Who here considers his or herself a quick learner? (raises hand) It’s a thought that leads to me consistently jumping into situations where I’m in way over my head. While I am sometimes able to adjust on the fly and handle what needs to be handled, these situations lead to me asking myself, “Why didn’t I just take my time and do it step by step?” That’s a question you don’t want to ask yourself when it comes to fitness. Performing a workout or exercise that you aren’t physically prepared for can lead to injury and in some cases those injuries may be fatal. There is also a lot involved in terms of muscles used, tempo of the workout, and proper placement of the body. Before beginning a workout or exercise, ask yourself these critical questions to you know that you are fully prepared:
What Is the Purpose?
Why was this exercise/workout chosen? What is the target muscle(s) of the exercise/workout? These are questions that should be commonly asked before ever stepping into the gym. (Walking into a gym and doing squats to increase bicep strength wouldn’t work out too well.) Knowing the purpose allows you to also feel when/if you’re doing things correctly. For example, doing an exercise for your triceps that you feel mainly in your biceps informs you there’s some error in your technique. Which leads me to the next question…
What’s the Correct Technique and How Can I be Assured I’m Using Correct Technique?
Other than seeing it visually, do you know the correct way to perform a particular exercise? Have you been instructed on how to perform it? Instruction is the easiest way to learn an exercise. Get with someone who knows what they’re doing (have the resume to prove it) and learn from them. Also, being knowledgeable on the target area of your exercise will lead to a better diagnosis of correct technique when working on your own. If you know a particular muscle should be stressed, but yet you’re stressing muscles that shouldn’t be stressed, you’re able to evaluate and make corrections that involve either more instruction or a modification to the exercise. Speaking of modifications…
Do I Have the Strength, Flexibility, and/or Endurance to Perform This Exercise/Workout?
If you’re anything like me, your head is easily inflated to the point you feel like Superman or Hulk. Also like me, you come crashing back down once reality hits and you’re really just human after all. That’s because we all have our limitations. Not to say those limitations can’t be exceeded or overcome, it’s more so that they can’t be ignored. Going to the gym and committing bad technique isn’t a quick way to success. But this bad technique may not be due to the fact you don’t know how to do the exercise, it could be attributed to you not being physically capable to commit however complex an exercise that may be. Whether it be strength, flexibility, or endurance, physical limitations don’t mean stop trying, they mean slow down young grasshopper. Don’t be in such a rush you set yourself back in the weight room. Move at your own pace and progress in as injury free and effective a way as you possibly can. Ask yourself these questions before you next go to the gym. If you answer each of them with confidence, then go to the gym and do your thang. But if that isn’t the case, then take the necessary steps to become fit more effectively and in a less detrimental way. Work smart not JUST hard.
Thank you for reading.