There is a new wave of Facebook pages and blog sites out there. Without mentioning all of them here, they include such presences as “Awkward Gym Moments“, etc. This page and the ones like it highlight the failings of normal folks who are trying to get involved in exercise but very clearly do not have the first clue as to where to begin. Here is a good example of this.
As is the case in gyms all over the world, without proper instruction, gym members are doomed from the beginning having to figure out where to begin and mostly by passive observation or cursory ‘research’.
To be honest, I personally LOVE ‘Awkard Gym Moments’ (AGM). I spend several hours a week on Facebook conversing with colleagues and friends alike. Most conversations center around our work and some new blog post we read or conferences we attended. This may not be what most consider fun but there is little I like talking about more than our work. Us next breed PTs are fortunate, I guess.
That said, I am always sure to check out the latest posting to AGM. It is a nice break from my work and almost always gives me chuckle fits. While the people in the videos and pictures are unwilling participants, the work that appears to be going on is so bizarre sometimes that you have to wonder: “What/Why in the world would that person be doing this?” The comments that follow the videos are also amusing but this is where the issues come up and where I think we should be more vocal as true movement experts.
Some of the movements pictured are completely legit. They might not be done correctly or with some ‘interesting’ wrinkles, but the move itself is ok. Recently, I felt a great need to defend a movement and the conversation that continued simply reflected that the majority of people who are vocal in this forum may be as clueless as the people in the videos!
Another recent development is speaking out against sites like AGM. Again, I’m not defending teasing anyone who is doing something wrong or not-perfectly. However, when someone does something in direct contradiction to readily available evidence or basic instruction, then I feel less bad about pointing it out and making a teachable moment out of it. This goes for almost anything too. I don’t care if you’re a grocery stacker. If there is an easy and efficient way to do that job but you chose to do it the opposite way, it should be pointed out and corrected.
Everyone: Go to the gym! Lift something heavy! But do us all a favor: Let us help you. Find the best physical therapist. Find the best personal trainer. Hell, I don’t care if you just look up the move on YouTube. There is no bad exercise! There are just a LOT of ways to do exercise poorly (read: dangerously/ineffectively). Just please understand NOT ALL ADVICE IS CREATED EQUAL. Do more research on the person giving the advice than on the specific move itself. You may find that you’ve been educating yourself in a dangerous way this entire time.