Exercises in most magazines, on TV and on fitness blogs are not there to make you stronger, to make you more functional, to reduce pain or to improve your quality of life. They’re placed in the segment to attract attention and yield shares and likes.
Let that sink in for a second.
A magazine editor’s number one job is to attract viewers and sell magazines. If your livelihood depended on the number of people attracted to your article, would you tend to put a very effective exercise like foam rolling on the cover, or clapping push-ups?
With that in mind, we don’t want to demonize sexy exercise, we simply want to make sure your body has an appropriate base level of strength, mobility and stability to support the movement. If we all had active lifestyles and worked as mountain guides, there would be little to no question that your body would be ready for more intensive exercise. However, because many of us sit at desks, in cars and on a couch most of the day, we are littered with dysfunction.
Here is a basic checklist for you to examine whether or not your body is ready for a particular sexy exercise. If your answer to any of these is yes, you should talk to a trainer.
- Do I have pain during the exercise?
- Does the exercise feel awkward?
- Do I feel like I have to jam my joints to get in to a movement?
- Do I have to wrench my body to complete a movement?
A Sexy Exercise
Lets break down a sexy exercise and teach you how to overcome the hurdle.
Two very common errors in the push-up are the head dipping toward the ground or bellybutton drooping. Commonly, a bellybutton droop means a weak core and can be fixed by doing 2 set of 20 second planks with your feet on the wall. Commonly, the head dropping toward the floor is weakness through the chest and Serratus Anterior, which is one of your “punching” muscles. This can usually be fixed by first foam rolling your side, shoulder and chest; doing scapular push-ups and resisting the urge to get your body lower than it allows.
As you work on your exercises, remember to listen to your body and if you get stumped, talk to a trainer about giving you a few exercises to get you in to magazine workout shape faster.
Nate Furlong is a nationally recognized expert on health, wellness and nutrition. He trains professional, collegiate and amateur athletes and is a consultant for the National Academy of Sports Medicine. He holds a college degree in preventative medicine and is a Clinical Exercise Physiologist with the American College of Sports Medicine. He has been a wellness writer for the Mulligan and Livestrong.com.