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Dysfunctional Training

David Landau

Someone once said, “Believe nothing that you read and very little of what you see.” The ignoring of this simple quotation leads to the case of the “blind leading of the blind” mentality that epitomizes the physical fitness industry today and its followers. Unfortunately as is typically the case nowadays, popular physical conditioning dogma is usually read about in a fictional fantasy magazine, seen on TV News/Commercials, and then provocatively and collectively fashioned into as being the healthy thing to do. As the fitness mainstream gets its head of steam, it is then the imbecilic follies are then followed as some sort of Holy Grail. Someone else cleverly said, “Indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is likely to be more foolish than sensible.” Regrettably this describes any of the “new” developments in American Physical Fitness. Whereas once this fitness fraud is accepted by the masses, it is almost impossible to remove. In a vast majority of these cases it is the many fraudulent influential leaders shoving useless garbage down the throats of their followers.

The new scientific age in fitness is upon us or so they say, according to the “chosen ones.” In this field full of dreams, most of the so called experts here can be summed up by, “There must surely be a few people who are not idiots, but they follow the advice of idiots, listen to idiots, and train in a fashion that can only be described as idiotic.” The situation is that pervasive and overwhelming! When a fitness nuance is exposed to the public’s eye, it’s not very apparent that its lack of worth is cleverly shrouded with a vogue word, phrase, and a whole hell of a lot of hopeless hype. It’s like the old businessman’s “let’s just baffle them with bull shit.” The fitness industry has always been rather clever at this, as many of the past examples of this statement have fooled its many followers. Several examples of this have been seen in previous chapters. We’ve had the pseudoscientific cults of Aerobics, Cardio, Bosu, Stability Ball, Cross Training, and Cross Fit to name a few. But today’s witty fitness crusaders have actually come up with a mishmash of all of the above to describe something that literally defies its own meaning, it is called functional training.

Again as someone else said, “a leading advocate is one who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots.” This “modern” mode of fitness in futility actually defies its own implications and as it offers the same old ulterior motive; easy money. The entertainment involved is so ridiculous in this instance that the Ringling Brothers Circus should stand up and take notice.

Trickery Dickery Dock

The ideal objective of improving your physical functional ability has been around in exercise for literally centuries. It was the main goal of purposeful physical training from early on and was suggested as such by many different training philosophies from the very beginning. Never knowing this as factual history, these born again Functional Training Gurus are making same mistakes all over again from times gone by. Their main assertion is that one should imitate exertions that mime athletic feats and normal human tasks while working against many different crude tools of resistance. This may be fine for a Marcel Marceau wannabe because that is a specific functional entertainment act, a comical mimicry. But for other than parody, there is no science that supports this as transferable anywhere outside the closed off world of physical fitness. This becomes another unnecessary skill that is unto itself, another pointless dexterity that remains alone by its self. This is an isolated calamity just makes one better at looking rather silly.

Physical fitness is bodily conditioning that should be about strength, health, and well being. This simple “so called” functional training merely draws one into momentary and possibly perpetual madness. Again, this is another blind leading the blind down an uncharted dead-end road. As in all other fitness follies, the strength of this craze is behind the strength of its following and it is hard to break those chains once bonded. Stupid runs straight clear down to the bone. The victims could not be led out of a closet with an Indian guide with a lantern showing them the way out. But common sense and history can show again that this so called fitness training is a parody of legitimate exercise training that was successfully used well before the industrial revolution*.

This is the Captain Speaking

Progressive strength training is the true name of the game as mentioned in other chapters. This form of potentially superior conditioning has always been the best way to stimulate the greatest of all physical gains for the human body. Very simply put, it is the lifting of weights (whether it be *Nautilus Machines, Free Weights, or sacks of rocks) in a calculated and graduated way and delivering it to each individual as a doctor would prescribe medical dosage. The progression is had when the weights are advanced and the intensity becomes paramount and eventually greatly challenging. This form of exercise is not pleasant, but as someone once said “No fine work can be done without concentration, self sacrifice, and toil.” The finest exercise is no exception. Except nothing but the best, but if you dare to follow as the mainstream fitness industry suggests expect the worst.

True innovators however did exist with sound intentions, and certainly, the physiology of the body has not changed since the Golden Greeks. Pure times in exercise did exist, and opened up the gates for honest physical improvement. In as early as the 1840s, there were exercise machines that did deliver far better benefits than those inane rubber band calamities offered by today’s functional evangelists. Around that time there was a real leader that entered the physical training scene. His name was Captain Chiosso. Chiosso. He was an innovator and inventor that actually went beyond the scope of physical training by introducing something not seen yet before. He was the professor of gymnastics at the University of London. James Chiosso developed the first popular functional progressive training device he amply named the Gymnastic and Calisthenic Polymachinon Machine. This apparatus was likely the very first selectorized cable machine on record. Starting in 1829, Chiosso thought it would be prudent to design a machine that would not duplicate exertional strongman feats of strength that were actually popular at the time. He devised an eight foot high wooden Cabinet arranged with Wood Pulleys with Cords. Attached to these pulleys were Block weights that were made of both iron and lead. On the other end was a fixed handle for which exercises could be executed eloquently. Chiosso was a concerned perfectionist in his precision design of the machine. Understanding the disadvantages of mechanical friction, he alleviated that problem by closing off the weights in a cabinet (free from dust), whereas a designated removable cap was used in order to keep the said apparatus oiled. Wool was used as a base to lessen the potential for noisy use during the clanging of weight plates in their housings. Optional rollers were attached at the base, so that the machine could be moved freely and put away when needed. This mechanism was so versatile, that it could accommodate as many as 10 people at a time or basically used by one in the comfort of the home.

Captain James Chiosso had a very detailed training protocol. It was foundationally strategic, as the base of instruction was about strengthening muscles and not the inane mimicking of daily work or activity. He understood the value of the physiology of strength training and not what he saw as repetitive and unnecessary skills. His axiom was the separation of strength as being general and as an enhancement to the practice of specific recreational/sports purposes and not of one and the same. His system strengthened the muscles and then one could then put them to superior use, which was a horse before the cart mentality. His instructional protocol included exercise for all shapes, sizes, male, female alike, including children. It was without the slightest shadow of a doubt that the little ones could also train on the apparatus (with supervision). The iron weights were versatile and could be adjusted for the big and small equally. Chiosso saw that the true symmetrical balance of the physique was satisfied by training both the muscular extensors and flexors of the body. His aim again was not the mimicking of daily work, activity, or sport but to cure those from the said harms of which, including disease and deformities, which he indeed knew was caused by the inordinate amount of the aforementioned. Bouts of exercise were determined time wise around the traditional meal, with at least 1 hour prior or 2 hours post. The calculated time between the carefully executed exercises was minimally 3 minutes. This allowed for some recovery do to the understanding of the systemic effect. There were no miracle cures, but it was suggested that Gymnastic Polymachinon Exercise could help in maladies such as Asthma, Constipation, Obesity, Heart Ailments, Digestive Disorders, and Physical Deformities. Gradual and systematic exercise as seen was very evident from very early on. But the buck did not stop here and was passed on to strength/health physical culturalists in the later 19th century.

History shows that there were many Machinists, Physicians, and aspiring Physical Culturalists that more or less improved upon the prototype machines of Chiosso. These exercise specialists designed machines in some cases were far superior of those imposters today. Men like Dudley Sargent of Harvard, the Roxbury Hercules George Windship, Dr. David Butler, Dr. F. W. Reilly, and S. H. Mann developed heavy progressive lifting apparatus designed to cure maladies present at the time of the later 19th century. As in all other aspects of history in any field, these were not only true pioneers of physical culture, but legitimate physiologists, whereas today we are largely dominated by inane fool worthy frauds.

Functional training therefore is literally a born again concept that is no better than empty exercise. They are mainstream fitness follies that run amuck in today’s exercise arena. We are talking about discarded and scrapped modalities that were deemed useless and worthless nearly 200 years ago. People therefore today are left with merely performing futile stunts and games that are perpetually “taught” and glamorized by the leaders of this industry of illusions. The majority in fitness indiscriminately follows are therefore is stuck sadly this tomfoolery. Again, buyer beware, when a fitness “expert” comes knocking at your door, if you let them in, do yourself a favor – write down exactly what they suggest and then do exactly opposite and you will be closer to the truth! It will save you precious time and your money!