SURF FIT NEWS – No.7 by Clive Rodell (ask Clive – app)
Firstly, let me apologize for the time gap in content. I have decided to go back and do some teaching of the Personal trainer Courses. However, there is a new Teaching Qualification I had to update to the new requirements. This was quite a lot of work, understanding Govt guidelines, departments, methodology etc, then having to submit large assignments.
I also decided to snap a part of the nose, of my Channel Islands Flyer. I did this with my head! So, a 4” gash also slowed me down somewhat!
Here’s my continuation on evaluating different forms of training. This article deals with Cable Machines. I thought I’d research the origins, and I found some interesting info.
Cable machines have been around a lot longer than most people think. There’s was a cable machine in the Gym of the Titanic. (see image).
In the 1860s the theory of ‘Mechanotherapy’ was developing.
Here’s what Wiki had to say on one of Mechanotherapy’s Pioneers;
Dr. Jonas Gustav Vilhelm Zander (29 March 1835 in Stockholm – 17 June 1920) was a Swedish physician, orthopedist and one of the originators of mechanotherapy. He is known for inventing a therapeutic method of exercise carried out by means of a special apparatus. He began his work in 1860s. He established the Zander Therapeutical Institute in Stockholm.
In 1880 he became a lecturer of the Stockholm University, and in 1896 he became a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
Zander exhibited his Institute at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia where his exercise machines won a gold medal. By 1906 he had established Institutes in 146 countries, and by 1910 “ample numbers of Americans were familiar with the machines”. They were established at health spas, and some were privately owned though expensive.
Some of the most famous Cable Machines were developed in the 70s by Arthur Jones (Nautilus).
Arthur Jones claimed he had invented these machines, but was challenged on this, when it became apparent that his machines resembled those of Dr Zander very closely.
Arthur Jones claimed that he developed the Nautilus range, with no prior knowledge of Dr Zander’s work. It became a contentious issue.
However, it’s not uncommon for many minds to be thinking along the same lines, when it comes to invention etc. I have exercises and a system of training that I have been working on for many years. Many of them I thought through on my own and the C of G system I use to train Athletes and others is similar to other specific forms of training. If I knew how to market and Instagram was available, maybe I would have been the first on certain things!
To me Arthur Jones response to criticism follows and is credible;
“So, in attempts to improve my exercise results, I designed and built a total of about twenty very sophisticated exercise machines, then believing that these were the first exercise machines ever built by anybody. But many years later, I learned that a doctor named Gustav Zander had designed and built a number of exercise machines in Europe nearly a hundred years before I built my first one; I did not copy Zander’s work and learned nothing from him, was not even aware of his work until long after I had made the same discoveries that he had made. But if I had known about, and understood, Zander’s work, it would have saved me a lot of time and a rather large fortune in money, because the man was a genius; his only problem was that he lived about a century ahead of his time, at a time when very few people cared about exercise and even fewer knew anything about it.”
So, there’s some History, but what do cables do, or provide for the training scenario?
Let’s firstly look at the Nautilus V Normal Cable difference. Essentially the normal cable machines have a round pulley the Nautilus type concepts have a variable cam profile type pulley. This means in a round cable the resistance is ‘constant’ or ‘linear’. In the Nautilus type concept, the resistance varies because of the Cam profile.
For this article we’ll stick with the traditional cable concepts.
What is the purpose of the Cable and Pulley System?
The cable and pulley redirects gravity. We should always be training the muscular system, to directly give us resistance against the muscles we are trying to train. My teachings from yesteryear, suggested that if a muscle is challenged in it’s directional pull within a 15-degree window, then the target area is being trained/stimulated.
Incline Chest exercises are a classic example of this and how people a lot of Trainers (especially Personal Trainers of under 5-10 years’ experience), get it wrong.
Try this; stand upright and put the fingers of one hand onto most of your pec muscle, push the other arm out at 90 degrees to your body. You will feel the pec muscle turn on. Now change the angle to the ceiling by a few degrees each push of the arm. You will find that within a few changes the pec muscle no longer turns on and the movement is predominantly done by the shoulder. Translate that back into the ‘Incline’ Bench angle and you will notice it’s only a slight angle shift needed, and most people have the angle too great. Alignment will be no different to get the maximum stimulus on any mode of training.
Back to cables, you can now start to understand that if cables redirect gravity, you must emulate/replicate the correct movement pattern/alignment of the muscle to get the correct results.
One of the greatest attributes of a well-designed cable machine is the versatility of the exercises you can do in one spot. You can also add rotational stimulus in some instances with more finesse and control. (although finesse, perfect technique and control should always be present in training).
I really like incorporating cable work into people’s workouts.
Cables can be;
Used to supply many added angular forces to challenge movement pattern and increase the stability training. (Core Strength).
Adjusted easily to accommodate different people and their various physical make-up.
Easily adjustable to change the load.
Versatile with the attachments available (handles etc.).
(If used correctly) last for many years (Longevity is affected by bad techniques like people/inexperienced trainers pulling angularly on the pulley edge that damage the cables prematurely or bad maintenance).
Excellent Rehab tools.
Dangerous to the participant and people around if used incorrectly.
Don’t forget to Download the AskClive Fitness Question App… it’s all free!
Pls see the pics for some variations of cable exercises.