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Don't Leave Your Good Form At The Gym

A good friend of mine, the person who first taught me about proper weight lifting technique, was recently telling me about a new injury. Since he's always been into heavy Olympic-style lifting I asked whether the injury happened while he was doing deadlifts or something similar. No he told me, it probably happened while he was renovating his house. While redoing his bathroom, he had to move a heavy cast-iron bathtub. Although at the gym he always pays close attention to proper form and technique, while working at home he let himself slip.

I knew exactly what he was referring to as recently I noticed the same thing happening to me. I was painting the walls of an apartment, and had to painstakingly tape up the low baseboards in each room. In the morning when I first started working I made it a point to kneel down to do the taping, using my legs and protecting my back. Since I wouldn't make it to the gym that day, I figured doing this slowly over and over would also give me the benefit of some eccentric lunges. Hours later when the painting was finished I was eager to wrap things up and go home, and the only thing I had left to do was to remove the tape. Suddenly I found myself stiff-legged and bending at the back over and over, in the exact manner I warn my clients not to do.

Proper physical technique starts at the gym but should emanate outward to other areas of life. But what we take for granted is that in the confines of an exercise room, with our minds focused on exercise, our bodies visible in the mirror and our trainers there to guide us, its much easier to do something the right way than in the middle of a stressful task in real life. Unfortunately that's where injuries often happen. This is something we see in our Physical Therapy office, where someone otherwise in great shape has hurt themselves helping a friend move or shoveling snow in the driveway.

The take away is to remember that the gym isn't an isolated place where we do things the right way for their own sake, but rather a training ground for everything else that we do. Fitness For Life is only useful if we apply its concepts outside the gym where most of life takes place.

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