Home Exercise 101 Stop Doing This at the Gym: Tips for a More Productive Workout

Stop Doing This at the Gym: Tips for a More Productive Workout

by Erika Nicole Kendall

One day, I fell into an Instagram trap.

I skipped from one hashtag to another, one account to another, and there, it was: a 15-second video of a woman using her foot on the knee rest of an assisted pull-up machine (click to view an image of the APU machine) to stomp down and press the weight, as if it were a standing version of a seated leg press.

From there, I went from one video to another, seeing clip after clip after clip of people using and abusing machines. Thinking they’re being innovative, creative, getting more fit by finding eight thousand ways to use one machine. Determined to be the fanciest mofo in the gym, a show-off, an alpha dog.


Using the knee rest on an assisted pull-up machine as a leg press is dangerous, and pointless – it does nothing that a regular weighted squat can’t do, and it puts you in harm’s way unnecessarily.

What’s worse, so many people take what they see on Instagram and replicate it in their own workouts – and, because they’re simply looking for new and different things to do at the gym, they don’t really know whether it actually helps or hurts, and they rarely verify.

Exploration is great, until weeks pass… and you’ve made no progress.

As many of us might know, you can spend months in the gym and make no progress. You can spend months in the gym – dedicated as all sin – and see no progress in your body, your fitness level, any of it. It’s disheartening. It makes you want to quit. I totally understand.

#SDTATG is going to be all about things that people mix up, do improperly, do dangerously, or things that result in injury, and how to safely replace them with exercises that not only improve your fitness level but also protect you from injury. And, if you use them strategically, can result in weight loss.

I want us all to win, but we can’t win if we’re all waiting in line to use the assisted pull-up machine behind someone who insists on slamming her foot into it like she’s squashing a bug.

Are there any moves or exercises that you’re curious about? Anything you’ve seen at the gym that you think we should discuss? Hit me up via e-mail, leave a comment, or – if you’ve seen a video on social media, tag me on it or send me a link! I’m not going to put anyone on blast, but we’ll definitely discuss moves and how to replace them with effective, efficient, targeted training!

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