Don’t Get Fooled Again
Bruce Lee was one of the most dedicated and hard core individuals of all time when it came to training and improving himself in all aspects of life. One of Bruce’s philosophies in regards to the development of his brand of martial art was, “absorb what is useful and reject what is useless.” This simple ideal can be applied to virtually anything in life, but holds a particularly strong meaning in terms physical training.
With all of the damn infomercials on late night TV showing us all of these products that guarantee results and all of the crazy machines that take up the majority of the floor in most commercial gyms it’s really easy for young, uneducated trainees to get confused about what they need to be doing in order to get stronger, get healthier and get in better shape.
Bruce was referring specifically to movements and methodologies that he was putting together in order to try to develop the most practical and effective style of self defense, but when taken out of that particular context and used as a philosophy for our overall training practices it makes just as much sense.
It’s often the least complex and most direct movements that yield the best results – the shortest distance to the goal is a straight line right? Use the most basic movements in order to yield the best results – in short, if you need an instruction manual to use a certain machine or to perform a certain exercise, it may not be your absolute best option.
For people who don’t have a whole lot of experience or knowledge when it comes to working out, it’s easy to fall into the advertising trap that the most elaborate machine will produce the best results, but that simply isn’t the case.
For those who are just beginning their fitness journey, a solid foundation must be built with the most basic of movements in order to ensure the best physical development. If you’ve never performed a push up in good form, you sure as hell don’t need to be spending any time on a Pec-dec – to build a solid core you don’t need a “Bean” and Ab-Rocker” or an “Ab Scissor.”
Once you’ve built up a solid foundation with the basics like push ups, squats, deadlifts, rows and pull ups you can consider moving on to machine movements if that’s something that you want to do, but honestly you’ll never have to move on from the basics and their variations if you don’t want to.
All the contraptions and machines that fill up the floor of your commercial gym are practically unnecessary, unless you are a competitive body-builder. Someone who just wants to be in their best possible shape is wasting their time by performing set after set on the Pec-dec, or with set after set of concentration curls or by spending any time at all on one of those ridiculous ab machines.
Don’t be fooled into thinking some big, cumbersome, shiny, confusing machine is your ticket to getting in shape just because the manufacturer tells you so in a commercial. Keep your workouts simple and intense, using the basic compound movements and you’ll quickly begin to see dramatic results. Machines can serve a purpose, but beginners often spend too much time with them and too little time performing the exercises that make the biggest differences in the body – if you are new to working out, skip the machines all together – to you they are useless. If you can’t perform an exercise with your bodyweight, with a barbell or with a dumbbell, then you don’t need to be doing it.
About Jeff Wilson Jeff Wilson has been involved in some form of sports and athletic training for more than two decades: as an athlete, a trainer and a writer.