“Is this how I should do this exercise?”
“Is that the correct way to perform this/that exercise?”
“I heard that exercise is bad, so I will not do it.”
As a trainer at Muscle Activation Fitness, I have the pleasure of being an educator at the same time. I am asked several questions daily. The most common questions from clients, members, friends, and acquaintances are usually directed towards how to do specific exercises. One of the biggest problems the exercise industry has created is try to label certain exercises as bad and good and come up with ways that every person has to do an exercise. This is a huge mistake that we will be discussing in this article.
What if I told you that every exercise has to be client specific? That there are no exact rules until you have an individual, their goals, and limitations/injuries to think about before you can talk about how an exercise should be performed? There are underlying principles based on physics that allow us to create a specific exercise, but at the end of the day it must be custom to your body.
Let’s take squats, for example. Most people have heard that you should squat to where your thigh is parallel to the floor, or touch your butt to the back of your calves, or keep your back straight up and down as guidelines for squats. The tragic thing about this is that so many people are trying to perform squats with these rules in their heads when all it is doing to them is hurting their body.
We have all heard that every person’s body is different, right? Well, that really means we are different. One major way that it truly affects the rules of exercise is the bone size and shape of person to person. The length of the thigh bone and the shin bone will dictate how deep or shallow a person will be able to squat. The bone thickness difference in the femoral head (thigh bone) will dictate how narrow or wide some will have to squat. Here is an article that goes into good detail about how squats should be different from one person to another.
Squats are not the only exercise that is affected by our bones. All other exercises are under the same rules of our structure. The size of our shoulder blade affects how well or poorly someone will be able to push or pull over their head. If you have a very large shoulder blade, it automatically limits your ability to do things above your head.
So, as Paul writes in Romans, “Does this mean that we should just abandon all the rules and go crazy? May it never be.” The same is for you and I in the gym. The rules were put in place as guidelines. The best way to learn how to perform exercise for yourself is to find someone who has the knowledge base of how your body should work, assess your limitations, and show you exercises that get you towards your goals without causing harm to your body. At Muscle Activation Fitness, we have over 25 years of experience in physics, anatomy and physiology, cardiology and serving others to the best of our ability.
Allow us to serve you so we can help you feel, move, and perform to the best of your ability.