Comparing And Contrasting Fitness Exercises

Posted on 10 Jan 2017 21:52

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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 will be less subject to salesman tactics. See, the problem is that small differences or details may not be as enlightening in terms of human performance or fitness as they are in other areas, such as technology.

For example, two washing machines may do the exact same thing and be alike in more ways than they are different. The ways in which they are similar may be obvious so the only way to choose is to focus on small differences. Mechanical versus electronic switches? Capacity? Reliability?

Additional moves to an exercise sequence or little tweaks in techniques are often sold as if they are the difference between analog and digital, with as much camp loyalty for either side.

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I can't tell you how many times I've noticed some fitness trainer putting unfounded emphasis on their addition of difficult to an exercise, such as by you having you kick your knee up in the air at the top of a lunge repetition. The question to ask is not how this is different, but how is it similar to any other way of adding difficulty! This may lead you to ask if adding difficulty to an already effective exercise is any more 'effective' than simply progressing that exercise in terms of volume and external resistance. You can usually ignore passionate pronouncements as to the superiority of certain exercises over similar ones.

When someone tells you that analog or digital sound is better, such as analog being "warmer," you may suddenly believe that it sounds better, even though you've been quite happy with the way your music sounded up to that point. Similarly, the difference between many exercise variations, and many programs, are as much a product of suggestion as anything else. When things are more similar than they are different, in so many fundamental respects, then, it is easy to see why the fitness industry is about salesmanship as much as effectiveness.

This page created 10 Jan 2017 21:52
Last updated 17 Feb 2017 21:13

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