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I think a big part of the aversion is the culture. It's about false promises, false hope, sales, and the illusion of knowledge.

Most personal trainers know very little, and the extra results they provide at 10x the cost per zession than going it alone or with a partner do not deliver anywhere near 10x the results.
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anjohl: No offense, but I don't think you know much about weightlifting. A gym is perfectly safe as long as you work up to free weights. I wouldn't get a new lifter with no experience to do deadlifts or clean and jerks, but a nice 5-10 machine circuit is not going to hurt anyone providing they understand that the weight should be under control at all times.

Also, a workout partnership will lead to knowledge, as you both will play off each other. The average Joe can get more from Arnold Schwarzeneggar's "Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding" than 100 times it's cost in personal training sessions. MOST personal trainers have very little strength training experience, they are just motivators. Motivation ultimately comes from within, and if you need a paid trainer to motivate you, the fat will wait patiently for you to run out of personal training money, trust me.
I used to lift weights and yes, the gym machines are far more dangerous than their free weight counterparts. For the simple reason that they force your body to conform and everybody thinks they know how to use them. What's more some of the machines can't be used safely.

As orcishgamer pointed out, there are a lot of people who think they know how to do a lift, and are wrong. Most folks suggest that you stop doing your squat when your knees are over your toe. Unfortunately, that's wrong, but extremely common.

http://www.bodybuilding.net/training/knees-over-toes-myth-12253.html

As far as that encyclopedia goes, it's bullshit. Body building is not something anyone in their right mind engages in. It's about creating showy muscles via isolation. And yes, if you want to be Mr. Universe that's what you do. But, it's the exact opposite of effective.

As far as weights goes, power lifters are the ones doing all the interesting stuff. Body builders are best ignored.
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anjohl: I think a big part of the aversion is the culture. It's about false promises, false hope, sales, and the illusion of knowledge.

Most personal trainers know very little, and the extra results they provide at 10x the cost per zession than going it alone or with a partner do not deliver anywhere near 10x the results.
That's why you make sure that they're qualified to do their job. Apex or equivalent plus ACSM is really the bare minimum to even consider a trainer. And ideally they'll have some sort of masters in nutrition, sports medicine or similar. On top of that, you're going to have to do some homework in order to make sure that they really know their stuff.

But, even with just Apex and ACSM the chances are quite good that they know more than the idiots hanging out at the gym.

Ultimately, it's your body, it's your responsibility to perform due diligence when taking advice on how to care for it. Making over generalizations isn't going to help anybody.

At least with the trainers there's some basis for the advice. All the materials I saw when I was starting out down that road were based on research. It wasn't always great research, but it was a hell of a lot better than the crap I've heard so called gym experts spouting off.

The worst information that I was presented with has been merely ineffectual. I've seen some incredibly dangerous advice handed out over the years on the basis of gym lore.
Post edited October 03, 2012 by hedwards
I don't normally do this, but we are going to have to agree to disagree. The philosophies I follow are based in hard science, and are proven to work. I am not saying yours are not as well, I really don't have the resolve, constitution, or motivation to keep this debate going.

The bottom line is, doing something is better than nothing, and if you have the money to burn on trainers, and you feel it's a good investment, by all means.

Just make sure you know that the trainer is not doing *anything* you can't do yourself, on your own.

Also, I feel you have an aversion to gym equipment because of some personal bias/injury in the past. Whatever the case, I don't think it's fair for you to disregard an entire industry without some facts to back you up. And don't show me a study that says that 40% of gym users lift too much on a squat, or are doing deadlifts wrong, etc, etc, etc, as I could just as easily cite a study showing that 80% of joggers are using incorrect form, etc, etc.
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anjohl: Also, I feel you have an aversion to gym equipment because of some personal bias/injury in the past. Whatever the case, I don't think it's fair for you to disregard an entire industry without some facts to back you up. And don't show me a study that says that 40% of gym users lift too much on a squat, or are doing deadlifts wrong, etc, etc, etc, as I could just as easily cite a study showing that 80% of joggers are using incorrect form, etc, etc.
If you do the research on the subject you will find that I'm right. Considering that you just spent several posts running down the personal training industry without providing any citations it's rather ballsy of you to accuse me of that.

Yes, you can easily cite joggers injuries because it's the highest rate of any athletes in any sport. Doesn't change the fact that machines range from ineffectual to dangerous to suboptimal. It also doesn't change the fact the body builders are horrible role models and that spending thousands of dollars on an encyclopedia for body builders is a waste of money for everybody else.

I'm familiar with weights and machines. I've used weights and machines in the past, and I can assure you that my personal feelings about them are based upon facts. Even the safest machines will only deprive the body of the need to stabilize itself and develop muscle coordination between the muscle groups. Not to mention make it quite easy to develop muscles that aren't properly balanced. Things like the smith machine place tons of stress where it doesn't belong in order to maintain an unnatural posture.

Ultimately, even under the best of circumstances you're detraining your muscles and retraining them to fire on their own without developing proper coordination with the other groups.

I remember back in high school playing football and going up against guys that outweighed me by literally 80 or 90 pounds. I was able to hold my own because I was able to use my muscles in a coordinated way. Had I detrained them via isolation exercises there's absolutely no way I could possibly have held my own.

But, whatever, clearly the fact that I don't buy into the baseless group think means that I'm wrong and somehow not using scientific evidence. It couldn't be the fact that I actually understand how the body moves and have actually done my reading to come to this conclusion.

And obviously, all those various extremely strong men and women prior to the invention of modern machines weren't really very strong at all. They probably just photoshopped the images prior to photoshop being invented.
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hedwards: snip
You seem to know a lot about gym equipment. Are you similarly knowledgeable about gym pools? I'm trying to find a new gym and would like to know what to look for to make sure a gym pool is clean & kept up well.
Ypu are so obtuse. Whatever, do whatever you want, but strength training is proven to enhance overall health, and modern equipment is safer than any freeweight setup.

But whatever, I am not fighting with you, you either have an agenda, or are a contrarian by nature.
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anjohl: Ypu are so obtuse. Whatever, do whatever you want, but strength training is proven to enhance overall health, and modern equipment is safer than any freeweight setup.

But whatever, I am not fighting with you, you either have an agenda, or are a contrarian by nature.
What do you mean by modern equipment? Because I still see Smith or Nautilus wherever I go and by and large they are not all that safe. What's more the weird range of motion they force you into has been the cause of more than one injury when someone actually tried to lift something, etc., and found out you really do need those teeny, tiny muscles that the machines miss beefed up as well.
I don't get where you are coming from at all. Unless you are lifting too much weight, or have not read the directions, I cannot imagine someone getting hurt on a nautilus or smith machine, any more than someone would get hurt jogging, or doing calisthenics, etc.
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anjohl: I don't get where you are coming from at all. Unless you are lifting too much weight, or have not read the directions, I cannot imagine someone getting hurt on a nautilus or smith machine, any more than someone would get hurt jogging, or doing calisthenics, etc.
They don't get hurt on the Smith machine, they get hurt as a result of getting used to those unnatural motions and adding strength to major muscle groups without adding it to all those little minor muscles that you'd use doing free weights. The first time they help someone move something heavy they tend to get hurt.

You can't find many serious body builders or trainers that think much of those machines. They're expensive and mostly for show, they peacock for the club.
Post edited October 08, 2012 by orcishgamer
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anjohl: I don't get where you are coming from at all. Unless you are lifting too much weight, or have not read the directions, I cannot imagine someone getting hurt on a nautilus or smith machine, any more than someone would get hurt jogging, or doing calisthenics, etc.
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orcishgamer: They don't get hurt on the Smith machine, they get hurt as a result of getting used to those unnatural motions and adding strength to major muscle groups without adding it to all those little minor muscles that you'd use doing free weights. The first time they help someone move something heavy they tend to get hurt.

You can't find many serious body builders or trainers that think much of those machines. They're expensive and mostly for show, they peacock for the club.
Lol, those machines have TONS of applications. Not to sound elitist, but as someone who knows a fair bit about weight lifting, I am confident I could change your mind rapidly if I had the chance to train you for a week.

In short summation, machines/cables/etc are great for:

1) Warming up.
2) Superseting with a compound/free weight motion to really blitz the muscle
3) Pre-exhaust a major muscle to equalize the fatigue level of a minor group used in the same compound motion.
4) Burnout sets at the end of a workout
5) Beginners intimidated by free weights.*
6) Isolation on a problem area
7) Working around an injury
8) Making otherwise awkward motions easier (IE, Shrugging via a chess press machine while standing, as opposed to using bulky unwieldy dumbbells)
9) Drop sets.

*This is where experience and/or a good training partner/paid trainer comes in handy. A new lifter should use machines as their primary instruments only as long as it takes to get comfortable, unless the stabilizers/tendons/etc are being worked in other ways, ie, swimming, yoga, MMA, etc.

Again, I am not trying to start a fight, but believe it or not, I am very qualified in this area, as I have been lifting for 7 years, 4 of those were serious powerlifting training. If all you are doing for exercise is going to a gym, that is your first mistake right there. The average out of shape beginner can do better by parking their car for a few months than hitting the gym 4 times a week.
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anjohl: Again, I am not trying to start a fight, but believe it or not, I am very qualified in this area, as I have been lifting for 7 years, 4 of those were serious powerlifting training. If all you are doing for exercise is going to a gym, that is your first mistake right there. The average out of shape beginner can do better by parking their car for a few months than hitting the gym 4 times a week.
I rarely waste time in a gym, literally the only reason I ever go to one is to get occasional access to free weights, there's way better stuff to be doing fitness-wise.
I think anjohl has made a few valid points about some machines. Some models may be useful for some individuals, at least for a period. As with so much else it depends on the context.

I mostly prefer free weights and pull-up bars myself, but I can see that some machines can be put to some use, although it might be limited in many cases.

hedwards,

I think you might be stigmatising a relatively large and diverse group of people by describing bodybuilders that way. To my knowledge, there are a number of builders, powerbuilders or whatever "label" we choose to use who prefer compound lifts and who also focus a lot on functional capacity etc.
Now that my ankle has healed, it's high time i get back to exercising. I damaged it trying to get my aerobic fitness up so i have the energy/stamina to endure the weights sessions. They wear me out more than running does. It's really hard to keep motivated, especially as i usually tend to lose weight when doing weights rather than gaining!

Edit: Yeehaa! 194 pounds today :)
Post edited October 10, 2012 by gameon
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gameon: It's really hard to keep motivated, especially as i usually tend to lose weight when doing weights rather than gaining! Edit: Yeehaa! 194 pounds today :)
Losing fat, muscle or both?
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gameon: It's really hard to keep motivated, especially as i usually tend to lose weight when doing weights rather than gaining! Edit: Yeehaa! 194 pounds today :)
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Primate: Losing fat, muscle or both?
Fat and muscle always get lost together.