If you’ve ever been to a large, commercial gym, chances are you’ve spotted a member doing some crazy exercise and thought to yourself, “What on earth is that for?!” or “Why would he do that?!”. Maybe you’ve seen videos on Instagram of gym-goers doing wild stunts, bouncing off bosu balls or trying to use gym equipment in new, novel ways to prove that they are “athletic”. Sometimes you may even catch yourself thinking, “I wish I was fit enough to do a crazy move like that”.
When it comes to the fitness industry, there are tons of people out there that look to garner attention by inventing the latest new exercise. Don’t get caught up in their nonsense. Don’t mistake novelty for progress. Don’t lose sight of your own goal; and the most efficient path to achieve that goal rarely involves these types of shenanigans.
Novelty doesn’t (and shouldn’t) replace progressive improvement to a core set of movements in your program.
What you do in the gym matters – but maybe not in the way you think. Instead of trying to find the cool, new exercises that float around on the internet, get really good at the basics. Our Primary Movement Patterns (squatting, hinging, lunging, pulling, pushing, and planking) can be varied in so many different ways to continually add challenge to your workout, while still being able to progress in an intelligent way towards mastery of movement.
How you perform these movements is also important – are you putting yourself in the best possible position to be successful? Do you know how to execute the movement correctly, to get the most out of your efforts and reduce the risk of injuring yourself in the process? A squat is only a great exercise when performed properly – if your back is arching under the bar, knees are caving inwards, and your weight is shifted into your tiptoes, it becomes a recipe for disaster. Rather than only focusing on how much weight you can lift, spend some time getting really, really proficient at technique, and you’ll save yourself down the line.
Last, but not least, why are you performing these exercises? There should be a reason for each exercise in your program, and it should be an exercise that serves to move you closer towards your goal. Throwing an exercise into your workout because you saw someone else do it is not a good enough reason.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Will this exercise help me to perform a task with more ease?
- Will this exercise allow me to perform a task more efficiently?
- Will this exercise help me practice or perfect a skill?
- Will this exercise move me one step closer to a goal I’ve set?
- Can I perform this exercise safely (mobility/stability/skill requirements)?
- Is there another exercise that would be better suited for this goal?
To sum up, what you do in the gym matters, but how and why you’re doing it matters even more.
Looking for more help in the gym? We’re here to help! Request your free initial consult on our training page and we’ll help you get started.