Hey You!  Yes, you, the one that keeps slamming the weightstack.  Can you please keep it down, I’m trying to focus on my own workout.

Do you ever find yourself staring at the guy that thinks he’s getting the best workout ever if he creates more noise?  Isn’t it just the most annoying thing?  Working in a fitness centre I definitely see my fair share of these types of individuals and it’s quite distratcing…especially if I’m on a conference call or doing work.  It seems to be the only thing you can focus on.  This sparked an idea to write about it.  Instead of staring at these people we should try to approach them and ensure they are exercising correctly since the #1 reason to help anyone in a gym is to ensure they don’t get injured.  Most people aren’t educated about their exercise regime but because they saw someone else doing that exericse they figure it’s good for them too.  The only time weights should be thrown or slammed are if you are a bodybuilder/powerlifter where you are using extremely heavy weight to achieve that look/power.  In the case I’m trying to build, I’m referring to the average person where their needs are not at that point yet.

Here are my (Fizzique’s) steps on how to have an effective workout while practicing proper etiquette.  Note that these guidelines are for the general population wanting to learn how to exercise safely.

1) Ensure you are lifting the appropriate amount of weight.  If you use a heavier weight then what you can handle, chances are you aren’t doing the exercise properly and are compensating your form by using your back which could put strain on various muscls and joints.  To find an appropriate weight, you may need to play around a few times to find the best weight for you but you should try and choose a weight that makes you fatigue between 12-15 reps.  *rep guidelines are for individuals looking to tone.  If you’re looking to strength train you would want to fatigue between 6-8 reps.

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2) Proper body alignment is the most important thing to remember when working out.  This will save your muscles and joints in the long run.  For example, when you perform a bicep curl, you want to ensure that you first and foremost have a good base of support.  This means that your feet are hip width apart and knees slightly bent so you don’t compensate the movement by involving your lower back.   Next, engage the core by pulling in your belly button.  Ensure you don’t stop breathing though.  Align your elbows directly at your sides with your arms fully extended so your hands lay beside your hips/thighs (depending how long your arms are).

3) When you execute the exercise you always want to maintain proper form and ensure you breathe.  An easy way to regulate your breathing is to exhale when the muscle shortens (work phase) and inhale when the muscle is lengthening (rest phase).  To use our example of the bicep curl, bring the weights up to your shoulders and exhale.  Slowly lower the weights back down by your sides so your arm is extended (inhale).   If you’re not able to work throughout the entire range of the exercise (primarily full extension of the arm) chances are you picked a heavier weight than you can handle.  Now you’ll know that you need to go down to a lighter weight the next time you execute this exercise.  If you’re finding that you can complete the 15 reps with ease then you’ll need to re-asses which heavier weight you will advance to.

4) Maintain your speed.  Many times I see individuals plowing through the exercise like it’s nothing.   This is either due to a light weight or that they are going too fast to allow the muscles to actually work under the loaded force.  An easy way to ensure you’re maintaing a proper pace is to workout with a metronome or count 2 seconds on each phase (2 seconds up &  2 seconds down).  The down phase is equally as important as the up phase so enjoy the exericse and feel the muscle working.  Not how tired it is and how you just want to put those weights down.

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We feel that everybody should have these basics down first before attempting to progress to more challenging exercises.  Once you have the basics (and a strong core) you can then start to introduce more advanced exercises to eventually look like this:

arnold

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