Cheating in exercise
Importance of proper technique for maximum benefit.
The word "cheating" always has negative connotations, whether it's cheating on an exam, cheating on a spouse or cheating on your taxes. And with all of the above, you will eventually have to pay for your misdeeds. Exercise is no different. When a you cheat in order to make the movements easier, you are only hurting yourself and will regret it later on. Having a physical therapist can help you avoid cheating and achieve better and faster outcomes.
People cheat for various reasons:
- Avoid pain
- Stiffness or lack of flexibility
- Lack of knowledge
Someone who is experiencing pain or stiffness may try to compensate by using a non-related muscle to move the part. For example, during a shoulder forward flexion you may hike your shoulder in an attempt to raise the arm. This can result in neck or shoulder pain and you will not achieve the desired range-of-motion. Thrusting forward while doing biceps curl or triceps extension can lead to back and neck ache and very little stress being placed on the target muscle. Leaning over an abdominal machine has the same effect: your weight assists the movement while the abdominals are not targeted.
Proper technique is vital to achieving the results you desire. When exercise is done properly, stress is placed on the muscles, forcing them to work to bring about strength, mass and endurance. If you are exercising for flexibility and range of motion, it is vital that the joints be stretched to their maximum in order to be effective, and your exercises should be tailored for your level of fitness so you would not have to cheat.
As your physical therapist, we can grade your exercises so that the intensity increases as your fitness level increases. We will select the correct weight and train you in using it properly so that you do not hurt yourself or deprive your muscles of the workout they should receive. If you find that you are not getting the results you desire from your workout, see us. We are trained to spot poor technique or any biomechanical problems that may be causing you to cheat on your exercise.
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