• Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

Recommended Posts

my favorite line: "it's impossible to look cool on a leg press machine"

mine is: it's impossible to grind out a heavy squat without looking like you're pinching a loaf... :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jd, i guess where i differ with you is the extent to which leg muscles other than the quads will be developed leg pressing to one's max. there is no way to isolate them completely. where i would be more concerned is that the lower back, back, shoulders and arms won't get such a great workout with the leg press.

the great thing is that there are machines for hamstrings, glutes, calves, etc. i believe that you can work all of these and the stabilizers with a properly designed machine workout regimen.

This is the crux of the issue. The leg press neglects a constellation of other training effects that free weight, closed chained things like squats elicit. Concerned about the ability to transmit all that force into the ground safely through the body and into an implement or another athlete? Yeah, that's a pretty big deal and on the top of the "things to be concerned about" list when evaluating the relative merits of an exercise and from that perspective the leg press is found wanting. Again, I'm not saying they have no place but to suggest that they are the equal of or superior to squatting for pretty much any trainee is pretty far fetched. Can they enhance someone's training if they already squat? Sure. Replace? No.

certainly i don't advocate focusing on 1 major muscle group exclusively for a year and then sending someone out onto a football field...

but to me it seems like most people underestimate how much the stabilizers are strengthened lifting heavy in a machine... or a bevy of machines in a well thought out plan... :)

That's valid but what are the pros? If I have to spend four times as much time in the gym on various machines to get even a close to similar effect as one quick squat workout what's the point? What have I gained? What am I potentially missing out on?

Edited by jdanger

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What have I gained? What am I potentially missing out on?

i see the points you are making... for me the answer would be:

working with higher weight -> hypertrophy -> more muscle mass to engage -> more capacity for strength along specific pathways...

i get that this won't translate to every movement in every sport... that's why it shouldn't be used to the exclusion of everything else, but i see it as a viable option in conjunction with other methods of training as i think you've already pointed out... :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fair enough. So you have more of a particular muscle. Now what do you do with it?

The isolation/compartmentalization of training is pretty much widely regarded as an inferior approach. Your body is not the sum of its parts. Each section doesn't function on its own. Your body is one piece. Everything contributes to the whole. The vast majority of how we get better at things is via neural adaptation. Added mass means nothing if your brain doesn't know how to use it. Geeking out on the anatomy can be fun and often helpful but when training we are better served training movement not muscles. If someone has a deficiency in some area that is expressed during normal movement, isolation work is often the answer. Doing what I like to call "living there" (in isolation land) is not.

Your proposed approach is like setting out to design a robot by designing a bunch of motors you think you'll need, hooking them all up to various articulations, adding some power and expecting the thing to actually do what you set out for it to do. The other way is analogous to using an existing robot and programming the task at a higher level (via the brain or "software") that intuitively understands the kinetic inputs required at each articulation in concert with all the others to obtain a certain motion.

Edited by jdanger

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
look at jd's avatar... it looks like he's giving birth to a volkswagen... :)

To be fair that's the bottom of a clean. I can assure you my squat face is even worse.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

so i think now we can go to the football player example. the motor coordination to run receiver patterns, throw your body into a block with skill, brace for a hit or deliver a hit as you lower your shoulder is something that you develop over long periods of time at peewee, high school, college and pro levels. that motor coordination is there when you are a pre-pubescent 8-year old playing pop warner. as that kid progresses through the different levels, he learns this on the playing and practice field and doesn't need to learn the motor coordination of his sport by doing squats. he already has that. what he needs is to develop muscular capacity to take and deliver harder hits, move more precisely at higher speeds etc. this can and is addressed in the weight room through hypertrophy and mass gain...

especially running backs need a wall of muscle for protection that can be developed efficiently through isolation exercises...

Edited by ETFnerd

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But hypertrophy isn't an end (most of the time unless we are talking about putting on size to play at a certain level). Players need the musculoskeletal system as a whole to be able to withstand and transmit these forces safely during all of these activities. Chasing individual exercises aimed at hypertrophy of specific muscles is not the way to go unless we're talking about bringing up a weakness or rehabbing an injury etc. Much more important is a player's ability to express power in relevant movement patterns - squatting, running, pressing, sled pushing, agility tests, jumping, etc. - and do so safely.

You make it sound like heavy compound movements don't elicit mass gain which we both know you aren't saying. Compound movements will beat isolation movements any day of the week on any measure of athletic performance in the real world. No one is in the NFL because they have 31" quads. They are in the NFL because they have 31" quads, run a 4.1 forty and can jump over cars. What's the trendy saying these days, form follows function? Well, just because it's trendy doesn't mean it isn't true. Training as close to the specific task as you can is always going to confer the most benefit. If you want to lift heavy on machines, lift heavy on machines. If you want to move like a person, move like a person.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The second to last sentence there jdang, major qualifiers needed for that. If a training task is extremely similar to the real task but differs in subtle ways, then it may actually hinder performance.

For example, say you're coaching high school football and you have the kids hit each other at 50-75% speed, because you don't want them to hurt each other. They will find it very difficult to apply these principles at 100% speed if they haven't performed at that speed.

Not only that, but at least in this case, it can be argued that periodization of an athlete's program will require machine exercises at some point. In many cases, you start with strength training when far from the season, then hypertrophy training, then metabolic, then sport specific. During a hypertrophy phase, isolation would work better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The second to last sentence there jdang, major qualifiers needed for that. If a training task is extremely similar to the real task but differs in subtle ways, then it may actually hinder performance.

For example, say you're coaching high school football and you have the kids hit each other at 50-75% speed, because you don't want them to hurt each other. They will find it very difficult to apply these principles at 100% speed if they haven't performed at that speed.

Not only that, but at least in this case, it can be argued that periodization of an athlete's program will require machine exercises at some point. In many cases, you start with strength training when far from the season, then hypertrophy training, then metabolic, then sport specific. During a hypertrophy phase, isolation would work better.

Right and I'd argue doing anything at 50% speed isn't close to the targeted task. In that scenario, kids need to cowboy up at some point. In the weight room we're always trying to go fast if we're athletes.

Note I'm not arguing against machines. I know they have a place in a lot of places. What I'm arguing against is what I perceive ETF's contention to be. Which is that one can train solely on machines and achieve results comparable to pretty much everything else out there. Which I feel is pretty insane, hahah.

But just to keep the pedantry express a rollin, which of those training phases requires machines? Can I not isolate with barbells?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Note I'm not arguing against machines. I know they have a place in a lot of places. What I'm arguing against is what I perceive ETF's contention to be. Which is that one can train solely on machines and achieve results comparable to pretty much everything else out there. Which I feel is pretty insane, hahah.

But just to keep the pedantry express a rollin, which of those training phases requires machines? Can I not isolate with barbells?

i think that specific exercises give specific results. this discussion began with me arguing that barbell squats and smith squats are different exercises with both merits and demerits on each side. i believe that there is a great diversity of tools and you choose those that best suit your needs. and that writing off a whole class of tools wholesale doesn't make sense to me.

you can isolate with barbells, barbell curls are isolation... but i guess to me a compound lift like the squat isn't isolation per se... you can just move more weight training a similar motion on a machine...

whether that's better for you or not depends on your goals or what you're trying to achieve. right now, after lifting for years, i'm trying not lifting a single weight... and seeing what happens to my body if i run every day and do 10K miles in 10 years... lately i've become interested in longevity research that seems to suggest that endurance sports prolong life more than resistance training... it's part of my mid-life crisis... :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
this must be disappointing to the 5x5 and powerlifting crowd... :)

Honestly...not quite sure what I just read, but my disappointment in any program will only come when I stop seeing results in that particular program. :) Going from never DL'ing in my life back in Feb, to having a current PR of 425lbs and shooting for 450lbs this week....I'm far from disappointed :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Honestly...not quite sure what I just read, but my disappointment in any program will only come when I stop seeing results in that particular program. :) Going from never DL'ing in my life back in Feb, to having a current PR of 425lbs and shooting for 450lbs this week....I'm far from disappointed :)

Congrats! Honestly ETSNerd stopped making sense several pages back in this thread. All I can sort out from his various posts is that he really, really likes Ronnie Coleman. I think we know what to get him next birthday...spoiler, a Ronnie Coleman poster!:emmersed:

Now if the argument was, going back to the original question, because the thread starter doesn't have access to a power rack, that he should do leg presses combined with lunges or split squats, hey, I would endorse that. Not as good as just going to a new gym but it's a viable option. But I have not seen a piece of evidence to show that doing squats in a Smith Machine is a good idea. Someone produce a link to a study or some kind of fact based data, I am open to reading it. The fact is Spezzy and several others provided plenty of links decrying the Smith Machine, where is the data to defend it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
this must be disappointing to the 5x5 and powerlifting crowd... :)
I don't think the powerlifting folks are training for hypertrophy.

Yup, the article states that strength gains were made with an 80% 1 and 3 rep scheme. That's all that matters to the 5x5 and SS crowd. So not really at all disappointing really.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Right and I'd argue doing anything at 50% speed isn't close to the targeted task. In that scenario, kids need to cowboy up at some point. In the weight room we're always trying to go fast if we're athletes.

Note I'm not arguing against machines. I know they have a place in a lot of places. What I'm arguing against is what I perceive ETF's contention to be. Which is that one can train solely on machines and achieve results comparable to pretty much everything else out there. Which I feel is pretty insane, hahah.

But just to keep the pedantry express a rollin, which of those training phases requires machines? Can I not isolate with barbells?

I don't think that is what ETF was originally getting at. He's railing against the notion, most strongly perpetrated by our rebellious rebellion leader STEVE, that machines will kill you for looking at them the wrong way. Maybe in terms of the discussion he's been put on the back foot argumentatively/defense wise, but I think that was the only point being made.

Also, as for the training phases, any style of exercise putting a lot of emphasis on training to failure would want to use machines. Because training your deadlift or squat to TRUE failure has a strong possibility for catastrophic failure. Or poor bio-mechanics due to fatigue. You can't hurt yourself (well, as easily hurt yourself) doing leg presses to failure as you would squats to failure.

I'd also argue that several pieces of exercise equipment most people would call 'machines' are actually quite useful. Nothing wrong with cables; done properly, all they do is change the direction of the force vector, and can require just as much stabilization as a barbell movement. The popular line of Hammer machines is also designed with biomechanics and natural paths of movement in mind. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the bench press Hammer apparatus should still entrain proper bench technique to some degree because it follows the natural curved path of a lifter, not just straight up and down.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hear that about the original point. Perhaps I helped misconstrue the argument along the way. Such is life. It was a fun diversion.

And I hear you on the failure thing. Though I have my qualms on the superiority of training to failure for hypertrophy. Does it work, sure. Required, not really. Again it's one of those cases that I feel is vastly overstated online and from certain gurus. People got plenty hyuge before all these fancy machines and protocols and unless your goals are to sit around being hyuge there are many benefits to doing athletic training rather than pressing on a lever for 12 minutes a week. Want to add some machine hypertrophy stuff to an athletic program? Ok, we can work with it. But even in properly sequenced periodized training I can't justify cycles of strictly machine based hypertrophy work. Maybe cause I'm not selling the machines...

I think a lot of the machine hate is justified because when people think machine training they rightly think of that guy in the background of MirGSS's form video hitting every conceivable variation of pec fly for no particular reason. I know the type, hell I was one in HS. A lot of us were. Even if we used free weights chest day would be bench, inclined bench, dumbbell bench, cable flys, etc.. ad nauseum. Were we really doing anything meaningful? Not long term. So anyway, I think that is part of the machine hate. It's not that they are evil tools designed to murder people. It's that they represent an uninformed approach to training that includes the misuse and abuse of tools that might otherwise have some purpose for certain people at certain times. The barrier of entry is lower with machines because people aren't as afraid of them as they are barbells. And, hell, maybe they should be when one considers the many great training wonders outside the chrome and tone. From this perspective I can see where Steve is coming from and I'd agree. Sometimes we have to make rather extreme statements to get people to listen. I'm not saying it's right or wrong but that's how it is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

See, this thread encapsulates why I like this forum so much. No ad hominem attacks, lots of citations and data to back up arguments, and lots of good information. Almost any other board would have degenerated into "me no dum-dum, YOU dum-dum!" by page 2.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Or fallen prey to godwin's law

"Oh yeah? Well... HITLER USED MACHINES. ARE YOU HITLER!?"

But I hear you on the failure method. Hell, I know I don't use it myself. But if you did go to failure, it's much less catastrophic on a machine than with 225+ pounds on your back.

Anyway, long story short, umm you pretty much rambled off a bunch of factors involved with machine use that I agree with, more or less. Therefore, we've reached the settling point of the debate and it's time to go for a pint :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now