Quality not Quantity

I have a couple gym “pet peeves,” as I am sure we all do (maybe you’re not willing to admit you have them but I am!). Most of them consist of people being slightly “annoying”… talking on their phones, people walking around their machine like a zombie while texting inbetween sets- meanwhile I’m waiting to use it and if I try to they tell me it’s being “used”, or they’re making sounds that should only be heard in the bedroom, or jump on the elliptical next to you even tho the entire row is empty… chances are you know exactly what I mean! And yes those are annoying, but I can deal with it, I’m sure I do annoying things too and that’s ok, we’re humans. It’s what we do πŸ˜‚

The thing that gets me the most though, (because it can cause injury) is the person who loads up the weights and begins to pump, push, or pull as fast as they can and seem to do uncountable reps. Usually this leads to unintentional muscle training. I’m not going to say it’s a waste because I think anyone at the gym is doing something to improve upon themselves, and that is always a good thing! But it’s definitely not efficient and could potentially lead to injury, which is my concern and why I’m writing about it.

Yet somehow I never leave the gym without seeing this happen. I get it, we’re all in a hurry to get workouts done and move on with the day, and sure it might be cool to complete sets super fast… Maybe it makes people feel strong and powerful. Maybe they are inexperienced and need some guidance. The reasons are unknown, but there is little to “gain” in the end if what you want is to get the most out of your workout safely.

This is something I personally work on as often as possible. For example, shoulder taps in plank position… Booty down, weight distributed throughout my body, arms lined up under my shoulders, and pelvis stable and not swaying side to side. Because I am still very much out of shape, I struggle with form, and constantly have to evaluate what I’m doing. And if I’m following a workout video I always feel like I need to keep up with the trainer. But it’s always in my best interest (and yours) to slow down, and it’s always ok to be a beginner! No shame there!

Some of the things I remind myself of while working out:

  1. What muscles am I wanting to focus on? Use the muscle you intend to train, rather than getting momentum for the movement through other muscles. If you’re training multiple muscle groups, that’s great but the intent is what is important.
  2. Is the body part contracting/extending accordingly? I always try to “squeeze” or flex the muscle at the top of the movement to ensure that I’ve gotten the full contraction.
  3. Exhale with contraction (when you’re exerting energy) so you can do the full movement with as much energy as possible
  4. Am I using a weight that allows me to do the above, or am I activating other muscles that don’t want to? Always drop the weight down if you don’t feel you are using proper form, or use a heavier weight until you can’t do any more reps at that weight (training to “failure”)
  5. It can sometimes help to do an exercise with good form for a certain amount of time (say 30-60 seconds) rather than count reps so you don’t get caught up on the amount of reps performed

These simple and quick checks help me get the most out of my workouts whether they are 20 minutes long or 45. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather complete 10 solid reps with good form at a manageable weight than do 20+ half-assed reps that take all the energy in unintended muscle groups to make happen! 

There is so much info on the internet about form, and how to use machines and perform specific exercises. I encourage anyone to look into this before starting a program or beginning a new workout that you’re unsure of. bodybuilding.com is a my go-to resource for how to best do exercises! 

It’s hump day, go celebrate with squats and coconut water πŸ™ŒπŸΌπŸ˜œ

-Beach Body Bliss 🌴

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