Moronic Musings

July 02, 2008

A friend sent me this article a few days ago and I have to say that the depth of the stupidity of it is staggering.

The fact that this sort of drivel is out there is a testament to how screwed up the field of exercise really is. Morononic musings like the article below by Mr. Scott abound.

Allow me to dissect, destroy and pulverize his blatherings.

Here we go....

: Is Your Workout Wasting Your Time? A no-nonsense look at the often
nonsensical world of fitness clubs.
By Paul Scott, Best Life

"Researchers, for
instance, have known that the leg-extension machine (the unit in which you sit
with your shin behind a padded bar attached to a weight stack and then
straighten your leg in front of you) trains you to do just one thing: become
very strong at the leg-extension machine.

Really? That's it? We don't know if this statement is true as Mr. Scott does not cite any references. If true then biceps
curls only get you good at biceps curls, chest presses at chest
presses, squats at squats, etc. By inference Mr. Scott suggests that
strength training exercises do not promote muscular hypertrophy. Where
oh where has Mr. Scott been?

"In one of the few studies on this
subject, researchers from the University of Kentucky studied 23
patients with knee pain to see what made them stronger: a step-up test or doing
leg extensions. While they found that both groups eventually became stronger at
doing leg extensions, only the group doing the step-up test actually became
stronger at stepping up and doing functional activities. The reason: The seated
leg-extension machine has nothing to do with how we use our legs, which are meant
to hold us upright against gravity while we walk, climb, or descend."

A few things here - a step up test is a specific task. In order to get better at the step up test, you have to practice the step up test. The group doing the knee extensions should have been doing the step up test too so that they would become skilled at the task and THEN tested to see who did better. If both groups did as well you could conclude that knee extensions contributed nothing to the step up test. Secondly, step up involve knee extension and hip extension. If the test in performed in a rigorous manner, you will increase the strength of the quads, glutes and hamstrings. The leg extension is only designed to strengthen the quads.As for the leg extension exercise having noting do do with how we use our legs, tell that to a soccer player.

In fact, Chris
Powers, a biokinesiology researcher at the 
University of California determined that although the
thighbone rotates under the kneecap as we walk, using a leg-extension machine
actually causes the kneecap to rotate on the thighbone. The mechanics of the
leg-extension machine simply doesn't simulate what happens in functional
activity (e.g., walking, running, or going down steps).

Again no reference cited. And if this is true that the knee cap rotates on the thighbone rather than the other way around, so what? When we strength train we are not attempting to mimic what we do in functional activity whatever that truly means. That is not the purpose of strength training. Do we not extend our knee in in functional activity? A football punter thinks so I'll bet.

"The leg-extension
machine puts a lot of strain on the knee ligaments and the patella," says
Tim Hewett, PhD, a professor in the departments of biomedical engineering and
pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati
would never consider letting our athletes use a leg-extension machine."

Yes I can hear the training room dialog now - "Boomer - get your butt off that dangerous and evil leg extension machine! Your really gonna hurt your patella doing that. Now, go on over there and snatch that barbell over your head as fast and as explosively as possible 50 times and then get out on the field and ram your cervical spine into the blocking posts till you drop."

"When it comes to promoting strength that is not
meaningful, the leg-extension machine is one of many."

Unmeaningful strength - now that statement is a doozy!