Sentinel Performance LLC

When you have spent as much time in the gym as we have, you come to notice some pretty crazy stuff. 

Most of the time this is due to the fact that the general exerciser, through no fault of their own, is trying to do the best they can by themselves to recreate a movement they saw in Women’s Health Magazine, or trying to remember the workout routine they followed from the poster in their high school weight room. 

But what happens when you look around as you rest between sets, and notice A TRAINER demonstrating a clearly asinine exercise to some unsuspecting individual? It’s an unfortunate reality that is all too common in our industry. 

The following are a handful of made-up exercises that we’ve noticed through the years, that you should avoid at all costs and what exercise you should substitute it with instead. 

  • Lateral bench hop-overs:
    • Why they’re ridiculous: if the client is not advanced enough to do a plyo exercise while holding on to a bench for support, the trainer shouldn’t be making them do them in the first place
    • What to do instead: jump squats, mountain climbers
  • Stability ball wall squats:
    • Why they’re ridiculous: this variation changes the movement mechanics of the traditional squat completely, does not activate the glute or hamstring muscles at all, and in no way helps the client learn how to do the actual squat exercise correctly
    • What to do instead: prisoner bodyweight squat (if the client has knee issues, have them squat to a surface that they are comfortable with, and then slowly progress them down to a lower surface as they get stronger)
  • 1-leg BOSU squats:
    • Why they’re ridiculous: you cannot safely or sufficiently load the client (which is imperative in building strength) with enough weight due to the incredibly unstable environment
    • What to do instead: bodyweight pistol squats

I’m sure at some point or another when you have been working out yourself, you have witnessed some exercises that are just as crazy as these ones. The best thing to do is to stick to what you know. The body, while a complex machine, adapts very effectively to the Fab 5 exercises that you already know well. So at the end of the day, like much else in life, stick to the truth, and it will set you free. 

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