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Thread: Opposing Movements

  1. #1
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    Question Opposing Movements

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    A couple weeks ago, I asked the questions here. Since then, I've emailed a couple Starting Strength certified coaches in my area, and hope to start strength training soon. Having said that, I am interested to understand more about the Starting Strength method. In particular, when I have done weight lifting in the past (using machines with high reps or body-weight exercises like chin ups, pushups, and situps), one of the things I typically tried to do ... just because it makes sense to me ... is pair up exercises with opposing movements. The image below depicts examples of those movements.

    Opposing Weighted Movements.jpg

    The highlighted items are exercises I've heard Rip mention before. The non-highlighted items have question marks after them because I'm not sure they are the correct terms. In any case, I can think of a few possibilities for explanations for this seeming gap:


    1. Some of these (e.g.the situps and whatever the opposite of a squat is) could be redundant (i.e. both working the quads and abs), so while one may be useful, both would not be.
    2. The muscles used to perform these exercises actually do get sufficiently exercised with other movements. For example, maybe (I'm very much speaking from ignorance here) the muscles used to do dips get sufficiently exercised by doing presses and bench presses.
    3. Maybe Rip actually does recommend some of these exercises for more advanced people, and I've just missed it. But he recommends a more limited and higher priority set of exercises for those starting out.
    4. Maybe I'm just an ignorant fool and it isn't important at all to balance one exercise with its opposing movement.


    I should also add that it would seem quite possible to add weight to all these movements to enable low-rep variations of them. As it is now, I'm fairly certain I can do 3 sets of 5 chinups, so the only way to improve that further would be to either increase the number of reps or the weight. It seems pretty clear that Rip would recommend the latter over the former.

    Am I completely off base here, or do opposing movements have a roll in a balanced strength training program?
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by tlewis3348 View Post
    Having said that, I am interested to understand more about the Starting Strength method.
    Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training, 3rd edition (Current Revision, Paperback) – The Aasgaard Company

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by tlewis3348 View Post
    Am I completely off base here, or do opposing movements have a roll in a balanced strength training program?
    They do not have. Human body is complicated biomachinery and you are mistaken by thinking about it as action-counteraction.

    For example - how and why would you train a movement opposing to clenching your fist ? We all know why and how we train grip strength.

    So what you should consider is movement patterns that our body is designed to do and it was design by doing it over and over again for hundreds thousands years.

    There is a good reason why the strength is measured with a whole body movement and if you think of the strongest human I'm sure you will have in mind some strongman, powerlifter or weightlifter.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Szymon View Post
    They do not have. Human body is complicated biomachinery and you are mistaken by thinking about it as action-counteraction.

    For example - how and why would you train a movement opposing to clenching your fist ? We all know why and how we train grip strength.

    So what you should consider is movement patterns that our body is designed to do and it was design by doing it over and over again for hundreds thousands years.

    There is a good reason why the strength is measured with a whole body movement and if you think of the strongest human I'm sure you will have in mind some strongman, powerlifter or weightlifter.
    Your example does not seem representative of the vast majority of body movements, and it's not one of the ones I listed. We can both push and pull with our arms in three basic directions (above our head, in front of us, and below our shoulders), and it would seem to me that we are designed to do both. So why are only half of these motions included?

    Further, the motion of a power clean/jerk (i.e. the task of lifting a weight from the floor to overhead) is simply a combination of the dead lift, upright row, and press done in quick succession. The deadlift and press are included in the basic Starting Strength program, but the upright row is not. Why?

    Having said this, I think I may have found most of my answers in these links:

    Chin-Up vs Pull-Up | Mark Rippetoe
    Curious - what makes upright rows "the most useless exercise in the world" (p214)
    Bench press? Why not dips instead?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by tlewis3348 View Post
    Your example does not seem representative of the vast majority of body movements, and it's not one of the ones I listed. We can both push and pull with our arms in three basic directions (above our head, in front of us, and below our shoulders), and it would seem to me that we are designed to do both. So why are only half of these motions included?
    So you choose only examples that siut your way of thinking ? Maybe you should notice a fact that human body is extremely unbalanced with its musculature. Think about it.
    We can push and pull in unlimited directions but there is always the most efficient way of doing things - that answers your question.

    QUOTE=tlewis3348;1789585]
    Further, the motion of a power clean/jerk (i.e. the task of lifting a weight from the floor to overhead) is simply a combination of the dead lift, upright row, and press done in quick succession. The deadlift and press are included in the basic Starting Strength program, but the upright row is not. Why?[/QUOTE]

    There is no upright row in clean and power clean and there is no press in jerk

    Upright row does not accomplish anything exept bothering your shoulders. Highpulls preformed by elite weightlifters is nothing but waste of time of those extremely gifted and talented individuals.

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