"It is not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and then do your best." – W. Edwards Deming
I regularly refer to this quote as I often see members in the workout area training diligently but ineffectively and/or unsafely. It disturbs me to the point that I usually offer to help – although it's not always that well received!
Many people copy exercises that they've seen others do – often incorrectly – and then go on to perform them incorrectly themselves. It's the path to injury. Then there are the multitude of exercise apps created by people who aren’t qualified and don’t have a proper understanding of exercise.
In the forty years since I started in the fitness industry, there's been a lot of research and new thinking on exercise, but sadly it hasn't filtered down sufficiently to trainers – as a result people are still doing the same decades-old exercises that are ineffective and unsafe.
There are three principles I follow when exercising. I make sure that my workouts are:
I also have the following advice for those looking to follow these principles themselves.
Start by defining the aim of your workout routine. Is it for rehabilitation, aesthetics, overall health or for a specific sport? Your goal will determine what you do and how you do it.
You also need to ensure that you know how to do each of the movements correctly. It’s a good idea to invest in one or two sessions with a qualified personal trainer or Pilates teacher– and it will pay off in the long run, as you'll be less likely to incur injuries and need the services of a health therapist.
At Elixr, we strive for excellence and to be a leader in the fitness industry, and we ensure that our instructors are trained to the highest standard. As a result, they are able to provide you with an exercise program that is effective, efficient and safe.
Having taught Karate for over 25 years, one of the most common issues I observed was students wanting to perform advanced techniques without first getting the fundamentals right.
It’s so important to have the basic principles in place before trying to progress, and that goes for all body movement disciplines like martial arts, yoga and Pilates. Trying to advance before you’re ready will only lead to poor technique and injury.
Of course, getting to grips with the fundamentals and achieving great technique requires patience and extensive practise. It is critical to take the time to understand how to do a movement, and then to slowly imprint it into your mind-body.
I use the TEA method when teaching techniques:
- Think about how you are going to perform the technique and focus on the key points.
- Execute the technique and focus on doing it as well as possible.
- Analyse your performance and assess what you need to adjust, and then start the process again.
Patience, grasshopper! (for those of you that remember that old TV show, Kung Fu)