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"Doing more exercise with less intensity,"
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logicbdj

Ontario, CAN

I progress my loads as often as possible, and relative to the method employed, the order of exercise selection, etc., since different methods of attack will allow for easier progression. However, proper selection of load is vital. Consider my thigh workout yesterday:

1. Leg extensions performed in halves (Gironda style). I could have used another 40-60 pounds load IF I were to grasp the handles and contract my abdominals in the process. However, my arms remained relaxed, as did my abs, and so the load I used was sufficient to make my quads work as hard as possible. Being able to use more load by contracting my upper body to the max would not cause a greater overload on the quads.

2. Roman chair squats performed in thirds. Although I held a 25-pound plate across my chest, I kept my upper body as relaxed as possible. Moreover, a slight lean forward, rather than keeping my torso upright or slightly back would allow me to use more weight, but that would shift more tension onto my glutes and away from my thighs.

3. Seated leg press performed in alternated overload halves. Very demanding and a weight that is too heavy for regular halves (but where the opposite leg provides a bit of assistance, as if doing modest forced reps). Great overload, but I kept my upper body relaxed. Gripping onto the seat/handles and flexing my abs would allow me to use more weight, but my thighs already are overloaded and the additional strain in the torso and the use of a bit more weight becaues of it would not contribute to better leg training.

4. Squats in a machine and in thirds, but with the middle third performed first, which allows for more weight than usual (if starting from the bottom), followed by the top third (with another 50 pounds), and then the bottom third (followed by a stripping of the weight). Moreover, I use Dave Draper's Top Squat, which allows me to relax my arms and shoulders significantly as I place far greater focus on my thighs. Performing regular machine squats would mean greater tensing and activation of the upper body, and the use of another 25 pounds load (at least), but that extra load would not contribute to greater thigh stimulation as it would be taken up by the upper body.

Based on the above, and particularly with the methods employed in the last two exercises, it can be seen that I am all for working hard against a heavy load... relative to the strength of the target muscles and the method employed. Adding more weight, just to have that extra weight be supported by outlying musculature has no benefit to optimizing muscular size of the target muscle. There will exist a spill-over effect of the tension with more load than can be handled by the target muscle. This is my stance, in case it was not clear in previous posts... a stance that has remained consistent.

Moreover, consider the FACT that the body adapts to an exercise stimulus, just as we adapt to fine motor skills, such as playing a piano, learning to walk, etc. This occurs quickly with exercise... within a few workouts of doing the same thing (particularly with the advanced trainee) since the movements are so basic. There is a necessity to create constant change in how things are done, since there are only so many good exercises, and the ability to adapt so quickly allows one to increase the loads easily, but without any further change to the muscles (as evidenced by thousands who continue to get stronger, but not look any larger or better). And if one were to create constant change in how the exercises are attacked, their order, etc., there is less chance of progressing the load when compared to someone who standardizes his or her method of training. Yet for those who have made a sudden change to exercise method knows, change in the body is possible merely because of the change of routine, and not because of progression.

This does not suggest that progression in load is not important, since it is. Rather, it is the totality of the training demands that must be considered, and with progression of load being of one aspect within the entire puzzle. Once focus is placed solely on reps and load, while overall strategy, unique challenges, etc. are ignored, one becomes a lifting of weights rather than a trainer of muscle.
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Cherry

You and I are in complete agreement with this post. If i've said it once i've said it twice that there are a million little ways to 'cheat' (make easier) during the rep and guaranteed they will find their way in if you don't watch for them.

I've observed the very same thing on the leg ext for instance by gripping handles, allowing butt to rise ever so slightly while you 'pivot' off the edge of seat etc WILL reduce the load on target muscle. "it's the little things that kill the efficacy of the exercise"

But to not hold on you must be STRAPPED IN TIGHT!

This leads us to the CRUX of the problem... JOINT ISOLATION. Do you see what i am saying? Lock in the joint most these problems you lament go away. The necessity of Holding on to handles on a leg ext machine is absurd. If the pelvis were fixaed properly no need to hold on or contarct the abs. THERE WOULD BE NO ABERRANT TORQUE to the resistance arm! Pure Quads!See what I mean?
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BIO-FORCE

California, USA

logicbdj wrote:
I progress my loads as often as possible, and relative to the method employed, the order of exercise selection, etc., since different methods of attack will allow for easier progression. However, proper selection of load is vital. Consider my thigh workout yesterday:

1. Leg extensions performed in halves (Gironda style). I could have used another 40-60 pounds load IF I were to grasp the handles and contract my abdominals in the process. However, my arms remained relaxed, as did my abs, and so the load I used was sufficient to make my quads work as hard as possible. Being able to use more load by contracting my upper body to the max would not cause a greater overload on the quads.



I would question your understanding of how a muscle(s) functions and what causes "compensation".

There is little doubt that the best way to build strength and muscle is to create the greatest tension in the muscle via loading, and to also perform the greatest amount of work over a specific time = Intensity.

To create the greatest muscle tensions, the body part needs to be either braced via reactive force pads, and or stabilized via the stabilizing musculature.

By reducing the involvement of the stabilizers, you produce an "inhibition" to your goal.

Why would you want to do that?

logicbdj wrote:

3. Seated leg press performed in alternated overload halves. Very demanding and a weight that is too heavy for regular halves (but where the opposite leg provides a bit of assistance, as if doing modest forced reps). Great overload, but I kept my upper body relaxed. Gripping onto the seat/handles and flexing my abs would allow me to use more weight, but my thighs already are overloaded and the additional strain in the torso and the use of a bit more weight becaues of it would not contribute to better leg training.



Again, who says it "the use of a bit more weight because of it would not contribute to better leg training."???

As I see it, you are violating the principles of how the bodies musculature functions.

Its like performing barbell presses on roller skates, or worse yet a "stability ball".

Stability, gives us the platform from which the body will create, absorb, or transmit force. Removing or not creating that stability is "inhibitory". and the reflexive motor response is lowered.

That is not conducive to High Intensity.

logicbdj wrote:

Based on the above, and particularly with the methods employed in the last two exercises, it can be seen that I am all for working hard against a heavy load... relative to the strength of the target muscles and the method employed. Adding more weight, just to have that extra weight be supported by outlying musculature has no benefit to optimizing muscular size of the target muscle. There will exist a spill-over effect of the tension with more load than can be handled by the target muscle. This is my stance, in case it was not clear in previous posts... a stance that has remained consistent.


Working "hard" is not "definable" nor the stimulus required to cause "compensation". There is no argument that the exercise that creates the greater muscle tension will produce the greater result.

Greater Muscle Tension, Greater Motor Impulse, and Greater Magnitude of Intensity is not the product of reducing stability in an exercise.
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Cherry

BIO-FORCE wrote:

I would question your understanding of how a muscle(s) functions and what causes "compensation".

There is little doubt that the best way to build strength and muscle is to create the greatest tension in the muscle via loading, and to also perform the greatest amount of work over a specific time = Intensity.

To create the greatest muscle tensions, the body part needs to be either braced via reactive force pads, and or stabilized via the stabilizing musculature.

By reducing the involvement of the stabilizers, you produce an "inhibition" to your goal.

Why would you want to do that?


To reduce or eliminate unwamted torque contribution from muscles located around other joints.

For instance, bending backward at waist while performing a barbell curl only serves to unload the target musculature, ie biceps.


Again, who says it "the use of a bit more weight because of it would not contribute to better leg training."???

As I see it, you are violating the principles of how the bodies musculature functions.

Its like performing barbell presses on roller skates, or worse yet a "stability ball".

Stability, gives us the platform from which the body will create, absorb, or transmit force. Removing or not creating that stability is "inhibitory". and the reflexive motor response is lowered.

That is not conducive to High Intensity.


Diagree. By this he is not less stable but shifting emphasis to target musculature. For the simple reason this particular exercise involves many joints and multiple axes of rotation. He's simply attempting to limit these other joints from contributing to lifting the load. Better isolation, IOW.


Working "hard" is not "definable" nor the stimulus required to cause "compensation". There is no argument that the exercise that creates the greater muscle tension will produce the greater result.

Greater Muscle Tension, Greater Motor Impulse, and Greater Magnitude of Intensity is not the product of reducing stability in an exercise.


No it is not the product of reducing stability this is true BUT it IS a function of better isolation and elimination of aberrant torques from unwanted musculature surrounding other joints. capiche? :)

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logicbdj

Ontario, CAN

Bioforce:

Who said anything about not be stable? In the leg extension machine, there is a seat belt to strap you in. I can't go anywhere. In the seated leg press, I'm sitting in a seat and pressing foward as the seat's back is keeping me there. In the other exercises, I contract outlying muscles as much as is necessary to create stability but without exaggerating the degree of tension in the outlying muscles that would allow me to use more weight (weight that the targeted muscles are not even handling as a result).

What I'm talking about is the ability to lift more weight by calling into play excess muscle force that is not part of the muscles being targeted.

I have done extensive research/experiments in this regard, and there is a difference in the load lifted... e.g., in a leg extension when working either leg independently (and with the sum total of the forces being less than if both legs were to work together). And even more force can be produced by gripping the handles and exerting the entire body along with the quads... but that does not mean the quads are producing more force, but which change is caused by the outlying participation of the muscles. This is nothing new, as studies a few decades old have addressed this issue.

And we return to what I was saying: use a load that is optimal relative to the muscle being trained, rather than adding more load by way of outlying participating muscular tension.

If the above is unclear, then I'm not sure how else to say it.
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AShortt

Ontario, CAN

BioForce, you are taking about stabilizing which is only appropriate to a degree. After which point it shifts load off the targeted muscle and over and on to other muscles. Plus and possibly as important the 'timing' of these actions can and is well honed by the CNS.

Regards,
Andrew
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BIO-FORCE

California, USA

Cherry wrote:
BIO-FORCE wrote:

I would question your understanding of how a muscle(s) functions and what causes "compensation".

There is little doubt that the best way to build strength and muscle is to create the greatest tension in the muscle via loading, and to also perform the greatest amount of work over a specific time = Intensity.

To create the greatest muscle tensions, the body part needs to be either braced via reactive force pads, and or stabilized via the stabilizing musculature.

By reducing the involvement of the stabilizers, you produce an "inhibition" to your goal.

Why would you want to do that?

To reduce or eliminate unwamted torque contribution from muscles located around other joints.

For instance, bending backward at waist while performing a barbell curl only serves to unload the target musculature, ie biceps.




Hi Cherry,

What your talking about are "form breaks" and ARE NOT the result of stabilization.


Cherry wrote:
BIO-FORCE wrote:

Again, who says it "the use of a bit more weight because of it would not contribute to better leg training."???

As I see it, you are violating the principles of how the bodies musculature functions.

Its like performing barbell presses on roller skates, or worse yet a "stability ball".

Stability, gives us the platform from which the body will create, absorb, or transmit force. Removing or not creating that stability is "inhibitory". and the reflexive motor response is lowered.

That is not conducive to High Intensity.

Diagree. By this he is not less stable but shifting emphasis to target musculature. For the simple reason this particular exercise involves many joints and multiple axes of rotation. He's simply attempting to limit these other joints from contributing to lifting the load. Better isolation, IOW.


You can "disagree" all day, but the facts are, that reducing stability , does not and cannot, produce the maximum muscle tension.

This is simplicity.

You seem to confuse "form breaks" with stabilization function.

Actually taking the stabilizers "out" (unless they are replaced by bracing pads) will only serve to reduce future progress since the weaker they are, the more difficult hitting the target becomes.

The logic here is "askew".


Cherry wrote:
BIO-FORCE wrote:


Working "hard" is not "definable" nor the stimulus required to cause "compensation". There is no argument that the exercise that creates the greater muscle tension will produce the greater result.

Greater Muscle Tension, Greater Motor Impulse, and Greater Magnitude of Intensity is not the product of reducing stability in an exercise.


No it is not the product of reducing stability this is true BUT it IS a function of better isolation and elimination of aberrant torques from unwanted musculature surrounding other joints. capiche? :)



Sorry Cherry, but you too, don't understand the function of stabilizers. If you weaken or subtract stabilizers, isolation or focus on the target "IS NOT" nor can it, improve.

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Cherry

BIO-FORCE wrote:
Cherry wrote:
BIO-FORCE wrote:

I would question your understanding of how a muscle(s) functions and what causes "compensation".

There is little doubt that the best way to build strength and muscle is to create the greatest tension in the muscle via loading, and to also perform the greatest amount of work over a specific time = Intensity.

To create the greatest muscle tensions, the body part needs to be either braced via reactive force pads, and or stabilized via the stabilizing musculature.

By reducing the involvement of the stabilizers, you produce an "inhibition" to your goal.

Why would you want to do that?

To reduce or eliminate unwamted torque contribution from muscles located around other joints.

For instance, bending backward at waist while performing a barbell curl only serves to unload the target musculature, ie biceps.




Hi Cherry,

What your talking about are "form breaks" and ARE NOT the result of stabilization.


Cherry wrote:
BIO-FORCE wrote:

Again, who says it "the use of a bit more weight because of it would not contribute to better leg training."???

As I see it, you are violating the principles of how the bodies musculature functions.

Its like performing barbell presses on roller skates, or worse yet a "stability ball".

Stability, gives us the platform from which the body will create, absorb, or transmit force. Removing or not creating that stability is "inhibitory". and the reflexive motor response is lowered.

That is not conducive to High Intensity.

Diagree. By this he is not less stable but shifting emphasis to target musculature. For the simple reason this particular exercise involves many joints and multiple axes of rotation. He's simply attempting to limit these other joints from contributing to lifting the load. Better isolation, IOW.


You can "disagree" all day, but the facts are, that reducing stability , does not and cannot, produce the maximum muscle tension.

This is simplicity.

You seem to confuse "form breaks" with stabilization function.

Actually taking the stabilizers "out" (unless they are replaced by bracing pads) will only serve to reduce future progress since the weaker they are, the more difficult hitting the target becomes.

The logic here is "askew".


Cherry wrote:
BIO-FORCE wrote:


Working "hard" is not "definable" nor the stimulus required to cause "compensation". There is no argument that the exercise that creates the greater muscle tension will produce the greater result.

Greater Muscle Tension, Greater Motor Impulse, and Greater Magnitude of Intensity is not the product of reducing stability in an exercise.


No it is not the product of reducing stability this is true BUT it IS a function of better isolation and elimination of aberrant torques from unwanted musculature surrounding other joints. capiche? :)



Sorry Cherry, but you too, don't understand the function of stabilizers. If you weaken or subtract stabilizers, isolation or focus on the target "IS NOT" nor can it, improve.




I understand the consept of 'form breaks'. If you are squatting with deliberate extension of the lumbar spine and keeping the head up and pushing with the heels, this is SHIFTING EMPHASIS not form breaking or creating an unstable platform. This platform IS stable but you attempt to minimize contribution of the erector spineas.
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BIO-FORCE

California, USA

logicbdj wrote:
Bioforce:

Who said anything about not be stable? In the leg extension machine, there is a seat belt to strap you in. I can't go anywhere. In the seated leg press, I'm sitting in a seat and pressing foward as the seat's back is keeping me there. In the other exercises, I contract outlying muscles as much as is necessary to create stability but without exaggerating the degree of tension in the outlying muscles that would allow me to use more weight (weight that the targeted muscles are not even handling as a result).

What I'm talking about is the ability to lift more weight by calling into play excess muscle force that is not part of the muscles being targeted.


Hi Brian,

Activation of stabilizers has a two fold function:

1) it supplies a "platform" for the primary movers to apply force
2) it synergistically activates or retards the motor-neural system based on a feedback loop

Now I stated that the "onboard" stabilizers must be activated, "OR" the body has to be braced to the same extent for this to function.

In your leg extension example, even though you can try to belt yourself in, the fact still remains, that by gripping the handles as tightly as possible and tensing the body on each rep, you "WILL" find the target muscle has greater ability, and will handle greater loads.

Anyone who has ever tried this at the outer edges knows this.

Surely, working "hard" without this is a nice diversion, but it cannot and will not produce the ability to work at maximum intensity, and performance.


logicbdj wrote:

I have done extensive research/experiments in this regard, and there is a difference in the load lifted... e.g., in a leg extension when working either leg independently (and with the sum total of the forces being less than if both legs were to work together). And even more force can be produced by gripping the handles and exerting the entire body along with the quads... but that does not mean the quads are producing more force, but which change is caused by the outlying participation of the muscles. This is nothing new, as studies a few decades old have addressed this issue.

And we return to what I was saying: use a load that is optimal relative to the muscle being trained, rather than adding more load by way of outlying participating muscular tension.

If the above is unclear, then I'm not sure how else to say it.


It is very clear, but it is misinterpreted.

Your very experiment of working a single leg "proves" the point. In a single leg LE, you lose the stability of all the muscles and structures of the "other leg" which adds stability. So "Bob's your Uncle" you can't use as much weight.

Barbell Benches vs. Dumbbell Benches demonstrates the same thing. Motor Inhibition caused by reduced stability.

And as I said above, gripping the handles "DOES" mean you will see greater tension in the quads.

Try an experiment. Go for your 1RM both ways and see what you get.
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BIO-FORCE

California, USA

AShortt wrote:
BioForce, you are taking about stabilizing which is only appropriate to a degree. After which point it shifts load off the targeted muscle and over and on to other muscles. Plus and possibly as important the 'timing' of these actions can and is well honed by the CNS.

Regards,
Andrew


Hi Andrew,

Maybe you can give us an example of what degree of appropriateness you are talking about, and what exercise demonstrates this best.

I am curious. Please be as detailed as necessary to make the point.

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Cherry

I am sure that there are neural mechanisms built-in that when one muscle is strongly contracting another 'stabilizer' (the generic term you call them all) is activated to assist or stabilize. Built-in to natural movements as a result of evolution.

'Valsalva' is just such a mechanism to stabilize the thoracic cage and torso during physical exertion. (I am also equally sure that your understanding of these neural inhibitory and facilitory loops begin and end with what you've posted here.)

The leg extension is not a natural movement. Its not found in nature. But strongly contracting the quads might also activate the hip extensors too as a result of one of these 'loops'.. for simple reason strong contraction of the quads is usually associated with hip extension in nature.

So, yes, working the quads on a leg extension machine MIGHT involuntarily activate the hip extensors thru one of your 'vague neural loops'. But you have yet to prove any of this, let alone prove that attempting to consciously relax these muscles that shouldn't be involved in the task that we wish to accomplish (for instance, quad fatigue on leg ext). You are speculating here, bottom line.
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AShortt

Ontario, CAN

BIO-FORCE wrote:

Hi Andrew,

Maybe you can give us an example of what degree of appropriateness you are talking about, and what exercise demonstrates this best.

I am curious. Please be as detailed as necessary to make the point.



BioForce,

What you are talking about (in this thread) is 'Functional Training' and I have been through that *maze which leads to nowhere* before.

Using coordination, outlying musculature to help overload your muscles is mostly a waste of time. It is akin to moving explosively because it loads you at the beginning of a lift better, or catching somethng heavy becuase it loads you big time momentarily. I do understand what you are suggesting though but it is a early intermediate style of training.

You get good at balancing and thus can handle more load. However, the load likely doesn't rest soley on the targeted muscle and not throughout its full ROM. Thus, you heave around more weight than you need to and waste effort. You load 'some' extra weight on the targeted muscle but the rest of the body has to work harder as well as it takes up some of the load as well. The cost benefit ratio is poor if you know what I mean.

Now the new heavier load is transferred around as you get good so it is tough to talk exactingly about it all. You will take your new heavier load and it will be on the targeted muscle then some off then back on then off and so forth as you coordinate the movement. Eventually unless you really go all out with cheating your increase in loads will slow. At this point your only gains will be in skill, the skill of coordinating the movement and the harder and more often you try the better you will get. Better that is at developing the motor pattern to be efficient as with any practiced and repeated motor pattern (sports, work, play, exercise...whatever)

As a trainee moves out of the novice stage they should be learning to spot trends in their bodies and specific muscle responses to training. How heavy for how long an dhow intense how often. What exercises and movements target better and how to cycle demands to keep it all fresh and alarming (as per basic GAS). They should already know how to 'play safe'.

Moving into just lifting heavier and heavier with strict form is not enough but a rut many get stuck in. Muscle isolation and targeting mixed with a balance of variation and appropriate combinations of demands (vol, freq, (over)load, intensity etc) is the key.

To tell what is appropriate pay attention to muscle feel as you contract and flex. I know that sounds insultingly elementary but it isn't meant to. Pay attention to how a muscle feels when it is flexing and contracting as well as stretching/elongating. Find exercises where you really get good muscle feel with hard contractions and reasonable pump. Now increase load OR TUT (while lowering load) and at some point you will note a downgrading in feel as you lose targeting and isolation. You might not feel it right away but as you approach fatigue it is there as plain as day. Once you know what to look for it becomes increasingly easier to spot ? this is bodybuilding.

This issue like all others is governed in part (constrained) by the "Principle of Diminishing Returns".

Regards,
Andrew
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BIO-FORCE

California, USA

Cherry wrote:
I am sure that there are neural mechanisms built-in that when one muscle is strongly contracting another 'stabilizer' (the generic term you call them all) is activated to assist or stabilize. Built-in to natural movements as a result of evolution.


The movements do not have to be "natural" whatever that is. They need only require synergistic activation to enhance the ability of the other.

Cherry wrote:

'Valsalva' is just such a mechanism to stabilize the thoracic cage and torso during physical exertion. (I am also equally sure that your understanding of these neural inhibitory and facilitory loops begin and end with what you've posted here.)


Easy on the Old Man here, I'm rather frail at my advanced age.

I have no idea why you are sure of anything. The world is full of "mistaken certainties" (that of which we are certain, but are mistaken)

These are not negative discoveries, but opportunities to learn. Use them. (I do)

Cherry wrote:

The leg extension is not a natural movement. Its not found in nature. But strongly contracting the quads might also activate the hip extensors too as a result of one of these 'loops'.. for simple reason strong contraction of the quads is usually associated with hip extension in nature.


"Might"??? Have you ever heard of "reciprocal inervation".

Interesting thing about the body, it has an "onboard" sensing and control device (brain) that takes care of things like that.

Making up, "mights" might not serve you well here.

Cherry wrote:

So, yes, working the quads on a leg extension machine MIGHT involuntarily activate the hip extensors thru one of your 'vague neural loops'. But you have yet to prove any of this, let alone prove that attempting to consciously relax these muscles that shouldn't be involved in the task that we wish to accomplish (for instance, quad fatigue on leg ext). You are speculating here, bottom line.


These "vague neural loops" are well known, and to assume I am speculating is displaying your lack of awareness of them.

You might be better served reading about proprioceptive feedback and other types of feedback and feed forward functions of the motor-neural system PNS and CNS.

And if you want "proof" simply do a few reps (with High Intensity) on your LE machine, both ways, and see what your best results are. If you have developed the ability to understand what is happening in your body, there is no need for further explanation.




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BIO-FORCE

California, USA

AShortt wrote:
BIO-FORCE wrote:

Hi Andrew,

Maybe you can give us an example of what degree of appropriateness you are talking about, and what exercise demonstrates this best.

I am curious. Please be as detailed as necessary to make the point.



BioForce,

What you are talking about (in this thread) is 'Functional Training' and I have been through that *maze which leads to nowhere* before.


Hi Andrew,

Didn't mean to offer information that might lead to improved "function". If training for improved function of a muscle or group is a *maze which leads to nowhere*, are we then interested in "non-functional" training?

AShortt wrote:

Using coordination, outlying musculature to help overload your muscles is mostly a waste of time. It is akin to moving explosively because it loads you at the beginning of a lift better, or catching somethng heavy becuase it loads you big time momentarily. I do understand what you are suggesting though but it is a early intermediate style of training.


How in the world did you get from "stabilizers" to "explosive training" and "catching something"???

While you can call it early intermediate if you wish, that is because you are promoting a less effective methodology and "trying" to prop it up, with excuses.

AShortt wrote:


You get good at balancing and thus can handle more load. However, the load likely doesn't rest soley on the targeted muscle and not throughout its full ROM. Thus, you heave around more weight than you need to and waste effort. You load 'some' extra weight on the targeted muscle but the rest of the body has to work harder as well as it takes up some of the load as well. The cost benefit ratio is poor if you know what I mean.


Let's get down to real facts and cease playing loose with reality.

You cannot support that without stabilization or matching mechanical bracing you can create the same tension forces in the muscle. Further, you cannot support that the greatest tension without injury is the greatest stimulus.

If you state that a muscle can create its maximum volitional tension without being maximally stabilized, then you are laboring under a misconception.

AShortt wrote:

Now the new heavier load is transferred around as you get good so it is tough to talk exactingly about it all.


Could you explain "transferred around" sounds a bit like "obfuscation". I don't have any trouble talking exactingly, since it is clear and unchallengeable.

AShortt wrote:

You will take your new heavier load and it will be on the targeted muscle then some off then back on then off and so forth as you coordinate the movement. Eventually unless you really go all out with cheating your increase in loads will slow. At this point your only gains will be in skill, the skill of coordinating the movement and the harder and more often you try the better you will get. Better that is at developing the motor pattern to be efficient as with any practiced and repeated motor pattern (sports, work, play, exercise...whatever)


On? Off? come on. I ask you for an example and yet we have Goobledy Gook.

Think about this; The Barbell curl seems to be an example you fellows like since so many "do" go off the charts in their form. Well, if you worked the "stabilizers" rather than shutting them down, you'd be able to stabilize your body better for better form.

So the very practice you wish to "poo poo" is caused by or facilitated by your strengthening the biceps beyond the ability of the stabilizers.

Weak stabilizers, lead to cheating, and form breaks!!!!

AShortt wrote:

To tell what is appropriate pay attention to muscle feel as you contract and flex. I know that sounds insultingly elementary but it isn't meant to. Pay attention to how a muscle feels when it is flexing and contracting as well as stretching/elongating. Find exercises where you really get good muscle feel with hard contractions and reasonable pump. Now increase load OR TUT (while lowering load) and at some point you will note a downgrading in feel as you lose targeting and isolation. You might not feel it right away but as you approach fatigue it is there as plain as day. Once you know what to look for it becomes increasingly easier to spot ? this is bodybuilding.


While all types of load can be explored, this does not, change anything I have asserted. You seem to get sidetracked on other arguments.

AShortt wrote:

This issue like all others is governed in part (constrained) by the "Principle of Diminishing Returns".

Regards,
Andrew


Well if you realize the body is "organic" and functions as a whole of its parts, then it is easy to understand.

Bringing up phrases like "Principle of Diminishing Returns" do not change that.

Now maybe you can answer my original question below with an "exercise" example:

Maybe you can give us an example of what degree of appropriateness you are talking about, and what exercise demonstrates this best.

I didn't catch the exercise you were using for an example of your argument.

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Cherry

BIO-FORCE wrote:
Cherry wrote:
I am sure that there are neural mechanisms built-in that when one muscle is strongly contracting another 'stabilizer' (the generic term you call them all) is activated to assist or stabilize. Built-in to natural movements as a result of evolution.

The movements do not have to be "natural" whatever that is. They need only require synergistic activation to enhance the ability of the other.

Cherry wrote:

'Valsalva' is just such a mechanism to stabilize the thoracic cage and torso during physical exertion. (I am also equally sure that your understanding of these neural inhibitory and facilitory loops begin and end with what you've posted here.)

Easy on the Old Man here, I'm rather frail at my advanced age.

I have no idea why you are sure of anything. The world is full of "mistaken certainties" (that of which we are certain, but are mistaken)

These are not negative discoveries, but opportunities to learn. Use them. (I do)

Cherry wrote:

The leg extension is not a natural movement. Its not found in nature. But strongly contracting the quads might also activate the hip extensors too as a result of one of these 'loops'.. for simple reason strong contraction of the quads is usually associated with hip extension in nature.

"Might"??? Have you ever heard of "reciprocal inervation".

Interesting thing about the body, it has an "onboard" sensing and control device (brain) that takes care of things like that.

Making up, "mights" might not serve you well here.

Cherry wrote:

So, yes, working the quads on a leg extension machine MIGHT involuntarily activate the hip extensors thru one of your 'vague neural loops'. But you have yet to prove any of this, let alone prove that attempting to consciously relax these muscles that shouldn't be involved in the task that we wish to accomplish (for instance, quad fatigue on leg ext). You are speculating here, bottom line.

These "vague neural loops" are well known, and to assume I am speculating is displaying your lack of awareness of them.

You might be better served reading about proprioceptive feedback and other types of feedback and feed forward functions of the motor-neural system PNS and CNS.

And if you want "proof" simply do a few reps (with High Intensity) on your LE machine, both ways, and see what your best results are. If you have developed the ability to understand what is happening in your body, there is no need for further explanation.







When you are not specific and speak in vague generalities people must fill in your gaps with assumption. Reciprocal innervation (AKA R. "Inhibition") involves RELAXATION of antagonistic pairs. One muscle contracts triggering relaxation of its antagonist, what's this got to do with co-activation of AGONISTS, ie "synergistic" muscles??

Your proposed experiment is useless on the leg machine, and most machines for that matter, because stabilization of body parts is so poor. If you don't grip the handles your butt comes up off the seat. So, any personal experiments you have done in a similar manner to convince yourself of this are also flawed.

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Cherry

Can you prove one agonistic pair that are located in different joints that co-activate?

I am genuinely interested in discovering these (if they exist) for my personal edification.


ps forgot to ask this question last post
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BIO-FORCE

California, USA

Cherry wrote:

When you are not specific and speak in vague generalities people must fill in your gaps with assumption. Reciprocal innervation (AKA R. "Inhibition") involves RELAXATION of antagonistic pairs. One muscle contracts triggering relaxation of its antagonist, what's this got to do with co-activation of AGONISTS, ie "synergistic" muscles??


That Google is a wonderful thing.

First, off you "mistakenly" assume an LE is in some way like a squat.

Aside from quad involvement, it is not. So your assertion, that for the sake of this example, the quads and glutes are agonists is incorrect.

Because the load is placed on the front of the shins, it not only activates the quads, (of which one muscle is the "rectus femorus" and a HIP Flexor), but at the top of the action in particular, the synergistic agonists are the hip flexors, which "shut down" the hip extensors via "reciprocal innervation".

Cherry wrote:

Your proposed experiment is useless on the leg machine, and most machines for that matter, because stabilization of body parts is so poor. If you don't grip the handles your butt comes up off the seat. So, any personal experiments you have done in a similar manner to convince yourself of this are also flawed.



Flawed???

Have you been reading what this thread is about?

That is the main point. Leg Extensions performed without the stabilizers will be inhibited from maximum abilities, due to instability, if you focus on relaxing the body.

Maybe you better re-read the thread, and my initial challenge(s) to the supposition.

No "flaw" here.
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BIO-FORCE

California, USA

Cherry wrote:
Can you prove one agonistic pair that are located in different joints that co-activate?

I am genuinely interested in discovering these (if they exist) for my personal edification.


ps forgot to ask this question last post


Love to help, but could you restate the question. I don't understand what you're looking for.



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TheSofaKing

Manitoba, CAN

logicbdj wrote:
1. Leg extensions performed in halves (Gironda style). I could have used another 40-60 pounds load IF I were to grasp the handles and contract my abdominals in the process. However, my arms remained relaxed, as did my abs, and so the load I used was sufficient to make my quads work as hard as possible. Being able to use more load by contracting my upper body to the max would not cause a greater overload on the quads.


I have found similar results with this movement. I can increase the load 50-60 lbs by grasping the handles, and contracting the abs/hips. This is despite the fact I am using a Nautilus 2ST LE, and am properly belted in. The extra muscles contracting are not moving any joint to any appreciable degree. How is it wrong to assume that the extra 50-60lbs of load IS being place on the quads?

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jrholt

Tennessee, USA

Bio,

Any time the stabilizers or assisters are involved in a lift, less force or work is required from the primary movers plain and simple. Sports performance is the only time you truly need the stabilizers and or assisted muscles to be involved for accuracy sake and balance, The weight room is not the place to train your stabilizers if you can help it.

Based on what you are saying is that all strength movements should be multi-joint in nature or standing exercises so that all possible muscles can be involved. If you say no, you have contradicted yourself already by saying other muscles are required to lift heavier loads.

In tyhe early 70's Arthur Jones'research determined that isolating a muscle as best you could would allow deeper muscle inroading and thus better strength results. Therefore he created rotary resistance in the name of Nautilus equipment.

He developed both single-joint and multi-joint exercise peices. In his latter years, he has stated that isolation exercises work the muscle more effectively and more efficiently.

What say you?

Jeff
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TheSofaKing

Manitoba, CAN

jrholt wrote:

He developed both single-joint and multi-joint exercise peices. In his latter years, he has stated that isolation exercises work the muscle more effectively and more efficiently.

What say you?

Jeff


Isolating the joint is one thing. Trying to isolate the contraction seems like something else. If the target joint IS isolated, and isometrically contracting 'stabalizers' allows you to lift more weight, then, IMO you are working the targeted muscle with more intensity.

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BIO-FORCE

California, USA

jrholt wrote:
Bio,

Any time the stabilizers or assisters are involved in a lift, less force or work is required from the primary movers plain and simple.



That is incorrect, and I would be interested in how you arrived at that conclusion. I don't require research just plain high quality explanation.

jrholt wrote:
Sports performance is the only time you truly need the stabilizers and or assisted muscles to be involved for accuracy sake and balance, The weight room is not the place to train your stabilizers if you can help it.


That is a good one.

You are joking ....right?

If serious, this would lead me to believe you don't understand what a stabilizer is, and or how they work, or both.

jrholt wrote:

Based on what you are saying is that all strength movements should be multi-joint in nature or standing exercises so that all possible muscles can be involved. If you say no, you have contradicted yourself already by saying other muscles are required to lift heavier loads.


I say "NO", and never stated such. Maybe you missed the "exchange" about the Leg Extension. Do you stand up in the LE Machine?

And maybe you missed the motor potentiation part. I didn't design the body, nor how it works. If you wish to train with a less effective method, then have at it.

You can feel free to bring up a "specific" exercise and I'd be happy to go through it with you. Then you can try it on your own body.

jrholt wrote:

In tyhe early 70's Arthur Jones'research determined that isolating a muscle as best you could would allow deeper muscle inroading and thus better strength results. Therefore he created rotary resistance in the name of Nautilus equipment.


If you read my remarks carefully, you will see that I have stated that "equal" mechanical bracing to that of the stabilizers, can offer a secure enough platform to reduce the "instability inhibition", but it still doesn't provide the "synergistic potentiation".

Arthur did a good job with the knowledge and ideas he had. No one should expect that everything he said or did was "perfect" and not to be challenged.

jrholt wrote:

He developed both single-joint and multi-joint exercise peices. In his latter years, he has stated that isolation exercises work the muscle more effectively and more efficiently.

What say you?

Jeff


I agree with much of Arthurs direction and aspiration, as well as his enthusiasm.

However, the human body is a very complex piece of equipment, and considering that the goals of that equipment are many and varied, there is no "best" that covers everything.

One need to try and strip away the "dogma" and egos of some of this, and realize we are all after a very personal goal and that is to improve on what we have.

New routines, and stimuli are all good, but for them to work "long term" and not be a waste of time, they need to be rooted in the fundamental science of how the body functions, and the changes and variations as they are presented.

What I have stated is not related to any dogma. It is my opinion based on my experience, knowledge and awareness. I use it and don't just "talk it".

I don't mind coming on a little strong so as to stimulate exchange, and my "tude" might be a little over the top, but after Arthur, nothing is over the top.

You can believe it, or not. You got questions, I have answers. If I don't, I'll tell you. Few of us know everything.

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shlevon

Bio is correct (to the best of my knowledge) regarding stability providing a platform for generating as much tension as possible, but I think there was some confusion about 'stabilizing' a movement versus 'cheating,' which are clearly two different things.

Weirdly BDJ's example of bracing the abs/gripping the handles is not an example of cheating at all imho, and very much illustrates that a given muscle can produce comparatively more tension from a position of more stability. I.e. what Bio said.
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shlevon

Incidentally, I recall discussion of a study at one point on another board where they compared neural drive in some machine (bench press I think) between a 'normal' performance and the 'bracing + squeezing the life out of the handles' thing Bio is talking about, and the latter group showed greater activation in the prime movers IIRC.

I'd have to dig it up, but it demonstrates what Bio is saying pretty well.
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Tougher

Alberta, CAN

I seem to be missing how gripping the handles and tensing your arms in a leg extension, especially one with no support strap, negatively affects what your legs are doing.

Take the cable tri pressdown for example. I can't imagine using enough weight for my tris if I'm not tensing my abs for stability - not to rock my body or cheat in any way. If my abs aren't tensed, then I'm pushing my body away from the machine.

The only way I can isolate my tris for the movement, is by using my stabilizers to keep the rest of my body still. This is only one example of many exercises.

Sure, if you could totally strap yourself down in a machine, then you wouldn't have to use stabilizer's as much, but I haven't found that machine yet. Using stabilizers is necessary, is not cheating and, as stated before, is different than broken form.

Ben
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