Saturday, January 17, 2009

Gym Injuries

(Note: This image isn't mine, nor is it intended to illustrate poor exercise form ... I just needed something that wasn't an amateur picture used to promote a gym!)

From my perch on the treadmill at the gym, I have reached a point where I nearly cannot watch people exercising in the weight area - particularly where those abdominal benches are concerned.

Today there was a kid, probably 17 or so, just going to town on his abdominals. I could tell he was probably a full-on doughboy a year ago, but looked like he was progressing toward a more athletic frame. With that said, his form was so scary I nearly got off the treadmill and said something to him. I am not sure what this exercise is called - but it's a stand in which you work the obliques by hooking the feet beneath a platform and arching over and back up. We do a similar exercise in pilates on the short box; it's called Bow and Arrow and it's one of my favorites. But the idea is that you stabilize the shoulder girdle and pelvis as you're arching over. This kid was a big Gumby mess and I wondered if he actually hurt more after leaving the gym?

A lot of people have this expectation of "no pain no gain." Unless you're on a mission to build unfunctionally large muscles, this is inaccurate; and unless you want to herniate a disk or pull a muscle you DON'T want to use your arms/legs ("levers") past the point of stability of the torso. That will likely mean a smaller range of movement, and that's OK. You cannot safely challenge your development until you're stabilized. Small movements done correctly will strengthen you much faster than the BIG SWEEPS.

Rant off.

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