Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Elite Fitness

I am an aspiring superhero.  The desire for being a ninja means that it is my duty to master all trades.  I owe that to humanity.

In my inquiry for these required skills and knowledge, I have come across all kinds of fitness training methods.  The one that got my attention in particular, solicits different methodologies and combines them into one giant heap of confusion.

I believe in cross training as it improves your fitness, enhances your efficiency, increases power, and the list goes on.  However it is all determined by how your methods are combined.  The illogical programming of taking several different exercises and combining them together into three day long battles and calling it cross training is not quite the science one would have in mind.

Yes, it may keep people excited about their workouts but that's like bringing a clown to make balloon animals to a thirtieth birthday party.  Utterly pointless.

These training organizations that are integrating Olympic lifts at maximum aerobic capacities and blending them with high intensity kettlebell snatches and overhead swings (might I add, that these overhead swings can cause impingement of the shoulders, and virtually wipes out the entire point of the lateral force a swing is supposed to generate) are making a mockery out of some serious specialisations.

To add fuel to the fire, the trainer certifications require no basic knowledge of anatomy or biochemistry, so the coaches running the show have attended short courses on how to master an Olympic lift that would take a normal strength coach years to perfect.  Concerning? a little.

The lack of quality control is what gets my goat the most.  Watching recent competitions televised locally had me on the edge of my seat, not from the sheer excitement of the event but because it was nauseating and I may have needed a quick escape to ruminate.

How does one possibly screw up an exercise such as the pull up? This must be the easiest move technique wise to get ones head around.  All it involves is pulling ones self up from a static position, over a bar.  However some organizations have added the infamous 'kip' to a pull up, so much so, that its almost as if, if it wasn't included it wouldn't be right.  Kipping makes pull ups child's play.  Since when does momentum build muscles? I was always under the impression that controlled movements built muscles.

Another great exercise included in the workout battle, is the power clean, except in this circumstance it is completed at high repetition.  What is the purpose of a power clean?  Is it to get you into better aerobic shape or is it to build explosive power from the ground up?  High repetition power cleans cause injury.  That's my only explanation.

So, in closing, my findings are in focus.  Finding one specialization and mastering it, is the answer.  Once I have mastered my first specialization only then will I move forward.  Or I will find myself on a list of statistics.


  1. Firstly, I believe everything is of value (depending from which context you view it from and by context I mean what it is you're trying to achieve). So depending on what you're trying to achieve, it is only by close observation supported by emperical evidence within that same context that the conclusion will be of practical value!

    Understand that when we look at the bigger picture regarding health and fitness (even sports specific development), our main aim is to establish overall physical competency, and for what reason?

    So that we may continuously increase our ability to deal with the demands of life, big or small! And that is in my opinion the broadest definition of both health, and fitness, not so?

    I have a feeling we can all agree that any regimen that paves the way for the most effective, efficient and safe means for the development of the afforementioned GOAL, will by observation and experience be more rewarding, satisfying and cause people to shed old ineffective ways...not so?

    Again, there's no right or wrong way of training, it just depends whether your current approach is the most effective way of achieving your goals?

    So if you're goal is to specialize for a specific purpose and the production of a specific result, then your way is probably effective! Wouldn't you agree?

    Lorenzo Delano
    Quantum Physiques

  2. I agree completely with your very valid points.

    Whether your goals be for health and longevity or whether you train sport specifically, I feel that your want and your need is to ensure that the training is done safely and effectively.

  3. Bells of Steele26 July 2012 at 00:47

    I also thought I would always be a "strict" pull up kinda guy, but kipping builds a type of rhythm and stamina that strict pullups just don't - in my opinion.

    I may be able to do a few more kipping pull ups and may get different muscle activation from strict pull ups, but there is definitely more than one way to skin a cat.
    under the chin, behind the head, hands forward, hands back, hands wide etc. etc. - (pull ups, not skinning cats.)

    When swimming I may opt for the breaststroke to work my upper body more than anything, some freestyle for long distances, some backstroke for legs, but show me a well executed butterfly stroke and the skill and rhythm it takes to pull it off - now that impresses me way beyond any other stroke in the pool.

    Kipping to me is like the butterfly stroke.
    Once you master that rhythm, nothing can beat it.

    Kipping may be easier than strict pull ups - but just double the number you do and the playing field is level again

    PS - I love your blog !!!

  4. Balls of steele26 July 2012 at 18:28

    Momentum does build muscle.
    ask your kettlebell...
    most of the moves are based on a short controlled burst of energy , used to gain enough momentum to execute a move.
    It's the momentum that makes lifting the kettlebell childsplay ;-)