Take That Junk Off

People really like their gizmos. If it’s claimed to do anything and has a 5 star rating you better believe that someone in your gym is going to have one. These things don’t normally come cheap either, with some items breaking into the triple digit cost realm. Just thinking about spending that much money on something that “might work” makes me sick. I just threw up a little in my mouth. To prevent you from falling into the trap of hype media and buyers-masochism I’ve created a list of the top 5 things you should just take off and never put back on.

5) Metal lined clothing/jewelry
Do you remember those bracelets that everyone used to wear? They claimed to have supernatural balancing and healing properties. You’d be walking in the mall and some dude in a pair of khaki pants and a collard should would ask you to try it out. He’d tell you to try a balance test where you would get easily knocked over by him. Then you would put one the all-powerful bracelet and he’d say “stand on one leg and hold out your arms.” The stellar salesman would proceed to push on you and then, just like magic, you’d have super human balance. That is, until your friend walks over and pushes you over with ease (true story). I guess magic is in the eye of the seller. Right now copper is the new metal being sewn (not sure how that’s possible) into compression gear. The commercial says that it can heal injuries and improve recovery. Sadly there is little to no research to back up this miraculous claim. I say that it’s not worth 50 dollars for a pair of magical underwear.

4) Occlusion Training
*WARNING this category is for gym rat joe not already has his pro-card joe*
If you have a thing for tourniquets than I guess this is one way to get your fix. Weirdo. However, if you’re doing it because some insanely jacked guy said too I’d wait if I were you. The idea for occlusion training came from the scientifically proven fact that a site specific hypoxic tissue environment (low oxygen at a specific tissue)  can trigger a cell signaling cascade which ramps up protein synthesis (muscle growth). Highly adapted bodybuilders decided that cutting off the circulation to a muscle while applying tension was the best way to achieve this. Once they saw success a few guys started making bands or wraps that you could buy to do this to yourself – there’s just one problem – you don’t have to tie a rope around your arm to do this. In people who are less adapted than professional bodybuilders hypoxia can be achieved by simply stressing the muscle to failure or by causing maximal contractions repeatedly. My advice is to perform sets to failure or to hold a flex as hard as possible to starve the tissue of oxygen.

3) Velocity Tracking Device
You may feel like iron man with Jarvis recording your each and every move, but the truth is you just dropped 189.99 of your personal dollars on something that would be better off in an exercise science lab. There is some encouraging research that suggests lifting with certain 1RM% is a sufficient way to train to improve power and velocity. One particular author has even suggested that intended movement velocity is just as effective as actually moving a velocity (for example if I lift 500 pounds with the intent to move as fast as possible I will improve my speed just as much as moving 300 pounds very fast). The only reason I would shell out this kind of money for a velocity device would be if I was recording velocity to track improvements. A much simpler way to track improvements is to watch the 1RM of a lift go up. That’s for free though. Like, the air we breathe FREE.

2) Metal Knee Brace
We get it, you have an old football injury. Sure, that metal death cage was necessary when heavy set young men were diving at your knees, but no one is going to do that when you’re in a squat rack. At the most it’s a security blanket giving you the courage to squat past ¼ of the way. These metal knee braces were designed to prevent drastic lateral motion of the leg. Squatting with one on simply keeps your range of motion limited while preventing any hooligan from slide tackling you and tearing your ACL. If you really want a strong ACL, MCL, or everythingelseL then drop the iron sides and squat below parallel. Research has shown that deep controlled squats with higher repetition (5-10) can strengthen weak tendons and ligaments.

1) Oxygen Deprivation Masks
It’s like being waterboarded by your own sweat in an 80 dollar Bane mask. You may be able to claim that your hardcore because you need less oxygen to workout, but science isn’t really on your side. Adaptation to these masks is pretty quick, and it does little to improve VO2 max (ability to use oxygen). Most research shows that you have to live at a high altitude (live high train high or live high train low) to see the VO2 max improvements and that simply spending a few hours a weak wearing a mask just won’t cut it (live low train high). Only some research suggests that glycotic (high intensity low time work) capacity increases with the mask. If you want to look like a batman villain than go ahead and take your cosplay to the gym, but if you’re looking for performance improvements this isn’t the way to go.

Now, if you just looked at your gym bag and I literally named half of its contents you have a problem. Here’s the solution to you lack of gains/progress/confidence – work hard, find a good coach, eat right. That’s it folks. If you like spending money though who am I to stop you. By the way, we do online programming for quite the steal. Email me at Endunamoox@gmail.com to be part of the Endunamoo Barbell Club.

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About Me

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BS, MS - exercise Physiology
EPC - Board Certified Exercise Physiologist

Published Thesis
The impact of three different forms of warm up on performance

Graduate from Midwestern State University, founder of Endunamoo Barbell Club, and Endunamoo Strength and Conditioning. Working to help athletes physically reach their goals and achieve scholarships while spiritually pouring into as many people as possible on all platforms.