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Ever pull a muscle or had a gym related injury? The pain can be severe and not only can it take a substantial amount of time to heal, if the damage isn’t permanent, injuries often put a major dent into getting to your fitness goals.
After working out at the gym and seeing a patron using the machines for a contraindicated exercise, which is something I see and step in to correct far too often, I was inspired to write this article, and hopefully give some helpful advice.
The young patron was performing behind the head lat-pulldowns that are considered a high-risk exercise, and when I asked him which muscle he was trying to target, he said “triceps.” After explaining and educating him on what exercises are better at targeting the triceps I am confident he can now perform them safely.
Exercises and regulations change; what was considered the norm ten years ago can now be considered contraindicated in accordance to current research. Ten minutes later I witnessed another individual using the same machine for an exercise not intended for the machine.
Not only is it unsafe, the machine could also have been damaged, leaving it unusable to anyone else.
For all the beginners out there or anyone unsure please start asking questions or researching.
Too often I’m witnessing poor gym etiquette and unsafe practice, and although I enjoy stepping in to help, I’ve been met with hostility from people who think they know better then someone who has been trained.
Let’s all start being a little more mindful of others, start sharing and cleaning up after yourself.
I know the gym can be an intimidating place but I’m here to help and make the gym a place where everyone can be safe and work out. I enjoy answering questions and come to the NVAC fitness room usually five days a week, but if I’m not available the NVAC machines all have diagrams and descriptions of what they are intended for.
Also, you can ask someone who looks like they have experience with fitness, or try researching credible resources and fitness magazines so you know what to do before you go.
Remember, always have a purpose when performing an exercise and know what muscles you are targeting; it will make your workouts way more effective.
Here is a beginner resistance workout to get you started for those wanting to improve strength:
Start with a five minute warm-up on a cardio machine.
For the following exercises you can use either resistance bands or dumbbells.
Perform 3 sets of the exercises 8-12 times.
Pushups- agonist muscle: Pectoralis Major (chest)
Lat Pulldown – agonist muscle: Latissimus Dorsi (back) Seated Row – agonist muscles: Latissimus Dorsi, Rhomboids, Mid Trapezius (back)
Lateral Arm Raise – agonist muscle: Lateral Deltoids (shoulders)
Bicep Curl – agonist muscle: Biceps (arms)
Tricep Kickback – agonist muscle: Triceps (arms)
Superman on the ball – agonist muscle: Gluteus Maximus, Erector Spinae, Deltoids (Back)
Lunges – agonist muscle: Quadriceps, Gluteus Maximus (upper legs)
Hamstring curl – agonist muscle: Hamstrings (back of legs)
Calf Raise – agonist muscle: Gastrocnemius, Soleus (calves)
Reverse Calf Raise – agonist muscle: Tibialis Anterior (shins)
Hip Abduction – agonist muscle: Hip Abductors, Gluteus Medius & Minimus, Tensor Fascia Latae (outer thigh)
Hip Adduction – agonist muscle: Hip Adductors (inner thigh)
Follow with 15 mins of cardio activity, and a 5 minute cooldown, then stretch all the muscles used.
If you don’t have time to complete the 1 hr workout then complete the upper body program your first day and follow with the lower body workout on day 2.
Dan Swedberg is a registered personal trainer. Send your fitness questions to email@example.com.