Happy Mother’s Day to the ruler of my heart & mind. You mean more to me than you can understand. All I ever want for you is the utmost best, what ever you need I’ll provide. Keep focused, keep strong, keep faith, keep hope, keep love, once again happy Mother’s Day babe me and Siena love you.
Barbara Pierre and English Gardner. 100m. US Outdoor Champs 2013
photo by Jeff Cohen / instagram jeffcohenphoto
Selected works on view at Studio FIVE08 in Santa Monica, California.
Miranda: Inverted Molly: Vertical
Garret Fisher rope Climb
Miranda on the Deads!
Molly Vollmer’s Sweet Garage set up!
Lindsey Valenzuela, Sam Briggs, ?, Molly Vollmer.
Hit my alma mater for 3 max effort miles with 3 min rest in between total time of work was 23:44 mile 1: 7:36, mile 2: 7:22 (PR) mile 3: 8:46 (death was near 💀👼). Hit a cool down lap then did a few sprints. You can get at lot done at 9:30 am no? #cardio #crossfit #run #ripped #runner #runners #running #runhappy #runtoinspire #train #time2run #trainhard #train #crossfitgames #crossfitendurance #endurance #wod #workout #workouttime
#Repost from @twan_thedonn —- #health #fitness #fit #Crossfitgames #crossfit #fitnessmodel #fitnessaddict #fitspo #workout #bodybuilding #cardio #gym #train #training #photooftheday #health #healthy #instahealth #healthychoices #active #strong #motivation #instagood #determination #lifestyle #diet #getfit #cleaneating #eatclean #exercise
I gotta show the homie Kendrick love!!! With a beast lift like this he is a true inspiration. #crossfit #olylift #olift #olympiclift #gainz #Repost from @kendrickjfarris —- 215kg/473lbs old personal best, more on the way! #BlessTheGym
Music by @theycallmekilla #TCMK
The chiseled abdominals and boulder shoulders you see on “that guy” in your gym may look impressive, but they won’t give him an advantage when he steps onto the field. The exercises that develop those “beach muscles” can even detract from one’s athletic ability, for a pretty obvious reason: The body is more than a collection of impressive-looking parts. An athlete must know how to move those parts fluidly. That’s far more important than how any one body part looks.
You don’t want to perform like Mr. Bodybuilder Guy, so you shouldn’t train like him. Unfortunately, many popular exercises were derived from bodybuilder-style workouts, and they work your “show muscles” more than the “go muscles” that tie those parts together.
STACK got in touch with some of the brightest minds in training—Lee Boyce, Alan Stein, Sean Hyson and Steve Grosso—to identify some showy moves that are wasting your time, or worse, hampening your development—so you can strike them from your workouts today. Here are six exercises they identified as the worst offenders, along with a more effective replacement for each.
6. Calf Raises
Why They’re Useless: ”Direct calf training is very misunderstood,” says Sean Hyson, fitness director of Men’s Fitness magazine and author of The 101 Best Workouts Of All Time. “Calf Raises build the calf muscles but make them more apt to ‘pump up’ when running and jumping. This is a problem, as pumped calves can be painful to play on and can slow an athlete down.”
What You Should Do Instead: “Athletes who let their calves develop naturally as a byproduct of squatting, jumping rope, and their sports training usually [perform] better,” says Hyson.
5. Decline Bench Press
Why It’s Useless: Sure, this one works. But it’s not especially useful for athletes. “[Decline Bench Presses] can help make muscles stronger or larger, but the move really doesn’t relate to sports,” says Lee Boyce, a Toronto-based trainer. “There are much more effective ways for an athlete to train the chest.” Think about it—in any game, when was the last time you had your knees bent, feet secured and back supported while you pushed an object upward? It just doesn’t happen.
What You Should Do Instead: Boyce recommends Standing Cable Presses (like the Standing Single-Arm Cable Chest Press), which offer a better approximation of moves you perform on the field or court, like pushing a defender away.
4. Leg Press
Why It’s Useless: Leg Presses “serve no functional purpose,” according to Steve Grosso, CSCS. “It strengthens some muscle groups, but [only] in a guided range of motion.”
What You Should Do Instead: Grosso suggests Single-Leg Rear-Foot-Elevated Split Squats. Athletic movements often require you to launch off one leg, and this exercise strengthens your ability to do that.
3. Bicep Curls
Why They’re Useless: You rarely ever pull anything with just your biceps. Most of the time, the larger and stronger muscles of your back are doing the majority of the work. The biceps just provide a little extra oomph. “Trainers tend to program Curls into an athlete’s regimen mainly as a way to keep him happy,” says Hyson. “In other words, guys like to do Curls, and bigger, more defined arms can contribute to a more intimidating look, which can give an athlete a psychological edge. But in terms of performance, they don’t help much at all.”
What You Should Do Instead: ”The Biceps Curl is not the most effective way to build strength in [that muscle group],” says Alan Stein, owner of Stronger Team and former strength and conditioning coach for the McDonald’s All-American Game. “You want big, strong biceps? Do some Pull-Ups!” Also, incorporate moves like the Dumbbell or Barbell Row.
2. Machine Leg Extensions
Why It’s Useless: It’s meant to build strength in your quadriceps, but like the other exercises on this list, it trains your muscles in a very limited range of movement. “[Leg Extensions] don’t serve much purpose as it relates to athletic function,” says Stein.
1. Smith Machine (Any Exercise)
Why They’re Useless: ”Even the most novice athletes should employ exercises that force them to control their body in space,” Grosso says. The Smith Machine doesn’t require you to do that. It takes moves that would ordinarily challenge your entire body—like the Squat and Deadlift—and strips them of much of their potency.
What You Should Do Instead: Use free weights for those big, challenging movements. Yes, they’ll be harder than they were when you were on the Smith Machine, but that’s kind of the point. If it feels too difficult, use a lighter weight.
An exercise may be popular and even recommended by some trainers, but that doesn’t guarantee it’s a good movement. In some cases, you need to eliminate what appears to be a staple exercise from your workouts because it’s not effective or may increase your risk of injury.
So, what’s on the chopping block? The Leg Extension.
The exercise is simple. You sit in a leg extension machine and extend your knees to straighten your legs against resistance. You know the saying,“Feel the burn?” Well, your thighs will be on fire.
The Leg Extension is found in a variety of workouts. Some athletes use it as an assistance movement on lower-body days to complement their big lifts. Gym-goers often perform it to get bigger, more defined quads. It’s also commonly used in rehab settings to regain quad strength after an injury.
So what’s the big issue? The exercise certainly builds bigger and stronger and quads, but the juice may not be worth the squeeze for athletes.
Stress on the Knee
During Leg Extensions, the resistance is located at the shins, just above the feet. This causes shearing forces on the knees, which means the force is experienced horizontally across the joint. Your body does not like this.
In most serious injuries, there’s some form of horizontal force—whether from a collision or momentum—that causes the injury. In the case of the Leg Extension, the ACL is the primary concern.
The ACL prevents your lower leg from sliding forward relative to your thigh. The Leg Extension directs its forces on the ACL. According to a study published in the Journal of Biomechanics, peak ACL tension was experienced during the Leg Extension when compared to the Squat and Leg Press.
The weight used may be light compared to an exercise like a Squat, but that doesn’t necessarily matter. A study in The American Journal of Sports Medicine found that increasing the resistance during the Squat did not increase strain on the ACL, whereas increasing the resistance during the Leg Extension did add strain to the ligament. The force is applied far from your knee, so if you’re using 100 pounds, your knee will experience a much greater weight. Also, your body is designed to handle the compressive force of a Squat, so lifting hundreds of pounds is not a problem.
A study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery confirmed this. The researchers found that movements like the Squat and Deadlift cause greater compression force and muscular activation, while movements like the Leg Extension produce greater shear force and minimum muscular activation.
If you read STACK, you know that for athletic performance, we emphasize building the backside of your body rather than the ‘show-me’ muscles on the front of your body. For example, even if you want to impress your friends with chiseled pecs, you need to focus your time working your back muscles.
The same can be said for your quads. There’s a temptation to want strong quads, because they’re the most visible indicator of leg strength. You rarely—if ever—hear someone say, “Hey, look at my jacked hamstrings!”
But, overdeveloped quads and the resulting imbalance with the hamstrings causes a slew of problems.
Your quads and hamstrings work together to protect your knees. The quads relieve stress on the PCL while the hamstrings relieve stress on the ACL. If your quads are too strong, your hamstrings won’t be able to do their job, and your ACL will be at risk—which is particularly problematic for female athletes.
Also, the hamstrings are absolutely critical for sprinting and changing direction. They play a role in pulling your body forward, and they also absorb momentum when you decelerate. If you have overdeveloped quads and weak hamstrings, you’ll be slow and more likely to get hurt.
It’s best to use exercises that are functional—meaning they help you achieve your desired goal, which should be to become a better athlete. The answer here is simple, Squat more! A study published in The American Journal of Sports Medicine found that the Squat caused greater hamstring and quad co-contraction than the Leg Extension.
Is the Leg Extension the worst exercise ever created? Absolutely not. Many people regularly perform it with no negative consequences. We could argue that some folks have overdeveloped quads and need to lay off Leg Extensions, but that’s a whole different story.
But for high-performance athletes, adding potential stress and compounding an already prevalent problem is neither ideal nor recommended. Stick with primary leg movements like Squats and Deadlifts to build strong legs. If you feel the need to specifically target your quads, try moves like Front Squats or Reverse Lunges. These are better options to achieve your goal.
Zheng, N., et. al. (1998). “An analytical model of the knee for estimation of internal forces during exercise.” Journal of Biomechanics, 31(10), 963-967.
Beynnon, B., et al. (1997). “The Strain Behavior of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament During Squatting and Active Flexion-Extension: A Comparison of an Open and a Closed Kinetic Chain Exercise.” The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 25(6), 823-829.
Lutz, G., et. al. (1993). “Comparison of tibiofemoral joint forces during open-kinetic-chain and closed-kinetic-chain exercises.” Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, 75(5), 732-739.
Boyd, M. L., et. al. (1996). “A Comparison of Tibiofemoral Joint Forces and Electromyographic Activity During Open and Closed Kinetic Chain Exercises.” The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 24(4), 518-527.
This guy is phenomenal! #Repost from @iwilson1894 —- 207kg/456lbs clean and jerk pr and unofficial jr American record @caffeineandkilos
Just sick! I pray to make it to the power monkey camp this fall. #Repost from @powermonkeyfitness —- Matrix Muscle Up @davedurante (photo by @shanegeraghty) #powermonkeyfitness #teampowermonkey #powermonkeycamp #rings #muscleup #crossfit #gymnastics #crossfitgymnastics
#Repost from @iwilson1894 —- “How @ooosorio gets strong”
He got tricks tho!