Sunday, March 9, 2008

Guys, Please Don't Teach Your Girlfriends How to Lift

As you know by now, those of you who read this blog, I write about things I see in the gym on a regular basis.

So this article goes out to all you men out there who are trying to make their girlfriends more healthy by having them lift weights.

Although in theory, this is a great idea and one of the nicest things you will ever do for your loved one, don't do it.

I was working with a client when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a very nice young man attempting to teach his girlfriend how to lift weights. They were working on an arm curl with a cable machine -- normally a safe exercise and not too difficult to do.

The girlfriend was arching her back and rearing back to lift the weight. Obviously, this was too much weight for her to handle.

So, being the safety-minded consciencious person I am, I approached the gentleman. I mentioned to him the fact that it was a very unsafe motion: she was arching her back too much. He said, "Thank you," then proceeded to put a weightlifting belt on his girlfriend instead of reducing the weight.

As I left, she was still arching her back, and I was concerned about the possibility of her tearing muscles in her arms from using that much weight.

Gentlemen, women do not train like we do. Their needs for their bodies are completely different from ours. The weightlifting regime that works for you will not work for her.

In case you haven't noticed, she is built differently than you are. Loading a woman up with heavy weight is not the way to get her to look the way she wants to look. Your way of lifting might get her there (depending on her body type) -- but chances are, she is going to get hurt before she gets the results she wants.

So if you're thinking about training your woman, don't.

By the way, men, you also should not do the following exercises, let alone teach them to your women:
  • upright rows
  • behind-the-neck military presses
  • lat pulldowns behind the head

These exercises are no longer recommended because of the extreme stress they put on the rotator cuff muscles. They are dangerous for the experienced lifter -- so put too much weight on your girlfriend's bar and she is going to tear muscles in her shoulder. All too often I've seen these exercises done in the gym, and I cringe when I see anyone do them.

So guys, leave these exercises for the foolhearty -- definitely not you and your loved ones.

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