The Fitness ComboNATION
Most people who go to the gym are really trying to fit the gym-time perfectly into their schedule. maybe it’s before work or after work, before or after dinner time… basically anytime that works best. I am happy you have made it a piece of your day to get in the gym I really am. But…
The problem that I have been seeing grow and grow is just nuts. THE COMBONATION.
I understand you maybe pressed for time in your day and want to get as much done at the gym as you can but just because you found a way to a lunge followed by a curl to squat to shoulder press and repeat it 12 times doesn’t mean that you are maximizing your time in the gym.
I bring this up because the other day I saw a trainer (he was like 82 years old) working with a client that recently told me she(55yrold) was training for a marathon and hasn’t seen any significant improvement to herself even though she has a trainer.
The trainer (we will call him Lenard) Sets up three different what look like stations for this lady to do for her workout.
Station #1 -has a set of resistant bands attached to an anchor point and a 9lb/15lb weight-bar.
Station #2- TRX straps set up off the pull up bar and a bosu ball
Station#3- a trampoline two-pound weights and a stability ball.
Didn’t think much of it at first other than the fact that it’s not everyday you see a trampoline in the gym.
She gets started at station one….He wraps the handle of the band around her ankle and gives her the 15lb bar and she then does a reverse lunge/Bicep Curl—>mini squat—> to shoulder press and repeats it for 20 reps.
I kept watching after that and now anxiously waiting for station number two…
Yep just as I thought(not)…Lenard had her put her feet in the BoSu and did a variation of what looked like a push up with the TRX. It looked painful and not in a good way but for again like 15-20 reps.
Here I am now excited to see what Lenard has in store for this trampoline…
Station three she lays down on the trampoline on her back?(caught off guard) and pick up the light weights with her hand and stability ball between her feet. then proceeded to do a series of abdominal exercises followed by something called the teaser a Pilates inspired movement. ( lucky for her Lenard stayed away from jumping on the trampoline because I would have busted out the camera phone for that disaster).
What I failed to mention was the fact that ever single rep this lady did looked different and was executed poorly. Sometimes Lenard even stopped her to say she got the sequence of exercises wrong.So, she paused and tried it slowly again and then would start-up going faster until she made the mistake again where this time Lenard said nothing but “is that a little heavy” and she said maybe…so he gave her the 9lb bar.
The End of her choreography type workout.
Oh PS…her Husband came in right after she was finished and did the exact same workout and was severely less coordinated than she was…and he kinda looked like an old version of this kid from Hey Arnold. Made me chuckle.
Back on point now.
Whats the big problem with this workout?
Lenard was combing every movement of exercise in the book to make one exercise. There is a limit of how much combining you should do and it really should be fairly limited. Not because there’s no benefit from maybe combining exercises a front squat with a shoulder press, but because the more movements you throw together the more difficult it can be to be executed properly. When you decide to combine two movements into one there is always going to be a compromise somewhere either in technique or weight used. Sticking with the squat to shoulder press. I am able to front squat more weight than I can shoulder press. So in order to do the movement I would have to decrease the weight for my squats so I can press it over my head.
For another example: the trx push up on the BoSu….Hard enough just using the TRX (no BOSU needed) because the straps force you to stabilize your trunk muscles( Abs and Back) while performing a push-up or chest press where you need to stabilize through your shoulders and upper back . So for her case in order to be able to complete the movement she barely got any depth in her push up and was inconsistent throughout the entire set.
All together she could have had an effective workout if the movements were separated or ill even go into saying not combined together as much. Some of these movement could have been beneficial for her if she wasn’t told to go fast through them and focused on the movements she was making. theres a difference from doing this and speeding that up/also using band and adding a front squat and shoulder press as fast as you can.
So When your planning your workouts and are short on some time. Pick the movements that will be the most effective for you and make sure you are putting all your effort into those exercises separately or you could create a circuit if need be. And if you are looking for a trainer, one that is always trying to reinvent the wheel…probably not the one you want to go to for the best/safest results.
Remember anyone can put you through a workout and make you tired but not every workout is going to be effective.