Free advice from fitness professionals? Whats not to like? Heres how to develop harder, smarter and cheaper, whether youre a novice or an old hand
Is there any group of people better qualified to comment on fitness habits than personal trainers? From their vantage point on gym floors in all regions of the country, they assure our grunting, sweating exertion up close: the peacocking bros, the men who don’t wipe down the machines when they are done- and that woman on the treadmill who is never off her phone. But what common blunders do they witness, day in day out? Which fitness myths genuinely wind them up? And can they answer the burning exercise-related question of our times: is Noel Edmonds right to claim that stretching is a con devised by personal trainers?
In the land of the gym machines, technique is king
The No 1 gripe from all the personal trainers I spoke to was the same: poor technique- not lifting weights correctly, leaning forwards into your squat, or busting out the repeatings, but with the incorrect posture and kind. Not merely does bad technique hazard causing injury, but it is often pointless exertion: your body won’t reap any benefits.
Learn to do things properly, and then slow down.” I’d rather people did two repeats of a full push-up than 10 repeatings on their knees ,” says Jermaine Johnson, a personal trainer with the gym chain Blok.” They’re going to shock their muscles and increase their strength. The body adapts to movement patterns, so the more you do it, the better you’re going to get. I wish people is well known, and worked for quality over sum .”
Fitness classes can be great- but tread with caution
When it comes to poor form, part of the problem may be our growing fondness for fitness classes. Although class can be a great way to get into exercise- and more motivating than working out on your own- often, teachers don’t demonstrate the exercises for more than a few seconds.
If you are a newbie, “its easy” to get things wrong.” If you’re a novice in a class and you’re doing a deadlift with the incorrect technique, you’re going to be in bed for three days with a sore back ,” says the personal trainer Bradley Simmonds. He advises novices to arrive before classes start, and pull the instructors aside for a chat.” Ask your instructor:’ Can you show me the proper technique ?’- and then you’re good to go .”
Women, lifting weights won’t turn you into Hulk Hogan
Of all the myths that persist around workout, this is one of the most damaging, as it omits girls from the health benefits of strength training. Lifting weights will help you to stay strong and active into old age, and can reduce your likelihood of having back pain or bone fractures in later life. But many women still avoid the free-weights section because they are concerned that the odd bicep curl will turn them into Hulk Hogan.” I want more females to know that weights won’t bulk them ,” says Johnson.” It’s a mistake to assume that, after a few weight conferences, you’re going to wake up looking like a bodybuilder. It takes a very long time to build up muscle .”
Don’t feel nervous about venturing into the weights segments.” For women, or people from the LGBTQ community, it can be scary even to walk into the section of the gym that has all the weights in it for the first time ,” says Melanie Stride, a personaltrainer and lifting specialist. She encourages women to educate themselves about the benefits of strength training, and get lifting.” Lifting culture has been seen as very male, very straight and very young. One of the biggest things I do is reassure people outside of those groups that they can do this, in environmental issues where they feel safe, accepted and part of a community .”
Read more: www.theguardian.com