Continued from the previous issue
Many trainees who had grown up using barbell or conventional weight-training machinery were not psychologically comfortable with these new training devices. Some remained resistant to any and all machine-based exercise. Others were resistant, but saw the advantages offered by the machines.
Their bias at what they felt were erroneous exercise principles, fueled by the muscle-building media, allowed the acceptance of some machines, but not Nautilus, which they felt were somehow different, and not result producing. Others tried and accepted Nautilus and other machines, because they felt the difference in their strength levels, and saw increases in their muscular tissue.
Somewhere in the middle stood the overwhelming majority of athletes, strength coaches and fitness enthusiasts, wanting to believe whatever seemed to be true about Nautilus or other machines, but not really in a position to know with certainty, despite their degrees, despite the books and journals they had read, and despite what they were told by all of the pseudo experts that fill the field of physical exercise.
The development of the Nautilus leverage machines is, I believe, another "great leap forward," another step in the exercise revolution. The leverage machines are aptly named, designed so that the leverage factors of the machines themselves provide productive and efficient exercise. Exercise movement feels right, feels balanced, and feels as if the muscles are being forced to work at maximum levels of effort. They don't utilize cams, sprockets, chains, cables, hydraulics or water-based resistance. They are, in the truest sense of the term, "redesigned barbells."
The original Nautilus designs were an attempt to produce "perfect" exercise machines, and some of them came very close to doing so. The Nautilus leverage machines have been designed to provide efficient, comfortable and productive exercise. They are not "perfect," but the alterations in resistance as one moves through a complete range of motion cause the exertion of maximal efforts. Even diehard barbell men have stated, "These feel good, I like it!" after an all-out set on the Leverage Leg Press.
They are designed to be orthopedically advantageous. I've always been leery of those manufacturers who proclaimed that their equipment was "orthopedically correct." My immediate response was, "Correct for whom?" Leg press machines that exposed the patella tendon to excessive shearing forces and the lumbar spine to compression; pressing machines that caused compression on the lumbar and thoracic spine while causing impingement at the shoulder joints; biceps and triceps machines which caused discomfort and extreme torquing forces upon the vulnerable elbow joint have all been touted as "the next step" in exercise technology.
The Nautilus leverage machines do in fact provide many orthopedic/structural advantages that are not presently available in other pieces of equipment.
The leverage machines are tools that can, if used properly, provide a degree of exercise intensity that can't be equalled by a barbell or dumbbell. Most of the leverage machines provide a type of exercise that can't be provided by other forms of exercise machinery. The orthopedic advantages and safety features relative to free-weights, and the variation in exercise that's provided by these advantages-such as scapulae movements and synergistic contractions-make the leverage machines the perfect choice for heavy-duty gyms, high school and university settings, and the home fitness market.
As always, the proviso in reaping the potential benefits from this relatively new form of exercise methodology, is the application of "proper" training techniques. The Nautilus leverage machines can lead the dedicated trainee to levels of training intensity heretofore unattainable, and for that reason only, we use them in our facility, like the results that our patients and clients receive from their use, and have no hesitation in singing their praises in our newsletter.
Jamie LaBelle is a young man with a sterling athletic background, and an innovative mind. He has made a number of important contributions to our training facility, and is constantly experimenting and attempting to improve specific exercises in an attempt to increase their productivity.
Recently, Jamie suggested that we use a shotput (a heavy metal ball), or different sized shotputs, to increase the intensity of our forearm workouts. As a "finishing touch" to our forearm or biceps work, the shotput will be held in a reverse curl position, with a pronated or palm-facing-down grip. The elbow is tucked tightly into the side, and the shotput is then curled in a slow and strict manner. The negative or eccentric contraction is done more slowly and controlled than the positive movement.
In addition to working the brachioradialis and other forearm flexors, the intrinsic muscles of the hand and the finger flexors are placed under a high level of contraction. Doing each arm separately allows a high degree of concentration. The effects of this movement have been terrific and immediate! As a finishing touch to the major arm or forearm exercises, the shotput curl provides a higher degree of muscle stimulating work.
I suggest that one begin with a women's shotput, weighing 4 kilos, or 8.98 pounds, and gradually work up to the men's fullsized, 16-pound shot. The small-sized shot is perfect for those with relatively small hands or short fingers, while the 16- pounder will serve the Tim Krumries of the world adequately. The 12-pound men's high school shotput is an intermediate size that can be used exclusively as the forearm workout of the day.
If one does reverse shotput curls to a point of momentary muscular failure or fatigue, and then holds the shot with the hand pronated and the forearm flexed at approximately 45 degrees until that position can no longer be maintained, or the shotput falls from the hand, this can serve as a very adequate muscle stimulator for that day.
The interest that's sparked by the use of easily available implements can be a boon to any program, especially when those implements are easy to integrate into the existing program, and produce very worthwhile results.
Volume 2, No. 1 of The Steel Tip
An article entitled "Ergogenic aids," briefly mentioned the proliferation of carbohydrate drinks. These supplemental products, according to the advertising material, are "ready to drink complexcarbohydrate energy quenchers," "the perfect source for fueling muscles before and during strenuous exercise, and refueling after your hardest, most vigorous workouts." Further, we learn that at least one product is "extracted from grain for accelerated absorption" so that "as fast as your body depletes glycogen stores... it replenishes them."
The ultimate source of fuel for muscle movement is glucose, or simple sugar. Glucose is best derived from carbohydrate foods, although the body has the capacity to convert proteins and fats to glucose also. So-called complex carbohydrates, longchained sugar molecules, tend to enter the bloodstream at a slower "more sustained" rate than those foods designated as simple sugars, i.e., the short-chained molecules.
The body will store a certain amount of glucose in the muscles and the liver, in the form of glycogen, for use during activity, and will then deliver more to the bloodstream, and ultimately to the cells, as the need demands. Obviously, high intensity strength training demands a certain amount of blood sugar or glucose. If glucose or glycogen stores are low or depleted, levels of what we usually define or refer to as "energy" will be depressed, and muscular contraction will be less than optimal.
One of the most overlooked and important facts regarding carbohydrate metabolism, is that the ultimate source of the glucose is unimportant. As the Realities Of Nutrition by Roland Deutsch states, "... the origin of the various sugars matters no more to the organs and cells which will use them than do the origins of oxygen matter to the lungs. Glucose is glucose." Virtually all of the single sugars which are not glucose are converted to glucose by the liver, because glucose is the only carbohydrate that most body cells use for energy.
If this is the case, it should be obvious that one can eat fruit, vegetables, grains or other carbohydrate foods, all of which will undoubtedly be less expensive than any "specially formulated" carbohydrate-energy drink. Foods which are high in refined sugar such as candies and pastries may cause a rapid rise and subsequent fall in blood sugar levels, which would have a detrimental effect on one's workout.
However, if one eats sensibly, making sure to eat a relatively high proportion of the daily caloric intake in the form of carbohydrates, getting these from various sources, then one's available sugar levels will not be an inhibiting factor during training. If one feels the need for additional carbohydrates and/or calories due to the increased nutritional demands of intensive training, high-quality carbohydrate-bearing foods are easily obtainable. One or two pieces of fruit an hour or so prior to training will supply all of the "workout fuel" necessary for training.
If one is concerned that his or her carbohydrate stores are depleted at the conclusion of a training session, then figs, raisins, dates, a sweet potato or tomato juice will quickly replenish those stores. Advertisers can talk about a product's "unique complex carbohydrate," but to the body this will soon be glucose, and as mentioned previously, glucose is glucose.
There's no molecule of glucose that's superior to another glucose molecule. The energy drinks are advertising genius at its best because it preys on the insecurities of a group of individuals who are often fastidious or compulsive about all aspects of their training.
Propagating the belief that one is "missing something" that will affect their training sessions, especially if this magic ingredient is easily obtained from commonly found foodstuffs, makes this author wonder about the honesty of some manufacturers and distributors. But when this is compounded by the efforts to sell a product that's vastly overpriced relative to the other foods that can supply the same glucose molecules, I no longer wonder; I know.
Reprinted with permission from Vol. 2, No. 9, September 1986 issue of The Steel Tip.
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