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Old 02-04-2009, 05:00 AM   #21
Brian DeGennaro
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When we do do GHD situps we are trying to utilize the rectus femoris because it is a hip flexor as well as knee extensor, hence the powerful kick as we are in the most stretched positition.
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Old 02-04-2009, 06:07 AM   #22
Garrett Smith
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Brandon,
A machine leg curl is extremely different, neuromuscular patterning-wise, than a GHR. Being strong at one does not make someone strong at the other one (but I'd guess that strength in a GHR transfers a heck of a lot better to a machine leg curl than the other way around).

Also, if you watch the video from Coach Sommer above, his GHR is a compound movement that incorporates a back extension as well. Far thing from a leg curl.

The movement of a low-bar BS and a DL may look similar (minus the bar placement), but their neurological patterning is very different as well.

About the GHD sit-up, the need to consciously "kick" the legs straight to return to the upright position always seemed contrived to me. Yes it works, but my thought is, shouldn't the well-trained athletic person do it naturally? I've never seen anyone do it right their first rep without coaching.
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Old 02-04-2009, 06:13 AM   #23
Allen Yeh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Garrett Smith View Post
Brandon,
A machine leg curl is extremely different, neuromuscular patterning-wise, than a GHR. Being strong at one does not make someone strong at the other one (but I'd guess that strength in a GHR transfers a heck of a lot better to a machine leg curl than the other way around).

Also, if you watch the video from Coach Sommer above, his GHR is a compound movement that incorporates a back extension as well. Far thing from a leg curl.

The movement of a low-bar BS and a DL may look similar (minus the bar placement), but their neurological patterning is very different as well.

About the GHD sit-up, the need to consciously "kick" the legs straight to return to the upright position always seemed contrived to me. Yes it works, but my thought is, shouldn't the well-trained athletic person do it naturally? I've never seen anyone do it right their first rep without coaching.
To play devils advocate on the thing you said last, I don't know many people that were able to just hop onto a GHR and knock out reps correctly?
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Old 02-04-2009, 07:13 AM   #24
Garrett Smith
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I'd agree with you, Allen. The GHR is a very contrived exercise as well.
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Old 02-04-2009, 07:55 AM   #25
Peter Dell'Orto
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The GHR is a very contrived exercise as well.
Does that make it a bad exercise, though?

My experience with it has been that it's a great way to train my glutes, hamstrings, and even my calves (from that final "extend on the toes" to finish the movement). I did have to learn to do them correctly, but that applies to almost every exercise I've ever done. My first deadlifts were pretty ugly, too, nevermind my squat.

Maybe I just got off the functional wagon somewhere. I figure any exercise is okay, as long as it accomplishes something you need it to and does it better than the alternatives. The problem with most isolation exercises is that there is a better way to accomplish the same task. That doesn't make them universally bad. Just worth putting at the bottom of the toolbox - if nothing else gets you there, they're still available. You just don't start with them because they're too limited to be the basis of a routine.

Leg extensions seem to be so limited that they don't give you much strength for anything but leg extensions. So I avoid them because they don't do much; it's better to do squats or lunges. It's not that they are isolation, it's that they don't give you much benefit and possibly some problems.

Only my opinion.

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Old 02-04-2009, 08:45 AM   #26
Garrett Smith
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Peter,
I agree with most of what you're saying. This discussion is veering off a bit into the whole "functional" thing.

No exercise is inherently bad or useless. Do I think there are many more exercises that are less contrived, more "natural/functional", and in all likelihood more transferable to athletic activities than the GHR (or GHD sit-up for that matter)? Yes. Could it be towards the bottom of the toolbox, assuming I have several hundred dollars to spend on a gigantic piece of equipment that sits far down on the hierarchy? Sure.

Like expensive tools that only have a minimal range of uses, I'd likely go use someone else's on the rare occasion I needed it. I have a 70's era hyperextension / Roman Chair set-up that I bought on Craigslist for $50 that takes up half the space of a GHD that works just fine for what I need it to. Cheaper, pretty versatile, and much smaller footprint.

Many people's toolboxes are too small (see garage gyms), their tool budget isn't that big (heck, a whole set of bumpers and maybe a cheap bar can be had for the price of a good GHD), or their training time constraints don't allow them to utilize many of the tools that sit way at the bottom of the toolbox.

My priorities in exercise selection sit with these starting points:
  1. Feet and/or body are on solid ground (terrestrial-based)
  2. Hanging from something (arboreal-based)
  3. Supporting myself with my arms (could be either)
PL, OL, and gymnastics/calisthenic-based movements typically fit in one of those major categories. Contraptions that hold the body in place (especially by holding the feet), elevated above the ground, do not--hence they fall way to the bottom of my toolbox.
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Old 02-04-2009, 04:06 PM   #27
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Garrett, it never occured to me that you'd been referring as much to the equipment's utility as the exercise's utility. My apologies, and thanks for clearing up my confusion.

Although I think you can do glute-ham raises without the bench. Lucky for me I train at a gym where they have an EliteFTS GHR. They have also rigged up a bench to allow for floor GHRs. Even so I used to train at a gym with no such equipment - we'd do partner GHRs on the floor. So I think of the GHR apparatus as a way to do GHRs better, not do them in the first place.

My exercise selection criteria these days are "doesn't aggravate my injuries when I do it" followed by "gives me a positive, transferable training effect." Otherwise, it's all good. I do prefer exercises where I'm standing up or hanging from things, but I'm willing to entertain anything that works. GHRs work for me, leg extensions don't - the first makes me stronger in other exercises, the second makes me hurt and doesn't make me stronger in anything else. From everything I've read here and in Cressey's article about leg extensions, I'm not surprised at either result.
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Old 02-05-2009, 12:00 AM   #28
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I'm a bit late here but aren't leg extensions typically what we would classify as an assistance exercise? I would label the glute ham stuff as well except far more useful since most athletes tend to be quad dominant and ham weak.

the Sissy Squat. Interesting exercise. It reminds me of going from stand, back bending into a bridge and standing up in gymnastics. Balance might be tougher since it isn't done on the flats of the feet.
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Old 02-05-2009, 07:47 AM   #29
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Peter,
Re: the difference between floor GHRs and the "machine" GHR.

Floor GHRs are much cheaper and more accessible to a larger population. That being said, I don't think flexing/extending the knee while the patella is being pressured against the ground (whether or not on a pad) is a good idea. Sounds like a perfect recipe for chondromalacia patella to me.

If I was going to add GHRs to my routine, I'd only go with the "proper" machine set-up, with the pad sitting on the front of the thighs (no pressure on the patella at all).
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Old 02-05-2009, 11:05 AM   #30
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Quote:
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Peter,
Re: the difference between floor GHRs and the "machine" GHR.

Floor GHRs are much cheaper and more accessible to a larger population. That being said, I don't think flexing/extending the knee while the patella is being pressured against the ground (whether or not on a pad) is a good idea. Sounds like a perfect recipe for chondromalacia patella to me.

If I was going to add GHRs to my routine, I'd only go with the "proper" machine set-up, with the pad sitting on the front of the thighs (no pressure on the patella at all).
I used to do it on the ground with a funky setup. I loaded up a bar with 45's and some extra. I put some weights under it to keep the bar from moving from the wall. I wrapped 2 towels around the bar and had 4 mats to put my knees on. The setup worked just fine. No knee pain, except it's a hassle to setup, so I've stopped.

I also used to do it on a seated calf machine, which did cause some knee discomfort.
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