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Something To Think About – A Common Sense Approach To Fitness

August 17, 2011

By Gerard Bochese

Think about this…

Most of us spend our days in a seated position

      • Working
      • Driving
      • Eating
      • Watching television

All of this sitting has negatively affected our posture, our muscular balance, and our cardiovascular capabilities. Does it then make sense to go to the gym and perform the majority of our exercise routine while sitting on exercise equipment?  We need to get on our feet and move.

Think about this…

Do we move our bodies as isolated parts? No. Yet most traditional gym equipment isolates body parts (leg extension, bicep curl machine). Our bodyies move as a fluid whole; muscles, joints, and systems working together. Shouldn’t we train this way?

We must teach our body parts how to coordinate with each other, the way they do in everyday life.

 Think about this…

Besides isolating body parts these same traditional pieces of equipment support the body by using:

  • Seats
  • Backrests
  • Rollers
  • Seat belts

The question is: what supports the body the rest of the day? The answer is the core, and you CANNOT train the core on seated equipment. In fact, as a result of training on these machines exclusively our extremities (arms and legs) get stronger but our core gets weaker, thus setting us up for injury.

Think about this…

These same pieces of equipment only allow machine defined paths of movement. Wouldn’t it be better if the movement was user defined? Each and every person is uniquely designed in size and shape and their movements are also unique to the individual.  Therefore, it becomes very important to train these unique movement patterns on an individual basis – NOT one size fits all.

 Think About This…

In everyday life we are constantly dealing with balance

  • Walking up a flight of stairs
  • Shifting our weight during the golf swing

There is a zero balance component while sitting on traditional equipment.

Think about this…

Every day we operate in an environment that has 360 degrees of movement capabilities.

  • Forward and backward
  • Side to side
  • Twist and rotate

Most traditional equipment only allows the user to work in one plane

  • Forward and backward
    • Leg press
    • Chest press
    • Bicep curl
    • Tricep extension

 Think about this…

As humans we must obey the laws of our environment:

  • Gravity 
    • We must be able to balance and stabilize our bodies against the downward force of gravity while standing – Training vertical
      • Gravity is a constant occurrence
      • Inertia
        • We must be able to produce, reduce, and redirect forces and momentum.
          • All day long we are pushing, pulling and carrying things freely through space.
      • Ground Contact
        • We require ground contact to generate any significant amount of force.
          • Try to create force while dangling from a rope.

 

Now look at the rows and rows of traditional equipment and ask yourself: does this equipment:

1)           Allow you to train vertically – on your feet

2)           Allow integrated movement or does it isolate body parts

3)           Engage the core by not supporting it

4)           Allow user-defined paths of movement

5)           Challenge our balance

6)           Allow us to move in all planes of motion

7)           Allow us to deal with the laws of our environment

The answer is NO!

It is time to start training the way the body is designed to perform.  The way we use it in the real world and have used it since prehistoric times.  I like to tell my clients “let’s get into the kind of shape we were in 10,000 years ago.” Give those machines a pass and try something different!

 

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