F & F: Integration
This week on F & F we look at yet another completely misunderstood term that trainers throw out there to the industry: integration.
Integration simply put is:
“an act or instance of combining into an integral whole” – Dictionary.com.
What happens is that most trainers out there have misunderstood this simple explanation and have divided the training regiments and modalities because of this misunderstanding. This week we will look at the number one misconception and break it down, why? Simply put if you can understand that nothing in the human body can be isolated and everything is integrated then that opens a ton of new possibilities in your training regiment, no matter what you do.
So, what is this misconception?
Well, machine workouts isolate the muscle and movements like squats, deadlifts and such integrate more muscles.
Before I continue, I need to clarify that there is some truth to this squat, for example, really does require more muscles to be “on” and do more work in comparison to a seated leg extension but the seated leg extension does not “isolate” the quads, not by a long shot!
Let’s continue and use these two movements moving forward.
The squat is one of the most “involved” movements that we do (next year there is a 52-part series on how involved it really is so stay tuned!) it uses every muscle in your body to perform this movement, so 100% of the training world believe that it is the best movement to do as a whole-body exercise. And, everybody is correct.
Now here is where it becomes a little dicey, 95% of all the trainers out there believe that a seated leg extension “isolates” the quads. This is no where near the truth. Not even close. The seated leg extension machine allows the user to focus more attention to the quads by giving you (the user) more stability on your spine, hips, and upper leg (femur), but your shin muscles still have to engage, your feet/ankle/toe muscles still have to engage, your trunk/chest/back/arm head and neck muscles still have to work or you will dislocate a joint because of Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion (Every action requires an equal and opposite reaction) still applies. And, the heavier you go the more these muscles must work for this specific reason. So even during a movement such as this where the majority of the joints are supported, your body still has integrate other “pieces” so you do not get hurt.
But, it doesn’t only apply to seated leg extensions, this applies to everything and anything that you do from getting out of bed, to whatever you do at work, to whatever you do on the gym floor. Your body works as one unit, the amount of support is what we should be looking at, and how to get more integration from supporting muscle groups or joints while preforming said movement. Simply put, the more joints, and muscle groups that we can “integrate” (I’m using that term very loosely) the safer we will be as the more muscles that control that joint in said movement will be “on” and know how to work properly. Which will lead to a long, healthier, happier joint structure, and less problems down the road.