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Determine the Length of Your Workouts

Evaluate Your Progress

Keep Warm-Up in Perspective


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"Doing more exercise with less intensity,"
Arthur Jones believes, "has all but
destroyed the actual great value
of weight training. Something
must be done . . . and quickly."
The New Bodybuilding for
Old-School Results supplies
MUCH of that "something."

 

This is one of 93 photos of Andy McCutcheon that are used in The New High-Intensity Training to illustrate the recommended exercises.

To find out more about McCutcheon and his training, click here.

 

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Equity

Average Al wrote:
Equity wrote:

Wasn't sure whether to post this here or on the Drew Baye singing thread. The motorised resistance machine used here appears to only offer the trainee an opportunity (a choice) to push against it in a isometric fashion through a full range of motion. In other words no concentric or eccentric work. Is this correct?

If so then IMO the machine is limited in it's ability to stimulate hypertrophy, although I'm not saying strength (iso's not very good for that...size). And once again I think could be dangerous, especially when the trainee is instructed to 'push as hard as you can' etc as they could push too hard like against an immovable object.

Regards.

Interesting video. Thanks for posting.

As far as terminology goes, isometric means contraction with no movement. This typically involves willful contraction against a stationary object (or holding a weight stationary).

This video involves willful contraction against a moving resistance element. So the level of muscle tension achieved is controlled by the same mechanism, i.e., willful contraction. Except now it is against a moving element. Concentric and eccentric contractions are just contractions where the muscle is shortening or lengthening. So I think what they are doing here is correctly described as concentric and eccentric work for the muscles.

What the video highlights is that even though you don't have weights involved, you still have to pay attention to biomechanics and form. In particular, doing squats while trying to exert as much force as possible is quite risky because of the risk of breaking form and letting the low back round. But that is the same reason why I would not put a heavy weight on my back and try to do full range squats to absolute failure. Likewise, his range of motion on the dips was probably excessive, and would give many people shoulder issues, even if just done with body weight.

I'm thinking that if you want to do an all out set of an exercise on a motor driven machine, you are best off limiting yourself to the mid range of the movement, using an exercise where form breaks are less likely (e.g., hip belt squat or leg press), and doing a couple of warm-up reps at less than full effort before giving it an all out push.

The advantage of exercising with a fixed weight is that the resistance can never be more than what you put on the bar or machine. The disadvantage of exercising with a fixed weight is that the resistance can never be more than what you put on the bar or machine (so the negatives tend to be under-loaded relative to your potential strength).

With fixed weights, you can vary the tension throughout the movement via the use of a cam or lever arm. However, that profile is built into the machine and cannot be easily changed. Since muscles do not fatigue uniformly through their range of motion, the users strength curve changes shape as the muscle fatigues. So the strength profile that you have on any cammed machine will only be perfect for one rep, under the best of circumstance. With willful contraction, you can develop as much tension as the muscle can provide regardless of position or level of fatigue.

So different tools with different characteristics. Each has pros and cons, each has unique risks, which can be presumably be minimized by the use of proper training methods.

For me personally, the main attraction of a motorized machine is the possibility of working the eccentric more heavily than the concentric. That can also be done with weight based tools. But then you either have to have help (an assistant applying extra load on the eccentric) or a complex and difficult to maintain machine like XForce, or a movement where you can perform the concentric bilaterally, and then resist the eccentric unilaterally.




First of all thank you for your lengthy response.

Regarding the motorised resistance I don't believe the negative and positive resistance is there in the same way gravity would provide (or elasticated resistance). I still think it's animated isometrics; to coin a phrase.

For example if the machine was pushing down at 200lbs of resistance at a 10 sec stroke the trainee might be resisting at 250lbs (not realising it). The machine goes up and down on it's own; nothing to do with what the person is exerting it dictates itself.

I understand and agree with your preference for more negative tension vs positive but I don't believe motorised resistance provides this.

Best Wishes.
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Average Al

Equity wrote:


Regarding the motorised resistance I don't believe the negative and positive resistance is there in the same way gravity would provide (or elasticated resistance). I still think it's animated isometrics; to coin a phrase.

For example if the machine was pushing down at 200lbs of resistance at a 10 sec stroke the trainee might be resisting at 250lbs (not realising it). The machine goes up and down on it's own; nothing to do with what the person is exerting it dictates itself.

I understand and agree with your preference for more negative tension vs positive but I don't believe motorised resistance provides this.

Best Wishes.


It probably feels very much like doing an isometric, with the additional element of forced movement. Because there is no mass to provide inertia, your brain can (probably) tell the difference; the feel should be different than using a moderate amount of weight. But for triggering strength or hypertrophy, it may not matter what your brain senses. The muscle is still experiencing contractions under tension. That might be enough to trigger the biochemical signaling cascade that controls this stuff at a molecular level.

While I have an interest in this stuff, it is mostly of an academic nature. Until someone puts one of these into a gym where I train, I'm more than happy to continue training with free weights and machines.

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