Saturday, February 6, 2010

You're Doing It All Wrong

Confession: I cringe when I see your back drooping down in a plank pose. I die a little bit inside when you do a lat pulldown behind your neck. I get a shiver up my spine as you fling your legs forward on the leg extension machine.

I see people performing ineffective exercises and executing exercises with poor form all. the. time. And every time, I am seized by the same dilemma: Do I say something, or shut my mouth and pretend I didn't notice?

I don't want anyone to get injured, that's for sure. And I want people to see the results of their efforts. Performing an exercise improperly increases the likelihood of the former and decreases the likelihood of the latter. But....

I am a trainer, but I am not your trainer. If a member hasn't asked my advice, why should I offer it unsolicited? And by barging in on someone's workout, I might make him or her uncomfortable, and in fact LESS likely to seek advice or assistance from me in the future.

Not to mention, it galls me to no end to see trainers walking up to members and telling them they "should" be doing this exercise or that one. I find that highly irresponsible. Before recommending any exercise, I need to know at least a basic exercise and health history. Otherwise, how would I know about that torn rotator cuff back in '07 or those arthritic knees? I don't want to recommend any movement that is contraindicated for a person's health condition. I also don't want to recommend something that is far beyond a person's current level of ability, leaving open the possibility of injury. As a consumer, I would be suspicious of any trainer who tries to "recruit" new clients in this manner.

What do you think? Do you want someone to correct you if you're doing something incorrectly? Or would you prefer to just do your own thing without interruption?


  1. I think the only people that should "correct" anyone are people that are currently on being paid to work. If I'm just working out by myself, I stay away from anyone with improper form. Most people hate to be corrected, esp from a stranger on the floor. But if you are in uniform, they are more likely to take your advice.

  2. I would appreciate the correction, if done in a positive way (which I'm sure you would do). Who wouldn't want free advice to help them optimize their workout?