You’re Doing It Wrong!
Even if you are not working with one, you are undoubtedly aware of the fitness professionals who work at your health club. Though they come in all shapes and sizes, you can usually pick out a fitness professional by the assured way they operate inside the club.
Fitness professionals, i.e., personal trainers, class instructors, etc., are great resources to tap into when trying to improve your workout routine and your health in general. They spend a lot more time around the gym than you do and are constantly working to hone their craft. And unless they have their headphones in and are in the middle of a set of deadlifts or a 5-mile run on the treadmill, they are usually more than happy to answer any questions you have.
But if you are too timid to approach one of your local fitness pro-fessionals, don’t worry! We did it for you. We reached out to fitness professionals at three local health clubs and picked their brains about what they see at their clubs that aggravates them. You might be surprised to read what we found out!
Something we heard from every fitness professional that we surveyed is that they see people not using proper technique on certain lifts and/or using too much weight. “Squats are one of the best weight-training exercises but proper form is so important and practically no one is doing it right!” Since it incorporates so many different muscle groups, squats are great for building overall strength, but also present a lot of opportunities for bad form. Lack of proper depth, a rounded back, and heels coming off the ground/weight out over the toes were the big no-nos we heard about most frequently.
But free-weight lifts were not the only place our fitness professionals saw problems with bad form and too much weight. “People get on the weight machines and think the machine is going to do the work for them; there’s still a proper way to use them!” The fitness professionals we spoke to cited not controlling the weight (“They jerk weight that’s too heavy for them to lift and then let the weight plates slam back down”) and bad posture (“The machines aren’t comfy chairs; sit up straight and engage your core!”) as two common mistakes people at their clubs regularly made.
Difficulty with proper technique was not limited to lifting weights, however; more than one of our fitness professionals mentioned how people used the cardio equipment at their health clubs. They cited a more hands-free approach as something members and their clients should strive for. “Our arms were meant to swing when we walk; going too fast or with too much of an incline on the treadmill and hanging on for dear life defeats the purpose.” They recommended slowing down and incrementally working up to higher speeds.
While we meant for this article to be more about the technique issues that we have discussed so far, we got a surprising amount of feedback from fitness professionals at all the clubs regarding gym etiquette. Not returning equipment to its appropriate place, idly occupying a piece of equipment while using their phone, and occupying multiple pieces of equipment during busy times of the day were all mentioned in our survey results. “[Not putting weights and equipment away] makes the gym so much less inviting, looks dirty, and for new members, they can’t find equipment making it harder to work out!”
If you are worried that you might be using poor form or if you have a question about proper gym etiquette, grab (figuratively!) the nearest fitness professional next time you are at your health club and start a dialogue with them. Your health won’t regret it!