There is an epidemic sweeping the country these days. No, it’s not the obesity epidemic, or the drug abuse epidemic, or the Glee epidemic. The “Doing Stupid, Waste of Time Stuff in the Gym Epidemic,”is a real problem. Earlier this summer I posted a piece about some of the things that people need to stop doing, and this is a follow-up piece that follows the same theme.

If your back hurts, no belt or brace will “fix” it, and if you aren’t strong enough, you aren’t strong enough; the belt doesn’t make you stronger. Wrist straps make you weaker, not stronger. If you can’t lift the weight, make it lighter. Try developing the strength in your hands, wrists and forearms rather than ignoring these incredibly important muscles by using wrist straps. The person who can dead lift 200 pounds without straps is stronger than the person who needs straps to lift 225 or more.

Stop doing curls in the squat rack. The squat rack is really for doing squats. No, really. The rack is not for barbell curls or upright rows. I actually saw some guy doing a barbell curl, dumbbell curl superset in the squat rack last week. I almost said something to the guy, but I figured he really was misguided and was better off left alone.

Just because you can curl with 100-pounds on a barbell doesn’t mean you need a heavy duty piece of equipment like a squat rack. Actually, the less time you spend time doing curls the better.

Don’t do the Sleep Walk on the treadmill. Walking on the treadmill is okay for an occasional warm-up. All of this low-intensity (slow) walking is a tremendous waste of time and, no matter what the computer read-out says, does not require a lot of energy.

Think of it as 30-45 minutes of your life that you will never get back. And walking on an incline and hanging onto the top of the treadmill, or the side-rails, is plain silly. If you can’t keep up the pace slow it down, don’t hold on. Do you hold when walk down the street? Treadmill; it’s what’s for warm-up on. Occasionally.

Using the Step Mill really doesn’t get you in shape. Disabuse yourself of the notion that doing work on the Step Mill, or other similar “stair climbing” machine, is truly improving your fitness level. Disabuse, I say. Using these machines will only improve your performance with regard to using these machines and will not improve your performance in any meaningful, purposeful way.

As a matter of fact, these “steppers” are really a waste of time, as they require a minimal range of motion, allow the user to hold or lean, and bear no semblance to any real function. And contorting your body so you can lean into the machine not only stresses the body in a way it really shouldn’t be stressed, it makes an inefficient exercise even worse.

Get off of the mat and onto your feet. There is very little that we do in our day-to-day lives, aside from sleeping, lying down. So stop exercising this way. Gravity is the single, most-important factor to take into account when designing an exercise or exercise program, so to lie down while exercising ignores the physics-based reality of our existence. And if you participate in sports at any level, doing prone or supine exercises (fancy talk for lying down), you are really doing yourself a disservice.

We need strength, stability and balance in the vertical plane (standing up) not the horizontal plane, and the only way you develop skills in the vertical plane is to exercise in it. Think about it, do you know of anyone who practices the golf swing lying down? Get more efficient with your workouts and stop wasting your time and energy.


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