Picture this, you’re in a traffic jam, you can’t figure out why you aren’t moving. All of a sudden you pass it. You have to stop and look. There is a fender bender on the highway and you can’t help but stop and stare and wonder, “Oh my goodness, I wonder if everyone is ok!”

More often than not, that is the feeling I get when I walk into a commercial gym and I see someone doing something that they shouldn’t be doing. What do I mean by that? Well here we go.

Squat, squat, squat, OUCH

Let’s say that you see the biggest man in the gym doing a squat. Now this guy is huge, he’s got just about every plate in the gym on one bar and he’s about to GET IT!!

He unracks it, and he starts going down…

Now you notice his knees start moving towards each other.

He’s grimacing and his back starts to arch forward as he lifts back up.

You think, AWESOME!! I want to do that!!!

Here’s the deal. He may not hurt now but he has just engaged in what I call the “Paper Clip Effect

You can bend a paperclip back and forth, until you have weakened it so much that eventually it breaks.

While this guy has just lifted hundreds of pounds he put his body into a position where eventually he might fail. Spinal position was completely wrong, hip and knee alignment were awful and he just went ahead and did it anyway.

No pain, no gain.. Right?…

Eventually, this guy will start complaining of minor aches and pains and shrug it off. Which will lead to more severe pains. If he shrugs these off, a good portion of the time, he will add a debilitating injury to his list of ailments. That is what I call the “break”.

Building a foundation that is solid can lead to HUGE strength gains. Skipping the easy stuff because you want to rush into the heavy “fun” stuff is an injury waiting to happen.

Learn from my mistakes

As a former athlete with 3 surgeries under my belt by the age of 20, I know from first hand experience how the “Paper Clip Effect” works. If your posture and form are not right for a lift, don’t push it. Even if you know you can lift it, it doesn’t mean that you should.

If I cut off your feet and tell you to walk, it would be REALLY hard. Could you do it? Yea. Should you? Probably not. Rebuild that foundation. Allow yourself and your body to learn how to move properly.

Always remember when you are lifting, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.  

Nicholas J. Lape BS, HFS, FMS, IYCA, CRBC

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