Since I’m kicking off our blog with this post, I feel like it is appropriate to begin with an overview of and industry wide problem. If you have been following fitness in the media over the past decade, then you are familiar with the fact that most articles, exercise pics, and videos published cater to either cosmetic goals or high level performance achievements. For example, articles are titled something like “Top 10 Ab Exercises for the Summer” or “Tone Your Inner Thighs”, with the exercises being demonstrated by a minimally dressed model. I take offense to these articles but not for the reasons you are thinking. I’m not bothered by minimally dressed models, six pack abs or a lean adductor complex. What I am bothered by is the lack of education or downright incorrect information that the general public is subjected to. I spend half of my initial 5-10 training sessions with new clients debunking fitness myths that are spread by garbage magazines and social media.
Here is some information that should have been provided by the aforementioned articles:
Understand that there is a difference between developing a core that can function well and one that looks cosmetically pleasing. Also know that you don’t have to sacrifice cosmetics to achieve other goals like decreasing low back pain, improving stabilization (think efficiency for running), and force translation from lower -> upper body (think shooting a lacrosse ball). We know a pretty good amount about how back pain and injuries occur from researchers like Stuart McGill, who determined how much force and how many repetitions of poor movement patterns it takes to herniate a disc. The readers of these types of articles have no idea that some of the exercises prescribed are degrading back stability and health taking them one step closer to chronic pain, stiffness, or failure of a tissue. As professionals in the industry, it is our job to help you reach your goal (cosmetic or performance based) while assessing and decreasing risk whenever possible. If you have the choice of two exercises that equally activate your “abs” but one increases stress on the spine 4x more than the other, which one would you pick?
Adductors, aka Inner Thighs… How many thousands of dollars have been spent and hours lost on machines to isolate this area? For what? We know that training a single joint movement for an isolated muscle does not do anything for removing fat tissue that sits on top of it. If we continue to do so without taking into account proper joint function and hip joint health, we are doing way more harm than good. Learning proper hip range of motion and positioning while applying it to a bilateral squat (barbell, dumbbell, kettlebell, etc.) or lateral lunge is a much more effective approach than the wasted inner thigh machine or ball squeezes! The more complex (determined by the number of joints involved) the exercise, the more musculature required to perform it… leading to a more productive metabolic response and possibility of actually improving your body’s function!! Not a bad by product.
At PEAK Custom Fitness Solutions, we provide hands-on, individual specific training based on science and real world experience. If you can’t see us in person, check us out on social media and follow this blog for exercise recommendations, controversial industry topics, nutrition thoughts, and much more. Please share with your friends so they can escape the media’s stronghold giving readers what they want to hear vs. what they need to hear!