Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The 180 Principle

I heard about Charles Staleys 180 principle a while back, and now I can honestly say I am a true believer in that theory. Charles is a very successful strength coach who practices what he preaches and has written a ton of educational literature in the areas of weightlifting and conditioning. The 180 principle focus on the opposite, when you walk in to the gym do a 180 of what everyone else is doing (get it-180 degrees). Basically, do the opposite of everyone else in the gym. Why? Most people don't have a clue what they are doing! Okay maybe that was harsh.... But, honestly what exercises do the majority of people perform- the easy ones, the isolation ones, and the ones they can see working in the mirror.
When I walked in my "commercial gym" to lift yesterday about 80% of the members were doing upper body exercises (Monday= "International Chest Day"), 10% were doing lower body machine based exercises, and 10% were doing steady state cardio. So for me it was easy, I programmed my deadlifts on Mondays and focus on my posterior chain. While I was in the gym, from 5:15 to 6:20 pm I was the only person in the entire gym that actually performed a deadlift. Now that I think about it, I did not witness another member doing any form of "free weight" compound lower body exercise (squat/deadlift/split squat). To be honest for as long as I've been a member at this gym I can count the number of people on my hand that can squat and deadlift correctly and actually train hard doing these exercises.
So what's the point? Next time you go to the gym and you see everyone working chest, train your back- pull some weight! Next time you see someone on the leg press, hit the squat rack- it actually will strength your lower back instead of taking it out of the equation. If you strengthen your "pull muscles" you will have healthier shoulders, and if you strengthen your hamstrings- you will have a healthier lower back. Don't fall in the trap of doing 25 sets of chest, 20 sets of biceps, and performing countless reps on the leg extension. Unfortunately, that's the way the majority of people train, dare to be different- you will soon see the benefits.

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