Most gyms emphasize training on benches or with weight machines. They also have trainers teaching exercises originating from bodybuilding. They do this because it is “safe”, easy, and requires little thought or effort outside the specific movement for which the machine or exercise was designed. Next time you’re in your gym sitting in a weight machine, ask yourself, “How closely does this resemble a movement in real life?” How would it look to kick a ball from just your knee down or to take a drink out of a glass by moving just your forearm? Single joint movements (like those done with typical weight machines and and traditional bodybuilding exercises) will isolate a specific muscle, however, rarely in life does our body activate isolated muscles without the support from others. As soon as you sit or lay down on a bench or machine, all of the balance, stabilization, proprioception, and accuracy functions that your body must use in normal activities of real life and sport completely shut down, their functioning unnecessary.
At CrossFit LA, most of what you will see when you come to the gym is open space. Our “machines” are free weights – to simply use them pick them up requires skill, balance, stabilization, proprioception, and accuracy. The skills and movements we teach are all functional and multi-joint (require movement across 2 or more joints in your body). These neuromuscular activities are commonplace in both life and in sport, and since our objective in training is to mimic both, we find that free weights, with proper instruction and coaching, do this best.