PHYSICAL THERAPY

Training movements or muscles? – Mike Reinold


In this episode of the #AskMikeReinold show, we discuss whether or not we should straighten out isolated muscles or focus on more “functional” movement patterns. To see more episodes, subscribe and ask questions, go to mikereinold.com/askmikereinold.

#AskMikeReinold Episode 226: Movement or muscle training?

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Show Notes



Transcription

Mike Reinold:
The first question comes from John from California. What’s up, John? John says, “I recently saw an online forum where people were wondering if we should choose exercises based on movement and not just muscle. I wanted to hear Champion’s thoughts on this issue. Thanks. “So does anyone know what John is talking about?

Mike Reinold:
Like, like the forum, I mean.

Mike Reinold:
Yeah. So I saw this forum too. Dan, did you say you saw him?

Dan Pope:
Well, I haven’t seen the exact forum. I think this argument has been around for a few decades, and at least I saw it initially in the world of strength conditioning. And what I think they are talking about, maybe I am wrong, is that there is this idea that one is more superior to the other. And that’s kind of general strength conditioning versus bodybuilding. Bodybuilding had a terrible rap. And Diwesh and I were talking about it the other day. We’ve kind of been fed this idea by reading testosterone.net, T nation, T mag, different names over time. If you train muscle groups, you are doing it wrong. The body is a system of systems. All muscles are supposed to move together. And if you’re just training moves, you’re going to be training whatever you need.

Dan Pope:
And the funny thing is that it created that feeling of elitism, I think, in the strength conditioning community, to the point where people were afraid to train their arms and afraid to train, their calves. . It became hips, a posterior chain, and that’s about it. We train all of these movements, but we don’t really care about muscle groups.

Dan Pope:
I could complain about this for a long time, but at least I know for myself, from a rehabilitation and injury prevention standpoint, we know that building a muscle group helps a lot. This will help prevent things like strain injuries to the hamstrings. I don’t think I train my calves for about 10 years and end up with chronic calf strains and Achilles issues with myself. And now I’m turning it over completely. I’m just isolating my calves three, four days a week because I’ve spent so much time trying to just work on the movements. So I think those two things have merit and that we probably shouldn’t get stuck in one category or the other.

Mike Reinold:
So I think all listeners and viewers want to know, how are the calves doing?

Dan Pope:
Oh, they are terrible. They are tiny. They may be an inch taller after five years of training two, three times a week. Maybe at 90, I’ll look like Tilley.

Mike Reinold:
I think you’ve just proven the point the other way around that maybe isolated training doesn’t work, but it’s okay. Funny, everyone wants to talk about biceps and calves. It’s like the two that always get, I think they’ve got the … It’s the non-functional crowd. It’s not functional. I think that’s where I tend to get the most heat or debate, I guess.

Mike Reinold:
So yeah, I mean, I saw this post in a forum last week. It was a group of sports physiotherapists, and they kind of talk about it. And wow, this debate got big. It lasted a long time. I mean, people were writing thesis type articles. And that really surprised me because can you say that an isolated strengthening exercise for, say, Dan’s calf is [inaudible 00:00:04:55]. It is therefore a movement. So maybe our problem is we’re saying training moves, not muscles, but isn’t that a toe-up motion? Who wants to talk about the function of getting on the toes or whatever, or flexing the elbow? I don’t know, has anyone thought of this? Have I been shaking brain waves at someone?

Lenny Macrina:
I hear it a lot because I tend to participate in a lot of ACL discussions. So the big deal is, are you doing knee extension exercises after ACL? Never the full range of motion versus the limited range of motion, but are you just doing an isolated knee extension to get an isolated quadriceps exercise? I would say yes. What is the best way to isolate the quad? Make the extension, but people say it’s not working. How often do you do a heavy knee extension during the day?

Lenny Macrina:
Well if you really want to isolate the quad and get the quad as strong as possible, and you’re doing squats and lunges and deadlifts and whatever is going to help make that easier then I think it’s the best way to do it. The best way to test the strength of the quad is to do an isokinetic extension test. This is our best way. We don’t necessarily measure in other ways. We are trying to measure isometric contraction or isokinetic contraction.

Lenny Macrina:
So I’m still in the camp like Dan. I think most of us are, or we are all in our group. It’s a mix of both. You do isolated stuff and you also do movement type stuff. I think it’s just kind of common sense. I do not understand this debate, why it still persists.

Mike Reinold:
I do not know. Does everyone love to debate?

Lenny Macrina:
Yeah, at this point, yes. Social media is fair [inaudible 00:06:35].

Mike Reinold:
This particular forum too, probably none of them listen to this podcast, but this particular forum it’s like they’re having a hot time of the week, which is like [crosstalk 00:06:46] telling them I didn’t. I mean, maybe that’s how we’re supposed to grow as a profession. I do not know. It’s fair, but it’s like, hey, let’s all throw something up and chat about it for a week. I do not know. Maybe that’s good. Right. I do not know. Yeah. Anyway, I’m going to stop talking about this. But I do not know. I mean, I would love to hear some other thoughts here. I think Lenny and Dan said it very well. I think you spoke very well about the importance of both. I do not know. Maybe throw it to Diwesh, who is our fitness director at Champion, but do we, for us …

Mike Reinold:
I think when someone comes to you healthy, we are going to write them a program that trains movement models, because we want to improve their function, and work more movement models to some extent. But if somebody has an isolated weakness of a muscle, like Lenny sort of said, then we’re going to isolate it as well, strengthen that muscle. Then I do not know. Can you explain our approach to us? If you get someone to take an assessment and you see they have weaknesses, maybe they can’t do a rude movement pattern. What would you do?

Diwesh Poudyal:
Yeah. I mean, we definitely isolate when we need it. Right. I think what Lenny and Dan said about both, that 100% applies to PT and fitness. Obviously we’re here to improve performance, and if that means isolating the hip extensors a bit more and the hip REs a bit more, that’s fine. And then on that same point listen, if someone comes in and says, one of my big goals is that I want to have bigger arms because it’s gonna make me feel better, yeah we’re gonna isolate the biceps and the triceps. I don’t think I’m going to go to jail for doing this.

Mike Reinold:
Yeah. I mean, if someone is an athlete and they come to see us at Champion, we’re going to look at the movement patterns they need to be successful. And we’re going to make those movement patterns as strong as possible. But if they also need an isolated reinforcement of an area that is a bit late, then yes, there is no reason not to include it.

Mike Reinold:
So Dave, what do you think? I’m dying to hear your thoughts here. I know you even hold us back.

Dave Tilley:
Yeah. I see that on the side of… Obviously, I came on the side of rehabilitation, so it was more in that context at first, but now I think about it even more in performance, kind of what everyone says. is if someone comes with a goal performance or has a history of maybe a lower training age, in particular, say they want to improve in running or jumping. These are compound movements that require a lot of different things to work out well, but if you have an isolated muscle that’s significantly weaker than the rest of that entire limb or arm or whatever, that’s probably going to be the limiting factor. speed for someone. had a performance.

Dave Tilley:
If someone has extremely underdeveloped hamstrings because they haven’t trained it before, it’s just a dominant quad program or in Dan’s case, maybe they don’t. just haven’t directly trained their calves. Well, we know that running is a significant amount of [inaudible 00:09:42] activity. And we know that to jump you have to really do well [inaudible 00:09:44], hamstrings, glutes, ER, whatever. So whether it’s someone who just isn’t going any faster or jumping higher, or if someone keeps having hamstring adjustments or whatever, I think we know d ‘after the research available now that a lot of it depends on the workload and capacity.

Dave Tilley:
So if someone has extremely strong quads and extremely strong calves, let’s say they’re like Dan, they train three times a week, but they never do hamstring specific workout, well , the thinking process is, okay, are you just going to do separate squats and compound movements to try and practice? It doesn’t really make sense. If your car has problems and the engine is the problem, don’t change the muffler, don’t change everything else. Try to focus on the one problem, then work on all of the pieces. So yeah, I’ve always thought of that in a rehab context, but I think in performance, for some reason sprinting and jumping makes more sense to people than other areas, but yeah.

Mike Reinold:
Yeah. So let me run it, we could even ask Mike Scaduto or Lisa to come over here, someone like that, but let’s say rowing, for example. Rowing is very … So I don’t know enough about the biomechanics of rowing, but for me, if you think about it, it’s a triple extension to a certain extent. So when you see someone paddling, we have two options, I guess, if we’re going to use that rowing analogy. We can only make a complex, multi-jointed line, and that’s the most functional thing for them. Or we can break down that triple stretch and even more than that and say, well, two of your triple’s are really strong and one is a little weak. Let’s increase your performance by focusing on that one thing and isolating it.

Mike Reinold:
Isn’t that what we all do? It looks like we would. I don’t know, Lisa, Mike? I do not know. Lisa, I would love to hear what you think of a rower. How many times does a rower come in and you see a gap like that, where there’s a part of the equation that is weak that is maybe pathological or just weak or in some way?

Lisa Russell:
Probably 95% of the time. I don’t think a rower has let me know yet that there isn’t some sort of deficit, even thinking about that triple stretch chain. They’re just real rowers, have I seen some really good activation through the whole chain this way. And even then, there are usually parts that are better than others. So when we talk about performance, you always focus more individually on a group or muscle to make everything work better.

Lisa Russell:
Yeah, I mean, like everyone’s talking about it, I was really like, I really don’t think I’ve worked with an athlete yet who wouldn’t benefit from more isolated training to improve the whole situation. Even though they’re usually a strong person or a healthy person or a good engine, there’s usually something you can improve their explosiveness or overall stability or something by isolating them. For rowers, for example, we move forward and backward. We never move side by side. So the second you ask anyone to move side by side, there are deficits. And working on those, whether rotating or sideways, improves their ability to move forward and backward, so I don’t think it’s ever useful to isolate things.

Mike Reinold:
I have arrived. And I think that’s kind of the key for me, is making sure that we break down all of these activities. A functional movement has isolated components. So interesting. Diwesh, did you have anything else to add? [crosstalk 00:13:23] Lenny is a real microphone.

Lenny Macrina:
I was going to say, I feel like we’re talking into a vacuum. We only do one thing, and then that’s the only thing we do. You know what I mean? There is a progression, there are months of weight training going on. At some point you are going to be doing isolated things. And then you move on. You don’t always do knee extensions. I mean, I do a lot of knee… I do a little after an ACL. They do the extensions from start to finish, but we’re talking into a vacuum. There is a progression, a regression, there is always a fluid dynamic. To talk about these extremes, it just doesn’t make sense.

Mike Reinold:
Yeah. [crosstalk 00:00:14:02]. It makes sense. Sorry, Mike, go ahead.

Mike Scaduto:
I think that’s a great point that Lenny just made. I mean, if we are looking at, from a rehabilitation point of view, especially after the operation, it can be a little clearer what the deficits are. Obviously folks, pretty much everyone comes out of an ACL rebuild with a weak quad. And part of our goal as a physiotherapist is to prepare them for more functional movements in the gym. So we have to spend this time doing the isolated strengthening of the quad. Otherwise, they will never be able to tolerate an interval squat or a heavy front squat or something like that. So I think it’s a continuum that depends on where the person is that will change the focus on what we do. But I think it’s obviously a component of both and all of the training principles combined into one progressive plan.

Lenny Macrina:
Dude, that sounded smart. Heard the continuum and… Dude, good. That’s what I was trying to say.

Mike Scaduto:
I wanted to throw a few swear words there.

Mike Reinold:
It was… your dichotomy of your paradigm shift story was pretty conclusive.

Mike Scaduto:
In fact, if someone is watching the YouTube version, you can’t see my mouth moving. So it wasn’t even me speaking. Someone else said that.

Mike Reinold:
So Mike is wearing a mask because he’s at work right now, but it’s funny. You pre-recorded it earlier today and just hit play. It took you 10 takes. It’s awesome.

Mike Scaduto:
Reading a teleprompter.

Mike Reinold:
Diwesh, do you want to end this with final thoughts?

Diwesh Poudyal:
Yeah, I think I have a little closing remark. I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that people think that when we start talking about isolated training, that’s all that happens. And that’s a big percentage of our training. If I look across the board for all of the programs that we have for the fitness side of our things, then we probably do isolated movements for 5-10% of our training. The remaining 90%, we make great major movement models that are functional in quotes, if we still use that term.

Diwesh Poudyal:
But I think people don’t care that if we start talking about training alone, that’s all we do. . But if I look through the chart, we have athletes who will be doing an isolated rotator cuff strengthening, they will do flapper variations, or they will work on hip rotators. It’s all there, but it’s a small percentage of our overall training. It’s just a small piece of the puzzle. And I think that’s the most important thing that came to my mind.

Mike Reinold:
Yeah, that makes sense. It kind of goes with what Lenny said too. I’m betting you on our take on an injured person, especially on the specter of their injury, perhaps acutely. We do 80% insulated and 20% integrated reinforcement. And then it starts to really change. I guess the debate goes down is, if you literally only do a knee extension for 12 months after ACL reconstruction and that’s it, but who the hell is doing that? Nobody does that. So man. I do not know. I think we’ve resolved the debate here today, everyone.

Mike Reinold:
But no, I don’t know. I think we bring a good perspective. I think the problem is not necessarily concept related. The problem probably lies in the debate itself, is that it is a bogus debate on something that we don’t even really debate. It’s an integration of all of these things. So I always say that. I mean, actually, I posted this in the forum, but it’s like, listen, we are strengthening the isolated weakness and training the movements. So maybe that’s another concept too, reinforcement or training. Training is that I want someone to be faster, stronger, more powerful in a certain pattern of movement. While I want someone to be isolated strong in Dan’s calves. So something like that. This is how we would put it all together. So I train Dan’s vertical jump and Dan is going to isolate to strengthen his extremely small calves that he has. So if you’re trying to put it all together, that’s our debate.

Mike Reinold:
Hope this helps. If you have questions like this, go to the website, go to Mikereinold.com. Click on this podcast link. And you can keep asking. Everything you want to talk about is related to these types of things, hopefully. And in the future, go to iTunes, Spotify, rate us and rate us. And we’ll see you in the next episode.



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