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Poll: Your Least Favorite Exercises (you probably don’t need to do them)

Let’s pick up the gripe-fest of World’s Strongest Librarian, home of strength training (and fussing) for body and mind again. It’s time to talk exercises. Specifically, exercises you absolutely hate. I train several people each week–I’m not a full-time trainer, so that “several” is not meant to impress you–and whenever I’m with someone new, they always seem surprised when I ask them what they like to do.

muscle pants

Look out! HARDCORE

The sad thing is, I know exactly why they’re confused. Probably because they’ve fallen prey to some of the know-nothing weenies I talked about in stories from the weight room. These people, in the past, have been shoved into holes and boxes that don’t fit them by trainers who think that because they are wearing wind pants and walk like they have giant lats and paid too much money for an online certification…

What I was going to say before I started picturing all the wind pants I see at the gym, was, a personal trainer who gives you workouts off of some stupid template they got from a book or a magazine does not have your best interests at heart. I believe in meeting the client where they are at. This makes the use of a template foolish if not downright dangerous.

A story about three personal trainers

Back in the days when I went to Gold’s Gym, I arrived in the parking lot one sunny morning, feeling pretty good about things. As I parked my truck, the whine of little motorcycles filled my ears. I looked up to see three short but massive men (in wind pants) pulling into the parking spaces next to me on both sides. They were all wearing string tank tops. They were all way too tan. They were all carrying a gallon of water. They were all swaggering as if they had won the Nobel Prize in wearing wind pants and swaggering. Yes, they had all arrived on matching motorbikes. Wow!

They were all trainers at Gold’s Gym.

They all glared at me. I don’t know why. Apparently the wretched of the earth become ill-tempered when they put on the tough-guy pants. Anyways, oblivious to the wrathful eyes staring at me out of their orange faces, I followed them inside and watched them “train” people. About ten minutes after walking in the doors I saw one of them instructing a woman in her mid-50s to do a bunch of barbell shrugs as her entire body quivered. He occasionally glanced at his cell phone while she writhed.

This is, in an adverb followed by an adjective, absolutely disgusting. And I’m guessing, if I could find that woman today, she would not be a fan of the grossly overweighted power shrug, and I imagine that she is no longer paying the bullet bike team for their underwhelming and idiotic advice.

I also suspect that her goal was not to build herself some “tree-swinging traps,” in the parlance of the kingdom of duh.

The point is, if you hate an exercise, it may very well be that you were told to do it at a time when you had no business doing it. When I encourage my clients to do exercises that they enjoy, their chances at training longevity and success go way up. I don’t have a graph, but if I did, there would be an arrow pointing…way up, I guess, not to get too sciency.

I hope you know what I mean. Now let’s have a discussion. I would like to hear what exercises you hate, why you hate them, and what your fitness goals are. Then we can talk about whether you need to do them at all and hopefully I can talk you into not spending your money on the Fancy Boy Fitness Prince Wind Pants Academy trainers of West Valley City, Utah.

You can lead yourself.Whether you want to build muscle, age better, look better, or whatever–you can be in charge of you.


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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Mike Sharkey November 15, 2010, 8:41 pm

    Hate: Push-ups, running & anything involving a flat bench.

    Really Hate: Squats.

    Love: Deadlifts, Long Timed GS Sets (especially Jerks), Swings, Bending Steel, Rows.

    Tolerate: Overhead Pressing.

  • Big Will November 16, 2010, 5:29 am

    Shark!!!!! Good to see The Shark on here.

    I hate riding my bike in the rain at 0530 to my first appointment. I simply hate humidity. It makes my elbows knees and neck hurt, disrupting the test of life. Ugh.

    In the weight room I despise any chest exercise. Painful, tests poorly, etc.

  • Todd November 16, 2010, 7:29 am

    Core exercises–I hate ’em, but at the same time love ’em. They piss me off while doing them, but the back pain that used to plague me has pretty much disappeared.

    As a caveat to your post, Josh, the trainers described are not the norm. I know quite a few trainers, and am married to one. I can honestly say that the meat head trainer, while out there, are out numbered by good ones that know what they are doing.

    • Josh Hanagarne November 16, 2010, 10:08 am

      Todd, maybe it’s just been my bad geographical luck. I’m sure if your wife was training in any of my gyms, she would do fine, but the ratio in my life has skewed about 100:1 on the incompetent trainer vs. someone I would actually pay continuum.

  • Todd November 18, 2010, 9:25 am

    Then again, I stay clear of the big chain gyms, where many of these guys probably flock to. The professional s that I’ve encountered are either working through their own business, or through a training studio where excellence is expected.