Put the pride on the shelf; A lesson in the use of cliches and proper weight

You’ve heard the cliché, The love of money is the root of all evil, and I’m sure you’ve heard, The calm before the storm, but have you heard, Pride is injury’s best friend? I think that needs to be a new fitness cliché. I’ve seen it more times than I care to remember; someone using too much weight or too many reps to keep up with someone else, or to show off to that girl or worse yet, prove to yourself you can still do it (even if it has been a little over a year). What do you think is the result most of the time? Probably, a really ugly last few reps and the wrong lesson is learned. Don’t get me wrong, I never want to see anyone injured, that’s the whole reason I didn’t go into therapy, I want to see someone on the best day of their lives, not their worst; but the longer that person goes on letting pride get in the way of using proper form/weight/ROM, the bigger the potential for a worse injury; the longer they will be out of training; and the more likely it is that they will have to see some kind of manual therapist.

Anyone who takes my fitness classes has no doubt heard me say things like, “own the movement”, “make it look good” or “its not enough to just do it, you have to do it right”. When I say that, I’m not just saying it to hear myself talk; it’s a verbal reminder to keep in mind why you’re there. you’re there to get stronger, fitter and healthier, and not beat the guy beside you. Every class I hope that I provide each participant with individual coaching and correction suggestions or general, blanket instruction that gives them the tools to do the movements and workout the best they can. But you’re not off the hook that easily, I will continue to give corrections and bring you slightly lower weights, despite the eye rolls. But if you can hear me, even when I’m not there, hounding on control and form then I’ve done my job and I’m happy.

Now, in saying that, my favorite fitness principle is Progressive Overload, which states, you have to push your body to do a little more than last time to continue to progress. But never forget, there is no such thing as perfection when it comes to exercises. No one, I’ll say it again, NO ONE does any exercise perfectly every time, especially at the end of the workout. The last few reps are just as important, if not more important, than the first. There is no shame in identifying that the weight you started with at the beginning is now slightly too heavy to complete the number of reps, keep form or maintain a full range of motion (ROM) and use a lower weight! Live to fight another day as it were. I think Grey Cook said it best in his podcast “Coddled Conditioning” – “Lifts with kettlebells and free weights were designed with technique in mind so that under fatigue, your unconscious default mode should be impeccable technique (instead of “muscling” it out)” (http://www.functionalmovement.com/articles/Podcasts/2010-06-10_coddled_conditioning)

It makes me so happy to see someone stop, decrease the weight they are using, adjust the angle they are at or at least take a few extra breaths to rest before continuing when they are fatigued. Always remember, every time you are in the gym, be it on your own or in a fitness class, that is your workout, no one elses. The only person you compare yourself to is the you that walked in the door that day. Hey, you can love your money, you can be the calm or the storm, but shelve the pride and live to fight another day!

Thanks again for reading.

Matt Kingstone

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