I was at the gym this morning and between sets I looked over at a man who seemed to be in his 50’s about 50 pounds overweight doing one legged lateral step up’s onto a bench and then into a balanced one leg dumbbell curl (while standing on the bench)
I thought for sure I was going to be a witness to a hip fracture. This guy had no business doing a step up by itself let alone trying to add in a dumbbell curl while balancing on one leg.
My guess is this is some ridiculous routine he learned from one of the gyms dim witted personal trainers (or he could have read it in an equally dim witted exercise magazine)…and I’ll bet he couldn’t care less about being a good step-up and curl guy, I’ll bet he just wanted to lose some weight.
Regardless of where he learned to do this, it’s not a good idea. For starters he could barely get up without some serious balance issues. Half of his reps he had to restart half way through as he lost his balance or couldn’t generate enough force to get up without ‘hopping’ into it.
This is a big problem I see with people trying to use their workouts to do ‘functional training’ and burn calories in the gym with multi-joint multi-planar movements.
It’s simply not necessary, it’s not going to accomplish much of anything and in reality it’ll probably give this guy joint problems because his form was a disaster and the exercise itself made zero sense from an exercise physiology and biomechanics standpoint.
There seems to be a trend to make workouts look more and more complex using elaborate looking combination movements that end up doing little for any of the muscle groups involved.
The more complex the movement the steeper the learning curve and the more base strength and coordination you need just to attempt them.
For most people there is never any need to do these complicated movements unless you’re well accomplished in the gym and just bored with what you’re doing.
And even then most of these weird looking exercises are pretty pointless.
The point is that there is a limited number of ways you can move your body, and there is even less ways to move your body that make any sense for building muscle and getting ‘in shape’.
There are two ways to keep a working interesting and effective:
1. Finding creative ways to move and build sets and reps
2. Finding an intelligent way to create those new sets and reps and movements that still accomplish the goal.
Unfortunately most trainers get the first part right and completely ignore the second.
P.S. If you’re just getting into exercising body weight training is a good place to start.