Monday, October 19, 2009

Exercise index

Just wanted to flag this up. Joe DeFranco has started posting some useful exercise demonstration videos on his YouTube channel.

There is a lot of useful stuff there worth checking out. For example:

This is just one of many ways to increase the difficulty of a basic plank. By taking one arm off the ground and touching the opposite shoulder, you increase the load/stability requirements of the abdominals/obliques. Try not to "rock" too much from side to side when touching the opposite shoulder.

Use a 6-12" box for this exercise. Because you're balancing completely on one leg, more proprioception, balance and stabilization is required (so activation is greater)! Make sure your "off" leg remains completely straight and the "off" ankle remains dorsi-flexed the entire time...just SLIGHTLY touch your heel to the ground. (This ensures that the leg that's on the box is doing ALL the work.)

Or for some conditioning work:

DB goblet squat, DB swings, unilateral curl + press, squat jumps


Jocelyn Rylee said...

Chris - love your blog! You're always posting great stuff...

I'm a little confused... in the previous post you talked about the lack of transferability of a pistol squat and that it is therefore not a functional, or useful exercise. (This gave me plenty to ponder, by the way, but that's not my point). I don't necessarily disagree with you that pistols don't make you better at anything other than pistols. Nothing makes my a$$ more sore than weighted pistols, but someone once told me not to confuse difficult with effective. So, I think you may have a valid point there.

But then in this post you show these three videos. Are you saying these are good exercises or are these more examples of movements with little transferability? I'm confused!

I'm having a hard time understanding how a pistol is not an appropriate movement, but a plank and a partial range of motion single leg squat off a box are? I feel like I must be missing something...

The conditioning video is interesting and this guy is certainly working harder than anyone behind him in the gym! His goblet squats need help though - knees rolling in and although he's got good depth, he's missing the full extension at the top. The Russian Swing with the dumbbell was also soft, but since he doesn't actually have a kettlebell, I'll assume the guy isn't a KB expert. There's an interesting video on the Russian Swing here:
What do you think?

I'm interested to hear your thoughts. Thanks in advance!

Chris said...

Hi Jocelyn. Thanks for the comment.

First of all I would say that not everything that I post is put up as a recommendation - much of it is just passing on stuff that I have fond interesting or funny or something that is thought provoking and worth thinking about.

I am aware that this sometimes leads to inconsistent material sometimes being posted....but I am living with that ;-) For example to be honest I am pretty convinced by the Body By Science / Drew Baye High Intensity approach to training. However I still like to post inspiring videos of athletes giving it their all or displaying great skill.

With respect to these videos and the pistol....

Ken Leistner once wrote: "The worth of an exercise is determined by its ability to strengthen a muscular structure for the sport in question, not by its resemblance to actual on field maneuvers." You need to choose exercises which are best at strengthening your muscles...then you apply that new strength to your sport or skill.

Pistols I think are an interesting case - they work the legs hard - no doubt about it - but they are also a skill. In terms of strengthening the structures there may be better, more efficient ways of doing that, of loading the muscles - i.e. a heavy two footed squat.

The plank was also probably a dodgy video to post too given the subsequent post about core stability. Again my inconsistency!

With respect to the one leg squat off the box, one of the things that I am often on the look out for are exercises that can be done without weight, outside the gym. This is a tough exercise which I think needs less skill than the pistol and which would be effective at strengthening the hips / thighs.

Re the conditioning routine at the end, the guys form isn't great. For example, I am well familiar with the Russian Swing - I have been taught the swing by a pro - I have a friend here in Edinburgh who is RKC and IKFF certified. There are also debates which I covered on the blog - interview with Dough McGuff - on the value of plyometrics.

I think it is an example of something I post just to put out there for people to think about.

however...while possibly not optimal I think that a few rounds of his routine would be more effective at getting people "fit" that some stretches and 20 minutes on a treadmill.

Sorry if that is a long rambling answer.

Chris said...

Also sometimes it is just about the joy of movement...what is fun. Some moves might not be optimal...they might not transfer to a sport.....but they are fun!

Jocelyn Rylee said...

Hi Chris,

Thanks for your response. This is why I love your blog - it always gives me lots to think about! It's great to look at what people are doing from all different aspects of the world of fitness and have a discussion about it. Some stuff is better than others, for sure.

It seems like people get caught up arguing about the superority of one training program over another when each has a different purpose. Sport specific vs general fitness vs rehab vs just for fun. You know? To each his own, depending on the desired outcome I think.

Ultimately if people are doing anything other than sitting on the couch, it's gotta be a good thing! :-)