Is it ever a good idea to use an exercise mirror in training?

exercise mirror in trainingMirrors are a contentious area when it comes to training. Gyms are generally lined with them, and it’s difficult to avoid the temptation to watch yourself moving, to better understand your movements. Yet most articles and books on training the body to perform movements such as squats and presses are against the idea of using exercise mirrors to help you learn your technique.

This is generally because:

  • To have proper neuromuscular control and understanding of the exercise you need to “feel” the position of your body not “see” it.
  • A mirror can give misleading feedback, as it reflects images back differently depending on what angle you see them.
  • Looking into the mirror may encourage incorrect (and potentially unsafe) head and neck positioning for some exercises.
  • Mainstream health clubs use mirrors for aesthetics, not for health considerations.

We at KneeStrength agree with most of these points, but think it is unwise to dismiss the use of mirrors totally, as they do have some applications in particular circumstances. Continue reading

Don’t “just do it” – why drill instruction is bad coaching

drill instructor coachingIt’s important to have an instructor or training partner who keeps you going, and pushes you to reach your goals. But it’s also important to recognise that a good coach should do much more than just that. A coach, a trainer, or even a casual spotter, should never be there just to spur you on. If you truly want to succeed in your fitness and health goals, to achieve your maximum potential and avoid injury, you need someone to give you technical guidance as well as motivation. A good coach is not a drill instructor. Here’s why: Continue reading