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Why is it that gymnasts never have to do a bicep curl to get big and strong biceps? How about weightlifters... you may not know it, but they NEVER do leg extensions, leg curls, leg press, or adduction/abduction exercises. Weight machines were designed by engineers to simulate the isolated movement of one muscle in your body. In real life, your body rarely uses one muscle at a time independently of all others. So while you may be getting bigger biceps, you are functionally less strong.
At CrossFit Farmland, you'll NEVER do a bicep curl or a leg extension. We choose exercises that make large demands on your nervous and muscular systems and require many muscle groups to work together synergistically. Body weight exercises challenge you to be strong and agile enough to be in control of your body (pull ups, dips, handstand push ups, push ups, etc). Weightlifting exercises require technique and skill, and call upon a large number of muscles in your body to work together at the same time (squat, deadlift, clean, jerk, snatch, kettle bell, etc).
Most gyms emphasize training on benches or with weight machines. They also have trainers teaching exercises originating from bodybuilding. They do this because it is "safe", easy, and requires little thought or effort outside the specific movement for which the machine or exercise was designed. Next time you're in your gym sitting in a weight machine, ask yourself, "How closely does this resemble a movement in real life?" How would it look to kick a ball from just your knee down or to take a drink out of a glass by moving just your forearm? Single joint movements (like those done with typical weight machines and traditional bodybuilding exercises) will isolate a specific muscle, however, rarely in life does our body activate isolated muscles without the support from others. As soon as you sit or lay down on a bench or machine, all of the balance, stabilization, proprioception, and accuracy functions that your body must use in normal activities of real life and sport completely shut down, their functioning unnecessary.
At CrossFit Farmland, most of what you will see when you come to the gym is open space. Our "machines" are free weights - to simply use them pick them up requires skill, balance, stabilization, proprioception, and accuracy. The skills and movements we teach are all functional and multi-joint (require movement across 2 or more joints in your body). These neuromuscular activities are commonplace in both life and in sport, and since our objective in training is to mimic both, we find that free weights, with proper instruction and coaching, do this best.
Exercising is something many people do to make themselves feel fit. You’ve seen examples of this: people on the treadmill reading the newspaper; a person moving through the machines, taking lots of breaks, talking to their trainer, looking hardly like they’re “working.” These people get to feel good about themselves because they’ve “checked the box” on their to do list labeled “workout.” These are also the people you see whose physiques never seem to change.
You will never see our clients doing "cardio" while sitting on a bike, reading a magazine. Nor will you see them "exercising" using a weight machine. Our workouts are intense - challenging you and your body to do things you never dreamt possible. They require you to be mentally alert, present and focused and will call upon your coordination, agility, strength, speed, endurance, stamina and flexibility. This is what we call "training" - and its purpose is to make improvements regularly in all areas of fitness.
When you step into most gyms, the first thing you usually see is a multitude of weight and cardio machines configured as closely as possible together to fit as many as possible into the space. Moving around without bumping into something is next to impossible. After you’ve found the little space that is available, you must squeeze between people, weight machines, off in the corner, or in the middle of a walkway. And forget about leaving your spot or bench or piece of equipment for more than 30 seconds – it will be taken by someone else. In this environment, athletic training is not only impractical, it is impossible.
At CrossFit Farmland, our emphasis is on space - space to move, to jump, to lift to balance, to climb, tumble, or in other words, train as an athlete, unencumbered by equipment, people and/or other “stuff” in the way.