightforward recommend them. There are better exercises. I don't freak out if somebodys doing spine flexions. There are worse things you could do in the gym. I just have this problem not to go to either extreme. I've read a lot about the issue, and yes, it seems like it might damage your spine. But as of late the antiflexion is such a trend it has lifted also some negative opinions around the issue also. And I read those too. Many good strength and condition coaches (Like Eric Cressey for one) is one of those people who think this issue is overexaggerated. And yes, there might be some truth to it. I will not say that Dr.McGill is wrong by all means. I just read from both sides and really think this myself. I see good and bad sides. I still think we need more research around the issue. Or I need to read more research atleast.


I don't think you're far wrong here, to be honest. However, it's worth saying that it's not Dr McGill who has over reacted or over exaggerated - it's the "fitness industry" that has. Although as an aside, it must not of caught on here yet because situps and crunches are still easily among the most popular exercises you see being performed in gyms just now. Anyway, "back to mcgill" (this is the title of an article which is worth reading, btw), he's never said flexion is just plain bad. He's said excessive flexion is, and shown that we live in a very "flexion based" society. He's also shown that repeated flexion is the easiest way to herniate a disk i.e. If someone were to challenge you, "I want you to herniate one of my discs as quickly as possible", what would you do? Personally i'd hook them up to a sit up machine like you see in most gyms and force them through loads of reps with a decent amount of weight.

Anyway.... having the ability to flex has actually never been disputed. You should be able to take your lumbar spine through a full ROM. What has been shown, though, is that excessive lumbar spine ROM does increase your risk and, in a society where most people are locked at the hips and Tspine, guess where "most" people move TOO much from, thereby promoting excessive ROM? The lumbar spine..... However, if you don't have that ability to move the lumbar spine through a full (not excessive or extreme) ROM, then you're at as much risk of injury as doing too much flexion or having too much ROM. It's always been about balance.

Basically, I would say that most who have over reacted just misunderstand Dr McGill. It's also worth pointing out that he has a sit up variation named after him - McGill Curl up. He also uses movements such as "cat camel" to move the spine through a full ROM in order to help restore that ROM (which includes flexion).

Dub wrote:
Not everyone who has done sit-ups in their lives (practically everyone) have disc fractures in their older age.


This could be rephrased to,

"Not everyone who has smoked their whole lives have lung/throat/mouth cancer...."

KPj

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:51 am 
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The risk/benefit of every program has to be upfront. As you age, it's all the more important since it's harder to recover from an injury. Planks and swings have a lot of benefit, sit ups, not so much, and the risk is now known. There's also a risk in not doing something. I mentioned power earlier. As you age, the risk of falls increases. The ability to catch yourself without injury is firmly related in your ability to generate force quickly, in other words, power. That brings us back to the swings, but also low rep, high acceleration movements in general. Just food for thought.

Edit: Written before Bob's post.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 4:54 pm 
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bobgr wrote:
Re sit-ups: Say it ain’t so Jungledoc! Inclined sit-ups don’t seem to bother me. I like them. I don’t strain to get the last one, so I’ve had no trouble with my back from them. And they are just one of the ab exercises I do (also crunches, vertical leg-hip raises, cable kneeling crunch, level seated crunch, etc.) But I’ll look into Planks (whatever that is) and kettle ball swings. (Hey, if it’s good enough for Lance…)

Well, saying that you've done them and they don't bother you really misses the point. Kenny's example of smoking is a good one--even citing the old codger who has smoked 2 packs a day for 60 years and doesn't have lung disease doesn't prove that it's not a risk.

The worry re situps and crunches is that they add cumulative damage for no good reason.

Here's another analogy. Imagine that early in life someone opens a bank account for you and puts money in it, and that's all the money you will have for your life. The trick is, they don't tell you how much money is in the account, and there is no way for you to check your balance. You know that it's quite a bit, and that if you spend carefully it will probably last your lifetime, but you don't know any more. So how are you going to spend your money? I think McGill said at some point that everyone has a certain number of lumbar flexion-extension cycles in them, but you can't know how many. Will it catch up to you when you're 34? Or 56? Or 72? I just hate to see people wasting flexion-extension cycles that they may need someday.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 5:15 pm 
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Correct me if I'm wrong Andy, but the part of the back that wears out, the disks, are made largely of cartilage that doesn't respond to training, the way muscle or bone react. As well, there is natural degeneration of the disks simply from aging, so situps and similar exercise become even riskier as you age.

Further to this, there must be a similar issue with knees. It turns out that to little exercise is as bad as too much.

http://www.damienhowellpt.com/pdf/cartilage.pdf

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 5:21 pm 
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Ok. On this site, it says rollouts are for the Iliopsoas. So what other exercises do you all recommend for abs? (And I have no idea how one would do rollouts standing up, but that's advanced and I'm not.)

Anyone which of the kettlebell exercises shown on this site do you recommend?

Re the number of sets, I'll try to do one warm-up and two that I can do each at least 6 reps but no more than 12. Any more than that and I 'll be in the gym too long.


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