T Nation

Sergio on Machine Training

A Sergio Oliva interview

http://www.ironmagazineforums.com/history/topic/46705-1.html

Highlights:

He started out with a combination of free weights and machines but soon had to ditch the former because it would have been impossible to finish the workouts

He trained on the machines to the point where he couldn’t do any more reps. Not, “didn’t want to”, but physically couldn’t.

His arms grew a full inch very soon after starting this routine, and these results were repeated with every other bodybuilder at the time who switched to a similar routine

When he went back to free weights, he noticed that training on the machines had made him stronger

Sergio was never bigger than when he trained with machines

He states that the machine exercises were “much more intense” than their free weight counterparts. When he switched back to free weights, he had to compensate for the reduction in training intensity by increasing his volume

He noticed that other people were using the machines wrong. They were using them like free weights, “pumping and resting”, instead of employing high intensity techniques such as supersets and dropsets.

Take Home Points:

Machines will forever be superior to free weights for hypertrophy

On a high intensity isolation routine, it is possible to change one’s appearance noticeably within one or two workouts, due to the effects of fluid hypertrophy

…ok, switch to machines, hope you enjoy looking like a figure girl. I’ll stick to the big boy toys. Isolation has its place, but to say that one is ultimately superior to the other is fucking retarded. Both are equivalently effective at building mass and causing hypertrophy.

How on earth can two things which are so different from one another be equivalent in terms of bringing about the same result?

I don’t buy it. You have to pick a side and defend it. This ambiguity won’t do.

That’s what putin does.

Cheers for that Nominal.

I can well imagine when you already have a physique like the myths just looking at something heavy induces hypertrophy.

I could well imagine using machines in that fashion gives you a great feeling. (although he didn’t give an exact workout, it seems there was little rest and lots of intensity)

I think though like anything giving your body a complete shock with a change of training will induce some growth and strength and i doubt many people will train that hard…

Great read, thanks again.

[quote]ironjoe wrote:
…ok, switch to machines, hope you enjoy looking like a figure girl. I’ll stick to the big boy toys. Isolation has its place, but to say that one is ultimately superior to the other is fucking retarded. Both are equivalently effective at building mass and causing hypertrophy.[/quote]

He said machines, not isolation…you don’t think machines are just isolation exercises do you?

I think it’ll work for some, but not others as well as it did for him. Machines are great for a technique like drop sets bc it’s very easy and quick to change the weight, but I think I’ll always prefer free weights and cables, it’s gotten ME better results.

[quote]Nominal Prospect wrote:
Take Home Points:

Machines will forever be superior to free weights for hypertrophy

On a high intensity isolation routine, it is possible to change one’s appearance noticeably within one or two workouts, due to the effects of fluid hypertrophy[/quote]

Come on now, that is stupid. You’re being too black nd white with the issue. There is no cure-all information and style of training. Sergio’s body responded well to isolation movements, because he had genetics that would respond to resistance against a good fart.

So you’re telling me that if you’re training a newb who wants to get hyoooge, but has never lifted a weight, you’re going to start him or her on a nautilus curl machine with crazy rep schemes instead of heavy deadlifts? Okay…

A lot of people forget that their fav pro BBers are not only genetic mutants (will respond favorably to most any type of training stimulus), but have boatloads of androgens added to the mix.

S

He probably ment after you already are at a decent size like if stu above was too switch it might help him pack on more muscle but not a beginner. SAme as prof x hes already very big then he switched mostly to machines, not for the same reason I dont think but x too says he has helped his strengh.

[quote]crod266 wrote:
He probably ment after you already are at a decent size like if stu above was too switch it might help him pack on more muscle but not a beginner. SAme as prof x hes already very big then he switched mostly to machines, not for the same reason I dont think but x too says he has helped his strengh. [/quote]

Well maybe you interpreted it like that, but when someone makes an outlandish claim that says “Machines will forever be superior to free weights for hypertrophy,” I don’t think there’s a whole lot of room for interpretation.

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:
A lot of people forget that their fav pro BBers are not only genetic mutants (will respond favorably to most any type of training stimulus), but have boatloads of androgens added to the mix.

S
[/quote]

Is this the default response whenever discussing one of the pro’s? Nominal Prospect is a troll. Why do you all keep forgetting this?

I use more machines now because I already built a solid base of muscle mass and I know EXACTLY what I need to be working on. The machines today are nowhere near what they were even 20 years ago so discounting their effectiveness is just as dumb as someone saying they are all superior to free weights.

Bodybuilding is about progression. What works for me right this minute would not have worked for me over a decade ago as a newbie.

PX is on the money.

Contrary to many people’s beliefs, intelligent pros do not have training ADD. Most of them changed their routines throughout the years because of their changing needs, whether it was because of weaknesses in their physiques or because some exercises did not agree with their structure, so to speak. A great example of this is Dorian Yates’ career.

  • Started out on a TBT program for 4 weeks - then used an A/B program for about 3 years - then used a 3 way split spread out over 5 days for about 4 years - then used a two-on, two off, program with a 4 way split - then used a 4 way split over one week. This all took place from '83 to '97.

  • Used to do a lot of flat bench pressing early on - switched over to declines, inclines, and Hammer Strength,

  • Did squats religiously from 83 to 87 - switched when squats did not agree with him and had reconstructive hip surgery. Found that SMITH MACHINE SQUATS AND LEG PRESSES AND HACK SQUATS DID MORE FOR HIS THIGHS THAN FREE WEIGHT SQUATS (THAT’S RIGHT - ALL OF YOU “FUNCTIONAL” PEOPLE!).

  • Did a lot of free weight behind neck presses and overhead dumbbell presses - then switched to SMITH MACHINE overhead presses.

  • Did a lot of underhand barbell rows which served him well - later changed to under overhand barbell rows because of an injury occuring with the former variation.

  • Did a lot of regular deadlifts - settled in on doing top half deadlifts with constant tension on the glutes and back.

  • Gradually lowered his volume over the years from 3 sets per exercise to 1 set per exercise.

All of these changes were calculated and done for a REASON, not because of ADD and that he was a genetically blessed pro.

Most TOP pros know exactly why they are doing what they are doing. True, some pros have succeeded - TO AN EXTENT - by following the goofiest routines while exerting little effort and being lazy and undisciplined. Paul Dillet and Flex Wheeler come to mind. But they have paid prices for this indiscipline and laziness. I and others believe they did not live up to their full potential.

But in conclusion with PX, changes in routines should and do occur because of the changing needs of the bodybuilder. Even powerlifter Mike Miller said something I will always remember in some of his writings and interviews that struck me as simple, yet profound: “an exercise you used last year might not be useful today”.

[quote]Bricknyce wrote:
PX is on the money.

Contrary to many people’s beliefs, intelligent pros do not have training ADD. Most of them changed their routines throughout the years because of their changing needs, whether it was because of weaknesses in their physiques or because some exercises did not agree with their structure, so to speak. A great example of this is Dorian Yates’ career.

  • Started out on a TBT program for 4 weeks - then used an A/B program for about 3 years - then used a 3 way split spread out over 5 days for about 4 years - then used a two-on, two off, program with a 4 way split - then used a 4 way split over one week. This all took place from '83 to '97.

  • Used to do a lot of flat bench pressing early on - switched over to declines, inclines, and Hammer Strength,

  • Did squats religiously from 83 to 87 - switched when squats did not agree with him and had reconstructive hip surgery. Found that SMITH MACHINE SQUATS AND LEG PRESSES AND HACK SQUATS DID MORE FOR HIS THIGHS THAN FREE WEIGHT SQUATS (THAT’S RIGHT - ALL OF YOU “FUNCTIONAL” PEOPLE!).

  • Did a lot of free weight behind neck presses and overhead dumbbell presses - then switched to SMITH MACHINE overhead presses.

  • Did a lot of underhand barbell rows which served him well - later changed to under overhand barbell rows because of an injury occuring with the former variation.

  • Did a lot of regular deadlifts - settled in on doing top half deadlifts with constant tension on the glutes and back.

  • Gradually lowered his volume over the years from 3 sets per exercise to 1 set per exercise.

All of these changes were calculated and done for a REASON, not because of ADD and that he was a genetically blessed pro.

Most TOP pros know exactly why they are doing what they are doing. True, some pros have succeeded - TO AN EXTENT - by following the goofiest routines while exerting little effort and being lazy and undisciplined.

Paul Dillet and Flex Wheeler come to mind. But they have paid prices for this indiscipline and laziness. I and others believe they did not live up to their full potential.

But in conclusion with PX, changes in routines should and do occur because of the changing needs of the bodybuilder. Even powerlifter Mike Miller said something I will always remember in some of his writings and interviews that struck me as simple, yet profound: “an exercise you used last year might not be useful today”.

[/quote]

Great post.

yeah. Really sums it all up… I’ve got nothing to add -lol

S

[quote]Nominal Prospect wrote:
Take Home Points:

  1. For a person who is in a very advanced stage of training where he has built a muscular foundation without obvious imbalances or weak points, continuing exclusively with free weights can prevent him from loading said muscle group to the fullest extent possible due to reasons of safety or stability, and machines may be superior for hypertrophy

  2. I am an idiot who tries to extract a bottomline that serves my theories, without fully reading and/or appreciating the context of an article.

[/quote]

fixed.