As someone who has spent a lot of time working with pre- and post-op clients, high performance athletes, and regular everyday exercising folks, I cannot help but notice a few very common trends amongst exercisers. With gyms now open (YAY!), consider giving this a read before your next visit:
Here are some common mistakes and myths:
- Adding Load to Improper Form
- This one is probably my greatest pet peeve of all. The most important takeaway here is if you cannot do a proper bodyweight exercise then do not…. I beg you… add weight to that exercise. I see this most commonly with the larger compound movements like squats and deadlifts. A bodyweight squat is a fundamental movement and when loaded in increments, can have very beneficial effects. Consider mastering the bodyweight squat first, then adding a dumbbell, and progressing your weight until you can safely squat the barbell (approx. 44 lbs.). Exercise should never feel painful- if you feel pain in your low back/elsewhere in your body, chances are your form needs tweaking or you need to decrease the weight.
- Faster is Better
- No it isn’t – but I get where this mentality comes from. I find that people tend to really rush through repetitions of an exercise thinking that it’ll get the muscles working harder, or they get “cardio” in by going fast. If you’re trying to get cardio in, then do cardio. The purpose of strengthening exercises is to overload the muscles and we aren’t doing that effectively if we are racing through the repetitions. In reality – slower, more controlled movements create more time under tension and are overall more effective. Tempo is crucial!
- Supplements = GAINS
- If not used strategically, supplements are essentially a waste of money. I talk about supplementation in a previous blog post- however, the key here is that supplementation is purposeful and should be used strategically. If you are someone that takes pre-workout, BCAAs, or post-workout protein, I challenge you to tell me WHY. If you enjoy buying overpriced caffeine, or a BCAA that scientifically shows no ergogenic effect, or you don’t consume your 20g of protein post-workout through food, then I understand. I just caution you to understand why you are supplementing when 9 times out of 10, you can get adequate pre- and post-exercise nutrition through…. drum roll please…. food!
- I personally supplement with creatine (check out my “supplementation” blog post), and I drink a cup of coffee before a workout for a pick-me-up! As long as I get in 20g of post-workout protein through food (within 2 hours), I don’t bother scooping the protein powder!
- Cardio Only/Weights Only Training is Best
- It’s very easy to favour either weights or the cardio exclusive training. In reality, there is no optimal type of “one dimensional” training- we need to be doing BOTH. Strength training is optimal for our function- it will help us live independently longer. Cardiovascular health is important for overall health- which will help us fight off that nasty thing they call cardiovascular disease! Consider incorporating both muscle/bone strengthening exercise, cardiovascular exercise, and proprioceptive exercises that challenge your balance for BEST overall success! 😊
Give these few pointers a thought next time you’re at the gym or exercising at home. The more we’re informed, the better we’ll perform!