I'm sure you've heard of the phrase "no pain, no gain" before. It's something I hear constantly when i'm in the gym with clients or working out on my own time.
Truth is, this line of thinking really needs to stop.
We should never be pushing to the point of physical pain, however it is still important to push yourself safely and effectively. As an alternative, think "no strain, no gain".The idea behind this is that you definitely want to push through those last few reps, but not to the point where you think your shoulder or knee is going to snap.
With that being said, it's my duty to let you know about some of 2018's worst exercise trends:
*Important note* The things listed below do have their place in your fitness program so long as you are able to execute them properly and safely, which varies from person to person.
Plyometrics & HIIT
Important note: these two are not the same, but are usually paired together.
Plyometrics (literally any jumping or explosive movement such as box jumps) and HIIT (high intensity interval training) are effective and fun methods to burn fat and increase athletic performance, however there is a high risk for injury, especially with plyometrics.
Since plyometrics involves some sort of explosive movement (mainly jumping of some sort), it adds a layer of high intensity to your workout. While you should definitely give plyometrics a try, you must make sure your form and technique are proper, so you eliminate the risk of injury. Common errors are landing hard, knees knocking inwards, and other posture issues such as rounding of the shoulders and not engaging your core.
Most important of all, if you have knee pain or discomfort, DO NOT engage in plyometrics or HIIT involving plyometrics. This includes any and all jumping movements such as jump squats, jumping jacks, and high knees. HIIT is OK so long as it is what we call "low impact"
Too many times I see other trainers clients or regular gym goers doing this, resulting in further injury to their knees. It's impossible to stay fit and healthy in the long term if you're constantly getting injured.
I used to teach boot camp classes at a popular chain gym in my early days as a personal trainer. I can tell you from my experience there I am just as concerned about this flawed mentality then as I am now. I've found this type of "go heavy or go home" paradigm especially strong in 2018 so it's worth a mention.
The truth is, lifting heavy is relative. Squatting 135lbs may be heavy to you, but for your fellow Back2Lifer, a body weight squat is "heavy". The point i'm trying to make is that everyone comes with their own set of limitations and fitness levels. Just because you're lifting 135lbs doesn't mean jack if you're not doing it properly, lacking activation in all the specific muscle groups. It's the job of a fitness professional to accurately identify movement imbalances and weaknesses in order to give you a workout that is customized and scaled appropriate for you. This is how we get results, more efficiently than ever.
"Back pain is a major health issue in Western countries and 60%–80% of adults are likely to experience low back pain." (Gordon et all, 2016)
If you tend to get low back pain, stop doing crunches... right now. I mean it.
Not only are there MUCH better ways to engage and work your core, they put you at serious risk for further injury. Crunches cause repeated compression of the lumbar spine (lower back portion of your spine) and can make your aching back even worse.
A better core routine would be one that includes exercises like the plank and dead bug. These are exercises that, when done properly, can have an immensely positive effect on your lower back health, sometimes eliminating it completely. A fitness professional would be the best person to learn these movements from so that you get the form 100%, and you're able to engage your core effectively and safely.
So there you have it. Three fitness trends that you must be weary of while on your fat loss and strength journey. Please don't be discouraged to try any of these trends, but now you know what you need to in order to navigate through them safely and effectively.
I hope you found this article useful, if you have any additional questions please feel free to contact me.
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