Strength of Evidence Podcast: Episode 7.5 – Response to “Rippetoe Goes Off”

Is solely relying on heavy barbell training the best way to achieve hypertrophic, strength, and performance adaptations? Is there room for any other methods? Does proper squatting and deadlifting cover all possible bases for rehabilitative, functional, and athletic purposes? Are machines and isolation movements for sissies? And are physical therapists all a bunch of “weenie frauds”?

kirk-karwoski-squat

In episode 7.5 of The Strength of Evidence Podcast, Jon and Bret respond to Mark Rippetoe’s latest TNation article and demonstrate how to properly analyze polarizing, black & white articles.

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What do you think? After listening to the podcast and weighing the evidence, should we all solely perform heavy barbell movements and refrain from all other training methodology? Join us in the discussion by giving us a “like” on our Facebook page!

As always, if you like the podcast, please click on THIS LINK, go to iTunes, click on “ratings and reviews,” and leave us some feedback and a rating! Then share with your friends and anyone that might like to hear the debate.

Yates Row

Links to the Articles and Topics Discussed in the Podcast

Rippetoe Goes Off

Overall principle of lower limb support during stance phase of gait (Full PDF HERE)

Variations in force-time histories of cat gastrocnemius, soleus and plantaris muscles for consecutive walking steps (Full PDF HERE)

The Randall Lift (Bruce Randall & Good Mornings)

The Strength of Evidence Podcast – Episode 2: To Squat or Not to Squat

Do the vastus medialis obliquus and vastus medialis longus really exist? A systematic review

The effects of short-term unilateral and bilateral lower-body resistance training on measures of strength and power

Comparison of lower extremity EMG between the 2-leg squat and modified single-leg squat in female athletes

Effects of unilateral and bilateral lower-body heavy resistance exercise on muscle activity and testosterone responses

Knee Valgus (Valgus Collapse), Glute Medius Strengthening, Band Hip Abduction Exercises, and Ankle Dorsiflexion Drills

You’ll Never Squat Again: Why Physical Therapists and Doctors Should Learn Some Biomechanics

Effect of adding single-joint exercises to a multi-joint exercise resistance-training program on strength and hypertrophy in untrained subjects

Isolated vs. complex exercise in strengthening the rotator cuff muscle group

Influence of exercise order on upper body maximum and submaximal strength gains in trained men

Effects of varying attentional focus on health-related physical fitness performance

Strengthening and Neuromuscular Reeducation of the Gluteus Maximus in a Triathlete With Exercise-Associated Cramping of the Hamstrings

Muscles within muscles: a tensiomyographic and histochemical analysis of the normal human vastus medialis longus and vastus medialis obliquus muscles

52 Comments

  • greg balteff says:

    by using free weights can you generate more force by using the eccentric and concentric motion in a lift as opposed to machines because you start at the bottom of the movement …..seated chest press on a hammer strength machine …with machines you don’t doint get a coil affect

    • Bret says:

      Well that would only be true for the first rep then…after that they both utilize full dynamic motions. Also, sometimes starting from a standstill is great for RFD production – box squats and midthigh pulls have huge RFDs, so quid pro quo.

  • Will says:

    Awesome stuff! We never had the chance to witness Ali vs Tyson at their prime because they were born in different eras, duh! However, how good are the chances to see, lets say, Mark Rippetoe vs Michael Boyle? My point here is that respectful debate and competition is what impulses evolution in any industry. We can learn from different methods, from scientists and even from empirical geniuses. Albeit nobody owns the absolute truth…

    • Bret says:

      In my opinion you won’t see debates like this take place. People tend to form their own camps and stay in their own circles so they’re protected.

  • Nick McCray says:

    I hated his article it was grossly oversimplified and ignores a plethora of anecdotal evidence with regard to the development possible with splitting the body into groups. ALSO with regard to PT’s – without these guys, I would be facing the rest of my life without being able to plantarflex with force (torn medial/lateral ankle ligament and achilles tendon). Any athlete who blows an ACL? Say byebye.

  • Eric says:

    I like the discussion, on the podcast. I’ll admit my bias that I think Rip is the man, on the other hand, I’m aware he can be over the top sometimes.

    Regardless, I’m wondering if sometimes Bret and John, for all their scientific knowledge, are forgetting to read English, or read non-scientific language from time to time.

    When Rip says free weights are superior to machines, it should be apparent that he is talking about machines such as leg press, leg curl, leg extension. The machines that Brett mentioned, basically fit all the criteria that Rip was claiming that conventional machines can’t do. I personally wasn’t familiar with any machines that Brett brought up and although Rip might take his stance categorically to the death anyway (because he is indeed a stubborn old man), I think it distorts his position in these first to paragraphs to say that he is making a categorical statement. The Hammer strength machines clearly fit the criteria of the barbell movements he is talking about not-surprisingly because they essentially mimic the barbell movements. It’s kind of a different argument.

    Non- scientific writing should be interpreted in context of the conventional understanding of the language. (Machines are leg press, leg curl, and leg ext.) Also, like in English class, there are “context clues” that let you know which ones he is talking about.

    Podcast was overall awesome though. I prefer overly-analytical to hype and nonsense any day.

  • Rozin says:

    I’ve always respected Rip and he has been a godsend for many newbies and myself. That aside, once I started to delve deeper into the scientific world of lifting and nutrition, I really began to see the erroneous logic Rip presents.

    For example, consider how he has some clients do floor supermans to have them feel the erectors yet I have seen him dismiss glute bridges to feel the glutes saying they are unnecessary and that the glutes will fire regardless.

    I commend your podcast, Bret. I posted it over at T-Nation and hopefully they can all stop bickering and finally here a proper rebuttal to the article. You and Fass did a fantastic job and I pretty much made similar conclusions myself after reading it. I can’t wait to see more from you two!

    • Bret says:

      Great point Rozin. Fuzzy logic – erector activation can help individuals learn to keep the arch but glute activation is worthless? Hmmm. Thanks!

  • Evan Raftopoulos says:

    I posted the following in one of T nation’s the discussions:

    What Mr. Rippetoe does not seem to understand about physical therapy

    Here’s what you need to know…

    There is a large difference between Physical therapy for painful neuro-musculoskeletal (NMSK) conditions and strength training.

    When one is experiencing pain that manifests as a NMSK condition , physical therapy aims to calm down the nervous system first and foremost.

    Physical therapy usually achieves the above with education , manual care, and movement.

    Education includes pathophysiology of tissue healing, neurophysiology of peripheral and central sensitization, and the multilevel complexity of painful conditions.

    Manual care has the capacity to turn on pain inhibitory systems in the central nervous system, and creates a window of opportunity that allows for passive and active movement.

    At this point, the active movement in physical therapy has less to do with “strengthening” and more to do with desensitizing the system by helping reduce perceived threats.

    Once the system calms down, we often find that there is no more “weakness” . The perceived weakness is more likely due to altered neurophysiology, a result or simply part of the pain experience. When one is hurting, defense motor functions aim to protect the organism and allow for tissue healing. Weakness is not found to be a “cause of pain”.

    Once the system calms down and we do find “true” weakness ,that could have been pre-existing or due to chronic disuse and atrophy, THEN we apply strength training principles to address weakness.

    I hope Mr. Rippetoe and his followers read this post and decide to learn more about the field of physical rehabilitation. For more, please join somasimple.com

    All the best,

    Evan Raftopoulos
    -Physical Therapist
    -17 years of experience with wt training

  • James Steele says:

    Great podcast guys. Jon gets so hyped up and passionate. Bret you always manage to maintain a cool head even when you both disagree.

    “…isolation exercises can’t make you strong unless you’re very, very weak.”

    Hmm, guess Rip hasn’t seen James Fishers study showing significant improvements in Romanian Deadlift 1RM from 12 weeks of isolated lumbar extension training….in participants with at least 2 years resistance training experience. Granted they may not have been powerlifter strong, but they certainly weren’t ‘very, very weak.’ How on earth could that sissy isolated machine have added ~10kg to their Romanian Deadlift 😉

    http://ssudl.solent.ac.uk/2265/1/Fisher,_Bruce-Low_and_Smith_(2012).pdf

    • Bret says:

      Dammit James! I read this same paper a few months back and forgot about it. Good call! I wish I’d have remembered it as I would have discussed it in the podcast. Another great example of how isolation training can indeed benefit compound training. Thanks for commenting my friend!

  • Patrick says:

    While there may be no discernible difference between machines and free weights based on hypertrophy, there will be a huge difference based on overall functional strength.

    With machines, the weight is on a fixed bar path, thus preventing the trainee from practicing stabilization. Whenever we move objects in everyday tasks or sports, we are required to stabilize them through various planes of motion.

    This primary difference is why Rippetoe advocates barbell exercises over machines. He is more concerned with functional strength than hypertrophy.

    • Bret says:

      Patrick – this is why I’d like to see a good study conducted on this. What “functional tasks” are you thinking of – a linebacker pushing someone forward? Climbing over a wall? Jumping? Etc.

      We can hypothesize as to which program (free weights versus hammer strength and good machine counterparts) would produce greater hypertrophy and greater transfer to functional movement, but we don’t really know.

      And while I’d certainly hypothesize that free weights would have more carryover to functional performance, what I’m concerned with is “how much better?”

      If the machines gave you 95% of the hypertrophy and 85% of the functional transfer, don’t you think that many individuals would opt for machines? Which is safer in the short and long runs?

      And doesn’t the client’s preference matter? Who are we coaches/trainers to determine our clients’ goals for them? Some are primarily concerned with physique, some powerlifting strength, some a blend of both, etc.

      • Rozin says:

        Good point, Bret.

        I was thinking about something that was espoused by Charlie Francis, that “weights follow speed.” [I read this as a great sprint session doesn’t necessarily need weights.] Sports skills and special exercises (e.g., a variation of their sport) ALWAYS will produce the most gains in their respective sport. That is, sprinting makes you a better sprinter than sprinting less and lifting more weights.

        If we accept such a notion, can’t we necessarily hypothesize that an increase in hypertrophy in specific muscles would be quite useful since the increase of muscle fibres allows for more performance potential? And since those fibres exist then they can contribute to the overall performance of the athlete in their respective sport? It kind of reminds me of how powerlifters also have hypertrophy blocks or do mostly “bodybuilding-style training” for the muscles involved in the big lifts after their heavy exercise (think Dan Green, Westside, etc.) since a bigger muscle is usually a stronger muscle.

        • Bret says:

          Yep. This is true as long as you don’t go overboard and start “specializing” in hypertrophy/bodybuilding training to the point where it negatively impacts performance through fiber type shifting, excessive mass gain without concomitant neural regrooving, or possibly alterations in rotational moments of inertia through hypertrophy of distal segments. But this depends heavily on the sport, and most sports benefit from greater musculature to a point.

      • Patrick says:

        @Bret-
        Before I begin, I would like to steer the conversation in the direction of athletic performance as oppose to hypertrophy. I completely agree that hypertrophy may be possible without the use of free weights, which I did clarify in my first comment.

        I completely agree that more studies are needed to provide a more objective answer to the debate between free weights and machines. However, the anecdotal evidence from coaches and athletes, alike, seems to lean towards free weights.

        Sure, there is an element of movement or task specificity in regards to whether we should use free weights or machines, but I would venture to say that the complex movements we see in sports and daily life are all based on “primal patterns”. These “primal patterns” include your squat, lunge, push, and so on and so forth. Now, you and others may be laughing that I’m referencing a term popularized by Paul Chek and Elliott Hulse, but I think this observation on movements has merit.

        Now, I say all this with the caveat that any S&C program should be composed of free weights AND machines. However, the S&C program should have free weight movements as its bread and butter.

        Lastly, trainee preference does matter, but I would venture to say that once the trainee is properly educated on the pros and cons of both free weights and machines, I would find it hard to believe that he or she will have machine movements as their bread and butter.

        • Bret says:

          Patrick – good questions. Say you performed the primal movements using a Hammer Strength squat-lunge machine, etc., how much difference would it make in performance? I’ve read thousands of studies over the past few years – and I see things like this pop up from time to time: http://www.asbweb.org/conferences/2001/pdf/089.pdf. Blazevich is a badass researcher, keep in mind. Now, there do appear to be differences in architecture changes, but not so much in performance. And the forward hack squat isn’t as good as the lever squat IMO. You can make lunges in the HS squat-lunge machine feel just like free weight lunges…

          So again, how much performance differences would you get with two quality programs using good equipment and coaching? I don’t know the answer to this, but my hypothesis would be that the performance adaptations would be very similar.

          Trainers and coaches prefer free weights out of tradition, cost/logistics, and logic. These machines cost a fortune and take up lots of space. Tradition and logic aren’t the highest in the hierarchy of knowledge: http://bretcontreras.com/a-scientific-approach-to-fitness/

          We need a good study (or 2 or 3) to inform us about this topic as right now it’s just a guess. I like the way you’re using critical thinking though!

          • Patrick says:

            The article (http://www.asbweb.org/conferences/2001/pdf/089.pdf) that you just presented to me has certainly thrown me for a loop to be honest. Although I have nothing more than a layman’s understanding of these studies, I was a bit surprised when the researchers concluded in the first study that “there was little similarity” in the kinematics between the “traditional squat” and vertical jump and that the forward hack squat machine movement had more similarity to the “acceleration phase of the sprint run” than the “traditional squat”.

            I was further alarmed by the second study when the researchers found that group 1 (squat lift +sprint/jump) did not have significantly more improvement on their markers for athletic performance than group 2 (forward hack squat +sprint/jump) or group 3 (sprint/jump).

            After reading the aforementioned study, I began seeking out more research comparing machines and free weights based on athletic performance and you are extremely accurate that there is a severe lack of it.

            I did find a FEW other studies showing the superiority of free weights featured in a roundtable discussion by the NSCA (http://www.fmh.utl.pt/agon/cpfmh/docs/documentos/recursos/110/Roundtable%20Discussion-%20Machines%20Versus%20Free%20Weights.pdf). However, Carpinelli exposed apparent methodological flaws in these studies, which primarily had to do with the exclusion of pre-test and post-test data and poor machine equipment.

            Given this newfound knowledge, I suppose I have to be careful in saying that free weights ABSOLUTELY trump machines in regards to performance from an objective, scientific standpoint.

            At this point, you are right that we have to wait for more research to take a more definitive stance on the matter. With that said, I’ll repeat my previous statement that machines and free weights can BOTH compose an effective S&C program. But I’ll still lean towards free weights because of anecdotal evidence and they have been scientifically proven to improve markers of athletic performance.

            By the way, thanks for being cordial in this discussion. I tried justifying the use of “corrective exercises/mobility work” in Rippetoe’s forum and was called out for lacking reading comprehension, lol…

          • Bret says:

            Patrick, I commend you for your evidence-based approach to S&C and utilization of critical thinking skills. If only everyone thought like you did! I’m still leaning toward free weights too, but I’m curious as to the differences – would they be hugely superior, marginal, or even inferior with a good experiment involving good programming? Time will tell. Cheers to you!

  • Dan says:

    Bret,

    I posted this below another blog of yours a few days back and never got a response. I assume you missed it as you have moved on to more recent topics.

    “I love the fact that you are willing to debate people on the issues and that you stay up on current research. You have a great writing style and obviously put a lot of time into your articles to ensure they are backed up with research. Very commendable as that is an often lacking quality in this field.

    I have to ask you though, did you actually give a testimonial to this book? Because there is one from you on the add at the link I provided.

    http://www.buildabiggerbenchpress.com/

    This has to be about the worst ebook I have ever seen. The spelling and grammar make it barely readable. If you can manage to get past that, the content is simply embarrassing to read. It’s really that horrible.

    Please tell me this guy jacked your name and image without your consent. I simply cannot imagine that someone who holds there self to such high standard as a peer reviewer would lend their name to this rubbish.

    If you want to grill a guru, grill the clown who wrote this ebook. He certainly seems like a fraud from this book and his website and multiple facebook pages.

    Thank you and keep up the good work.

    Dan

    • Bret says:

      Dan, Rob is a very nice dude, I’ve met him in person and he’s highly respectful. I did in fact write him a testimonial for his product. While I don’t have it anymore, I recall from checking it out three years back that I liked that it wasn’t solely focused on triceps which most powerlifting programs do these days. Most bench programs will have you hammering board presses and floor presses and doing tons of accessory tricep and delt and lat work. But what about the pecs? I was happy to see an article by Dan Green, one of the strongest dudes on the planet, discuss what I’ve been thinking for several years now: http://www.jtsstrength.com/articles/2013/05/29/west-of-westside/. I also recall him mentioning other things that I agreed with, which were unconventional. I’m sorry you hated the product, but I feel that it’s wise to prioritize pec development for benching especially if you’re a raw lifter. I appreciate the kind words and support! BC

      • Dan says:

        Wow is all I have to say, Bret.

        So you support his trash? I guess you’re just another affiliate marketeer willing to plug anyone’s product in your mastermind group as long as you get the clickbank commission hey? Sorry for the flak, Bret, but I’m actually hurt that you would put your reputation on the line for this guy. This is an 87 page, misspelled, grammatical abortion. Not one single reference for the whole thing. It’s just the ramblings of wanna be.

        The guy claims an over 400 bench, yet his only recorded bench in a PL meet is 302lbs!

        Not solely focused on triceps? Seriously, that’s your defense for this guy?

        Bret, it was a bunch of horribly designed bodybuilding style work outs not solely focuses on anything.

        This really has me questioning my support for you. I mean you grill Poliquin on one hand, and then on the other you support this shady guy.

        Oh and if you didn’t already know, when I searched his name in google, I found this.

        http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/story/2013/03/04/nl-heavyweights-rob-king-ephedrine-305.html

        http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/story/2013/03/12/nl-heavyweights-pharmacy-board-ephedrine-312.html

        So aside from writing and selling horrible ebooks, He’s also shipping illegal drugs into the US and ripping off custom’s when he does it.

        Doesn’t sound so highly respectful to me!

        Sorry to be harsh, you’re still a great writer in my eye’s, however if you stand behind this kind of guy and his products I can’t see my self supporting you.

        I don’t know, maybe he’s a client of your’s and you’re being nice because you have to.

        All the best.

        • Bret says:

          Dan, I didn’t make a dime off of Rob’s product. I think I’ve done two affiliate things in the past two years, 90% of the time when I promote something I do so for free. You’ve now posted about Rob on my blog several times and your point has been made. I could grill everyone in this industry including myself, but I choose to do so sparingly.

        • Marcus Beasley says:

          What’s spelling got to do with strength training? I don’t give a rats ass about grammer when I comes to good ideas. It’s like saying like saying all good strength coaches are good spellers but not all good spellers are good strength coaches.

          • Dan says:

            I think it has a lot to do with being professional in any field. It’s one of the reasons I read Bret’s work. He takes care to present his idea’s in a professional manner, and his work is always well written and referenced. Which is why I was surprised to see his stamp of approval, on what in my opinion, was a horrible product in every aspect. Anyway, no sense repeating my self, I got my answer.

  • Joe says:

    Bret !
    PLEASE ! Let me know the manufacturer and brand of the dual adjustable pulley which is pictured in your book “Strong Curves”. Long time i searched a dual adjustable pulley with a lat pulldown and low row option and as i can see this one has it ! BIG THANKS !!!!!!!!

  • James Escaloni says:

    I’m so very glad you two discussed this in an intelligent manner. I’ve shared this in the hopes that some balanced thinking on this topic can be brought further out to the public.

    I’ll be honest, I’m a PT who is always very sensitive about the perception of the public to my profession. This article and its comments really struck a nerve. I can say with honesty that I’ve read at least 1 article regarding orthopedics, strength & conditioning, or something with regard to rehabilitation every day for over a decade, so I am very aware of the things that have been discussed and haven’t mentioned a VMO in years. I am, however, the first to admit that many physical therapists aren’t very good at their jobs. I think Charlie Weingroff mentioned a bell curve in the PT profession (and all professions for that matter). By that reasoning, most people will interact with a sub-par practitioner. I hate it, but it is the truth (remember, this is for all professions, not just PT). I guess this is why I’ve dedicated myself to bring the best I can be, and why articles like this really sting. I’m just glad you guys had an intelligent enough rebuttal to soften some of the blows Rip threw.

  • Domenic says:

    The problem I have with Rippetoe is that he is so obviously biased that he is actually angry. It’s not just machines he bashes, as far as I know he doesn’t believe in activation work and the results you can achieve from doing things such as glute bridges.

    This, to me brings up another point. How much of a lift is due to the function of the body and how much is due to getting used to the lift and practicing it?

    In my opinion the vast majority of success people have in the gym is either the level of glute strength and function they walk in with or how much they can build. The lifts themselves will progress pretty quicky. Alot of the cues that Rippetoe hammers people on are things that will come very easily IF the individual has that function.

    For instance, using the lats on a pull. Great. BUT being able to do that requires two things. FIRST is having good enough function to do that. Far distant second is being cued and doing it. And low level activation work and the like really helps with this.

  • Greg says:

    Hi Bret, firstly, HUGE, HUGE fan of your work. Your blogs, articles, research, etc has had a profound influence on my approach as a physical therapist. On that note, I wanted to help settle the “friendly bickering” between you and John regarding the state or quality of care experienced in your “average” PT clinic that most people are subject to. As a recent graduate (May ’13) of a DPT (doctor of physical therapy) program, I can tell you without a doubt that TherEx (therapeutic exercise and strengthening) is done a HUGE diservice in most cirriculums. However, what needs to be understood is that an entry level DPT is responsible for treating ANY patient with pathology/injury related to the following systems: musculoskeletal, neurological, cardiopulmonary, integumentary, metabolic, and endocrine. Therefore, in a 3 year cirriculum there is only so much time you can dedicate towards evaluating, diagnosing, prognosing, and treating the endless pathologies that exist within each one of those systems…PTs do NOT solely work in orthopedics. Furthermore, a DPT professor teaching orthopedics/TherEx only has time to cover the basics which tend to include low intensity/high volume DB or theraband exercise, basic BW variations (particularly table exercise), etc. To put it simply, a physical therapist is an expert of movement and the WHOLE system of the physical being…they are NOT experts on strength training like a well seasoned/advanced S&C coach. More along this point, an orthopedic PT’s session with a patient (who is in pain otherwise they probably would not be in PT) will be comprised of pain control/modalities, manual therapy, TherEx, gait corrections, and so on whereas a personal trainer or strength coaches sole concern and focus on a session is performance enhancement. This then opens another can of worms because the current insurance restrictions that a PT faces (insurance does NOT cover “maintenence” or enhancement) only allows them to get their patients back to BASELINE function (and not even because most insurances will cut you off once they see objective measurements at 75% of normal). Therefore, if our time with a patient ends with “baseline”, it does not fit well in a cirriculum to teach advanced S&C techniques, which is why many run of the mill PTs don’t know anything beyond theraband and pink DBs. Although, you both made an excellent point that should you chose to expand on that area with CEUs then yes you could establish yourself in that realm, but society also needs to be aware that many orthopedic PTs chose other avenues such as a focus in manual therapy, instrument assisted soft tissue techniques, manipulations, movement assessment/training (ie Gray Cook and Sahrmann) and the list goes on and on. My point here was to illustrate from a student’s perspective that your average orthopedic PT is not necessarily lacking knowledge by any means, but that their entry level education is largely spent on bredth of systems, which unfortunately sacrifices depth. To close, I will say that Bret, yourself and many others will and should notice a pretty profound difference in the TherEx component of PT services provided from clinicians who are dual credentialed with either an ATC or CSCS as those educational cirriculums are spent largely on a more S&C approach or from a single credentialed PT who chose to persue CEUs in S&C type courses and are regular readers of your blog 😉

    – Greg

  • Jerry Y says:

    Hello Mr.Contreras,

    I have a question regarding Henneman’s size principle ( HSP) because I think it ties into why some coaches/people use machines with athletes:

    From my recent scientific study of the recent literature there still seems to be some ambiguity about the interpretation of HSP. THe question being does Intensity ( in this case to clarify terms I mean load based on a 1rm) or overall effort stimulate the higher threshold motor units. So have you done any research and thinking on this.? I havent talked to many strength coaches who have.

    I think it isnt as simple as one or the other from my own experience and training athletes and I would say there is a lower and upper limit that works best. The range I have found that works best is any load ( you can use percentages if you want) that allows someone to get anywhere from 5-50 repetitions. I know this seems like a high range but I have experienced good strength gains and have the data from this. The key for me with some of these experiments ( more specifically the testing of higher reps [ 15 to 35 reps] with me and the people I have trained) was sheer effort. Most of the sets done were taken to momentary muscular failure; and I mean technical failure because when you can no longer perform the correct technique it is not only dangerous from a biomechanical perspective, but it is actually a different exercise.

    So to tie this all in I think one reason some strength coaches choose machines over free weights is because of the sheer amount of effort you can put into what your doing with the lower risk of injury. This crazy amount of effort not only increases the conditioning component of workouts, but may in fact also stimulate the higher threshold motor units more effectively.. i.e. HSP.

    Thanks and I love how we can discuss things civilly here. Science is about finding what is true and using that to benefit people. It not about “Richard-measuring” haha

    Jerry

    • jerry says:

      ***** so sorry I usually take almost all sets of any exercise with me or the people I train to momentary muscular failure ( technical failure). And when I made the comment my thoughts were all over the place so if something isnt clear about what I said please ask me.

  • Brian Sinner says:

    I have a question about the muscle “firing/not firing” segment. I don’t doubt at all that for any given movement for any given individual a muscle that is normally “firing” may not be. My question would be, so what? Who says that it needs to be. The human body consists of so many degrees of freedom and allows for a movement to be completed according to an infinite number of complex neuromuscular solutions (see Keith Davids or Karl Newell’s writings about motor redundancy). I guess if your specific goal is to activate a specific muscle than it would be necessary for that muscle to fire. But for athletes, strengthening whatever muscles are the components of that individuals motor solution to accomplish the task would be sufficient/optimal.

  • Brian Sinner says:

    Don’t you think it is assumed that he isn’t talking about every single PT. I don’t think when Mark makes “broad brush strokes” about the whole PT industry that he is trying to convince anyone that every single PT is guilty of these ideas/practices. I think he is making the point the majority do. If Mark is seeing an abundance of popular media disseminating bogus training advice coming from PT circles than attacking the PT field as a means of reigning in the popular opinion of PT’s as “expert trainers” I have no problem with that. Just as some researchers have been guilty of fabricating/falsifying data in publications, you wouldn’t indict the whole research process or everybody associated with academic research because MOST researchers are not doing that. If MOST PT information gaining PR is of inferior quality than a broad statement about the field, with the obvious understanding that not every single individual is guilty, seems OK.

  • C says:

    I firmly believe that unless you know something thoroughly and have exhausted the available literature and have first hand practical experience, you have no right to publically weigh in on such topics. Example Stuart McGill has deservedly earned the right to make statements on issues relating to spine mechanics, Bret Contreras (without blowing steam up your backside) in my mind has earnt the right to commentate on all things related to hip mechanics in the context of strength training.
    I think Mark has earnt the right to issue comments and material related to strength and conditioning and I have enjoyed reading his material in the past. I think however that’s where his expertise should lie, and really think he is commenting on a topic that he truly doesn’t understand.
    I have listened to the podcast and think both of you guys have made good some valid points. What I agree with most is what Jonathan has mentioned as to the potential damage of influential people making outlandish, sweeping statements regarding certain therapies and industries. As like many I have had some shocking experiences with physiotherapists/physical therapists, podiatrists, personal trainers and the like. However I think I’d be wrong to then condemn the whole industry and assume they all practice the same. I think within and outside the healthcare system the most dangerous thing is when individuals obtain a slice of information and assume to have right to the whole pie. The weekend warrior who reads an article on barefoot running and condemns the use of running shoes to all his friends, family or anyone who cares to listen, or in this case the strength trainer who steps beyond his area of expertise and critiques another profession/industry without truly understanding the topic himself.
    Thanks for the podcast, it made my drive into clinic very enjoyable this morning

  • Strini says:

    Hi Brett i enjoyed listening to the podcast. My addtition to this is that i can 100% back that variety is king. Last year i trained Ruth Naidoo who won the Miss Natural Olympia 2012 and i can say that her programme comprised of machine weights and free weights. There are huge benefits from both. Why should one be better than the other?

  • DC says:

    Are you going to make any more podcasts?

  • Robert says:

    Just out of curiosity…..Have you read Starting Strength?

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