Don’t let exercise errors stand in your way
Exercising and working out is more than just “doing it”, it’s also about the WAY you do it and the MINDSET behind doing it. Especially after the age of 50!
As we progress in life, we may find ourselves in a position where we haven’t exercised in a long time and may not remember what to do, or maybe just don’t know how to start to begin with.
Either way, there are some certain….we’ll just call them…..”flubs” that we may be making. I’ll outline some here and tell you what to do instead, ok?
Some Cardio “Flubs”
- The Grip Flub. Let’s face it, when we get on some sort of cardio machine, (elliptical, treadmill, ect) we grab the handles and hold on for dear life! You may feel this is normal or natural, but it’s actually holding you back from a complete true workout. Why? Because this sometimes allows you to slack off on the actual workout.
Oh sure, some of us need to hold on for balance, and some machines REQUIRE you to hold the handles for the exercise, we get it. But, if you’re just holding them to go through the motion of the machine, you’re doing it wrong!
If the handle is part of the exercise, then use it as such! Focus on moving your arms with the machine and not letting the machine move your arms. (You know what I mean)
If you need to use the handles for balance, fine, but don’t grab the handles, just rest your hands and, eventually, work on loosening the grip and taking your hands off completely.
- The Reading Flub. Let’s face it, sometimes doing cardio on a machine is boring. That’s why gyms have TV’s in front of just about every machine. BUT, some people like to read, and that’s fine…..if the machine is designed for it!
Think of it this way, you’re at the gym to workout and get in better shape, right? Then that’s what you should focus on! If you’re on a machine that requires you to use both your legs AND arms, how are you able to read a book and turn the pages?
If the machine is only for legs (like a bicycle), then by all means, read a book. BUT, if you’re on an elliptical (which if you notice, there are a LOT of them at gyms), then you’re not getting the full effectiveness of the machine if you’re reading a book!
Focus and concentrate on the workout! After all, that’s why you’re there to begin with!
- I’ll Only Do Cardio Flub. Yes, I know, I’ll get blasted by some people about this, but my opinion is that doing only cardio may not be enough. “But Andrew, I just want to lose weight, I don’t want to get bulky muscles”. I hear ya, but after age 50, we need to engage our muscles more and more, because (according to a lot of studies), we tend to lose muscles at a much quicker pace as we get older. So, let’s keep as much muscle as we can, does that make sense?
Besides, if your body is in the shape of a pear, and you just want to lose weight without any other kind of body muscle, you’ll probably lose the weight, but you’ll just look like a skinny pear, and no one wants that!
Resistance Training Flubs
1. I Want To Get This Done Flub.
We’ve all seen videos of people doing “speed lifting’, on other words, doing the weight lifting exercise as fast as they can. I’m guessing they think it will help with their heart rate. I got 4 words for you to remember about this… “DO NOT DO IT!”
Any good trainer (even the bad ones) will tell you proper form is ALWAYS better than the amount of weights or the number of reps you do, PERIOD!
And, the speed lifting this is NOT proper form!
I don’t care if it’s free weights or a machine, take your time and do it right! Do a slow count to 3 or 5 for each part of the rep (up and down for example) if you don’t know how much time you should take.
Also, If you don’t know for sure how to do a particular exercise, grab a trainer and ask them for some help. There isn’t a trainer on this planet that wouldn’t help someone and assist them with proper form.
- Let The Machine Do The Work Flub.
This is tough because when people read this, they may think I’m talking bad about machines, but I’m not. What I see are people using the machines, but not exercising, just going through the motions.
Oh sure, you’ll have to do something to get the machine moving in the way it’s designed, but then a lot of people stop and let the machine take over.
You’ll know what I mean AFTER you understand that you MUST FOCUS ON THE MUSCLE(S) BEING WORKED THROUGH THE WHOLE REP!
For instance, when using the preacher curl machine, you just don’t go “up” with it and let it fall back down. You must slowly let the bar down with the same with the same focus you lifted it up. This will make you focus on the muscle, even if you don’t know you’re doing it!
You can say the same thing on just about any machine; the lat pull down, the crunch, the bicep, the flat bench, just to name a few. I got three works for you… FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS!
- The Non-Adjust Flub. We’ll stick to using machines for this one. Did you know that just about every machine has multiple adjustments to use? Think about it, machines are made to be universal, so they need to adjust to just about every body shape there is.
Ask yourself this, did the person who used the machine before you have the same body size and shape? Chances are, they did not. So, that means you should adjust the machine to fit YOU, not the person who doesn’t look like you, right?
Adjust the seat, adjust the hand grips, adjust the back rest, extend or shorten the leg pads, in other words, make it fit your body! Like I said earlier, if you’re not sure how to do it, ask a trainer, they’ll be happy to help you figure it out.
Word of caution, if the machine doesn’t fit your body type, you’re just asking to get hurt, which nobody wants! So, take the extra 5 seconds and always adjust, adjust, adjust!
So, there you go. Since you now know what these flubs are, you can avoid them and do the right thing. Following these easy tips will make your workouts more productive and you’ll be seeing results a lot faster as well!
Hey, have you seen the TFS video series called “The 4 Pillars of Fitness”? Go HERE to get all the info!
Until next time,