Don’t Do This Exercise!

I’m all for making exercise more difficult.  In fact, that’s what many people fail to realize about getting in shape is that everything tends to get more difficult. You do more work, get less rest between sets, sprint harder, and slam more weight on the bar all in hopes of pushing the envelope of your own human potential.

However, I’m a fan of sensible progressions and have little to no tolerance for all the misguided and senseless ways that the mainstream fitness media spits out. We can simply call this “bad exercise.” For example; I once worked with a client who came in early to get some conditioning work in.  She informed me that she hated to run and her previous trainer told her to simply hold weights in her hands while she walked on a treadmill. I’ve seen it before but I’ve filed it away in my “bad exercise habits” file.

For one, it’s dangerous. I’ve seen enough people take spills on treadmills from just trying to walk and couldn’t imagine the damage done if they were holding weights in their hands. Second, it’s counter intuitive to how humans were built. Our bodies can be very efficient at retaining energy; the way we walk is a matter of the body using what’s called contralateral movements. This is just a fancy way of saying that when your right foot steps forward in the gait cycle, your left arm will be forward. Since the opposite side shoulder and hip are working in unison, this saves the body a lot of energy. If you don’t believe me, stand up and try walking with the same side arm and leg moving at the same time. You’ll struggle at first because you’ll have to think about it.

Lastly, you’ve know introduced a load to the shoulders, eblows, and wrists and you’re lifting this load in a repetitive manner. I mean, talk about bad shoulder exercises.  This repetition is similar to a factory worker doing the same thing over and over again: you have a good chance of developing a muscular imbalance or even injury.

 

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