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Unsafe Exercise Practices
How To Injure Your Clients
And I don't mean injured feelings. Here are some goodies gleaned
from the misc.fitness. newsgroups, participants thereof, and from careful
studies of med texts.
And with those thoughts, I'll leave you to work on your next classes.
Remember that I'm not infallible, and that disagreeing with me doesn't
make you my enemy, nor me yours.
A prime offender in the area of the knee. The reverse turn puts shear
stresses of up to 7X body weight on the knee upon stepping up backward
onto the bench. Additionally, the move requires external rotation
both of the femur, and of the knee joint against an essentially fixed lower
leg. If that's not enough, stepping off at the far end is an off-balance
move, just asking for a fall. Here, I editorialize a bit... I had
a discussion with an Aerobics Director, who shall remain nameless, who
stated that her classes could do reverse turns since they were "advanced".
I made no friends that day, when I challenged her comprehension of human
biomechanics. I don't care how "advanced" your people are; their
knees and other joints work the same as the beginners'. Don't do
this move with your classes, if you really care about your clients!
Hand Weights in Hi-Lo
It's hard to get some folks to stop doing this. I've lost one or
two clients in my classes because I absolutely forbid it, and will stop
a class and directly tell a client to put the weights down, if s/he doesn't
"get" a couple of broad hints. In this case, I don't care about the
loss. Better than a lawsuit or two, when the client's joints get
injured from the pounding, or a weight suddenly slips out of a hand, and
comes to rest against someone else's head.
Jumping Down Off The Bench
Seems innocuous enough, but it's heavy-duty impact. Couple that with
the fact that many of our clients will do that in a straddle, and you're
asking for trouble. I don't want my clients to have bad ankles and/or
knees, and I tell them so. I also tell them that it's much more effective
to expend the effort jumping up onto the bench. Folks who
play basketball, volleyball, or any other sport where vertical jumps are
useful, will thank you for the tip!
Letting Your Clients Eat Nothing Before A Class,
and Saying Nothing
I put this right up there with the "What the Hell were you thinking?!"
Questions Of The Decade. You might discover the hard way, like, having
somebody pass out on the step bench, that eating before significant exercise
is right up there with the Really Good Ideas!
Tell your clients to eat something carbohydrate-ish, preferably something
fueled by fructose or some other low-GI carb, about an hour before the
class. They don't have to eat the same amount as the calories they
will expend -- they do have to eat enough to maintain brain function.
A banana, an orange or apple, or some fruit juice (100% juice -- not one
of the "cocktail" types, which usually contain "high-fructose corn syrup"
or plain sugar). Be certain that your clients are informed
about nutrition, as well as exercise.
Multiple Ad Nauseam Reps With Eentsy-Beentsy Weights
Technically, this won't harm your clients, but it won't do them a whole
lot of good, either. Your clients want to "tone". You want
them to get good muscle definition. Most of them have no problem
doing 375 reps with a 2-lb hand weight. What's wrong with this picture?
In order to get good definition, you have to remove some subcutaneous fat.
You don't do that by pumping tiny iron. You do it by working their
butts off on the aerobics floor, then working 'em off again with significant
weight. That's defined by me and other HIT-ers as weight which causes
fatigue (possibly even muscle failure) in fewer than 15 reps.
You do your clients no favor by catering to the "I can't possibly lift
10 pounds" whine in your classes. Illustrate it for them. The
baby weighs 12 pounds. A gallon of milk weighs about 8. They
pick both up repeatedly without even a thought, but stick a weight rack
in front of 'em, and they immediately go for the cute pink 2-pounders.
Take the durn 2-lb weights, throw 'em in a box with the 1's and 3's, and
hide 'em in some dark closet. They're great for rehab or "Seniors"
classes (and I cannot tell you just how much I hate that term!!),
useless for just about anything else but paperweights. Oh, you can
keep a couple sets around for people with injuries, Verry Verry Beginners,
or the few folks who have other difficulties with heavier weights -- but
the bulk of your folks should be touching nothing lighter than 5-lb, and
at least get them to try 8-lbs at the low limit!
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