5 Things Done in Commercial Gyms That Need to Stop

1. Sit-ups

Look, I know a lot of people out there love sit ups. I know plenty out there that absolutely hate sit ups as well. So hopefully I don't offend those who like the exercise, but there are better ways to train those abdominals people!

Stuart McGill wrote a fabulous book called "Ultimate Back Fitness and Performanc"; if you haven't read it (and are a trainer, coach, or fitness professional) I suggest you pick it up today and check it out. The work done out of McGill's camp has found excessive shear and compressive forces on particularly the lumbar discs while doing a sit up. What does this mean? It spells out a great exercise for low back pain!

An easy solution or perhaps a few better exercises rather than sit ups may be variations of planks, anti-rotary work, or stabilization work. A great resource would be looking up Grey Cook's work on on his website "http://www.functionalmovement.com/" where he mentions a few wonderful exercises to work the pillar.

2. Over-Spotting Trainers

Let's be honest, if you need spotting on a tricep kickback, your doing something wrong.

3. Pink Dumbbells (LADIES)

This is occurring so rampant that I found this one picture to address both. First, lets address the Over-Spotting Trainers. Every morning in my gym (not the facility I work at) we have a few "fly-by-night-weekend-certificated" trainers who are a riot to watch because their atrocious. I however want to be amused, but two things always come up when I'm thinking about laughing. First, these people represent the vary occupation I am in and in process are tarnishing that reputation and professionalism. Second, I just feel bad for the clients that they are be subjected to such terrible training methods dated out of the 1990's (at best).

At my local gym all of the trainers insists on vigorous spotting ON EVERY EXERCISE. Look, I understand spotting the exercises that put the client at risk, however, spotting a triceps kickback or barbell deadlift is a bit absurd. Truth is, it makes you look like an ass of trainer; and spits in the face of over professionals.

Now the the Pink Dumbbells. I primarily address this to the lady readers out there because there have been a stigma that lifting heavy weights will turn you in the Incredible Hulk. I want to assure you that if you pick up something heavier than a 5lb weight, you will not turn into the green beast. Regularly our Big 10 women lift heavy weights, and we barely hear complaints, barely. If your serious about your training regiment, than you got to incorporate heavier weights into the program. Save the 5lb dumbbells for those who are doing the step classes and pick up some heavier weight. Accelerate your training.

  1. Crossfit In Unconditioned Individuals

Please do not get me wrong and think that I'm harping on the crossfit crowd. I think Crossfit is a step in the right direction, however, most CF programs I've seen administrated seem to work against the current tread of functional yet safe progressions. I also know that Crossfit seem to create polarized opinions. I will side with Mike Boyle on this one in that I appreciate their motives, however, I believe it's not for everyone.

Look, people come in all shapes & sizes. Some are fit and some are unfit. Some have muscular asymmetries and others are muscularly balanced. What I have noticed is a complete disregard for the imbalances between individuals who participate in most crossfit programs. You have to be in good shape to endure the demands of a crossfit program before you even begin it. Doesn't make that much sense to me.

5. Unfunctional "Functional" Training

The ideal of functional training is that in some aspect it really should be functional to the individual. The problem with most run-of-the-mill functional programs littered with balance balls, BOSU's, blades, bands, tubes, etc. etc. is that at the end of the day, when your balancing with one foot on the BOSU and the other foot doing a primitive pattern all the while unilaterally lifting a banded dumbbell; it really isn't that functional.

I'm all for the utilization of new technology. Reactive Neuromuscular Training, bands, BOSUs, SB's, etc. all have their place in my and every good trainer/coach's arsenal. However, the real problem becomes when a coach decides to base their ENTIRE program around it. You got to understand that functional training is a tool in our diverse tool shed of fitness & performance. You wouldn't expect a carpenter who is building a house to show up at the work site with only a hammer. Rather, they first access their project (house), plan their building designs, and show up with a whole diverse amount of tools. If only we approached training with the same manner.

Adam Ringler

Adam Ringler

Adam Ringler, MS, SCCC, CSCS is a hard working, loyal, and competitive Strength & Conditioning Coach at the University of Colorado. Born on Television, Raised by wolves.

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