By Coach Chris Collins, CPT
Sneaky. Savage. Sinister. All are apt descriptors of this year’s list of the ten most wanted exercise offenders. Without proper focus, they can creep up and waylay you, injuring and damaging your body in the process. At the very least, they stall your progress.
Help us capture these felons by being attentive to form and detail, and, as always, apprehend with caution. The following are considered armed and dangerous.
10. Archie Backmon. This one is quick and seemingly innocent. After all, you can lift a little more overhead by gaining a little anatomical leverage and arching your low back. At first, all you might feel is a little pinch there, but over time that pinch can derail your fitness goals. You kind of need your lower back. Don’t fall victim to this deceptive offender, and draw your ribs toward your front hips when pressing overhead.
9. Careless Joe. A former baseball player turned gambler, this Rounder bets on your body being structurally sound enough to position your weights and equipment in haphazard ways. Look, the proper form for lifting doesn’t go out the window because the exercise hasn’t officially begun. When picking up and setting down your weights to begin your workout continue to use good form by keeping a flat back and bending with your knees.
8. Knee Shearer. Usually striking the new and unsuspecting, Mr. Shearer usually hangs out on squat day. His usual ploy consists of getting exercisers to fold at the knees instead of sitting back with the hips to achieve a good pattern. This forces the knees dangerously forward until they are out past the toes, causing a shearing effect on the tendons and ligaments in the knee. Don’t fall victim to this bullying scalawag.
7. Limpy Handerson. Kind of an anomaly around here, Limpy is a loafer. When he’s not playing video games, sitting around in his unkempt cloths and smoking dope, he’s telling you, “hey, don’t squeeze that bar very hard. Too much work. Don’t squeeze that kettlebell handle. Who do you think you are, an overachiever?” Friends, I’m here to tell you to squeeze that bar and handle as if your life depended on it. The definition of strength is internal tension overcoming an external force. The more tension you have in your hands and forearms, the more weight you can lift. Pay no attention to losers like Limpy.
6. Clappy Chandler. Not a particularly dangerous criminal, more of a nuisance, the designs of Clappy still need to be addressed because he terrorizes such an important exercise, the plank. We all may want to clasp our hands together when we’re planking, but proper exercising says not to. That’s because it makes the exercise easier! See my definition of strength above. When we buttress our base of support by reinforcing our upper body, we cheat the exercise by getting our pecs involved. Focus all your attention on your abs instead of your pecs when doing a proper plank by positioning your forearms parallel to each other. Get rid of Clappy and separate your hands when planking.
5. Bennie Madoff. A criminal of the white collar variety, Bennie assumes an upright, virtuous demeanor, but therein lies his deception. When you’re doing a bent-over row, you don’t want to do your best Washington Crossing the Delaware impression. On the contrary, you want to “pinch” you front hip as tight as your can, lowering your entire torso so that the lats are doing the work and not your upper traps. You want your torso horizontal and parallel to the floor. Let Bennie work his trapezius schemes in a prison far away from you.
4. Led Shufflin’. A classic rock band who hang out in our turf with Careless Joe, Led Shufflin’ spins their hits until your shoes feel as if they’re filled with lead and you’re hypnotized into a rolling trance. And I mean that literally. When you don’t pick up your feet on lateral shuffles, you’ll be doing their top ten, Stairway to Tumblin’ and eating turf like it’s your last meal.
3. Frenetic Fran. Frenetic Fran frenzies free weights furiously fast on Friday. Try saying that three times fast. Don’t worry, Fran already has and lapped you twice. Fran’s crimes lie in the speed of her movement. While some exercises are meant to be performed explosively, Fran takes dumbbell curls and makes it look as if she’s performing CPR on herself with weights. When you go too fast with your exercises, you risk damaging your joints and you cheat yourself out of time under tension. You want to build muscle, not snap joints. Frenetic Fran hangs out with another top ten offender, which brings us to…
2. Partial Jo. True to her abbreviated name Partial Jo’s crimes consist of underperforming her reps on exercises. She won’t achieve full extension in any joint doing the work. It’s like playing Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and quitting after winning $1,000. After all, you’re only cheating yourself when you hang out with Jo.
And now our worst offender, public enemy number one…
1. No Warmup Jones. For whatever reason, No Warmup Jones hates the warmup. In fact, I think ebola is more appealing to Jones than systematically evaluating how his body is doing that day. Avoid the hits of no warmup that Jones is dealing on the corner and go straight into your warmup routine for a multitude of benefits, not the least of which includes decreased risk of injury.
There you have it, folks. LiveWELL’s most wanted. They hang out to strike when you are fatigued, unfocused, and careless. They will victimize you when you are most vulnerable. So stay vigilant and on guard against these seasoned criminals, and be careful when apprehending. They are considered armed and very dangerous.