Written by SImone Maglassis, CPT, ACSM, ACE
Watch me react to some cringe worthy moments, exercises executed with bad form and atypical movements you may have not seen before, all while providing my professional opinion.
This reaction is in no way meant to put anyone down. I see this as a learning experience for everyone!
This is the video I watched:
Kipling Pull Ups
There's a lot of controversy over these types of pull ups that were developed by CrossFit and rightfully so.
In my opinion, the average person should not be doing them and I don't recommend them unless you've reached a high level of fitness that gives you confidence enough to try them out without hurting yourself. Even so, be prepared for the potential aggravation on your spin and shoulders.
I think there are much more options and better pull up variations you can do that will provide you with more benefits such as a side to side pull up, static hold pull up, scapula retraction pull ups from the hanging position and more.
Maybe there is positives to doing the kipling pull ups, many athletes do them such as gymnasts, but for someone who's just trying to get strong and achieve weight loss (which is 99.9% of my clientele) I don't see the need for them, especially if you can't do an actual good, solid form pull up on your own yet.
Easiest Version > Hardest Version
Start with the simplest version of an exercise and slowly work your way up in difficulty. You can do this in 1 day depending on what the movement is or you will have to do it over a period of weeks or months.
It's the safest way to get to your goals without injuring yourself. For instance, with the weighted squat, start with dumbbells instead of the bar. Use 10lbs on each side, complete 10-15 reps and increase the weight to 15lbs each side and complete 6-10 reps.
Once you get comfortable you can transition to a barbell making sure you have a spotter or a safe way to "rack it" or dismount or abandon the exercise. Which brings me to my next point...
Chest Press: When the Bar is Pinned to Your Chest
Before you even reach failure, know how to abandon the exercise and drop the weight. The worst thing you can do is drop the weight incorrectly. That's asking for an injury.
When doing the chest press like in this particular video, a spotter is always a good idea and highly recommended. But if you do not have one or they fail to provide the adequate help. It's good to have another bench beside you, but it would best if done in a power rack.
But let's say worst case scenario happens and you're pinned by the weight like in the video. You can certainly dump the weight on one side but it's dangerous and will throw off your balance completely.
Here's what to do instead:
1. Remain as calm as you can.
2. Call for help. Do not try to lift it yourself again. Your muscles have already reached failure and trying to lift it again may make things worse
3. If there's no one to help you, roll the bar to your hips/legs as you sit up. Then lift up the bar and drop it down. This way you'll be in more control and I think is the best way to do it if possible. Here's an example.
Also something to keep in mind, using dumbells in your chest press gives more room for safely abandoning the exercise in my opinion but I understand that you can go heavier and reach progressive overload with the barbell much easier.
I think a combination of both chest presses with dumbells and the barbell is helpful in achieving your bench press goals. Through in push ups in between as a superset and you're golden!
Using other objects as dumbbells/weights is actually great depending on what you're using.
It's best to use something that already has a handle such as a water jug or a tightly secured dishwasher detergent. Or even something that you can hug to the chest and get a good grip on such as a bag of potatoes or a bag of rice.
But the best thing you can do is invest in actual equipment that's designed for weight training as it will provide you with the even amount of weight needed and is best ergonomically speaking.
Back Brace. Do You Need It?
I think there's a time and a place.
When my client's have a history of back pain I do encourage them to use it when working out but to not rely on it excessively.
What is does is support your back when doing exercises so it eliminates and reduces back pain. But remember, if you have back pain from certain movements, back brace or not, you should probably be avoiding those exercises to begin with.
The back brace comes in handy when it's not necessarily the movement that's causing the pain but the added weight and the back just needs to be stabilized in order for you to complete those heavy reps confidently with the pressure off your lower back and free of pain.
I don't recommend wearing them all the time and that goes for knee braces, ankle, wrist etc. because you can weaken the muscles (known as atrophy) which is the opposite of what you want. And it's not just the muscles that would atrophy, but the ligaments and joints because they won't be working as hard. Again, not good!
Even with wearing a back brace it doesn't mean that your back pain will magically disappear and in fact, it can transition the pain to another area or make it worse so evaluate how you feel before and after you use it.
Simone is a certified in-home personal trainer, precision nutrition coach and ACE functional training specialist. Her mission is to help people on their fitness & health journey.
When she's not figure skating, reading or writing, Simone loves to relax and watch Netflix with her little family.
All information provided by Simone (Guishard) Maglassis and simonesfitfunlife.com is of a general nature and is furnished only for educational/entertainment purposes only. No information is to be taken as legal, medical or other health advice pertaining to any individual specific health or medical condition. You agree that use of this information is at your own risk and hold Simone Maglassis and/or simonesfitfunlife.com harmless from any and all losses, liabilities, injuries or damages resulting from any and all claims.