Arun is Bringing You...Your Daily Remedy

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Two Exercises No One Likes But Everyone Should Do

I hate overly verbose titles, but I nothing clever came to mind (surprising, I know) so I went with the "overly long and descriptive title" angle.

For those of you who are curious, here are the exercises no man should ever do. And for those of you who have no interest in gym advice (shame on you!), and just want a story, scroll down towards the end.

As an avid gym-goer, I see and talk to tons of people who work out regularly and are very routine about going to the gym. Most people seem to think they're an expert, yet only a few know what they're actually doing.

This music video has nothing to do with this article, but it takes place in a gym, and I think it's funny.

I wouldn't call myself an "expert," but I definitely know what I'm doing. I've read tons of literature, gotten tips from Powerlifters, Bodybuilders, and personal trainers, and most importantly, have a lot of experience! One might think that I would have the body of a Greek God after that testament. I however, am a firm believer that my abdominals need a thin layer of blubbery shielding to protect them from potential harm :)

So what are these TWO exercises that everyone must do?

1. Squats. Ok, so for people who are gym regulars, this is no surprise. Squats are the single best exercise for you! First of all, they work virtually EVERY lower body muscle. Plus, your entire core and your upper back! The resulting fatigue is waaaay more than you feel doing ANY other strength training exercise. After doing one set, I'm generally sucking air like I just ran a sprint. In fact, doing squats (and training legs in general) makes your whole body grow!

How? Well, since squats involve so many huge muscle groups, your body releases increased amounts of testosterone as a result of the stimuli. This means more (or in the case of women, more toned) muscle!

Almost EVERYONE has an excuse for not doing squats. "It's bad for my back," "the bar hurts," "I don't need big legs" blah blah blah! The real reason people avoid them is that they are difficult to do and make you really tired! This is EXACTLY why they're so good for you!

As a disclaimer, proper squat form is essential. I'd say fifty percent of people do them incorrectly and risk injury. Dig around youtube and you can probably find a couple of good examples.

2. Deadlift. Again, I've been going to my current gym for almost two years and I can count on one hand the number of people I see do deadlifts. They're extremely tiring, but extremely good for you for the same reason as squats. Your back, arms, and legs all get trained while doing this movement.

Again, form is essential here. With both exercises, you can risk serious injury if not performed with PERFECT form (again, search youtube for some video). Sometimes, I'll catch myself getting too eager to do more weight and sacrificing my form, so I scale back and really focus on doing it right! Don't be one of those douchebags who loads up an obscene amount of weight on the squat bar and then "squats" down a whole two inches! As the old gym saying goes, "leave your ego at the door."

If you do these two exercises, along with the bench press (pretty much everyone's FAVORITE exercise) you'll hit every major muscle. Isn't interesting that the two most important exercises are the two least performed?

Ok, so I know you all want a story or a rant, so here it is:

Last week I was at the gym training legs. I had just finished doing Squats! Now I was doing leg presses. Generally, I train with a high amount of repetitions for leg press since A) I usually lift heavy doing squats and like to change it up and B) I don't eat enough to gain muscle size, thus doing too much heavy lifting would be over-training. Keeping that in mind, I still bust my ass on the leg press and do each set until I can't do another rep.

I go to the gym around the same time everyday so I see the same regulars, and either smile or say 'hi' when I see them. For the most part, I like them all.

For the most part.

On this particular day, this lady, who happens to be a regular, decided to chime in on my workout. This chick is in good shape, late 30's, and has caked on makeup. She's one of the regulars I smile at, but never really engage in conversation. (In general, I don't like to get into extended conversations at the gym since it interrupts my workout. Yes, believe it or not, I can shut-up on occasion :)

So here I am, busting my booty on the leg press, when she comes over:

Stupid Chick: "Hey, you know, I used to do ten plates on this machine! TEN PLATES!"
Me (looking at the machine on which I have six plates): "Wow, that's good."
Stupid Chick: "Yea, I mean, I had to come over because you're doing ALMOST as much as I did!"
Me: "Ah, you're making me feel bad!"
Stupid Chick: "Haha! No, you're doing well...just keep training and you'll be there."

Ok...seriously...she has the nerve to come and tell me that I'm doing well because I'm doing half as much as she did? This annoys me for several reasons.

1. There is no point in going up to someone you don't know, and announcing you can do something better than them.

2. What kind of motivation is it, hearing some chick can do TWICE as much weight? Motivation obviously wasn't her intention.

3. I CAN do ten plates very easily...but not for 30 reps as I was doing that day. I didn't want to say it to her because honestly, I don't care to advertise my strength, nor am I in a competition with her.

4. A couple of months ago, this same chick felt it necessary to critique my squat form...WHO IS SHE??? Unsolicited advice from someone who knows less about something is super annoying. I'm not one to call people out on this stuff, so I graciously accepted her advice...and disregarded it.

Basically, in case you couldn't tell, I find this person a walking annoyance. Part of me wants to teach her to be less annoying, but that in itself would be an annoying task. With all this in mind, here's a video of some chick deadlifting 200 more pounds than I can! Yikes!

Now I'm worried that, since I was so accepting of her terrible advice, and conversational during her brag session, she's going to continue to bother me.

Oh well. I guess I should get used to random people wanting to talk to be....the price you pay for being famous :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Think you should up your intensity considering women are putting your legs to shame. She is kinda cute too...