Saturday, August 23, 2014
Sometimes a blowhard can be correct, too

By Tony Wagner Citizen Columnist

Dear Mr. Fitness:

While working out at your gym recently, this blowhard was going on and on about himself and how he exercises differently from everybody else in the gym. You couldn't help but hear him. Everybody could hear him. The one thing he did say that was interesting was about antagonistic and agonistic exercise training. I think I spelled it right. Is this just gym bull, or is he saying something that's for real?

-- Ratt

Dear Ratt:

As in Ratt on someone? I know the blowhard you speak of. He does enjoy pontificating. I love this guy. This is one of the few times he did not blow smoke. Agonistic and antagonistic training is for real. Perhaps he only recently read about it in a muscle magazine and became an instant expert. Like many others.

Let me explain this training. Let's look at how the human body is put together.

At each joint of the body there are muscles located at opposite sides of your joints. A fine example would be the upper arm. You possess an elbow joint. The muscles of your upper arm articulate, or move, this joint. In other words, your forearm, which is hopefully attached to your upper arm, moves because of the muscles located in the upper arm. When you perform a curl, your biceps muscles are contracting. When you curl a weight, you flex your biceps muscles of the upper arm, right? This is also called using the antagonistic muscles.

When you wish to extend your forearm, you must utilize the muscles on the opposite side of the elbow joint. This is known as extension. During the act of extension, your triceps muscles now become the antagonistic muscles. When doing the curls, the triceps muscles acted as the agonistic muscles. When performing the extensions, the biceps were the agonistic group. Get it? Rather simple but a complicated name.

Antagonistic is doing the work, while the opposite muscles are agonistic. We use that type of training every time we all work out. On your legs, it would be the quadriceps and the hamstrings. On your upper body, the chest and back would be the ones. See the beauty of this? Look closely at your fingers. Bend them and then straighten them out. Same deal.

So your friend at the gym is correct. Tell him thanks the next time you see him.

-- Mr. Fitness

Tony Wagner, aka Mr. Fitness, has more than 30 years of fitness and nutritional expertise. A certified personal trainer and fitness author, he has helped thousands of people get into and stay in shape. Contact him at and come visit at Bodyzone Fitness Center, 2740 N. Roosevelt Blvd., 292-2930.