the year of the open-mind

by Billy Prusinowski

I have been a huge proponent of functional fitness for the past few years now, after sharing thoughts and tips with fellow personal trainers at my Gold’s Gym Santa Cruz (my former employer). Things like triple-extension movements (lifts where your ankle, knee and hip joints all involve themselves [like the CLEAN]) just seemed to make sense to me. When you do everyday things in life, like get into a car or roll out of bed or step into a bathtub, you definitely involve multiple joints and ranges of motion, so why not train that way?

My feelings on the above said still remain the same, though one thing has changed! I ended up making the transition from frequent machine workouts to more body-weight and barbell movements at a time when the machines honestly sucked. I remember doing seated lateral raises for the shoulder on machines that put stress on areas that shouldn’t have been getting targeted. I remember leg extension machines having their pads on very painful places along my legs. So many machines were designed poorly! I am referring to a period between 2002 and 2008 when I was working out at gyms that probably had purchased most of their equipment at least a decade previous, so my “beef” (more like “soy beef”…being a vegan and all) today is with the exercise science of the 1990s.

So, why am I writing this blog now in 2014? I happened to break my hand and end up in a cast for a month. My Team PlantBuilt CF training has taken a hiatus, since I cannot grab onto anything. Like most of you, I’d rather die than NOT TRAIN, so I acquired a temporary membership to a newly-renovated local gym called In-Shape, with lots of MACHINES! My hand does restrict a lot of what I can do, but I have tried a fair amount of their equipment since I’ve been going there and I must say, WOW- such an improvement in fitness equipment since the 90s. I felt comfortable doing triceps extensions. Seated lateral raises have an angled chest support and smaller seat so the movement is just right. Leg extensions have four separate adjustments to make in order to fit every body. I must say, someone in the fitness industry has finally done it right.

All of this being said, LOVE your exercise. Whatever you’re choosing to do- barbell or baseball, body weight or body building, it’s always better and more beneficial with a positive mindset. If you have been straying away from gyms and machines, maybe 2014 can be “the year of the open-mind” for you and you’ll plop down next to me on some machine at In-Shape or Gold’s Gym or Toadal Fitness and find yourself loving it! Happy training.

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