A quick note: I am slowly migrating over to Twitter over the course of the next few months so please do me a favor, make me look cool and follow me here!
Happy Friday to all. We’ve been a bit busy with the expansion of the gym and our 1-year anniversary party coming up and unfortunately, writing for free unfortunately had to get put aside for a bit. I’ve made more of an effort with a whopping two entries this week and I expect that to be about the pace over the coming weeks.
People often ask my favorite exercise for ____ goal? Tough question to answer since honestly, I like a little bit of everything and don’t consider myself to be pigeon holed into one style of training. If programmed correctly you can get benefit out of most exercises and many modalities.
I’m going to cover three exercises that I don’t really place a whole lot of emphasis on, where others seem to. That’s not to say I believe them to be bad exercises, ineffective or that you shouldn’t do them, they just don’t really have a huge role in my training. It’s nothing personal so if you like the exercises in here and they work for you then keep at it.
Men everywhere are gasping.
Like I said in the intro, I’ve got no major beef with the bench press it just doesn’t do a whole lot and I find it to be a very overrated exercise. At Performance360, we are always seeking exercises that accomplish many goals simultaneously and while we do love exercises that can also work a single attribute well, bench press just doesn’t really fit the bill.
For starters, I don’t typically like exercises that have you sitting or laying on your back. Right off the bat it takes core strength and transfer of force out of the equation and announces that it will be an exercises that focuses on a targeted muscle rather than total body or athleticism. Exercises like push press and the jerk that are axial loaded are much more effective at positively changing body composition and increasing strength. Further, the subtle use of your legs works transfer of force, coordination and overall core function much more than bench press. And while you won’t work the chest as the same degree you would on bench, you will train it on push press.
All of that said, we do bench press every now and then in the gym. I like it as a compliment to a strength program and we’ll throw flat bench into Power Hour every so often to make sure the chest gets some overload.
In my opinion, the best option is dumbbell bench press as that requires much greater stability demands than barbell.
If you are looking to get a big chest then bench press is great. Bodybuilders use it to develop some big ole
titties pecs and that’s a goal of many. Just not mine.
Not to mention, we slouch naturally due to sitting at a desk all day and bench press worsens that.
Zach Even-Esh of complete bad ass status and deadlift of over five and a half bills weighs in on the bench press.
This one has been well documented over the years and an ongoing joke slash debate with a lot of my running friends. Now, before you read this section, if you are a runner just pump the brakes.
I am NOT saying don’t run. I train runners, many of them, and I care deeply about their progress and results from both a personal and professional level. I attended the San Diego Half Marathon. You know what’s not fun to watch? Running. But I went because I had a lot of respect for the efforts and to support my friends and members running it.
So this isn’t anti-running campaign, KKkkaaayy?
(At least four people just calmed down and deleted a Facebook post they had teed up and ready to fire.)
Here’s where my thoughts on distance running really boil down.
Is distance running good for your cardiovascular health? Yes. Absolutely.
Is it a personal challenge that brings enormous satisfaction and emotional connection for a lot of people? For sure, and I respect that greatly. Anyone that can routinely knock out 13 – 26 miles gets a huge tip of the cap from me because I fucking can’t.
But….(you know there would be a but.)
You can also get phenomenal cardiovascular work with circuit training and anything over a few miles is just diminishing returns on the cardiovascular end.
Take the following statistics for example.
* In an 8 week Olympic weightlifting program study, participants lowered their resting heart rate by 8%, lean body weight increased by 4%, fat dropped 6%, and systolic blood pressure decreased by 4% (Stone, Cardiovascular). (1)
* In a landmark circuit training study Tremblay et all proved interval training to be nine times more effective at burning fat than endurance cardio. To burn fat you have to get your heart rate up which means you are working “cardio”. (2)
The study examined 20 weeks of steady-state endurance training and 15 weeks of interval training.
When comparing total calories burned from exercise, the researchers found the endurance training burned 28,661 calories while the interval training group burned 13,614 calories.
In other words, the endurance folks burned twice as many calories as the interval folks.
However, when the researchers adjusted the results to correct for the difference in energy cost (because interval training has the afterburn effect that steady cardio does not have, you continue to burn additional calories for many hours after you stop exercising), the interval-training group showed a 900% greater loss in subcutaneous fat than the endurance group.
Nine HUNDRED, son!
While I may not be good at anything past four miles I get plenty of cardio work on a daily basis. Just to back the point I am making, our gym ran in a 5k obstacle run to which we did not train running at all and here were the stats.
- #1 ranked gym across the line
- #4 ranked team overall across the line
- I placed 37th overall personally out of hundreds
- My partner, who also doesn’t run, placed 18th overall
That’s not to toot our own horn and is three miles a lot? Of course not. After all, I was gassed after and felt like this. But the results do speak for themselves. All from circuit training. No running.
Trust me, you don’t have to endure distance running on the regular to get good cardiovascular work. Check out the benefits of sprinting.
All of that said, my cardio needs a lot of work so I am going to start complimenting my training with distances like one to two miles performed at an all out sprint. I just don’t have a desire to routinely run for long distance ever.
The long-term risk of distance running on your joints is very real and very serious. If you are one that prefers to hit the pavement over the weight room, I would advise you to just be cautious and listen to your body. Same advice I always give our gym clients and it’s transferable to running, as well.
When done correctly and with periodization yes, I agree it can be a great exercise.
Problem is the high repetition version of this movement. It’s an athletic, power based movement that should be done in low volume.
Simply put, the reward is just flat not worth the risk. You are at risk of impinging, tearing, capsule straining and other serious injuries to your rotator cuff every time you snatch with just the slightest fault in mechanics. I have even seen athletes straight up dislocate their shoulder snatching so it’s just a higher risk movement that only advanced folks should do.
You can get almost the exact same effectiveness from a much safer power clean and jerk and still get that advanced, hardcore feel to your workout. Both exercises take weight from the floor to overhead, both use the entire body and both have the ability to go heavy. The snatch does stand alone in speed and power, but with that speed and power comes increase shoulder risk.
That’s a wrap. Have a great weekend and keep working and playing hard.
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(2)Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism.
Metabolism. 1994 Jul; 43(7):814-8.