One Question, Many Answers #5

Okay, so I have been busy, very busy, taking more licensure tests, and move across the country, but I have managed to put together some new content! Well, I did not really have to do anything except shoot out an e-mail, but I’ll take some of the credit. I have to say that out of all the OQMA’s I have had the pleasure of moderating, the responses to this one are the most enjoyable so far.

I asked, “In your opinion, which one ‘fad’ in the rehab, strength and conditioning, or fitness industries deserves to be forgotten (even though almost all “fads” should be forgotten?”

Watch this first

Or this

Oh yeah, and this takes the cake (listen to the commercial without video for more laughs)

This one is cleared by the FDA!

Patrick Ward – P90x.  A generic program that emphasizes metabolic work (reps or timed sets) rather than quality movement.  While some may be motivated by this program and some have probably seen results, I think that programs like this need to be scaled back as quality movement should govern a proper training program.  If sets or reps are terminated before things get ugly, provided the individual is cleared to perform the exercises in the program, I think it is fine.  However, when given a number of reps to achieve or an amount of time to perform a unit of work, the individual will always attempt to finish, regardless of what it looks like or how safe it is.

Patrick Ward MS, CSCS, LMT

Mike Young – I’d like to see “functional fitness” training put to rest…especially in the most bastardized forms that people have taken it to. There’s nothing functional about 90% of the exercises people have come up with and put under this umbrella in an effort to seem ‘in the know’. The reality is that the most functional of activities are ones that have been around as exercises since the first fitness movements (squatting, pressing, lunging, twisting, picking up objects, running, etc) but unfortunately they aren’t trendy enough to sell DVDs or make someone the latest guru de jour.
Michael Young, PhD
Director of Sports Performance
Human Performance Consulting

Bret Contreras – This one’s a no-brainer: The unstable surface training fad. It purports to lead to increased stabilizer activation. Although the research is equivocal in this regard, for many movements it greatly reduces prime mover activation. I know this because I saw the results first-hand when I conducted EMG experiments on myself. If you want strong glutes, there’s no need for wiggly, wobbly training devices. The ground works just fine!

John DeLucchi – Well besides the 90% of fitness equipment “fads” that can be purchased on late night television commercials I believe that the MAJORITY of people shouldn’t even touch cross-fit programs. Yes I said it, cross-fit. The dosing, for cross-fit, for the novice to intermediate weight-lifter, is equivalent to closing your eyes and taking a random amount prescription medication. I have the same issues with A LOT of personal trainers. These populations could get a better response with a fraction of the load and volume. Giving these movements and random volumes simply make novice-intermediate weight-lifters patients. There is a lot of good evidence on dosing, let’s use it, check out the 2009 Position stand by the ACSM, Progression Models in Resistance Training for Healthy Adults.
Train well!
Twitter: JDeLucchiSPT

Josh Gould – 1. Low/ no carbohydrate diets (atkins, south beach etc.) These diets are simple to follow and can be effective but thinking that a ketogenic diet is a long term, safe, diet is irresponsible. The most popular form (Atkins and South Beach) promoted foods such as bacon and cheese in place of carbohydrates. The lack of nutritional awareness is appalling.

2. Low intensity steady state cardio- It was once believed that LISS cardio was superior for losing weight. The science behind it makes sense (keeping a certain, lower, heart rate recruits bodyfat as fuel). But it became an excuse for exercisers to take it easy on the cardio equipment. Luckily, studies have shown such great success with high intensity interval training (HIIT) that it is hard to ignore and thus has become increasingly popular.

3. Detox Diets!- Yes, they can be done correctly, but typically aren’t. Cheap detox or cleanse drinks are also promoted to help lose weight. Weight yes, body fat, no. Most are a laxative in a bottle. What are they cleansing? Colon? Gull stones? No one knows but they are sold by two words, Detox or Cleansing Diet.

I find  that half my time is spend dispelling misconceptions my clients have about health and fitness. The media is not a resource for health information.

You can also check out my thread Stupid Exercise Invention of the Week.

Mark Young – I think the biggest fad that the fitness absolutely needs to do away with is the rapid fat/weight loss program.  Regardless of the method used to drop body weight, the producers of these products knowingly sell them to users who will typically end up regaining the weight faster than it was lost in the first place.  By selling out for the fast cash people who produce these products confuse and frustrate customers leaving them with a bad taste for the fitness industry as a whole.  With “professionals” like this around It is no wonder that this industry has such a negative reputation.

Mark Young
Exercise and Nutrition Consultant

Mike T Nelson – Not sure if this is considered a fad, but foam rolling can go away.  I know this upsets many people, but SEEKING pain before training is a horrible idea. If you love your foam roller so much and want to do it after your training and you are NOT in pain, be my guest.
Trying to make it more painful by looking for a tennis ball, lacrosse ball, a short spiky thing to create more pain is not a good idea.  Your brain is highly associative and is always tying things together.   Foam rolling in pain is literally TEACHING your brain that this movement IS painful.  Not a great idea at all.
Right behind this I would put 90% of the “corrective” exercise I see.  This is WAY too complicated.  How does a high end athlete feel being stuck doing YTWLs with pink dumbbells?  This should NOT be complicated and it is is VERY simple.
Exercise will either make them better or worse.   Pick exercises that make them better (this can be done by a gait assessment or simply and active range of motion test).    Rinse and repeat.   Done
This way EVERY exercise is corrective.
If every exercise is corrective, is there really any “corrective” exercise?  No!  It is all just exercise that makes athletes better.  Isn’t that what they are paying for any way?

Michael T. Nelson  MS, CSCS
PhD Candidate, Exercise Science

Ken Zelez – I am gong to keep this short and to the point.  The “fad” that I think deserves to be forgotten are those shoes that claim they will tone your legs and butt.

Ken Zelez, BPE, BEd

Jerry Durham – As a physical therapist the one machine to do without is the seated, resisted ab crunch machine!!!  of course the second (one) is the knee extension machine….EVERYONE will tell you these are both bad BUT they are still in every gym!! and twitter: jerry_durhamPT

SnippetsPhysTher – I can more confidently speak from the perspective of a physical therapist, so I know my perspective will be very, very narrow.  The use of the deep heating modality, ultrasound, needs to be used very, very selectively.  The use of ultrasound for a broad spectrum of problems needs to be eliminated.  The research doesn’t support its effectiveness for such a broad spectrum of problems.  In some cases, outcome literature has substantiated ultrasound actually reduces the likelihood of positive outcomes.  I’d like to see professionals say “buh-bye” to the magic wand, except in the few situations where ultrasound has been proven to add value and is effective.


Matthew Johnson – Sit-ups, crunches and stability ball curl-ups! These archaic movements place an unhealthy amount of strain on the back.  Flat abs and a chiseled mid section is a goal for many fitness enthusiasts.  In
order to do so, people perform a TON of these exercises per week to “improve” their abs.  The result?  Low back pain, lower extremity discomfort and spinal nerve damage from a disk bulge or a herniation. When doing any athletic movement or life task, the spine should be neutral, not flexed, and the core activated to provide support.  Your core work should do the same!  Stabilization (etc. planks, push ups) and dynamic effort/multi-plane (etc. chops) movements are the way to go.

Matt Johnson, M.S., CPT, PES, CSES, FMS, USATF Level 1, USAW SPC & Club Coach

Brooks Tiller – One of my biggest problems is the get me ripped in 8 minutes while eating a twinkie microwave society that we live in today.  Seems everybody wants a magic pill and doesn’t want to actually put in the work to get the results.  I have had many patients come to me wanting instant results but unwilling to put forth effort.  Even had a patient get up and leave before finishing the questionnaire after I told her that I didn’t prescribe medicine and she was expected to exercise.

In all honesty it’s not a fad that I wish to be forgotten but hard work that needs to be remembered.  More people need to get off the couch, go outside, and actually do some work.  Working up a sweat and being physically active is foreign in today’s society.  A lot of folks participate in fitness but are not physically fit.

But to answer the original question – if I could eliminate something it would be laziness!

Brooks L. Tiller, DPT
Physical Therapist

Joe Bonyai – I don’t have a good feeling about youth/adolescent “combines”. I think it may encourage athletes to train specifically for certain tests, or even worse, lead trainers and facilities to create specific programs for the battery of tests instead of focusing more on an individuals needs and general preparation. Sport-specific training is a thing of the past and so should be test-specific training for young athletes.

Joe Bonyai
Empower Athletic Development

Michael Scott – I think that the one fad in all rehab, S&C, and fitness that can go is BEING LAZY! Let’s face it. If something needs to be done, we’d rather have someone/something do it for us. I hear, “I though you were supposed to make me better,” about once a week from someone who just wants massage and e-stim. People want machines to flex their abs for them, or the quickest way to get rock hard buns. The truth is the best way to heal, get stronger/faster/leaner, or do anything is with hard work ( I swear me and Brooks didn’t talk about our answers prior to this).

Okay I’m off my soapbox. I’m glad only a few people told me they thought I had died since my social media disappearance 2 months ago. Keep on reading folks, and please feel free to get in touch with any of the contributors to this blog.

Keep evolving,


9 responses to “One Question, Many Answers #5

  1. I thought everyone’s answers were spot on. It’s refreshing to hear other professionals have similiar theories. We also seemed to be annoyed by the same things, that’s a good sign. Thanks Mike!

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  4. I’ll add to the list all the seated, muscle-isolating machines that gyms stuff themselves with. All the useful exercises require empty floor space to stand and move, but it seems a gym can’t sell memberships without pointing to their mechanical marvels.

  5. who is josh gould and what is his evidence that low carbohydrate diets are dangerous? im pretty sure every reputable nutrition expert would agree that high carbohydrate diets are actually the fad that needs to die, considering that humans evolved on low carbohydrate diets for millions of years and that grains are only a recent invention compared to how long humans have been evolving. and what studies is he referring to that have shown HIIT to be better than aerobic energy system training for fat loss? is this guy even an expert? of everybody on this list, he’s the only one ive never heard of and the only one who seems to be making unsubstantiated claims

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