how railings can derail your workout

i am guilty of this – holding on to railings while i workout on the elliptical and treadmill. so learning that reaching out for those support bars can undermine not only your workout but also your general balance in non workout situations is lesson learned.

  • It is very easy to support half your weight without really trying that hard. And on a stair climber, for example, supporting half your weight with your arms can cut into your calorie burn by as much as 35 percent.
  • As counterproductive as those lost calories are, you’re not working on posture if you’re holding on, and you’re not engaging your muscles naturally. That doesn’t just risk your cardio development. It might risk injury. If you fall during any kind of physical activity, your shoulders aren’t going to have the range of motion to safely catch you. You’ll end up doing things like tearing your rotator cuff.
  • It’s best to avoid the stationary machines if you can and get outside or to an indoor track. i.e. instead of pushing down steps on a stair climber, you could be pushing your body weight up on stadium steps, which is a much more natural motion. It will also ensure your core is engaged, since there will be no rails to support your body weight as you go up.

If the gym is part of the routine, there are some things you can do to maximize your time on them.

  • Don’t hold on to the rails. Your neurological system is going to have to fire like crazy, which will give you better balance and reflexes for life,.
  • If you’re holding on to handles that move as well, it will make your lower back tighter and tighter every day. Instead, go slow and engage your arms and core into the motion of the exercise to promote balance and strength.
  • If you have to hold on at some point, make sure there’s no tension in your arms, back and traps. Stay loose, and you’ll avoid a lot of long-term damage.

read article on Yahoo! Sports by Max Thompson from The Post Game: How Railings Can Derail Your Daily Workout


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