I once heard Mike Boyle say if you ever want to get fit, simply go to your nearest commercial gym and do the exact opposite of what everyone is doing. I decided to put his theory to the test at our general student fitness facility this past week.
4. Commercial Gym Choice: Bicep Curls in the Squat Rack
Squat Racks are for squatting – not barbell curls! Why must everyone feel the need to curl inside of a squat rack? I know, the weight is soo heavy that if you were ever to fail you’d have the safety bars there – gotcha.
Opposite: This one is easy – I squatted.
Side note: apparently squatting in a rack designated for arm curls is not appreciated at commercial gyms – if you choose to squat – avoid eye contact with the gym members; you’re interrupting their bicep time.
5. Commercial Gym Choice: All Show – No Go.
If one thing became clearly evident during my squat time, it was the need to exercise and only exercise those muscles that can be seen in the mirror. A quick survey of those around me included: cable cross-over, more bicep curls, overhead DB press, seated bench press and leg extensions.
Opposite: decided to superset some scapular stabilization work with the squatting then finish up in the squat rack with some dead-lifts. (I know I’m not squatting in a squat rack but figured it was better than bicep curls – still getting weird looks)
6. Commercial Gym Choice: All Push – No Pull
If there is one exercise, ok, the one other than bicep curls that seems to dominate commercial gyms it’s the bench press. I’m not sure why no one likes pulling, I guess it’s because there is not enough mirrors in the gym – maybe if gyms put in mirrors like at department stores where you try on clothes and can see all angles people would start emphasizing other body parts in their training?
Opposite: Pull-ups (not lat machine pull downs), inverted body rows and bent over DB rows.
It’s not by accident that I added three pulling exercises to contrast the one dominant pushing exercise that is most popular. 3:1 ratio seems to clean up a lot of dysfunction and sure makes your shoulders feel a lot better.
Art Horne is the Coordinator of Care and Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Men’s Basketball Team at Northeastern University, Boston MA. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.