Our next fitness trend for 2009 is “Getting back to basics.” Well it sounds a lot simpler than you may think.
Walk into any facility in the area you will see machines, machines, and more machines. Where did these machines come from? And what purpose do they serve? Well believe it or not, Nautilus machinery was once considered “intelligent exercise”. I find it quite funny that sitting in a machine which gives you a fixed path of motion (and may require a seatbelt) with which to work with could be considered “intelligent”.
Luckily present day science has shown that the benefits of machine work may in fact be counterproductive due to the dysfunction that they cause. Let’s take the leg extension for example, an extremely popular machine in many facilities, but an incredibly dangerous one. In lifestyle movement, whether it is walking, squatting, etc, the patella (knee cap) rotates on the femur (thigh bone) but in a leg extension it is reversed. There is also a reduction in hamstring activity, a necessary component in natural movement at the knee joint. There are countless other problems with the leg extension in regards to its safety, so overall we can deduct it is fairly useless.
Examples like this exist with most of your fixed movement exercises, so why use them? The answer for all your problems is getting back to the basics, or in buzz terminology, primal movement patterns. Primal patterns are movements your body performs everyday. By exercising within the primal movement patterns you will increase your strength and endurance of daily activities, in other words, training your body to be the best at what you need it to do.
You will find a few different primal patterns, but for my clients we use the following:
These movements are the basis of human bio-mechanics. By performing them in their basic form and then progressing to additional loading and movement through multiple planes, you can train your body for proper function and strength gains.
For an exerciser unfamiliar with these patterns and the exercises that correspond to them, search out a personal trainer at your local facility. Ask them if they understand functional primal patterns. If they look at you strange, move on, chances are you will be taken through another round of tedious machine work.
Owners and managers out there, are your trainers taking advantage of these functional processes? If not, shame on you and them. Our society is full of dysfunctional, over weight, inactive people who are constantly in pain from the simplest forms of exercises. Can exercises that allow them to sit really help? The answer should be obvious. In the meantime, send your trainers for some continuing education and give them the education to continue to grow. Gray Cook’s Functional Movement Screen would be a great start.
So for those of you who still spend your time sitting in a machine, wrapped in a seatbelt, and measuring your workout on the amount of “pump” you have garnered, it’s time to change things up. I guarantee you will continue to see gains all while preparing your body to be functionally preserved as long as it can.
SOURCE: HARTFORD’S FITNESS EXAMINER