In one of my first copy writing jobs, I had a boss that reminded me almost daily to K.I.S.S. This acronym -- Keep It Simple, Stupid -- is used often in copy writing. Keep the sentences short. Avoid hyperbole. Get your point across in as few polysyllabic words as possible. Well, for me that is not always possible. But I digress. I often wonder why I don't see K.I.S.S. being employed in the gym.
The human body is designed to do a number of complex things like walk, run, pick things up. There's a merit to training compound movements under load to make these movements easier to perform. Adding instability (eg. suspension trainers, BOSU balls) progresses exercises to make them more challenging. But there is a difference between instability for the sake of progression and instability for the sake of, well, I am not entirely sure of the motivation here...
Social media is rife with images such as these. What alarms me is not their existence. Having been in the industry long enough, I have seen my share of unsafe things being done on the gym floor. No, what alarms me is how many people add these images to their #goals. They tag friends, try it for themselves, re-post, share and fawn. Any time my fellow gym goers have witnessed such feats of idiotic strength, we have met eyes for a shared head shake or eye roll. Never, not once, have I seen anyone rush to replicate or pat the village idiot on the back.
I want to encourage everyone to attain new levels of fitness. Do not get me wrong. But please, for your own safety and sanity, ask yourself what benefits these tricky moves are providing and compare this against the relative risk.
As fella in the track suit is demonstrating above, the benefit would be developing core and upper body strength by challenging the stabilizing muscles in both the core and shoulders by balancing on unstable surfaces. But the risks include snapping either or both wrists and crushing his fingers if the plates in his hands tip over or his feet slip off the BOSU® that is doubly instable, as too rests upon two plates. Look, plates are not meant to be used in this way.
Want to gain the same benefits with fewer risks? K.I.S.S. Use the tools that are meant for the job. Pieces of equipment that are specifically designed to create instabilty are the only ones you should be using to create instability. Most gyms have stability balls, BOSU®, TRX® suspension trainers, foam pads, among other items. Not sure what tool to use? Ask a fitness professional.
Working torward plank on two unstable surfaces?
First, create instability in your hands by working with your feet on the ground and your hands in a TRX® or balancing on the black side of the BOSU®. Second, create instability with your feet by sliding your feet into the foot cradles of a TRX® and press from the floor up to plank. Now, if you are ready to create instability in both hands and feet, lift one foot off the floor while working a TRX® push-up. Simple as that! Too easy? Then, grab a BOSU® and head to the TRX®. Slip your feet into the foot cradles and balance your hands on the black side of the BOSU® while performing your plank. Once you are able to do this with a straight spine, then progress to a push-up.
Next time you see one of these #goal images, think before trying to mimic on your own. Be safe, my friends!
Disclaimer: Fit Club is not a medical doctor and the information contained herein should not be taken as medical advice. These are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any health problem. Recommendations by Fit Club are not intended to replace the advice of a physician or health professional. Please consult your physician or a health professional before beginning any diet or exercise program.