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Tuesday, June 6, 2023

High Intensity Exercise for the Masses

Brent Brookbush

Brent Brookbush


Panel Discussion: Exercise Police - Enough with the high intensity exercise for the masses!!!

(P90X, CrossFit, TRX, Battle-Ropes, Kettlebell Circuits, Insanity) Will we ever move to a new exercise paradigm that uses our advancements in human movement science and the quality of movement as the basis for exercise selection? If you are a trainer who uses these routines with the average gym goer, what am I missing?

Moderated by Brent Brookbush DPT, PT, MS, PES, CES, CSCS, ACSM H/FS

This Panel Discussion was originally posted on my facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/brent.brookbush - on January 22nd, 2012

Brent Brookbush, January 22 at 11:08am: Do you think we could match the "Extreme" with tough metabolic circuits constructed with exercises that improve the quality of human movement, rather than exercises that may result in injury?

Ryan Crandall, January 22 at 11:12am: Yes, I do…which is what I try to do.

Katherine Welch, January 22 at 11:14am: A lot of these systems aren't made for beginners, even though they advertise that they can be (one-size-fits-all). The at-home workouts (P90X and Insanity), can be altered for your fitness level, but so few people know how to properly regress certain exercises. Those specific tapes usually give examples, but without an outside source, people rarely know where their body is in space and how well they are actually performing the exercise.

A lot of people who are beginners ask me about CrossFit. I think it can be a great thing, if they are properly supervised and are only competing against themselves. It's when the ego gets involved and they want to just go faster, faster, heavier, heaver, without a good form base, that injuries occur. One of the reasons I can't stand CrossFit. It's not for beginners, it's for athletes.

Brent Brookbush, January 22 at 11:15am: So Ryan… Then it's just a question of marketing? How do we get better exercise selection out there.

Katherine Welch, January 22 at 11:17am: My concern about starting with clients, is meeting their expectations of having an "intense" workout. They see these modalities that you mentioned and want to feel that way after a workout, but many don't understand that they have to start at the beginning, and build a good "movement foundation". For clients who are in pretty good shape, keeping them interested during the stabilization period will require a little more learning and creativity on my part.

Brent Brookbush, January 22 at 11:19am: Hey Katherine… I think there is two issues here. #1 Often trainers will go to the workshops and learn the workouts that pertain to them, and not their clients. #2 Explain to me how you regress a kipping pull-up… I have to respectfully disagree on your comments about regression. There is exercises selected in both program that are simply bad choices. A regression of a bad exercise, is still a bad exercise.

Dave Maxwell, January 22 at 11:19am: Agreed

Ryan Crandall, January 22 at 11:21am: Great question Brent! My background is in rehab (PTA) and I'm a fellow of the Gray Institute(Gary Gray), so I do what I can one person at a time. I think it starts with education and an understanding of functional anatomy and physiology.

Gabriel GdmFitness Martinez, January 22 at 11:30am People are just bigger older versions of children… All they want to do is play play play so what can you do? Recently I have been training more groups and less one on one so you must understand when you train 10 people as opposed to 1 you must make sure to add exercises that the general population needs for their health like back extension, glute activation, shoulder stability etc.

Gabriel GdmFitness, January 22 at 11:31am: Martinez also in a group of 10 people it is highly unlikely that you will be curing someone's movement imbalance

Katherine Welch, January 22 at 11:31am: I agree about the regressions and choice of exercises. I've had CFers explain "the kipping pull-up", and still don't understand. I was thinking more along the lines of pushups, etc, proper exercises that you can do at home with regressions, but can be difficult to realize you aren't doing them correctly.

I've been working on taking myself out of the equation and focusing on exercises and techniques the client’s needs. I'm getting there but still learning :)

Ryan Chow January, 22 at 11:53am: The issue lies in what the consumer wants. The vast majority of people who work out only care about aesthetics. They don't care how they feel or the quality of their movement, they just want to look a certain way and those programs promise "quick results". So yes, it's about marketing. If you can convince people that they can have a six pack in just 45 mins a day, with better exercise selection, your approach will catch on to the masses.

Sabrina Marie Orlando, January 22 at 11:56am: At my gym, clients purchase 30 min sessions… And they get pretty pissed when I have them standing on one leg, foam rolling and stretching for the first 4 sessions, (until they learn to do it on their own). Most people at my gym only buy 12, 30 sessions… I feel like I have to just give them what they want, sweat and pain, to make them trust me in order to purchase more sessions, because that’s what THEY think is a good workout. I hate it! I lose sleep at night for doing it.

Brent Brookbush, January 22 at 11:57am: Hey Ryan, Gab, and Kat…

We definitely need to send a message to all human movement professionals, including the new personal trainer… It's not about you, it's about your client. I think if we can be successful in promoting that message than we can tackle Gab's problem… People just want to play… Here's the trick Gab… They don't know anything about exercise; if you tell them that bridges, resisted tube walking, squats, and cobras are fun, and then you get really jazzed about it, they'll get really jazzed about it too. Last, Ryan… of course we all need to practice our craft and are most helpful in the 1-on-1 environment, but we should also be setting aside some of our time to affect a larger audience. We have a national health epidemic on our hands… I think one of my biggest problems with the industry is that individuals like Jillian Michaels gets promoted over your mentor Gary Grey. Now, I have never seen Dr. Grey speak, and I don't agree with everything he publishes… maybe he is not great on camera, or maybe he refuses to create public friendly exercise, but the point is that there are dozens of professionals like Gary Grey, Mike Boyle, Eric Beard, Marty Miller, Rick Richey and myself that could do the public more justice.

Brent Brookbush, January 22 at 12:01pm: Hey Ryan and Sabrina,

I think we can do it all at once… make people sweat, get the aesthetic results they wish to achieve and make them move better. Here's the trick… it takes education, inginuity, practice, and most importantly a concerted effort. Although I am sure you both are well on your way to creating some incredible programs, I believe that too many professionals stop trying becuase it's "hard."

Sabrina Marie Orlando, January 22 at 12:12pm: I'll never stop trying… Because every now and I then, I get someone interested, and they tell a friend, who tells a friend! VIA LA REVELOUTION!

Ryan Crandall, January 22 at 12:12pm: We play!! Slacklines, ViPRs, games…Exuberant Animal, MovNat, and Outdoor TruFit Style! Agreed :-)

Jennifer Allen, January 22 at 12:13pm: It is tough. I teach group ex, I give the progressions and encourage people to stay in the first option and not progress until they can, many do not listen. Many are not taught correctly or even understands movement, I feel very conflicted at times with this. Coming up with a "safe" workout that can be fun and effective. I looking to run clinics on my gym to help people understand proper movement and progressions. I really like an extreme workout..,,,,

Jennifer Allen, January 22 at 12:57pm: For me being new to the business I need to surround myself with people who know more than me and who are grounded. I went to a huge fitness conference recently and I found it hard not to get caught up in the hype and go home and try it out with my classes. Any thoughts on movement in deep water?

Eyal Shaul, January 22 at 1:09pm: Sorry I didn't read everyone's post.

I hate being a libra cause I can go with so many different answers here. I agree with you Brent. Everyone is coming out with their extreme workout. Recently I saw a Certification for kettle bells and just today one for barefoot training. What's next dodging traffic in NYC?

What happened to basic exercise and progression. I see that one size doesn't fit all but everything can be modified to fit with a few adjustments to begin with. Now with all those infomercial exercise programs we all know that 90% of the people who buy this quit anyway. Everyone loves to want and people want that quick fix so the commercials con people into buying their product.

Laura DeAngelis, January 22 at 1:25pm: Brent - thanks for getting a debate started on a very important topic. Like Jennifer, I am one of the newbies to the personal training industry, but now that I have some actual knowledge of human movement science thanks to my studies, I am definitely of the mindset that people want too much too soon - and it's no different with their fitness routine. I worry when I hear about a friend who jumps into a 12-minute high-intensity workout they found on YouTube into the hopes of dropping lbs and "toning" up in 30 days. I know they're only increasing their risk of injury at some point - if not within the 30 days, at some point down the road. I have definitely tried to "teach" my new clients about the importance of stabilization endurance and why the exercises I'm having them perform are so crucial at this beginning stage of their training. I can only hope they continue to listen to me and look to the experts who've been at this much longer than me for advice on how to make that happen.

Ryan Crandall, January 22 at 1:25pm: How hard is it to get into PT school now Brent? Back in the mid 90's it was crazy crazy competitive.

Brent Brookbush, January 22 at 2:00pm: Hey Eyal and Laura, you bring up a great point. People forget that advanced training is just that - "Advanced." As in, you should have spent a fair amount of time learning the basics and progressing your exercise intensity and complexity. You can't skip the exercise level your at; but that does not mean that more exercise will not become available to you as you improve your level of physical conditioning. Many of the programs use power (explosive) exercises that place an extremely large amount of force on the body (F = M x A)… If the body is not prepared to efficiently dissipate that force it will create an excessive load on soft tissues. The unfortunate consequence of too much too soon is always injury. It's not a matter of "If", it only a matter of "When." Great Comments

Stephen Barrett, January 22 at 2:01pm: Great discussion here. Very prescient with what I see in my gym from some of our members and sadly some of our trainers! Jennifer, I think there is one hype you should stick to: your client(s). What they want to achieve and their current situation is key, their bodies (and minds) will dictate what they can do - you then have the potential and responsibility to guide them to achieve more. Use your knowledge and skills, packaged in language and explanations that resonate with them, to help them get there.

Brent Brookbush, January 22 at 2:05pm: Hey Ryan, It is crazy competitive. I was one of 28 students selected out of more than 300 applicants for the Hunter DPT program. I feel very fortunate to have made it this far in my education. I do not wish to deter anyone, however… There are smaller programs, and private institutions that do not attract as many applicants. If you want to continue your education there is always a way.

Brian Connors, January 22 at 2:15pm: ‎2) Does our athletic performance improve in specific movements if we train the same muscle group required for that movement by using a different movement?

Brent Brookbush, January 22 at 2:18pm: Yes… In fact, it is dangerous to load a movement pattern that closely mimics an athlete’s skill. There is more to human movement science than just force and load. There is timing, intramuscular coordination, intermuscular coordination, motor-unit recruitment, length/tension relationships, arthrokinematics, etc. The idea of simply loading athletic movements is a flawed idea that is no longer widely supported in the athletic community.

Stephen Barrett, January 22 at 2:31pm With Brian's comments in mind, I just wanted to add my own thoughts. Whatever movement, load, demand, energy system etc etc that you select for your client do you ask yourself how that selection was made? Profit, it looks cool, you just learnt it, or you're using scientific principles to help your client.

Gravityplus Suit, January 22 at 2:43pm: There is only one way to train for any specific movement. In training to perform any athletic movement you must use “Specificity of Training” techniques. Specificity of training implies that conditioning mirrors as much as possible that which occurs or is expected to occur in the competitive event. Absolute specificity is difficult to achieve and requires critical musculature to be activated at specific speeds, joint angles and under the metabolic conditions present in competition

Brent Brookbush, January 22 at 2:49pm: Nicely said Stephen

Kerry Wolf, January 22 at 2:51pm: My experience with the TRX and P90X workouts has been positive. Those types of workouts can be progressed and regressed to any fitness level. My job as a trainer is to identify my client's fitness level, ensure good form, and push them to their personal best.

Brent Brookbush, January 22 at 3:37pm Hey Kerry, If that is true, than would you say the problem is how they are marketed…

Kerry Wolf, January 22 at 3:45pm: Amazing marketing behind the success of those companies.

Brent Brookbush, January 22 at 4:10pm: So how do we get amazing marketing behind the amazing, credentialed fitness professionals who are pushing exercise science and human movement science forward.

Kerry Wolf, January 22 at 4:21pm: If done properly, the companies I mentioned do have good products. There are many gimmicks out there though!

Brent Brookbush, January 22 at 4:35pm: Please don't take this the wrong way, because I know in writing it is going to come across condescending… The products we are discussing are not great, they are not new, and they are certainly not innovative. We could go back to the 90's and find a handful of products that would easily fit the same mold. Further, with the advancements in human movement science, using a bunch of old exercises back-to-back to create masochistic workouts is simply not good enough anymore. "It is not enough to move more, if you can also move better." From where I am standing, in the thick of a few dozen incredibly experienced, well-educated, and dynamic educators trying to figure out how to affect change… it hurts to watch some of these products get pumped. Everyone of them could give you what you love about these products, with exercise selection that will not only break a sweat, but improve the way you move, how your body functions, and reduce the risk of injury. It reminds me a little of when I was a Jazz musician and you have incredibly talented professionals like Kenny Garrett, Chris Potter, and Richard Bona who have not only popular appeal but are advancing the music, and instead Kenny G sells a million "jazz" albums for simplistic sax music that isn't even Jazz.

Kerry Wolf, January 22 at 5:36pm: Good jazz analogy Brent :) I'll keep your points in mind….

Brent Brookbush, January 22 at 5:39pm: Thanks Kerry, I am going to have to remember that analogy for the next time I teach an NASM workshop. Analogies, stories, and pictures do not get enough credit in education. Thanks for standing on the other side of the fence… Those programs can be made into really effective exercise strategies, but it is pretty rare that I actually see the effort put in to make that happen. I think it goes back to some of the stuff we were talking about at the beginning of the discussion.

Eyal Shaul, January 22 at 5:53pm: The sad part is that the gyms just want money so trainers will do anything to keep their jobs to pay their bills ignoring the importance of corrective strategies. These products on tv don't care about training correctly and are sold for money not to better the health industry. Trainers will endorse anything that will make them more money. I've seen trainers copy other trainers who are raking in the dough. Many of these trainers use some kind of gimmick or product to do so. Many of these trainers have college degrees and are or at one point were athletes. So sad! Some of the best trainers are actually the newbies who got into the field for the love of fitness and the passion to help others. I recently stopped training clients due to the pursuit of a different career. I'm still certified and I help people at my gym when I see them doing something wrong. It's crazy how when you offer your services for free people don't believe you but when you charge them an arm and a leg they listen. What is wrong with people?

Now look at the biggest loser. It's a show that actually encourages you to get fat to get on tv so you can lose weight and make $$$

How about if they got nothing!!! How long will that show last?

And now they endorse all kinds of garbage.

Someone needs to come out with a reality show about fitness products and how they work or don't work.

I can go on all day

Kyle Stull, January 22 at 6:38pm: Great discussion here.. The other day, a trainer from the club I work at approached me after talking to a member about her "high intensity" work-out routine. She had told him, that genetic tests show she responds better to high intensity exercise. I am not familiar with this particular type of genetic testing, but hey, there is a lot out there I don’t know. The discussion we had was about periodization and progression, she said "your genetics don’t change, therefore the exercises don’t need to change". Then, we hit on the different response of muscle fiber types and all soft tissue to stress. Her response was "your genetics don’t change, therefore the exercises don’t need to change". I was dumbfounded to be completely honest. Brent, do you have experience with what she is referring to?

Katherine Welch, January 22 at 6:43pm: Never heard that one before…My genetics don't change, does that mean my nutrition doesn't have to change as I get older? Pretty sure if I ate now what I did when I was little, I would be a little heftier

Eyal Shaul, January 22 at 6:55pm: Well scientist say you have X amount of type I and II so you'd be more dominant toward certain exercises and sports but I actually have seen this can be slightly altered though hard consistent training. Of course in a safe manner with proper rest and nutrition and in some cases certain supplements.

Brent Brookbush, January 22 at 7:14pm: Wow, interesting little turn… We need to be careful not to jump from one aspect of physiology to another. As you get older your genetics do not change (atleast in anyway that is good, purposeful, or orderly… save this weird telomere reduction with replication - nothing to do with exercise). I think someone is trying to make a quick buck off a buzzword "genetics". As far as your nutrition changing… remember that organ function will change with age and this may or may not have to do with genetics. Because I produce less T4 as I get older and my metabolism slows down does not mean that my genetics have been rewritten. It may mean that the Thyroid gland is running out of "juice" - the cells that produce T4 do not repair, replicate, or produce as well as they did when we were young. I don't really think there is anything relevant in exercise science in regard to exercise selection and genetics, and I am willing stake a large bet that there is nothing there currently.

Katherine Welch, January 22 at 7:33pm: Ah, I was being sarcastic. Perhaps I should've have said that differently. Sorry

Yusuf Boyd, January 23 at 7:55pm Interesting discussion….Not a fan of P90X/Insanity for obvious reasons. As for ropes, TRX, and KB's…I use them all the time in every phase from stabilization to power. I feel the problem is not the products but the application which is why this is a very important topic. Stephen B. posed a great question and I will simply 2nd it and wont get into genetics :-)

Brent Brookbush, January 23 at 8:50pm I agree that the TRX, battle ropes, and kettle-bells are not the problem, however, we have to be careful in our selection of equipment as well. The TRX is advanced stability training now matter how you cut it, the ropes are not well suited for strength or stability, and kettle bells are probably most useful in a power phase. They are great pieces of equipment when used with discretion. I think too many people try and make great equipment fit a mold it is not well-suited for… making it bad equipment. For example -kettle bell stability workouts. How about using the best piece of equipment for the exercise you selected. If I need to do a front squat, I'll choose a kettle bell, if I need to increase power output in my upper-body I'll choose the ropes, if I need to increase shoulder stability the TRX is great…. however, it I need to increase my vertical they all suck… I am going to grab a plyo-box :-)

Jyoti Shekhar, Tuesday at 12:17pm: I get inter vertebral disc injury cases more often because of heavy weight training sessions in gyms. I think, getting a proper medical history before getting an individual into fitness training must be essential. Biomechanical analysis and genetic background should also be noted.

Maurice D. Williams, Wednesday at 4:19pm: Great discussion. This same dialogue took place about a year ago on an NSCA linked in discussion group. As an educated fitness professional and advocate of progression (particularly w/ NASM's OPT model), I agree with just about all of you. However, I'm also a Beachbody fitness coach who also promotes P90x and the rest of Beachbody's products. Here's the reason why, the company is really dedicated to reversing the obesity epidemic in this and soon to be other countries. I don't necessarily agree with all their fitness products, however they've consulted people like us about most of their products. Did you know that Dr. Mike Clark endorsed P90x? If you don't believe me, then check out the webinar he did entitled: "Working the OPT Model: Any Type, Any Modality, Anybody." You can find it on the HFPN site under webinars. Let's face it, a lot of people either don't want to work with us nor listen to us talk our "fitness science", nor belong to a gym, etc.. I decided I'll meet then where they are and that's exactly what I've done. I'd suggest you check out the company and see that they truly are dedicated to fitness, not just another quick buck or fancy workout plan. The owners, Carl Deikler and John Cogdon are really cool guys and I bet they'd appreciate our concerns about some of their fitness programs. Perhaps we should reach out to them directly…Better yet, ask Dr. Mike Clark why he chose to endorse P90x?

Jonathon Schetzsle, Wednesday at 4:39pm: Almost all of the above can be modified appropriately. I'm not sure exactly what 'average gym goer' exactly means, though. How often are they regressed to meet the client at their current fitness level? That's a whole other topic, but it's not just black and white. Personally, the science is a much needed tool to health professions across the board, but I feel like the ART of personal training is often overlooked. All this science doesn't mean shit if we as trainers can't take the scientific rationale for whatever tools and approaches we choose to use and make it our own.

Katherine Welch, Wednesday at 5:21pm: Welch ‎@ Maurice- Thank you for posting about the webinar, interested in watching it!

danielbryanfitness Again I believe that it comes down to our integrity and our ingenuity like Brent said earlier. We need to be more accertuve in our educational approach towards the masses. I'm sure insanity is in some form effective for a highly trained athlete, maybe the likes of Lionel mess I or derrick rose, but certainly not for average Joe. Its all marketing trying to sell us a product based on quality and features and not about the importance of why it exists. A lot of classes today breed awful movement. One of my clients said she went to this new "toning, sculpting and shaping" class, yes guys apparently we can tone tone tone!! And she showed me an exercise they made her do which was the devils spawn in my eyes. A squat with one foot elevated on a step and said foot planter flexed…HUH!!…I then advised my client…..she never went back :-) . I would like to ask everyone's opinion on this Tabata? I know its not an entirely new phenomenon, but it has now gone commercial and is being backed by universal ( which is to make it seem more credible) but it seems like we should let average joes give it a wide birth? Would like to know what everyone's views are on this? Dan

August 02, 2013, 07:35:17 AM

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