Even seemingly rational and educated people seem to throw common sense out the window when they step into the weight room. So, I started a fun little series of crappy drawings called “Stickman Biomechanics” on Facebook explaining basic biomechanics and to give people some pause before they “just do it, Brah”.
Below are 2 that people really seemed to enjoy, 1 that really pissed people off, and 1 bonus new one.
I see a lot of injuries from peeps loading up the smith machine to “safely max out” on bench, deadlifts, and shoulder presses. The thought is that the smith machine is “safer”. The problem is that the fixed path (whether linear or angled) causes stress on shoulders, elbows, spine, hips, and knees because you are forcing an unnatural angle onto these joints. Adding to possible damage from the unnatural path of motion on the joint, lifters will load a crap-ton of weight because a smith machine is “safer”.
Better choice? Use a squat cage with self spotters or use a (competent) human spotter. I’m not saying the smith is useless, I’m just saying don’t trick yourself into thinking it’s safe. BTW, the smith is a terrible way to “get used to squatting”. The mechanics and inherent stabilization does not teach proper squat movement.
Man, I caught bunch of shit for this one from physique prep coaches. So many people have been told to do these by their trainer (or by a magazine) that they have just become part of the process. Ignorant prep coaches still prescribe this to “really lean out the hamstrings and glutes.” Phshhh…that’s dumb. ANY exercise you do while prepping will bring out the hams and glutes. Why? BECAUSE YOU ARE IN A CALORIE DEFICIT! I could prescribe hand-jive and you would lean out your hamstrings if you are on a prep diet.
FYI…lunges are a crappy hamsting/glute exercise anyways. You would be much better off doing deadlift variations and hip thrusts.
The answer is a basic physics. Friction created by your hands on a fixed bar as you lift creates a secondary force. This secondary force, coupled with the force of gravity, creates a resultant which changes the angle of resistance. The resultant is especially prevalent if you take a wide grip.
NOTE: the more you push your hands out or in on the press changes the angle of resistance even more. This is also why pushups feel so different. The resultant is created by the force of gravity and the friction of your hands on the floor (do pushups on a slippery floor and “feel the burn”).
I get it…you want to lift “old school”, but you have dirty feet or toe fungus. Thanks for leaving your socks on, Bilbo. However, there is a problem with this that may be affecting your lift: those slippery socks are creating a force which must be counteracted by your adductors to keep you from doing the splits with 405 on your ball sack (or female equivalent). You may not even notice it…but your muscles and nervous system do.
The secondary issue is that those two opposing forces can wreak havoc on your knee joint. Maybe not immediately, but over time. And guess what causes most catastrophic knee injuries? Prolonged and repetitive crappy movement patterns. No one actually blows their ACL stepping off a curb. Their ACL blows when they step off a curb because their ACL is weak from 10 years moving like a dumb-ass.
The same force happens if you squat in socks also, especially on a platform. In fact, this may create even greater stress on the knee due to the greater knee flexion inherent in a squat.
So, maybe you go get a good pair of shoes. Those can be “old school” too.
If you read this all the way to the end, I really appreciate it. If you have some positive input for me, let me know.