For high-performers, the start of a new year inspires the opportunity to cleanse mental and physical buildup from the past, and focus on constructive ways to achieve your fitness goals. Furthermore has partnered with science-based haircare company Living Proof to celebrate the launch of their Perfect hair Day™ Triple Detox Shampoo, which removes hair and scalp buildup (from product, hard water, and pollution). Together, we present The Cleanse Movement, featuring actionable, inspiring ways to cleanse your fitness mindset and routine, and unlock your true potential.
Here, Equinox experts share six common workout habits to skip:
1. Cranking Out Burpees
“Are they hard? Yes,” says Alex Zimmerman, CSCS, director of Equinox’s Tier X program. “But, typically, burpees are so challenging because people don’t have the requisite mobility and elasticity to do them correctly.” As a result, many end up performing the move with improper form that dumps weight into the lower back and jams the shoulder and wrist joints. Though the move undoubtedly gets the heart rate up, there may be few other benefits.
When you combine three exercises—in this case, a squat, jump, and push-up—it’s impossible to do all three with 100 percent energy. Zimmerman suggests performing all three moves separately. “Take a step back and consider what outcome you are trying to achieve with each move,” he says, “if you don’t have an express reason for an exercise, why do it?”
2. Program Jumping
Many athletes focus on “keeping their body guessing,” and have difficulty sticking with any one type of exercise for an extended period. They hop from class to class, without allowing for the time to master any one fitness regimen or let it have any effects.
“[Program jumping] is a waste of time, because you never get a chance for any regimen to work,” says Matthew Berenc, CSCS, director at the Equinox Fitness Training Institute in Beverly Hills. He explains that improved fitness is a matter of adaptation. When you do a certain type of exercise or class regularly, you build the strength, power, and endurance needed so that you can perform that workout more easily. Commit to a new fitness plan or exercise class for a longer period before switching to something else, or you’ll limit the potential for your body to truly adapt and become stronger.
3. Always Repeating the Same Workouts
On the opposite end of the spectrum, never changing up your exercise habits can be detrimental. “While it is important to give a program time to work, if you stay on the same routine for too long, never progressing or even changing what to do, your body will become efficient at performing the exercises and cease to adapt or change,” Berenc says.
To continue adaptation, it’s important to prioritize progressive overload, gradually and strategically increasing the demands that your regular workouts place on your body. To eliminate exercise stagnation, vary the frequency, duration, or intensity of your current program, like adding more weights to a session or upping the incline on a run. Integrating some of these changes into your routine every four to six weeks allows you to consistently build on what you’ve already achieved.
4. Doing Sit-Ups and Crunches
“These exercises don’t align with how the body uses the core,” Zimmerman says. “The core works to resist motion, transfer forces between the upper and lower segments of the body, and keep the trunk stable. In real life, movement doesn’t come from the core.” Plus, when movement does come from the core, like when you’re doing sit-ups and crunches, there’s an increasing risk of low back pain, he says.
To train the core more safely and efficiently, Zimmerman recommends performing stabilization exercises such as the Pallof press, woodchop, deadbug, and hollow-body hold.
5. Making Your Workouts All About Work
When you’ve got a goal and are eager to reach it, it’s easy to fall into an all-work and no-play exercise mentality. Drive is good, but at a certain point, it can become counterproductive. “We get so serious around our workouts sometimes—and that can be awesome—but there are so many physical, mental, and emotional benefits to just being playful,” Zimmerman explains. He recommends making room for fitness activities that are more centered in pleasure and adventure, like hiking, biking, and team sports.
6. Comparing Yourself to Others
“It’s inherently hard not to compare ourselves to others [during exercise]—it’s human nature,” admits Berenc. But when you’re focused on gym mates and how they stack up to you, it can unwittingly chip away at self-confidence, minimize personal accomplishment, and reduce exercise enjoyment and self-efficacy. “We don’t know [the other person’s] history, background, or what they’ve gone through,” Berenc says. “It hurts us mentally while predisposing us to other habits like program jumping. We think, ‘I need to be doing what that person is doing.’” Instead, make mindfulness and awareness about your own achievements one of your fitness goals and work to center the focus within.