What every manual therapist, bodybuilder and powerlifter is getting wrong

“Every man is superior in some way. That I learn of him” Ralph Emerson

Many manual therapists, bodybuilders and powerlifters will do well to take the above quote into consideration when questioning logic that contrasts to their own. Don’t get me wrong, there are many statements made by lesser qualified or poorer read individuals (belonging to the groups within the title) but to relentlessly argue specifics in certain topics is symptomatic of a “God complex” that plagues the health and fitness profession.

The reason why arguing the specifics of, for example “the best way to rehab an ankle strain” or “the most effective abdominal exercise” is useless and unproductive, is because it negates the fact that the body is an example of homeostatic (self regulating) prowess. This means that the body can adapt efficiently to a wide range of stimulus and is not a simple on/off switch that many arguments portray it to be (i.e. no your exercise / treatment plan won’t work, mine will).

A typical example is seen by manual therapists contrasting a side plank to a one leg squat in hip abductor conditioning. Both show adequate levels of hip abductor activation and each have their individual benefits, yet certain individuals in the industry will debate that one is better than the other until the cows come home.


Another example is the “best squat form” from the fitness industry. To argue such a topic is assuming

  • drastically different levels of efficiency between different forms
  • that every individual has the same anatomy
  • that people exhibit the same movement strategies when producing power

Which of course they don’t. Hip angles differ and different sporting histories lead to different movement strategies (a rugby player will squat differently to a basketball player).

The final point is this. Arguing the specifics leave the industry looking bitter and square to the outside world. Arguing such specifics often leads to large debates that don’t reflect the significance of the topic. Arguing the differences negates human differences (biopsychosocial differences) that should be embraced and taken advantage of instead of minimised.

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