Dave Durrell, of High Intensity Nation, recently posted on a very effective, isolation + compound movement shoulder training technique, utilizing a good ol’ weightlifting standby — the pre-exhaust method. This is a fine example, in my opinion, of employing the right tool for the job.
Let’s take a step back and consider the various ways in which a body can be “strong”. On its face, this seems an odd notion – you’re either strong or you’re not, right? Well, not exactly. We’ve all seen examples of someone who’s quick as a cat – super explosive, say — yet who’s lacking in absolute strength (the classic Allyson Felix scenario). Conversely, there’s the super-strong powerlifter for whom you’ll have to break out a sundial to clock their 40 time. Power, then (what we’re really ultimately looking at) is a combination of different finely trained strength attributes appropriated and expressed over a given duration; the fine-tuned execution of which is a type of kinesthetic “genius” in its own right. Of course, the predominant strength attributes required of a 2 second duration snatch are undoubtedly different than those required of a 3-and-a-half second deadlift, a 100 meter sprint, a wrestling match, or the full duration of a football game. The best athletes in each of these endeavors, though, will undoubtedly excel at not only the predominant required strength capability, but in all strength capabilities. This is what Louie Simmons is getting at when he trains his athletes to be proficient in all “strengths” (I wrote a little about this most recently, here). A proficiency in all strength attributes is, in fact, what separates the “contenders” from the mere “competitors”.
But back to Dave’s post. It’s been fashionable within the free-weight community these days – hell, actually ever since the emergence of Arthur Jones, and advent of Nautilus equipment upon the physical culture scene – to bash machine-based work. The thing is, though, machines are just another tool. And for pre-exhaust work, isolation purposes, repeated-effort method work and the like, they’re a damn good choice. Again, it’s all a matter of determining what your immediate training needs are, and choosing the right tool from among your available options to satisfy your needs. Whenever I’m asked the old “machines or free weights” question, my answer is always “yes”…and bodyweight exercises, and sprinting, and climbing, and gymnastics… Why would anyone choose to voluntarily limit their available options?
Late revision (6/25/10) – I just ran across this, via Seth Godin’s fine blog (hat tip to Mike Robertson). In my mind, Ism Schism pretty much sums-ups the whole machine/free weight debate.
Tuesday’s Training –
front squat: 135 x 3; 165 x 3; 185 x 3; 205 x 2; 215 x 7 rest-pause singles
hang cleans (light; workin’ the groove again): 135 x 5; 155 x 5; 165 x 6 – very fast, perfectly executed reps. Fat bar.
Jump squat + BTN jerk: 135 x 3; 155 x 3; 175 x 3, 3, 3
then a superset of-
db tricept extensions (lying flat): 45 x 12, 12, 12 (rest-pause last 5 reps of last set)
EZ bar bicep curl: bar +70 lbs x 12, 12, 12 (rest-pause last 3 reps of last set)
Wednesday’s Training –
clean grip pull jumps: 135 x 3; 185 x 3; 205 x 3; 225 x 3; 245 x 3, 3, 3
then, a superset of –
kneeling db clean and press: 40 x 15, 15, 15
ghr: bodyweight x 15, 15, 15
Nautilus 4-way neck: 50 lbs front, side, side; 60 lbs to the rear
Took Thursday completely off – no lifting, riding or anything. Felt kinda strange.