Your mother always told you not to talk to strangers, but what if you could gain something by doing it? I’m not referring to receiving anything tangible, I am referring to gaining knowledge. Surely you must be wondering how this could possibly pertain to fitness. Well, let me explain.
Last week I was powering through my leg day circuit and as I often do, I decided to add in a new exercise. I began doing some side lunges with just body weight. I had good form but I didn’t feel the burn that would normally tell me I am really working the muscle. I completed two sets on each leg and right before beginning my third set, a man came over and tapped me on the shoulder. Now, when I’m in the gym and doing my routine, I usually prefer to remain focused and I don’t talk to anyone. There are exceptions of course, such as if a man of Arnold proportions wants to ask me on a date. In reality though, I am very approachable at the gym and will be friendly to anyone. Call it good gym karma.
This nice man offered advice on a different way to do the side lunge utilizing upper body and core muscles by incorporating a medicine ball. I actually felt much more of a burn performing the exercise in the manner he showed me and will continue perform it in this way. I was doing your standard body weight side lunge as pictured on the right. The way of creating variation in your routine would be to hold the medicine ball with both hands straight in front of you and keep your arms in this position throughout the entire movement, as you alternate your lunges from side to side.
Another similar incident occurred some time ago and coincidentally,
it also happened to be leg day. Hmm..I see a pattern. I was doing barbell squats but I was having trouble getting the weight up and unknowingly bending my knees inward in the process. A nice man noticed this and advised me to consciously keep the knees firmly apart to prevent joint wear and tear. Ignoring the fact that an old man was watching me do deep squats for an extended period of time, this was actually a good piece of advice. He also suggested that I change my footwear. I was wearing regular running shoes and he suggested very flat or minimalist shoes when squatting or deadlifting. After some research, I decided to try out a pair of very thin soled shoes. I can’t say I notice a big difference but the shoes make me look extra hard core, so I guess it was worth it.
It seems that it is always the older gentlemen that do not have a problem talking to me and correcting my form or advising me on how to change up my routine. Women don’t talk to me, guys my age don’t talk to me…What is it about the older male generation that makes them so friendly? Some women may choose to be creeped out by this type of behaviour but what would that get you? Sometimes people are just eager to help and it would be foolish to dismiss someone without hearing what they have to say. Regardless, if someone at the gym ever comes over to you and tries to correct your form or show you something new, be open minded because you may just learn something. Upon reflection, maybe what I have learned is that I wear workout pants that are far too tight. But my motto when it comes to workout gear is TIGHT AND BRIGHT, so in that case I guess I will have to keep talking to strangers.