I was in Las Vegas the other day at a Chiropractic convention and I spent some morning time in the hotel gym. Ninety percent of the people in the gym were using machines… I was really disappointed so few people were using free weights. I advocate free weights and kettlebells. It was like being in the Matrix Gym on Westwood Blvd. in 1985.
People moved along very slowly and took long breaks between sets. I advocate very short breaks between sets, usually 20-30 seconds. One minute is a long break for me.
I did not see anyone really pushing heavy resistance. I saw lots of people doing 20 reps at a time. I advocate lifting heavy enough resistance so that the 6th or 7th rep is the max. I want to see people build muscle to increase there resting metabolic rate.
I saw lots of people doing cardio – the treadmills, ellip and bike machines were busy. So when clients ask me “How did I get this pain?” I ask them “How many hours do you sit at work?” If they sit at work and have a desk job, they probably sit in awkward or slumped postures (for 8-10 hours a day). These people don’t need to sit on a cycle machine, and then sit on more machines and exercise – and they don’t need to do bench presses and curls.
Working all day in a seated position results in short hip flexors, short pecs, and short biceps. This is the exact posture that causes most clients to suffer from so much neck and back pain.
So if you are going to spend time in the gym, your objective should be to reverse the effects of hours of sitting, and hours of poor posture and lack of a variety of movement. Don’t magnify the poor posture by picking exercises that you are sitting down in. Get up on your feet… do exercises that strengthen the muscles that keep the shoulders back, not the ones
that pull them forward. We need more rowing-type exercises to strengthen the muscles that pull the shoulder blades back.
I did not see one person in the entire gym of a BIG hotel connected to the convention center stretching. Who are these people getting advice from? If you sit all day you better be spending time stretching out your hip flexors.
If you want to look good as you age avoid forward head posture and rounded shoulders. Work the back side with rows and pulls, because those muscles are the ones responsible for making sure that you stand erect.
Next time you see me in the gym…let’s talk!