Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Group X = A breeding ground for inefficient movement patterns???

Every now and then when I walk by one of the Group X classes going on in the gym and I'll check it out for a couple minutes.  No, not to see if there are any hotties in spandex, but I get a kick out of some of the movement patterns and flawed technique that I see from some of of the attendees.

Actually, there are times when I feel sick to my stomach and my knees and back hurt from the awfulness that I see being demonstrated.

Most of the time these classes are packed with 30-50 people and most of the classes I've observed the majority of attendees move worse than a baby cow walking on ice.  Once and a while I'll be tempted to bust through the door and say "You call that a F'in squat -get lower!".  Of course, I am kidding.  I do really feel bad for the people attending some of these Boot Camps and Cardio Pump classes - they don't know what their doing is wrong, and 99% of the time the instructor won't take the time to correct them.

I understand that getting people to move is good, and if someone has fun while exercising- that's great.  But, when 90% of the class can't do a proper squat and they are doing 50-100 repetitions of an exercise, that's just asinine.  All that is going to be accomplished is a little sweat, a minuscule caloric burn, and a faulty movement pattern engraved in a persons mind.
This is actually good compared to some of the crap that I have seen! 

I think it would be a little more intelligent, and of course, more time consuming to teach a person HOW to do an exercise before you have them perform endless repetitions with horrible form.  It's not only squats, but push ups and lunges as well- the basic exercises are getting butchered in these so-called fitness classes.

I see people performing lunges with rounded backs and excessive forward lean, not to mention horrible foot placement.  Push-ups aren't any better, I've witness camel back syndrome and have seen hands placed in a variety of strange locations. 
I love push-ups, but make sure they are done right!
It goes on at boot camps  and group training facilities as well, exercises are just are not being TAUGHT.  They are being TOLD.  When you tell someone to do something and don't correct them if it's being performed wrong - that's just plain irresponsible as a fitness professional.

If a person performs and exercise with horrible technique day in and day out, it is an extremely long process to correct their deviations and deficiencies.  Exercise should develop healthy habits and movements not the opposite.  It's pretty clear why several people that I've evaluated before training sessions complain of knee, back, and shoulder pain.  Most of them demonstrate horrible form when performing a lunge, squat, or push up.

A solution to this problem would be having anyone interested in attending a Group X class or a Boot camp go through a screening process in a small group setting to evaluate and teach proper exercise technique.
Getting to proper depth is a challenge for most people!

I would honestly rather have someone perform 3 sets of 5 repetitions of proper squat rather than 100 squats with terrible technique.  One of my goal when training someone is to help them move more efficiently.  When a person demonstrates a movement that could lead to an "overuse" injury. When a client is beginning my program I look at the movement pattern to evaluate tightness/weaknesses.  I also structure their lifting sessions with the priority of correcting those issues.
Pop Quiz- Which athlete has better form???
One of the rebuttals I've heard from some of the attendees of a Group X class was,  "That class really made my legs burn, it had to be good".  In all honestly, just because an exercise "burns" or makes you sore doesn't necessarily mean that's a good thing.

Moving correctly is a good thing.  I know not everyone can afford to hire a personal trainer, and it's really hard to find a trainer who knows what their doing (most of them are salesman).  However, seeking someones help with knowledge of biomechanics will help identity some weaknesses and deviations in movement patterns that should be corrected would be really beneficial.   Once you can move better, your exercise sessions will be more efficient.

I'm not saying every Group X class or Boot Camp class is a waste time (a lot of them are), just remember why you are exercising- to improve your health, right?  It's pretty hard to feel healthy with a jacked up back, a sore shoulder, and knee pain 24/7.   Learn to move better, your body will thank you.

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