lördag 1 november 2014

Are you guilty of these 13 ridiculous mistakes in the gym?

Do you work out?

-If not, you should

Well..., unless you want to look, feel and actually be older than your age, that is

Without a proper workout at least a couple of times a week, your posture will become poor and unhealthy, you will be prone to injury, your brain will lose its plasticity and capacity for learning, you risk getting Alzheimer's earlier in life. In short you, if you don't exercise, you will be a weaker, less intelligent and less attractive person, as well as perish sooner with a lower quality of life your last years.

The science is quite clear on this subject. Humans need exercise. You too. Luckily, it doesn't have to be something complicated, dangerous or heavy. A nice run three times a week or a brisk half hour walk more or less every day is definitely enough. That said, you should still seriously consider going to the gym and lift weights (or, albeit a bit impractical, to the forest and throw around logs and stones).

I am sure you are not caught with these preposterous blunders:

If you are new in the gym it's easy to feel lost, silly and stupid. But, take my word for it, the veterans are not looking and definitely not judging the odd newbie faux pas. However, if you are a little more experienced you do not want to be guilty of the following nonsensical mistakes:

  1. Using poor form, when obviously experienced
    • If you are strong and obviously experienced in the gym but still only do half range movements, such as quarter squats, swinging half-dips, touch'n'go bouncing deadlifts (dead means 'still and dead on the ground') or similar harebrained stunts to show off more plates on the bar, the pro's will shake their heads thinking "ass!"
  2. Benchpressing like a donkey stung by an electric eel
    • If you don't bring the bar all the way down to the chest you are not benchpressing. Period.
    • If you bounce the bar on your chest, you are only fooling yourself, and risk getting hurt to boot. In any case, you are not getting stronger, rather your actual capacity for pressing the dead bar off your chest diminishes
    • If you lift your ass off the bench you are an ass. It's not pretty, it's not safe, it's definitely not an approved technique if you want to record your 1RM
    • Feets in the air... Jesus! Are you recording adult entertainment? Do you want to get injured? Okay, maybe you are already injured; then you are forgiven; Just keep your wheelchair close
    • Thumbs on top of the bar, the same side as your fingers. Great, we are always looking for candidates to the Darwin award. That guy actually has a correct thumb grip, but seemed intent to close himself off from the future gene pool nevertheless.
  3. Bringing pets to the gym
    • Check your ego at the door; meaning don't be a poser, don't try to be something you aren't, don't use poor form to lift more than you are capable of, don't lift for the session and the spectators, lift for you, for life. Progress steadily and intelligently, slightly outside your comfort zone. That's the true meaning of hard and disciplined; not cheating and trying to impress
  4. Lifting the bar above your head without a thumb lock
    • Whether it be benchpress, overhead press, cross cables, flys or kettlebells, lock the grip with your thumb when lifting weights above your head. Any other way is just silly. If this guy can use his thumbs intelligently, you should too
  5. Instructing other people
    • Unsolicited advice in the gym is like walking up naked, very closely, to a stranger in the shower and striking up a conversation. Only an ass with his head up his own butt does things like that. 
  6. Making noise
    • Don't drop the weights on the floor. If you can't put them down, don't pick them up in the first place.
    • Don't grunt more than needed. By all means, do what comes naturally when making an all out effort, but don't be theatrical about it. Watch women's tennis if you have no clue of where to draw the line.
  7. Staying inside your comfort zone
    • Training is supposed to be uncomfortable; that's how you get better, stronger, bigger. If you just keep doing what you have always done, always staying on the safe side you'll never grow physically or mentally.
  8. Training injured
    • It's a fine line between married to your comfort zone or lazy and risking injury. However, do not ever risk being seriously hurt in the gym. It is silly, stupid and will take a very long time to work around once it happens.
  9. Lacking a target
    • Do you seriously think you will get anywhere unless you know where you want to go?
  10. Lacking a plan
    • How will you ever get there if you don't know how?
  11. Lack of variation
    • The body and the mind are primed to adopt to new challenges. New. Challenges. If you don't vary your programme you will reach a plateau and then gradually fall back from there. Worst case, you'll lose your motivation and give up altogether.
  12. ADHD
    • Changing your workout programme every other week is not variation, it's schizofrenic. There is no way to keep track of your progress (if you are doing any) and thus no way to keep incrementally increasing your workload
  13. Lack of focus
    • Caring about others (yes they flop around doing kipping this and that, yes they wear smelly, ripped, silly, sexy clothes, yes they have fallen for the latest rope/crossfit/TRX-band fad). Remember, they are not you, hence not your problem

How to look professional from day one and become one fast

  1. Dress neutrally and be clean. You'll look at home instantly
  2. Be clear on your targets. Write it down. Follow up.
  3. Ask for advice on proper form. The sooner the better. Make sure you ask the right person; trust your instincts; lifting should be beautiful. Verify the advice through other sources
  4. Get sweaty, strain yourself, grunt a little (like you would if you hit your toe under the table at an office meeting). Focus on your workout (check your programme, look at the weights, lift them, rest). Challenge your comfort zone.
  5. Vary your training every three months, by changing exercises and the order of exercises
  6. Don't train injured. Eyes on the prize (train for life, not to pose or impress)
  7. Ignore the fools. Focus. I know the gym can be a freak show of posers, instructors, people hurting themselves etc., but you can find that on the internet later. Acknowledge their existence, maybe shake your head in disbelief if needed, and then do your thing.
As an example of going outside the comfort zone. Today, I trained with a slight wrist injury, hurting my back (cramp) in the bench press, and then still forcing myself through heavy deadlifts, despite being nauseous by back pain and at first hardly able to lift the empty bar from the floor. I actually missed twice (zero reps) on my last warm-up weight and then went on to do a series of 3,3,3,3,5 (!) on a 15% higher weight. A fine line indeed.

Today's bench press:

5 kommentarer:

  1. Going to the gym is my form of going to church--I treat it like I would if I were to visit a Tibetan monastery. In fact, I take it so seriously that I will wake up at 5 AM, and get my workout in before the crowd starts arriving.

    In order to defeat the voice in my head that attempts to talk me out of doing more painful exercises, I plan out all of my workouts beforehand using a progressive overload structure. Additionally, I find that listening to upbeat music facilitates a positive cognitive stimulus preceding a kinetic energy transfer.

    1. Going to the gym in the morning is murder to me. I did it today; entered the gym at 8 o'clock. For me, that's a serious way of breaking out of my comfort zone. "Try just one rep and then maybe try one more..." is my mantra to gradually inch myself through tough sessions.

  2. Bringing pets to the gym - haha who does this? I've never seen this anywhere :D. I'd agree with all points besides the one on making noise. Heavy deadlifts require some dropping if you can't handle it.

    Here's me - making noise :/; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDoolQRaVkU&list=UUERrDf58tSqtuY7AciBeuTQ

    Love your stuff - besides the things on investing. I understand none of it. Any recommendations that could get me started with this? I have "intelligent investor" by Benjamin Graham here at home, would you advice on this?

    1. Pets :)

      What I meant with pets was actually your own ego. Drop it when you enter the gym and pick it up again when you leave.

      Investing: I don't like Grahams book - it's way too long and it's few gems are hidden in jargon and pages of municipal bond data from the 60s. I'm trying to think of a better resource and will post an article about if if I find something good enough. Worst case: I'll have to make the site myself :)

    2. Yeah - I was thinking something similar haha.

      Ah crap, thought it was one of the better books since Buffet recommends it :/ I'll look further into it!

      Thanks man!