If you train in a commercial gym or really any gym for that matter I’m sure you are used to seeing swarms of new faces at the beginning of the year. Some see this as an annoyance as the gym “newbies” take over machines and have poor gym etiquette. The fact is that you will initially see people curling in the squat rack so get over it because it WILL happen.
I feel like this needs to be said now before all the huffing and puffing and head shaking begins because that will probably deter people from wanting to learn. Most people don’t realize they should take a few steps back from the dumbbell rack when doing flies. The easiest fix is to give them a compliment and THEN make sure they understand they should take the weight for the set and move back from the rack.
It could go something like this:
You: “How’s your workout going? You look like your killing it today!”
New Guy:”Yeah, trying to stay on top of my New Year’s resolution.”
You: “Sweet, keep up the good work! Oh and just make sure you move back from the rack when you are doing your sets. It helps everyone.”
New Guy: “Awesome, thanks. I’m new to this working out stuff……..”
You: “Bacon… deadlift… squat… stronger…sexual tyrannosaurus…”
New Guy: “Really? That is super helpful! Definitely let me know if I am doing anything wrong if you see it.”
It is a really simple conversation and karma will pay you back 10-fold by giving you abz of steel, bowlingball biceps and be rewarded with mountains of baconz. Really!
Anyways, I was helping one of our new members when the topic of “tight” hamstrings came up. I was asked what to do about chronic tight hamstrings by someone who swore up and down that they stretched them morning, noon and night. Per usual, my answer was “It depends.” and had a few minutes to dig a little deeper.
To make a long story short, this person had a wicked anterior tilt and to make matters worse was told this by a previous trainer and then given hamstring stretches to do to relieve the “tightness”. Much like an episode of ‘Here Comes Honey Boo Boo’ this is a train wreck waiting to happen. This is all I have to say to that trainer:
For those of you unfamiliar with what I am talking about, anterior tilt is a forward rotated pelvis which is due to a combination of genetics, possibly injury and a combination of overactive and inactive muscles. What happens is your hamstrings get lengthened or stretched as your quads get shortened. Consequently, your low back muscles shorten and your lower abdominal/hip flexor muscles will lengthen. There is other stuff going on but I will stop there but let me know below if you have questions on this.
Suffice to say, doing a ton of static stretching of the hamstrings which are already under tension and being lengthened is probably not such a great idea. This includes but is not limited to static stretching and things like yoga that puts you in positions that crank the hips further into anterior tilt such as pigeon pose. Doing this is just asking for a hamstring strain as well as chronic low back pain or a hip flexor tear.
This is even more dangerous for those who have a little more flexibility and/or laxity in their joints. As a rule of thumb, females tend to have a little more congenital laxity (‘looser’ joints) and should be very careful what and how they stretch.
With my clients and those with significant anterior tilt I recommend hammering on the soft tissue work such as foam rolling DAILY but especially before working out. In the warmup I like to focus on ‘active’ mobility exercises that will help to reduce some of the perceived stiffness in the hammies before training.
Check out the first exercise in this video:
Also, you should focus on glute activation like it’s your job. Things like glute bridges, hip thrusts and deadlifts should be a staple. On that note, low ab work is also a must.
Trainer note: you should be actively squeezing your glutes during the concentric or ‘lifting’ part of the exercise. Here is one of my favorite quotes on the matter by ‘Master of Sexification’ Rog Law: “If you don’t squeeze your ass, no one else will want to.”
Besides those little tweaks to your exercise program paying attention to your posture the other 23 hours each day will go a long way. Focus on sitting up straight and keeping your glutes and abs somewhat tense thoughout the day. This will help reduce the anterior tilt and help save the universe!
Please ask questions below, I’z can halp.