Whether you are new to the gym or a seasoned gym-goer, beginning any new exercise program should start the same way – safely. There are a few different things you can do to ensure that you are working out in a safe manner.
1. Don’t copy what you see someone else doing. You don’t know why they’re doing it, You don’t know if they’re doing it correctly, or if they have modified it for any reason. Just because someone who looks “fit’ is doing it doesn’t mean it’s right for you and your body. Proper execution of an exercise trains the targeted muscle(s). Improper execution can create imbalances and lead to injury.
2. Ask us! Staff in gyms are extroverts, we want to talk to people. We thrive on sharing our energy and enthusiasm for wellness. We’re looking for you and want to answer your questions; we want to see you succeed.
3. Work on the basics – posture, body alignment, core engagement. If you want to do an exercise correctly, these are part of the package that reduces the risk of injury.
4. Get the Sets and Reps right. The number of repetitions within a set, and the number of sets completed makes a huge difference from one program to another. Learn what the difference is between low reps heavy weight, and high reps lower weight – dialing in the correct combo will guide you towards your ultimate goal.
5. Stretch! Most of us are in a rush and want to get as much packed into our workout time, then off we go to the next part of our busy days. Take the time to cool down and stretch, it increases range of motion, reduces soreness in the day(s) to come, and reduces risk for injury.
In the interest of serving our members better, and at the same time remaining in line with the best practices in our industry, the Eau Claire YMCA recently sponsored the four full time staff members of the strength and conditioning department to attend a 3-day certification course on delivering and programming the Functional Movement Screen (FMS).
What is the FMS?
The FMS is a quick and easy tool comprised of 7 movement patterns which identify deficiencies, asymmetries (left/right imbalances) and indicators of pain across multiple joints and planes of movement e.g. shoulder issues that may be causing low back pain or vice-versa. It was developed in the late 90s by Gray Cook and Lee Burton, both physical therapists, and has since been adopted by professional sports teams, the military, police and fire services, EMS, and a growing number of commercial fitness facilities.
What does this mean for my training?
Primarily, it empowers your trainer to identify and work towards correcting deficient patterns in your everyday movement that if unaddressed may lead to injury, or most likely re-injury, since we typically develop asymmetries during injury recovery. Overall, it means that your trainer is better equipped to make you stronger, leaner and more fit to keep you running, swimming, biking and hiking for many years to come.
Where do I go from here? How do I get involved?
To get screened, register your interest with one of our member services staff*. You can also contact Geoff Starling (see below) or speak to one of the weight floor staff.
For more information on the FMS, check out: www.functionalmovement.com
*Please be aware that as a pilot program only full time staff of the Eau Claire Strength & Conditioning department are presently capable of delivering the FMS. Other branches will likely complete the necessary training as demand grows.
Strength & Conditioning Director
Eau Claire YMCA
Beginning January 6
Beginning January 7
Beginning January 7
Beginning January 8
Beginning January 8
Deep Water Workout – Friday 10:30-11:30am
Check out this article by Stacey Stein on the Canadian Living Moms website entitled Child behaviour: What to do when your toddler bites. The article breaks down why biting happens, and provides tips & tricks for getting your little chomper to quit biting.
“As distressing as this situation can be for parents, biting is perfectly normal among the toddler set. “They explore their environment through their mouth, and biting really is a part of that process,” says Montreal-based child psychologist Julia Daki, who emphasizes that biting is normal for children under the age of three, who still don’t fully understand that the act hurts others.”
Read the article in full on the CDN Living Moms website.
In an article on the Chicago Tribune website, writer Dorene Internicola takes a look at how form can impact your workout:
NEW YORK (Reuters) – From jumping rope to swinging a kettle bell to pounding a treadmill, a finely-tuned form can spell the difference between a sound body and a sore knee.
Experts say often a professional tweak can go a long way towards firming up your workout.
As sciences go, exercise science is relatively young on the family tree. That being said there is always new and exciting information coming out in the world of exercise science. Sixty years ago when physicists were splitting atoms and making nuclear bombs, the few exercise professionals that did exist, were making people do some pretty crazy exercises that you would never see in a program designed by today’s trainers. Even today there is always new information coming out stating that that certain exercises are not good for you, and that you should avoid them to avoid injury.
The whole idea behind contraindicated exercises is the risk to benefit ratio. How much risk is involved in a particular exercise vs. how much benefit you are going to get out of that exercise. For many of those higher risk exercises that place undue stress on a joint, tendon, ligament, or muscle there are alternate exercises that are just as, if not more effective, but involve a lot less risk and a lot less potential for injury.
A good example is behind the neck pull-downs. Gym goers have being doing this exercise for a long time but recent evidence suggests that it puts the shoulder in an unstable position which could lead to injury. There is the potential to hit you C7 vertebrae while doing the movement and damage it. As well the exercise is not functional; you don’t mimic that exercise in everyday life. If you do behind the neck pull-downs the exercise are you going to injure yourself? Probably not right away, but there is potential. Could it lead to shoulder problems down the road? There is the potential for a chronic shoulder injury down the road. Are there other exercises out there that work the same muscles with less risk of injuring yourself? Yes there are.
There are many exercises out there that do have the potential to cause injury, either acute or chronic. If you are unsure about some of the exercises in your current program seek the advice of one of YMCA’s trained staff.
A lot of sports injuries come from repetative motion or from imbalance in posture. Writer Tiffany Cruishank tells about different yoga poses that can help avoid injuries on her posting on YogaJournal.com:
“A yoga practice encourages you to take inventory of your body as you practice. The more awareness you have of how your body feels from day to day or from pose to pose, the more likely you are to notice tight or injury-prone areas of the body that need attention before full-blown injuries can occur.”
In this article on RunnersWorld.com, writer Bob Gavin provides insight into how our feet work in regards to pronation. There are three videos to explain the different ways our feet hit the ground. The videos make the page take a bit longer than normal web pages to load—but your patience will be worth it!
“If you have a normal arch, you’re likely a normal pronator, meaning you’ll do best in a stability shoe that offers moderate pronation control. Runners with flat feet normally overpronate, so they do well in a motion-control shoe that controls pronation. High-arched runners typically underpronate, so they do best in a neutral-cushioned shoe that encourages a more natural foot motion.”
Click here to view the remainder of the article and watch the videos.
When it comes to safety, machines are the better option. It is very hard to do exercises incorrectly with machines and most of the time you won’t be crushed by weights if something goes wrong. You don’t need a spotter or any experience with movement to get the hang of machine exercises. Many trainers are big promoters of getting beginners to start with machines until they are a little more comfortable around the gym.
When you use free weights, you end up using more stabilizer muscles. You require more coordination and concentration to execute the movements properly. Using free weights can be more dangerous but with all of the added stabilization you have, many trainers agree that you get a better workout when using free weights.
What about if you are trying to build muscle? Muscles cannot tell if you are on a machine or using free weights. All your muscles know is that they’re being stressed and if you are using enough load to stimulate the muscles you can get results with either machines or free weights.
What if you are training around an injury? Depending on the injury, you can use a machine to isolate a specific muscle. To train better, you can use the machine to avoid brining in stabilizer muscles into a movement. For other injuries, you may want to recruit stabilizer muscles or modify the movement pattern so training with free weights is preferred.
If you’re talk about functional training, free weights and other body weight movements are the best way to go. A machine does not simulate real life very well.
Both machines and free weights have their benefits and their drawbacks. To get the most out of your workouts, use variety of equipment with a variety of techniques to keep your body guessing. This will make sure that your body never adapts to a particular training style and it keeps getting stronger.
- Blog - Featured
- Camp Chief Hector YMCA
- Camp Riveredge YMCA
- Community YMCA
- Grade 6 Membership
- Gray Family Eau Claire YMCA
- Melcor YMCA at Crowfoot
- Quarry Park Child Development Centre
- Remington YMCA
- Saddletowne YMCA
- Shane Homes YMCA at Rocky Ridge
- Shawnessy YMCA
- South Health Campus YMCA
- Success Story
- Success Story - Featured
- YMCA News