T Nation

Training Convo With Co-Worker

Alright, I just had a 1/2 hour debate with a co-worker about how muscles are used in training.

First he started off about how people shouldn’t train with weights until they get their ‘core’ strong enough.

I told him my position on it was that the ‘core’ was mostly a catch phrase and you can stengthen those muscles by doing deads, squats and benching. And that you can benefit from weight lifting right away without training the ‘core’ muscles first.

He then pointed me to an article in Men’s Fitness about a trainer who doesn’t have his clients touch weights until they can perform certain body weight exercises.

I read the article, disagreed with some of it and wondered who wrote it. Well, it was written by Alwyn Cosgrove. So, that got me thinking because I think the guy is really smart.

Am I wrong on my position saying that total beginners can benefit from weight lifting right away? Or would they benefit more from body weight exercises first?

The second thing we were discussing was this. He was telling me that you use different muscles when benching slowly than benching fast. I told him that I don’t think you are using different muscles, you are just using them in a different way.

I mean, a bench press is a bench press right? Or do you use different muscles when you bench press slowly as opposed to say speed benching?

if you cant do a stinkin push up you dont have much reason to be benching. Or if you cant do a body weight squat well ya better not try and put a load on your back and do squats.

Sure one should have some minimal strength built prior to hitting the iron but most pplmout there have that save for the ever growing obese poulation. With then I agree with AC hell just get them moving doing body weight stuff big bang for the buck GPP stuff to shed fat.

as for your bench question. Depends if when going fast or slow your form changes a ton then sure it will use different muscles. Also going explosive will tap into the type two fibers much quicker where as SLOW will not use as many at any one gien time and through the time of the movment call on more and different fibers as they fatigue.

so yes and no it depends.

I better add than sure if you cant friggin do a pushup sure doing what you can with say DB’s on bench or what not will help but I would rather see the person do an easier form of pushup and progresss slowly as push up tax a lot more musculature and for a person in that poor of shape they need all the damn help they can get.

Phill

[quote]Phill wrote:
if you cant do a stinkin push up you dont have much reason to be benching. Or if you cant do a body weight squat well ya better not try and put a load on your back and do squats.

Sure one should have some minimal strength built prior to hitting the iron but most pplmout there have that save for the ever growing obese poulation. With then I agree with AC hell just get them moving doing body weight stuff big bang for the buck GPP stuff to shed fat.

as for your bench question. Depends if when going fast or slow your form changes a ton then sure it will use different muscles. Also going explosive will tap into the type two fibers much quicker where as SLOW will not use as many at any one gien time and through the time of the movment call on more and different fibers as they fatigue.

so yes and no it depends.

I better add than sure if you cant friggin do a pushup sure doing what you can with say DB’s on bench or what not will help but I would rather see the person do an easier form of pushup and progresss slowly as push up tax a lot more musculature and for a person in that poor of shape they need all the damn help they can get.

Phill[/quote]

You’re right, if a person can’t do a pushup what good would it do to have them do some bench presses. That makes sense.

So, if you were to take two completely out of shape people. Start one with bodyweight exercises and one with weight training. Which one do you think would progress faster?

And about the bench press question. I tried to tell him that lifting the weight slowly would reruit different muscle fibers as opposed to lifting it fast. But would it still be the same muscles? I guess this is where i’m confused.

He was saying that when you bench explosively, you’re larger muscles are taking over the lift and the smaller muscles aren’t doing anything. However, when you bench slowly, the smaller muscles are more involved and thus being worked more.

[quote]dre wrote:
First he started off about how people shouldn’t train with weights until they get their ‘core’ strong enough.

I told him my position on it was that the ‘core’ was mostly a catch phrase and you can stengthen those muscles by doing deads, squats and benching. And that you can benefit from weight lifting right away without training the ‘core’ muscles first.

He then pointed me to an article in Men’s Fitness about a trainer who doesn’t have his clients touch weights until they can perform certain body weight exercises.

I read the article, disagreed with some of it and wondered who wrote it. Well, it was written by Alwyn Cosgrove. So, that got me thinking because I think the guy is really smart.

Am I wrong on my position saying that total beginners can benefit from weight lifting right away? Or would they benefit more from body weight exercises first?[/quote]

I just started the strength-training program outlined in Alwyn Cosgrove’s martial art’s training books. I haven’t touched a weight since, and won’t for another 4 weeks. The workouts are extremely hard, and on a pain factor rate up there with 20 rep squats and German Volume Training.

Doing the workout has pointed out strength imbalances I never knew existed. As I learn more about rehab, I realize most of my injuries were caused by my “Train hard or bust” attitude. While I never injured myself doing a lift, I did injure myself by creating muscle imbalances by not doing enough “core” and unilateral work.

I think anyone who trains hard would do well to take 4 weeks off from lifting heavy and do some of the workouts Cosgrove outlines in the program.

[quote]dre wrote:
So, if you were to take two completely out of shape people. Start one with bodyweight exercises and one with weight training. Which one do you think would progress faster?[/quote]

From a strength and hypertrophy standpoint, look at it this way: If you can only do 6 push-ups, then doing push-ups puts you in the rep range you need to be for strength and muscle gains. If the guy can do six regular push-ups, find a way to make them harder by changing position, changing tempo, etc.

So long as the athlete is still OVERLOADING the muscles, he will see as much progress as the one lifting weights. But you can only do bw-only work for so long before you’re no longer overloading the muscles. So, the answer is: They’ll make the same progress assuming the overloading principle is present in each routine.

In addition, the person doing bw-only exercises will have better balance and less muscle imbalances.

So if you take the long view, someone without muscle imbalances will have much greater progress, as they won’t suffer as many injuries.

[quote]dre wrote:
He was saying that when you bench explosively, you’re larger muscles are taking over the lift and the smaller muscles aren’t doing anything. However, when you bench slowly, the smaller muscles are more involved and thus being worked more. [/quote]

I don’t have debates with people whose terminology is limited to “larger muscles” and “smaller muscles.”

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
I just started the strength-training program outlined in Alwyn Cosgrove’s martial art’s training books. I haven’t touched a weight since, and won’t for another 4 weeks. The workouts are extremely hard, and on a pain factor rate up there with 20 rep squats and German Volume Training.

Doing the workout has pointed out strength imbalances I never knew existed. As I learn more about rehab, I realize most of my injuries were caused by my “Train hard or bust” attitude. While I never injured myself doing a lift, I did injure myself by creating muscle imbalances by not doing enough “core” and unilateral work.

I think anyone who trains hard would do well to take 4 weeks off from lifting heavy and do some of the workouts Cosgrove outlines in the program.[/quote]

Very good point about muscle imbalances. I’m fairly certain that from years of stupid weight training that I have created some muscle imbalances in my body. I can see how bodyweight exercises would help to limit the posibility of muscle imbalances when training. I never thought of that.

So, would you recommend the book you are reading to someone who isn’t involved in martial arts?

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
dre wrote:
So, if you were to take two completely out of shape people. Start one with bodyweight exercises and one with weight training. Which one do you think would progress faster?

From a strength and hypertrophy standpoint, look at it this way: If you can only do 6 push-ups, then doing push-ups puts you in the rep range you need to be for strength and muscle gains. If the guy can do six regular push-ups, find a way to make them harder by changing position, changing tempo, etc.

So long as the athlete is still OVERLOADING the muscles, he will see as much progress as the one lifting weights. But you can only do bw-only work for so long before you’re no longer overloading the muscles. So, the answer is: They’ll make the same progress assuming the overloading principle is present in each routine.

In addition, the person doing bw-only exercises will have better balance and less muscle imbalances.

So if you take the long view, someone without muscle imbalances will have much greater progress, as they won’t suffer as many injuries.[/quote]

Very good points. Thanks for the excellent responses.

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
dre wrote:
He was saying that when you bench explosively, you’re larger muscles are taking over the lift and the smaller muscles aren’t doing anything. However, when you bench slowly, the smaller muscles are more involved and thus being worked more.

I don’t have debates with people whose terminology is limited to “larger muscles” and “smaller muscles.”[/quote]

Yes, he was also reading a Men’s Fitness magazine for what that’s worth.

[quote]dre wrote:
So, would you recommend the book you are reading to someone who isn’t involved in martial arts?[/quote]

The book includes exercises I’ve never heard of, so, yes, I think it’s worth it.
http://www.alwyncosgrove.com/Store1.html

If I were you, I’d PM Cosgrove (I have no idea whether he answers his PMs, as I don’t know the guy and have never PM’ed him, but it’s worth a shot), and tell him you want to address some muscle imbalances and learn some new bw exercises. Maybe he has a more comprehensive book/source. If so, he’ll steer you in the right direction.

How apropos:
http://alwyncosgrove.blogspot.com/2006/10/leg-matrix.html

[quote]dre wrote:
Yes, he was also reading a Men’s Fitness magazine for what that’s worth. [/quote]

I read Men’s Fitness, Men’s Health, Esquire, and lots of other “fluff.” I always learn at least one new thing. Which makes it worth reading.

Some guys here make fun if those magazines. I always tell them, “I don’t play Xbox or watch TV. Do you? Which is worse, reading ‘fluff’ magazines or watching TV or playing video games.”

Reading even fluffy magazines is better than watching TV or playing video games.

King also has a prety strong stance on gaining strength and stability through body weight movements like pistols before you start with weight, with good reason.

I’ve just revisited the one leg squat and some activation/stability work, and they are a bitch. That is with a decent squat and dead lift.

They may be a bitch to start out with or revisit, but a worthwhile bitch.
I’d say Cosgrove and King are dead on with that.

When I started training again I did bodyweight exercises and used gallon milk jugs filled with water for a few weeks. I knew better than to jump on the iron right away and I also didn’t have any training equipment yet (or gym membership). I was actually sore and made some small gains. Don’t underestimate how hard bodyweight squats can be when you’re in an untrained state.

I think it really depends on the individual. People just need to ease into exercise. They can screw up right away burning themselves out on lifting weights OR bodyweight exercises.

I’m curious, was this individual you were talking to in good shape?

[quote]SkyzykS wrote:
King also has a prety strong stance on gaining strength and stability through body weight movements like pistols before you start with weight, with good reason.
[/quote]

Shit, I still can’t even do one pistol. Did he really recommend pistols or was that just an example?

[quote]BackInAction wrote:
I think it really depends on the individual. People just need to ease into exercise. They can screw up right away burning themselves out on lifting weights OR bodyweight exercises.

I’m curious, was this individual you were talking to in good shape?[/quote]

Nope, he’s a guy who never works out but is naturally slim. I guess I wouldn’t say he’s in horrible shape as he’s not overweight. But like I said, he doesn’t workout. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s not in good shape.

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
dre wrote:
Yes, he was also reading a Men’s Fitness magazine for what that’s worth.

I read Men’s Fitness, Men’s Health, Esquire, and lots of other “fluff.” I always learn at least one new thing. Which makes it worth reading.

Some guys here make fun if those magazines. I always tell them, “I don’t play Xbox or watch TV. Do you? Which is worse, reading ‘fluff’ magazines or watching TV or playing video games.”

Reading even fluffy magazines is better than watching TV or playing video games.[/quote]

I agree with you that you can learn some things from those magazines. I guess I was trying to say that if that’s where he is basing all of his “knowledge” from, that’s not good.