The richest fitness resource on the web is a 1999 site

In twelve years of weightlifting, I can’t say I’ve ever tried to deadlift. Still, the name intrigues me, like a buzz in my brain. I know it’s some lower body exercise. I also know where I can go to fill in all the sissy scat details if I want to know more. Not the nearest personal trainer, not its virtual equivalent, not YouTube, not Instagram. Lord only knows what TikTok would offer. No. Instead, I fire up my browser, ignore my millions of open tabs, and type the following: “”.

What you’ll find if you do the same is a website that appears to have been forgotten by the wider internet., which bills itself as an online “exercise prescription,” launched in 1999, and indeed, if it weren’t for the updated copyright notice at the bottom of its pages, new visitors would think they had taken place in a place of antiquity. , an abandoned rush to a brave new Web 2.0. The home page is a welcome counterpoint, outdated and static except for the bare bones GIF: of a small, ever-running blue character that serves as the site’s logo. Below is a choose your own adventure. twenty-four squares signifying twenty-four directions (“Weight Training,” “Injury Management,” “Nutrition”) displayed in bold, nondescript font and accompanied by what. similar to stock images. Site hyperlinks glow in a brilliant default shade of blue; there are banner ads. It all offers amateurish HTML from the days of Yahoo GeoCities and dial-up and saying “www” out loud. It’s my favorite fitness resource on the internet.’s seeming lack of sophistication belies a physiological summary derived from professors, physical therapists, physicians, coaches and military personnel and endorsed by the American College of Sports Medicine. The site has given permission to use its materials NASA and NYPD’s listed contributors and editorial board members are Ph.Ds, MDs and MSs, including site creator and publisher James Griffing, who received his master’s degree in exercise physiology and psychology from Kansas State University in 1996 after winning bodybuilding title mr kansas. ExRx began as a master’s thesis, “an interactive multimedia computer database of 250 weight training and muscle analyses,” which Griffing began translating to the Web during his senior year. ExRx was streamed live “using 10MB of free web space provided by a local ISP,” the website explains. At its height, between 2008 and 2018, it received over one million unique visitors per month. “These days,” says the About Us page, “we retain about a third of our past peak traffic,” which is no small feat considering the many higher-production alternatives fitness enthusiasts can find online today.

Web sites, at least in their earliest iterations, were simply directories that miraculously became virtual, accessible. Transparency was a virtue. Accordingly, ExRx makes its organizational logic clear. Its pages adopt the structure of unordered lists, uniform and robust. Sections on the fallacies of weight management or weight training are spread as dispassionately as sections on academic journals and aerobic conditioning. The site is intended for spelling. you might stumble upon a page devoted to, say, cervical lateral flexion, but unlike other places on the modern Internet, you’re never lost on ExRx.

Lack of decorum does not equate to lack of agency. i’m not naive enough to think that ExRx is without intentions of its own. But the plain face of the site gives it some authority. In a fitness ecosystem dominated by new and old school flash, from personal trainers to “soft power” influencers, treats me like an adult. If Instagram Reels and TikTok videos are commissions, ExRx is a librarian, or better yet, the library itself.

Granted, in my many years of using the site, I’ve only gone through a fraction of what has to offer. With that, my infatuation began and remains focused on its holy grail: the exercise directory. It’s a bodybuilder/physical therapist’s hog heaven, because who else would not only work the chest and back muscles, but also the anterior scapula and upper trapezius? Who else needs to know that there are twenty or so modifications to the triple dip, or that weighted dips “recruit” the biceps brachii as a dynamic stabilizer that can “help stabilize joints by counteracting the rotational force of agonists,” whatever that means. is I’m neither a bodybuilder nor a medical professional, as you probably can’t tell, but I will consult ExRx to supplement new training regimens, ensuring that the movements I choose strengthen the targeted areas. Mostly, though, I visit to learn a lot about exercise.

For example, a website search for “sissy squat” returns a page with information on how it’s classified (utility: assisted; mechanics: isolated; strength: push), how it’s performed, how to increase or decrease its difficulty, and, of course, the muscles (target, synergists, stabilizers) it recruits. But I will be honest. none of them are the main attraction. One of the more surprising features of ExRx is that almost every exercise in its catalog (about two thousand and counting, according to the site) comes with a rotation. GIF: Exhibition. It GIF: for the sissy squat shows something like normal contraction in hard mode; a woman in a ponytail stands on her tiptoes and leans far back with a stiff top while her knees bend toward the floor, then stands up and does it again and again. At first glance, the shots seem uninterrupted, but they are not. we can from a bus passing by the window behind him that he is doing three reps in real time before the spin starts.

The only thing we don’t learn on ExRx’s Sissy Squat page is why the exercise has that name. According to some ancient Googles, the place name is said to be a nod to Sisyphus, whose endless push-up exercise certainly earned him a pair of colossal jams. But in a fact-check for this article, Griffing said this explanation was missing from his website because it was “not supported” by sufficient “academic scrutiny.” ExRx may be old, but it remains rigid about its standards. Both my introvert and my inner meathead are rejoicing. ♦

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