Fitness Myth Busting #1 – Why A Tool Isnt Just a Tool…

Posted: June 2, 2014 by dannytwoguns in Articles

In asking what people wanted to hear more about on the blog, one of the answers I heard was that I hadn’t talked specifically about actual training and lifting in a while. So I decided to kick off a series on Fitness Myth Busting with a training related one.

I was in a strategy session the other day and while giving the tour of our facility, I again received one of the more common questions I get while giving the tour and strategy session – “So where are all of your machines?” I have two responses depending on how Ive perceived the clients personality type, the usual one is, “At Twoguns Training Systems we have a principle that we only deliver to our clients the tools, methods and training systems that actually work, so we don’t have any machines, whether it’s traditional “cardio” ones or resistance training machines.”

They usually laugh a little and then lead right into the questions, “So what works?” or “What implements/equipment do you use?”

Those are kind of loaded questions, which I can elaborate on later, but it usually brings me to a common myth that is popular that most people don’t even know is actually a myth.

That one is, “A tool is just a tool. It doesn’t matter what you use as long as you are doing the right thing(s).”

This is readily accepted in carpentry as a myth. If the man coming to build something in your house came in and all he had was a hammer, or all he had was one drill, you would see a problem right away if he was there to build you cabinets. But in fitness we don’t see the same thing. If you go into a gym and all you see are TRX Suspension Trainers or all you see are machines, something is awry as well. And not all tools are created equal either.

Implements and tools shouldn’t be incorporated into anyone’s workout and training programs for novelty or because it is new or because you saw someone doing it somewhere and it looked cool. They should be incorporated into a program for what it can do that other implements cannot and not fully engulf everything you are doing training wise.

Anyone who tells you one tool or specific implement is all you’ll ever need, is either trying to sell you that implement or doesn’t know what they are talking about. This isnt to say that certain implements arent more versatile than others and can be good for a complete workout given certain circumstances but no implement solves all. I’ll be the first to say some implements are must haves because they can do things other tools can not, but no one tool cures everything – just like your saw isn’t going to drill a hole in your wall or hammer a nail in.

The “A tool is just a tool” myth started because people would say that a Squat is a Squat, it doesn’t matter the weight you use as long as its weighted. This may have been true in 1995 when you saw everyone working out with either a machine, dumbbell or barbell. But as the “functional training” evolution has progressed, it certainly isn’t true.

If we are looking at the Squat for example, I can name ten different variations we use at Twoguns Training Systems right off the top of my head…
– TRX Assisted Squat
– USB (Ultimate Sandbag) or Kettlebell Pressout Squat
DVRT Becca 4
– Bodyweight Squat
– Barbell Back Squat
– Barbell Front Squat
– Dumbbell or Kettlebell Goblet Squat
– USB Bearhug Squat
DVRT Herbe 4
– USB Front Hold Squat
DVRT Herbe 2
– USB Shouldered Squat
DVRT Herbe 3
– Anything of the aforementioned Squat variations with a Staggered Stance

In that list we have over 10 different squat variations, six implements (counting bodyweight as an implement because even though it isn’t where we always start, it is one that always has to be mastered), multiple ways of loading and varying levels of stability/instability throughout.

Looking at the implements…

– TRX Assisted and the Pressout Squats are the only variations that ASSIST the Squat if one cant properly perform one.
– Barbells are the only implement that can have an extremely high absolute load – 200-1000+ pounds. (Even though absolute load isn’t usually the most important factor)
– The Ultimate Sandbag is the only implement we can manipulate the stability of the actual implement / how much it moves or shifts.
– The Ultimate Sandbag is the most versatile implement in changing where we hold the implement, such as progressing the same weighted Ultimate Sandbag from Bearhug to Front Hold to Shouldered as ways to progress and make the exerciser more challenging and burn more fat. The (absolute) weight didn’t change but the demands and challenge of the exercise absolutely does.

So which is the best? I have a preferred one Id answer that question with but the answer really doesn’t matter because they all have a place where they fit into a client’s program depending on the client themselves, what their goal is, what their abilities are, what their FMS score is and multiple other factors.

The bottom line is – not all tools are created equal and a tool isn’t just a tool. And if you are working out in a place that is still stuck in 1995 with only machines, dumbbells and barbells. Find a place that has Ultimate Sandbags, kettlebells, suspension trainers, medicine balls, the other functional training equipment and qualified professionals to show you how to use them. Not because the functional training equipment is “new,” “in,” “sexy,” or fancy but because we now know what works better for fat loss and to actually move better and that doesn’t happen spinning on the hamster wheel er treadmill or sitting on a machine. Be the machine.

As always, if you have any questions or curiosities, feel free to contact me either in the comments here or over on Facebook. I always look forward to and welcome feedback.

Leave a Reply