T Nation

Has this Been Happening a Lot Lately?

Self selection bias seems to be happening in a lot in exercise science articles in health magazines for a long time. For example you have Brett Contreras measuring EMG activity on his own body and his friends and then arguing which exercises are effective. Come to think of it all trainers have been doing Cressey, Robertson, Poliquin, etc… How can exercise science claim to be a science when its layered with this bias.

Outside of basic human anatomy (which is scientific) the value of an exercise (which is not scientific) is a subjective call and therefor there can’t really be a uniformity of effectiveness of an exercise. All trainers seem to rely on their personal experience for effectiveness of exercises or are trying to carve out niches for themselves but by adding in studies to back their claims they are just defaulting to expert bias.

My point being it appears to judge the effectiveness of an exercise time should be the filter used not EMG or personal experience. What has worked for the average will mostly likely continue to work (Squats, Deadlifts, Presses, Pullups, etc…) New exercises should be looked with skepticism as should the trainer who espouses their value as time hasn’t determined their value or not.

Thoughts?

Go pick up and throw something heavy. Then go eat. Then sleep.

[quote]nickj_777 wrote:

Self selection bias seems to be happening in a lot in exercise science articles in health magazines for a long time. For example you have Brett Contreras measuring EMG activity on his own body and his friends and then arguing which exercises are effective. Come to think of it all trainers have been doing Cressey, Robertson, Poliquin, etc… How can exercise science claim to be a science when its layered with this bias.

Outside of basic human anatomy (which is scientific) the value of an exercise (which is not scientific) is a subjective call and therefor there can’t really be a uniformity of effectiveness of an exercise. All trainers seem to rely on their personal experience for effectiveness of exercises or are trying to carve out niches for themselves but by adding in studies to back their claims they are just defaulting to expert bias.

My point being it appears to judge the effectiveness of an exercise time should be the filter used not EMG or personal experience. What has worked for the average will mostly likely continue to work (Squats, Deadlifts, Presses, Pullups, etc…) New exercises should be looked with skepticism as should the trainer who espouses their value as time hasn’t determined their value or not.

Thoughts?[/quote]
This isn’t self selection bias. It’s just an example of the test subjects not being chosen at random from the general population. That does create some limitations, but it doesn’t make the study unscientific or invalid.

If everybody just waited for time to filter things, it wouldn’t filter anything. To the casual observer it gives the illusion of a filter because of all those people doing studies and applying their personal experience.

Contreras using himself as an EMG test subject is pretty damn unscientific if he’s drawing conclusions from it, which he did. EMG is very useful, but it’s too easy to mess something up in that context. Pilot testing would be a different story.

Hard to take anything he says seriously when he pimps the glute bridge as some sort of cure all.

[quote]nickj_777 wrote:

Self selection bias seems to be happening in a lot in exercise science articles in health magazines for a long time. For example you have Brett Contreras measuring EMG activity on his own body and his friends and then arguing which exercises are effective. Come to think of it all trainers have been doing Cressey, Robertson, Poliquin, etc… How can exercise science claim to be a science when its layered with this bias.

Outside of basic human anatomy (which is scientific) the value of an exercise (which is not scientific) is a subjective call and therefor there can’t really be a uniformity of effectiveness of an exercise. All trainers seem to rely on their personal experience for effectiveness of exercises or are trying to carve out niches for themselves but by adding in studies to back their claims they are just defaulting to expert bias.

My point being it appears to judge the effectiveness of an exercise time should be the filter used not EMG or personal experience.

Thoughts?[/quote]

My thoughts are that this, What has worked for the average will mostly likely continue to work (Squats, Deadlifts, Presses, Pullups, etc…) New exercises should be looked with skepticism as should the trainer who espouses their value as time hasn’t determined their value or not.Is very true. When I see someone doing a proven exercise in a modified way just to push the “different is always better” approach I always scratch my head a little. The study of biomechanics hasn’t uncovered a better approach over the basics, so I am guessing they will stay the basics.

Think of the basics like the wheel. The wheel has been around for a long time and nothing has come along that is better at it’s function…the same with the basics

[quote]HeavyTriple wrote:
Contreras using himself as an EMG test subject is pretty damn unscientific if he’s drawing conclusions from it, which he did. EMG is very useful, but it’s too easy to mess something up in that context. Pilot testing would be a different story.

Hard to take anything he says seriously when he pimps the glute bridge as some sort of cure all.[/quote]
It’s not so much unscientific as statistically insignificant (in any case it certainly isn’t self-selection bias). However, he isn’t drawing hard conclusions. He’s using it to find something that might work. Then he goes and trains himself and his clients to see what results he gets.

On it’s own the EMG doesn’t prove anything. But it does build confidence that the exercise might be worthwhile. A certain amount of skepticism is good, but you also have to pay attention and realize that it is possible for progress to happen.

The attitude of the OP seems to be that we should just ignore everything that people weren’t doing 50 years ago. Moreover, he’s basing that attitude on a fallacious understanding of self-selection bias. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but people are getting bigger, stronger, and leaner than they did 50 years ago. We’ve probably learned something between now and then.

If everyone just decided not to reinvent the wheel, we’d still be driving oxcarts.

[quote]mbdix wrote:
Think of the basics like the wheel. The wheel has been around for a long time and nothing has come along that is better at it’s function…the same with the basics[/quote]

Amen

[quote]BlueCollarTr8n wrote:

[quote]mbdix wrote:
Think of the basics like the wheel. The wheel has been around for a long time and nothing has come along that is better at it’s function…the same with the basics[/quote]

Amen[/quote]

Thanks. I’m glad you agree

[quote]mbdix wrote:

[quote]BlueCollarTr8n wrote:

[quote]mbdix wrote:
Think of the basics like the wheel. The wheel has been around for a long time and nothing has come along that is better at it’s function…the same with the basics[/quote]

Amen[/quote]

Thanks. I’m glad you agree[/quote]

I beg to differ.