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 theWoman Performing Cat Cow Yoga Stretch ones like it highlight the failings of everyday people trying to get involved in exercise but very clearly do not know where to begin. Here is an excellent 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 mostly by passive observation or cursory ‘research.’

Honestly, I 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 posts 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. Our next breed of physical therapists 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 entirely 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 continued conversation reflected that most 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 doing something wrong or imperfect. However, when someone does something directly contradictory to readily available evidence or basic instruction, 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 choose 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. I don’t care if you look up the move on YouTube. There is no bad exercise! There are just a LOT of ways to exercise poorly (read: dangerously/ineffectively). 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.

Be well.