Workshop, Debate, PR Friday

Atlanta Workshop – March 5th

The first 70’s Big Workshop of 2011 is scheduled for March 5th in Alphaertta, GA just north of Atlanta. This will mark version 3.0 of the workshop, and I’m busily working on improving the lectures, presentation, and material. The workshop consists of various lectures on strength training, yet will focus on programming for both strength and conditioning. We’ll have a laid back training session followed by a hearty dinner at a local restaurant (I’ll be drinking beer, too). If you are interested, then e-mail me at for sign up information. More details will be provided via the site and the Facebook Fan Page.

Workshop in Amarillo, April 2010


There was a debate raging yesterday on Facebook on whether pull-ups or chin-ups were superior. My stance has been that they are both equally important for shoulder strength and health because of the difference in the angle of the humerus. The chin-up (done with a supinated forearm) has the humerus pointed forward while the pull-up (done with pronated forearm) has the angle of the humerus anywhere from 45 degrees in front of the direction the torso is facing to perpendicular to the direction the torso is facing. The subtle difference will stress the various shoulder extensors differently, and thus both are equally important to maintaining and strengthening a healthy shoulder.

The debate raged with arguments of which had more musculature involved and which had more biceps involved. One party even repeatedly claimed chin-ups were “gay”. This study was even cited as research proof that biceps involvement isn’t all that different between a pull-up or chin-up (we’ll find why this study is very fucking irrelevant below). For your entertainment, I have provided my comments on the issue. I’ve left out the debate and mentioning the other participants on purpose so that they don’t have to deal with all of you stalking them like I do.

Comment 1:
1. Chin-ups aren’t gay.
2. Someone needs to make a compelling argument with a stellar mechanical analysis to point out that the lats are NOT extending the shoulders as well during the chin-up.
3. Neither chin-ups nor pull-ups are better th…an the other. They just are.
4. Both movements train the shoulder musculature differently because of the angle of the humerus when doing the movements.
5. Thus, they are both important

Comment 2:
Regarding that study, I have to pick it apart like I did in the writing assignment of my GRE:

1. Machines were used in the study, which has an irrelevant representation of a body weight controlled movement.
2. Machines also make the study ga…y.
3. The average weight of the MALES was 78.25kg (~172 lbs.). The average height was about 6′ tall. These “males” are pussies, and that makes the study gay.
4. Each “maximal voluntary contraction” test done with electrodes on the skin were three seconds of isometric contraction against an immovable object. Not only is this fucking irrelevant to real world training, but isometrics are gay.
5. They then used two reps of ten second isometric contraction at the completion of the movement for each exercise (exercises were wide grip pull down, reverse grip pull down, and two variations of the seated row). Again, the machines are irrelevant, but so are these measures. Gay.
6. Most importantly, there were only 12 subjects in this study. That can hardly be generalized to any population other than weak, pussy males, much less to everyone. Furthermore, the exercises that were used in the study are irrelevant to significant and effective training, so the point is moot anyway.
7. The majority of the people working on this study were from the undergraduate program, so the study and results aren’t that compelling anyway.

Comment 3:
I’m not mocking [the dude who posted the study] for citing the source, I’m mocking the fucking ineptitude in the Exercise Science community in studying irrelevant bullshit topics. Why even ask this as a research question? If you know anatomy, and do a mechanical analysis of how structures effect a movement — given the change in those structures relative to the joints and relative positioning to one another — then you can come to a pretty compelling conclusion without all this rhetorical bullshit. Furthermore, this line of study is so weak, nobody is gonna give a fuck to repeat the study, much less with varying populations. Even if we HAD seen a change in biceps involvement, or any other muscle involvement, we already know what does or doesn’t make a strong shoulder girdle. And even if we didn’t, it’s logical to work it from many different angles to ensure that the structures are as strong as they can be so that they can withstand the forces of other movements, whether they be lifting or otherwise.

But I guess you all are really focused on this topic because you don’t have fantastic biceps like me.

PR Friday

Post your training PR’s or updates to the comments. I am probably going to the beach this weekend, so you northerners can imagine me in a speedo as you tread through snow.

54 thoughts on “Workshop, Debate, PR Friday

  1. @matttruss223

    I have a busy schedule. There are always constraints…time, etc. so everything is a choice. I DO have to choose certain exercises over different ones. I can’t spend an eternity in the gym doing every exercise under the sun. During the week, I usually don’t even do assistance exercises so that means no curls OR chins. You should tell me your secret where you can add hours to your day to allow you to not have to choose exercises but simply do them all. That would help me out a lot. It would probably help everyone who goes to read 70’s Big too.

    Strength gained from chins WOULD transfer to climbing a wall, but pull ups emphasize back muscles better. Those larger back muscles are better at moving your body than your biceps. A similar idea is using a wider grip in the bench press rather than a close grip bench press to use the chest more rather than relying on the smaller arm muscles.

    Again, I”m real fucking bored of this discussion, but I need to point out this glaring issue:

    Just because the biceps are “included more” in the chin-up doesn’t meant that the back muscles decide to go to sleep. The shoulder still needs to extend, and the extensors do that. The scapulae need to retract and depress, and the related muscles do that. The back is still working during the chin-ups. It may be acting differently, but it would be the same muscles differently. Not fewer muscles.

    And trying to belittle your opponent with a remark about the hours of the day is irrelevant, snide, and boobish. I’d dock you points if I was grading you.


  2. Monday – squat, bench/press, chin/pull-up

    Wednesday – squat, press/bench, pull/chin-up

    Friday – squat, bench/press, deadlift, back ext/good mornings.

    EZPZ – alternate pull ups and chins. I manage to work both in with 2 kids, an hour commute to and from work and so on and so forth. Or another technique I employ is hanging one of those door mounted pull-up bars in a doorway in the house. I’ll just walk by and crank out 10 or so chins/pull-ups here and there, a great way to mix them into a busy day.

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