Right here, we have a picture from the Twitter account @RightVsWrong_. The account recently went on a Tweeting spree as it showed several different exercises and how to properly do them.
Except, these pictures were full of misinformation.
Take this bench press picture for example. If we look at the "correct" half, you might notice that he's got his elbows tucked in, has his feet back and planted (although they could be shown to be driven into the floor a little better, but it's a picture, so I'll let it slide) and maintains a natural lumbar curve. He's got a pretty good base from what we can see, but when we get to the arm position of the actual press, it's a complete train wreck.
While his elbows are tucked in, his hands are closer to his head than they should be (which is putting the bar too high on his chest), his elbows are not directly underneath the bar, and his hands are in such a position that he's literally starting to put himself in a shoulder lock at the bottom of the movement. Truth be told, the top picture's pressing position is actually better than the bottom one!
In the bottom picture, he's missing range of motion in the shoulder, while simultaneously placing more strain on the triceps instead of the chest. While there is nothing wrong with using the bench press to train your triceps, this is supposed to be a basic bench press AND if it was a triceps movement, the hand position would need to be corrected anyway.
It's understandable for someone to not fully understand every form-related detail for every exercise. But when you spread simple, eye-catching pictures like this just for the retweets, you risk spreading misinformation. And when it comes to exercise, misinformation can hurt.
This isn't the only flat-out wrong image Tweeted by this account.
This next image has a major issue that the average Joe might overlook.
And this time, we know that it's not just @RightVsWrong_ spreading inaccurate info, but VINCELAMFITNESS on Instagram. This is especially noteworthy because a personal trainer is spreading the misinformation this time. And when someone who is certified in the field is making posts like this, people are likely to take those posts at face value.
Alright. It's time for the analysis here. What Vince is doing wrong here is he is grabbing the back of his head during his sit-up/crunch. Does anyone want to take a guess at WHY this is incorrect?
Any trainer would (or at least should) be able to tell you that the temptation to pull up on your neck will always be a big one. And the dangers of pulling up on your neck can mean injury. When doing a sit-up or a crunch, you can either have your fingers gently placed on your ears or cross your arms over your chest. Vince here seems to think that the hands-behind-the-head variation is EXPERT MODE DIFFICULTY SETTING! It's dangerous, plain and simple. And it also robs you of the chance to train your neck to remain still in an unsupported manner.
The amount of misinformation out there can be overwhelming. Especially when you're trying to research something as potentially dangerous as exercises. Your health is on the line. Injury lurks behind most improper forms. What can you do to avoid it? Well, for one thing, you can not take training and form advice from any old Instagrammer who looks like he knows what he's talking about. Find someone you trust. Out there in the real world, people look for and find a personal trainer to work one-on-one with, and they build a relationship of trust with each other. On the internet, it's real easy to just assume that you can trust anyone. I don't know Vince Lam Fitness. He may have a lot of accurate posts to show off. Or he might have taken an afternoon to research exercises so that he can make posts that garner a lot of likes. I don't know.
What I do know is that I've been running Real Anime Training for over eleven years now. And in that time, I've built up and earned trust with my readers. Getting a good reputation when you claim that your training content is inspired by anime is a bit of an uphill battle outside of our Real Anime Training community. Which is why I've always been careful not to spread misinformation. And on our new membership site, Real Anime Training Plus, I make sure that all my students have accurate information.
For example, let's look at those sit-ups that Vince was doing. Except now, let's look at how to do them properly. On Real Anime Training Plus, we have special videos that demonstrate each exercise that we talk about in detail. In this particular video, Duffy is reading off the trainer notes while I perform the movements.
The membership service doesn't stop at exercise demonstration videos. I've also compiled several videos going over general health and fitness education. That library of knowledge will be growing over time.
At the time of writing this article, we have over 160 distinct exercise demonstration videos on Real Anime Training Plus, which you can get access to by clicking below. There's a 14-Day free trial, so you can check it out for free if you want.
Whether you click that button or not, I want you to always be discerning when you research how to perform exercises. Make sure you trust the source. Try and get comprehensive information - not just easily shared photos with big red X's. Videos (like the ones we make) are going to give you the best idea of how to do a movement.
Until next time, good luck and train hard!