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Cheap Barbells are NOT Your Problem in Strength Training & Muscle Building

by EricTEricT on 07 May 2018 01:15

I have a friend who's starting a weight training equipment business in another country. We were discussing social media and marketing on Youtube, and while researching some keywords, I came across possibly the dumbest video on strength training and bodybuilding equipment I've ever seen. There exist thousands, if not hundreds, of people engaged in a fake it till you make it ploy on YouTube. These people make things up that sound authoritative and easily believable. What this fellow says, if you know anything about metal, let alone equipment, will make you do a double face-palm. Are Cheap Barbell's Killing Your Gains? He says that cheap barbells in commercial gyms are KILLING YOUR GAINS. You see, according to this guy commercial gyms are not strength and conditioning centers. Who knew? They have cheap barbells that could have been made anywhere. You don't know where they came from. Wait, have you ever actually knew where a barbell came from? Don't answer that. As I was saying, according to this genius, these cheap barbells don't hold enough weight and that is what is holding you back. So, in other words, there is an epidemic of bent and broken barbells in commercial gyms and...

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Instinct Has Nothing To Do With Strength Training

by EricTEricT on 05 May 2018 21:09

Have you ever heard that you should train by instinct? What about eating by instinct? What does it mean to use your instincts in the gym? How can this help you lift a heavier weight or build muscle? Do some people have access to some kind of innate knowledge or exercise behavior that you are somehow lacking? The answers are all in the negative. When someone tells you to use your instincts, they are telling you nothing. Instinct has nothing to do with exercise behavior. The entire idea of using physical activity increase our health and fitness is entirely out of the realm of instinct. Increasing your physical strength through the repeated lifting of heavy objects is not done by instinct. It sounds quite woke but the idea of invoking instinct in the gym is a vague and useless concept. Although some people are more confident in the gym than you may be, and are able to call on experience and a sort of informed intuition to figure out what their body needs, this is not instinctual. It is simply the result of having done it longer and having more experience to call on. It is actually quite ridiculous that those who wish to sound scientific in the domain of fitness and health speak...

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Could Milo Of Croton Really Have Trained With the Bull?

by EricTEricT on 30 Mar 2018 01:06

I am going to start this article off with a confession. Despite the fitness and strength training industry's ever-enduring fascination with the legend of Milo and his bull, I absolutely despise this story! The reason I despise it is that it is used by so many professionals to explain how progressive exercise, and in particular, progressive overload in strength training works, yet presents a gross exaggeration of the long-term use of progressive resistance. I've mentioned the myth of Milo several times here on GUS, but I was inspired to go into it in-depth by a short entry on the website Health and Fitness History, a very good website which explores just what its name relates. In this entry on the history of strength training, there is a brief description of the Milo of Croton legend. Milo was a successful Greek wrestler who lived during the 6th century BC. As the story goes, and I'm sure you've heard it many times, he carried a newborn calf up a hill (or a mountain, or some certain distance) every day. Each day, the calf would grow a bit, thus weigh a bit more. So, each time that he carried the calf, he was carrying a little more weight. This represented a form of progressive...

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Doctors Need More Training in Nutrition and Exercise?

by EricTEricT on 24 Mar 2018 17:32

Trainers are Not Doctors The title of this article, viewed through the lens of the fitness industry, is almost blasphemous. Personal training, as I've said before, is the blue-collar job that imagines it is white collar. Trainers think they are smarter than the average M.D. And, even some actual physicians figure it is easier to cash in on the billion dollar fitness industry than to actually practice medicine. So, they, along with the average trainer, will lament that medical doctors do not know enough about nutrition and exercise while implying that they themselves, can help you medically and thus prevent illness. This works great with rich clients who already have access to the best medical care, and thus can happily live in a bubble, from which they toss money at fads. Fitness Hypocrocy What is ironic is that these trainers claiming that, if only the medical world knew more about nutrition and fitness they would be able to prevent most illnesses are not really promoting general health-related fitness at all! They are not doing this because they know that there is not much money to be made in promoting general health-related fitness, let alone general knowledge of healthy...

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Most Strength Trainees Need More Volume and Weight, Not Deloads

by EricTEricT on 23 Mar 2018 21:54

There seems to be a whole new crop of strength training writers which are getting rabid followers by telling them what they want to hear. What do they want to hear? How they can get strong without hard work. In fact, it seems anything that is about getting strong but NOT about actual training is the most popular content. The word deload is a favorite. Tell people to take a week off every four weeks and they will love you. This is something I was just sent, supposedly from an article: More volume doesn't matter if you can't recover from it deload, yada yada It is Not That Easy to Overcome Your Body's Ability to Recover From Exercise The idea that it is that easy to completely overcome your body's ability to recover from a workload is a fantasy cooked up by those who find it an easy excuse as to why they fail to progress. No progress less work, more rest! Sounds great! Recovery from a strength training session begins happening immediately, even as you are still working out. It is ongoing. It doesn't stop. I've said this all before. But, my brand of hard work falls on deaf ears when it is so easy to find information that validates what most people want: To achieve great strength...

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You Do Not Have to Be Accomplished To Be Fit

by EricTEricT on 23 Mar 2018 21:21

You do not have to get really good at something to enjoy the type of fitness that the fitness industry should generally be promoting, general health-related fitness. Yet, the fitness industry continues to conflate athletic fitness and 'training' with general health-related fitness. It is clear that there is a halo effect associated with athletic training and fitness, one that is often not deserved. If someone's goal is to have a healthier level of fitness, then the benefits of any kind of exercise begin immediately, not only after significant progress is made. As well, although a plan of progression and a longer term goal will result in more benefit down the line, a precise plan of attack is not necessary to significantly improve underlying health risks that are amenable to exercise. Also, when we have as a goal advanced performance in any athletic pursuit, there comes a time when some of the adaptations are not necessarily healthy. That is, the types of adaptations necessary to an advanced level of specific fitness may not be generally healthy. As I pointed out here, with ever advancing performance in a specific athletic skill, there come compromises and maladjustments....

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Fitness Industry: Stop Playing Darts With Evidence

by EricTEricT on 18 Mar 2018 21:38

Fitness professionals, especially ones who ply their craft on the internet, have a curious relationship with the word evidence. That is, they love the word but give it no particular importance. This is my imagining of how evidence is being used by many people in the fitness industry who pay lip service to the word without a clear idea of what constitutes evidence or how to analyze it, or how to think about evidence BEFORE you go looking for it: 1. GoPubMedbmed. 2. Place cursor in search box. 3. Type in P - U- L- L- U- P- S 4. Find reference to study concerning pullups, or mentioning pullups, etc. 5. Read abstract, or at least, read conclusion to abstract, if given. 6. Open a new word document. 7. Think, 'now I will write a new article on pullups.' 8. Figure out how you're going to work in your new evidence regarding pullups. 9. Publish your new article on pullups which tells the world how wrong they've been about pullups all this time. What I would like to see, in talking about evidence, is less I have evidence, now how can I convince everyone to change their practice based on this and more Here is a problem, can I research and find evidence to help deal with this problem? ...

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Glute Muscles: Origins, Insertions, and Actions w/ Videos

by EricTEricT on 28 Feb 2018 05:14

The videos and information in this article provide an overview of the muscles of gluteal region, commonly called the glutes. The first video covers the tensor fasciae latae, gluteus maxiumus, gluteus medius, gluteal minimus and piriformis muscles. The second video covers the obdurator internus, superior gemellus, inferior gemellus, and quadratus femoris muscles. Glute Muscle Video Part I Tensor Fasciae Latae Muscle Origin: Outer margin of the anterior iliac crest. Insertion: Iliotibial tract about one-fourth of the way down the thigh. Action: Flexion of hip, internal rotation of hip as it flexes. Gluteus Maximus Muscle Origin: Posterior one-fourth of iliac crest, posterior surface of sacrum and coccyx near ilium, and fascia of lumbar area. Insertion: Gluteal tuberosity of the femur (lateral surface of greater trochanter of femur) and iliotibial tract posterior aspect iliotibial tract Action: Extension of hip, external rotation of hip. Gluteus Medius Muscle Origin: Lateral surface of ilium just below crest. Insertion: Greater trochanter of the femur. Action: Abduction of the hip, external rotation of hip as the hip abducts, internal rotation of the hip. Gluteus Minimus...

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My Personal Trainer Says I Have a Vitamin/Mineral Deficiency

by EricTEricT on 25 Feb 2018 18:21

A question came up about the muscles shaking during a workout. Many of us have had our muscles shudder and quiver while lifting very heavy weights or working against a lot of external resistance. But one of the answers to this question about muscle shakiness caught my eye. The person answering said that their personal trainer observed their muscles shaking during squats and, in response, the trainer told them their calcium was low and that the trainee should start taking a supplement before their next workout. Now, this person thinks that everytime they experience their muscles shaking during a workout it is a signal of low calcium so they start popping calcium pills. Should I get into the muscle shakiness thing? It's not really the point but, it's harmless if it only happens during the intense effort and goes away afterwards. A calcium deficiency can cause muscle cramps and spasms, but a doctor would never diagnose one based only on these symptoms. They would do so by checking blood levels. So, what of this trainer? Trainers Should NEVER Diagnose Nutrient Deficiencies or Any Other Medical Problems What this trainer did was highly inappropriate. A personal trainer should never...

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Why Looking for Your Weakness In Strength Training Will Make you Miserable

by EricTEricT on 11 Feb 2018 22:34

For years now I have been saying something that flies in the face of conventional strength training and even fitness advice. Many say that in order to get stronger, you must identify your weaknesses and fix them. I say the opposite. I say you must identify your strengths, and play to them. Many coaches believe something managers have been told for years, that they must identify and fix weaknesses in order for a trainee or an employee to be effective. Those who tell you that you must strive to eliminate all weakness are also telling you that strength training is about some abstract concept for strength whereby you systematically seek out and destroy every flaw in your body and become something akin to a super-human. Few of us have the ability to become a strong-man. And few of us actually want to. Yet, we can all become strong. What do you think is more efficient? 1. I make a list of strength training lifts, find where all my weaknesses lie and then figure out how to fix all these weaknesses until I can become strong in all these lifts. 2. I identify the lifts that I am best at, and I blitz the hell out of them until I am as strong as I can be in those lifts. You have a lot more...

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Should You Deadlift With the Bar Against Your Legs?

by EricTEricT on 09 Feb 2018 22:15

Some say that you should drag the bar against your shins and over your knees when deadlifting. Is this true? I have a secret way to find information. Not just any information, but wrong information. I just go the Stronglifts site. There, I can find an author with absolutely no idea what he is talking about and have a never-ending stream of wrong information to correct. This is how I came upon an idea about how to deadlift and lower back pain. Should you deadlift with the bar close to your legs? Yes, of course. But, according to Stronglifts, you must not only start with the bar close to your shins you must drag the bar up your shins and thighs. It is hard enough to lift the bar straight up, let alone drag it backward and up at the same time. For most of us (there may be exceptions due to body proportions), if we are actually dragging the bar against our legs as we lift, we are pulling the bar back not just up. This is not what I'd call economy of motion. Here is what Strong(weak)Lifts says, paraphrasing: The further away from your body the bar is, the heavier it feels. Well, that is true. Here's why. The front raise is harder than the overhead press. Ummm what? (Just thought...

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What Is Skill-Related Or Athletic Fitness?

by EricTEricT on 07 Feb 2018 22:54

The fitness industry tends to conflate two broad categories of fitness. We've already defined one of these: health-related fitness. The other is skill-related or athletic fitness. Skill-related or athletic fitness is fitness that meets further demands than what is needed in our daily and normal lives. This may mean strength, power agility, balance, coordination, reaction time, and speed. Of course, programs meant to increase skill-related fitness will increase general physical fitness, and so have the same health benefits, if not somewhat greater health benefits. Not All Skill Related Adaptations are Positive Ones The idea that greater and greater fitness means greater and greater health is an erroneous view of health-related fitness and tells us why we should not conflate this general type of fitness with advanced athletic skill. Athletic training is associated with a halo effect that is unwarranted. For one, not all adaptations related to performance and skill, especially at the extreme end, are positive ones. With ever-increasing and specific fitness comes certain maladaptations. Also, in order to achieve very great levels of specific fitness, training must be specific to an...

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What Is Health-Related Fitness?

by EricTEricT on 07 Feb 2018 22:40

This article is part of a series. See part one: You Cannot Be Generally Advanced - Advanced Fitness is Specific. Two General Types of Fitness? We can loosely identify two different broad fitness goals: Health-related fitness and skill-related fitness. Health-related fitness encompasses physical fitness. This is the ability to meet the demands of daily living to perform the tasks related to it, plus deal with the unexpected, within reasonable levels. The expectation of physical fitness is not that you will be hyper-fit, then. It is that you can meet the demands of life without undue fatigue. Think of it like gas in your car you have enough gas to get you back and forth to work every day, plus a healthy reserve for unexpected or irregular trips. With physical fitness, comes certain expected health benefits, especially lower risk of cardiovascular disease, but also other very important benefits, including psychological ones. By this definition, physical fitness does not equal health, but greater health comes with greater physical fitness. If you try to counter this, you'd have to abandon the definition and come up with an alternative that adequately explains how fitness could...

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Is Exercise Underrated?

by EricTEricT on 27 Feb 2017 03:09

A YouTube video from a Channel called 'What I've Learned' recently caught my eye. The video was titled Why Exercise is Underrated. Immediately, I question the assumption of the title. Is exercise underrated? The video focused on the faulty marketing of the fitness industry, saying that it focused on the wrong messages. All the while, the tacit assumption of the title was never challenged. No effort was made to examine any available statistics related to exercise behaviors, whether it be exercise avoidance or favorable and unfavorable attitudes toward exercise. Should such statistics exist, I am sure the content of the video would have changed greatly. But how did I know to question the title? Well, because one thing I've researched extensively, written about, and questioned is the psychology of sport and exercise. More specifically, I have concerned myself with a subject I think all fitness professionals would do well to examine: The Social Psychology of Sport and Exercise. To start, a great primer on Social Psychology might be a good idea. I would recommend the text on Social Psychology by David G. Myers. We tend to focus on motivations for exercise and for sport. Well,...

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The Big Bang Theory Of Fitness

by EricTEricT on 25 Feb 2017 20:53

If you've ever watched the show Big Bang Theory you might know that it is an entertaining and funny show, but you may not realize that some of the ways in which science and scientists are characterized on the show are not very accurate. One of the main comedic elements of the show is between the character of Sheldon, a socially inept theoretical physicist, and Howard, an engineer. Sheldon arrogantly dismisses engineering as nothing more than the tinkering of those who aren't intelligent enough to do real science. Basically, to him, physicists do the work and engineers are not much more than glorified grease monkeys. Now, it is possible that many physicists feel this way but it shows a basic mistake in how the scientific process is perceived. So, for students of strength training or human performance, this is actually a good illustration of a common misconception about science, and it can serve to illustrate some of the misunderstandings of how science and scientific evidence can be used to inform training for increased human performance. What is Doing Science? Do engineers do science, or do they just build things? Let's say automotive engineers are designing a car. They might...

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If You Strength Train In the Morning, Drink Water

by EricTEricT on 20 Feb 2017 18:06

I've long heard the advice that you should drink 8 glasses of water a day and you should not wait until you are thirsty. This is a myth that has been debunked many times. Thirst is actually an excellent indicator of when you should drink fluids. However, when you are exercising or competing in the hot sun, you should be proactive with your hydration. Related to this is the advice that you should always drink water first thing in the morning because you wake up dehydrated. How is Dehydration Defined? Is this true? Are you dehydrated first thing in the morning and does this mean it is imperative that you drink a glass of water right after you get up? Dehydration is defined by the amount of fluid loss as a percentage of body weight. Since your body is mostly water, this makes sense. If you lose a large amount of body weight in a very short time, most of it is probably fluid loss. Mild dehydration is considered to be around 5% loss of body weight (in fluids). A 10% loss is considered moderate dehydration, and a 15% loss is considered severe. Morning Dehydration So, do you start the day having lost 5% of your body weight in fluid while you slept? This would mean, mind you, that if you...

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What is Myalgia? Video Presentation

by EricTEricT on 11 Feb 2017 22:41

Full Transcript of Help, I have Myalgia! In this video I want to talk about the word myalgia, because I've noticed, as of late, more questions and concerns over the condition of myalgia. So I thought it'd be a good idea to explain something about this condition because when I see people expressing general concern over their myalgia condition, I have to worry about the state of information overload on the net. Myalgia is just a fancy, scientific term for muscle pain. It can refer to any type of muscle pain, whether dull, sharp, piercing, etc. The my- part of the word comes from the root word myo which refers to muscle and the -algia suffix at the end means basically pain or a painful condition of. I suspect that the emergence of these concerns has to do with people writing articles about muscle pain and using this myalgia jargon to sound more scientific or legit. The article might just be about benign and normal pain, but when people see a word like myalgia, they are led to think of a serious pathological condition. Suddenly, they don't have sore muscles, they have myalgia. What do I do? How do I cure it? Well, you know, there are many, many conditions or pathologies that...

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Principles are Not Tools - More on Progressive Overload

by EricTEricT on 20 Jan 2017 00:02

In my article Progressive Overload and Its Application to Strength Training, I stated that the term progressive overload gets thrown around so much in fitness that it loses all meaning. I said that it is too vague and misconstrued. I complained that the goal of progressive overload is often substituted for the actual performance goal, as if these things are one and the same. In many fitness domains, they may be, but in strength training, they are usually not. Progressive overload is a principle. While progressively overloading your body is a training tool, principles themselves are not tools. This probably seems like a contradiction. To explain, I'll use a labored, but hopefully illustrative analogy. First, what do I mean when I say that a principle is not a tool? A principle that underlies the adaptation to exercise such as progressive overload is not a tool in itself that tells you what to do. It explains WHY what we DO works. Yes, most people explain it as a tool, and most books will list some of the ways that the principle of progressive overload can be applied such as: adding volume (more reps and/or more sets) adding weight decreasing time (shortening rest periods but...

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The Key Word in 'Body Acceptance' is Acceptance

by EricTEricT on 18 Jan 2017 20:45

Imagine a fitness model writes an article condemning the sexualization and commercialization of fitness. Along with the article, she posts a picture of herself in a sexy bikini, posing for the camera. Would you cheer? Would you encourage? Many people would. Would you see the irony and hypocrisy, instead? How many other people would agree? In fact, this kind of thing happens all the time. Why would someone proudly display themselves in a sexual manner along with a message condemning the sexualization of fitness? Why would that person then preach about body acceptance? Are they making some obscure coded message that only the most intelligent can decipher? The truth is, the picture is there to surprise you. To invoke a response. To make you share the article. It is marketing, similar to a flashy label on an otherwise mundane food item. And yes, articles complaining about the commercialization of fitness are common. I've written a few myself. Reverse Body Shaming? If you were to bring up the apparent hypocrisy, you would likely receive one of two responses. You might be accused of engaging in some kind of body shaming yourself while being told that the message is more meaningful...

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Comparing And Contrasting Fitness Exercises

by EricTEricT on 10 Jan 2017 21:52

Do you remember having to compare and contrast in school? It was an important writing and thinking exercise. Comparing and contrasting is also one of the main focuses of the fitness industry. Often, when people are trying to sell us their ideas about a superior exercise or program, they pretend to be comparing and contrasting, but they are actually almost exclusively contrasting. Focusing on one or two small differences while ignoring the many similarities of two different things is a form of dishonesty. The difference between comparing and contrasting different exercises and programs for fitness is an important consideration when evaluating fitness information. The fitness industry is about the selling of not only gym memberships and equipment, but information, such as programs, books, and articles about getting in shape and what exercises to do to achieve your health and fitness goals, and, of course, to lose weight. The first thing to recognize is that contrasting is done the majority of the time, and most fitness professionals hardly ever actually compare! Good critical thinking stresses comparison as much as contrasting! Train yourself to spot this kind of thing, and you...

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