Functional or Not?

What does the word “functional” mean to you?

If you’ve had any sampling of the modern fitness industry, “functional” will probably mean doing exercises that have a high carryover to the motions and actions found in most team sports.

It could just as easily mean standing on a wobble board doing one-handed dumbbell presses, in order to improve “core stability”.

Have you ever stopped to think what “functional” really means, though?

The word itself should give you a hint. A more appropriate definition of functionality would be “the way the body’s systems work in order to create motor output”, to paraphrase the late Mel Siff.

In other words, functional training is a formal way of saying “training to improve how the body works in order to perform in specific ways”.

When somebody says that something is “functional”, the response should be “functional for what?”. Functional training is not just a discrete thing you can point to. It’s not a style of training, as much as people like to quantify training in this way.

Keep on reading &rarrow;Functional or Not?

Machines vs. Free Weights: A Problem of Context

This is one of the oldest and most frequently debated subjects in the field of weight training.

As per the status quo in these arguments, you have camps that are polarized on both sides of the issue.

I’ll give a little summary of each side, then throw in the Common Sense outlook.

Keep on reading &rarrow;Machines vs. Free Weights: A Problem of Context

Adrenal Fatigue: A Quack Disease for the New Millennium

Adrenal fatigue is the new fad for all the quack doctors and fitness trainers of the modern day. Just don’t ask anybody with medical training.

Why, you may ask? Well, when this first started cropping up as the Next Big Thing, I did a little checking around on Google, and the top results were from a doctor yes, but not in the way you might think. The results belonged to one Dr. James Wilson. More accurately, his website designed will all the standard Inner Circle Marketing cliches.

For obvious reasons this set off my bullshit alarms at once; if you Google search any real disease, you’ll find that actual, you know, information pops up, not some doctor using his MD as an appeal to authority while he tries to sell you things.

I didn’t give up, though. I went over to Pubmed, which is a repository of health and medical research that contains an index of virtually every medical-related publication. Again, if this were a valid thing you’d expect a good number of results.

The search string “adrenal fatigue” returned zero (0) matches.

By now I’m 95% convinced this is garbage. But, just to be fair and to prove to myself that it’s the case, I dig around a little more.

Keep on reading &rarrow;Adrenal Fatigue: A Quack Disease for the New Millennium

Block Periodization for Bodybuilders

For those folks out there that don’t know, Professor Yuri Verkhoshansky who is considered one of the fathers of Russian sports science, has a new website up that contains a lot of his articles (some translated, some not).

This is not exactly light reading, mind you, but if you’re a sports science geek (like I am), you’ll find it pretty interesting to read through.

It just happens that he’s got a forum up on his site as well, and with the help of his translator, Prof. Verkoshansky has had a lot of interesting things to say.

The big one has been shooting down all the terminology-wankers that are constantly screaming “Westside isn’t conjugate!!!!” He clarified that the “conjugate method” used by WSB is not the same thing as the conjugate-sequence system he spoke about, but that it really doesn’t matter in the final outcome.

Keep on reading &rarrow;Block Periodization for Bodybuilders