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In the world of fitness, there’s rarely one way to skin a cat. Those in pursuit of size and strength can turn to bodybuilding, strongman training, or powerlifting. And if you’re looking to increase your stamina, you could run long distances or partake in sweat-inducing high-intensity interval training sessions. That said, not everyone is going to agree with every training style, diet plan, or, in this case, a piece of equipment.
On June 17, Muscle & Fitness shared an Instagram post from Dr. Pat Davidson (@dr.patdavidson), an exercise physiologist and director of methodology at Hype Gym Union Square in New York City, who had some choice words about the TRX suspension trainer.
“I find the TRX to be a perfect representation of most of the things I find fault within the exercise world,” Davidson wrote. “Practically no quantitative way to profess and too many moving parts to create sufficient tension to adequately train muscles.” The post sparked a huge debate on the M&F Instagram page, with users voicing their opinions and Davidson firing back. Check out snippets of the debate below.
User danielloantonopoulos wrote: “Really what I should have said is exercise transference. Normally the simple basis is take a movement pattern and make it difficult then when it’s time to transfer over to the same movement pattern in a stable position normally greater stability occurs and may give rise to greater force output.”
Davidson then fired back with: “So unstable human plus unstable surface equals stability?”
While some users made blanket statements and accused Davidson of being wrong, others wanted to engage him in a conversation.
User adeyhp, for example, questioned Davidson about his opinion. “A) Why is it a necessity for every exercise to have a quantitative way to progress? B) Does this mean that all bodyweight exercises are without merit?”
“How do you know you’re getting better at something if you can’t measure it? Push ups and pull ups are easier to measure because you’re in more of a fixed position,” Davidson responded. “With the TRX, I have to factor where your feet were, what the length of the straps were, what angle they moved while you were doing the drill…it’s practically impossible to accurately measure.” This elicited the following exchange.
Adeyhp: “But why does quantitative measurement have to define “exercise” and every facet of it? I would argue that qualitative measures (how you feel, how you look, etc) are just as important if not more important. I think the fixation with measurement presents a massive barrier to those trying to get into exercise.”
Davidson: “What gets measured gets managed. When we score things, it makes the thing more meaningful. People love seeing numbers go in a direction. This will motivate increased effort. Also, the essence of science and the empirical process is the measure phenomena. Exercise professionals work in a scientific domain. We need to honor the umbrella that we fall under.”