I pick things up and put them down

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I'm no marketing critic, but I think this Planet Fitness ad is hilarious, has retaining power, and gets their core message across. They got it right, the meat-head with an accent wearing ridiculous shorts and sleeve-cut flannel, swigging mystery fluid straight from the gallon jug.

I appreciate that Planet Fitness takes the promise of a nonthreatening exercise environment seriously. Although their "Judgment Free Zone" claim is a bit of a reach for a public gym, I know how often the typical fitness scene can become quirky and downright ugly.

Convenience is not the only reason why I've been training at home for the past decade or so. I've seen young and old men having staring contests with their biceps in practically every gym. I've noticed girls training in butt floss at the Paxton Community Friendship Center, draped over a hamstring curl machine situated in a high traffic area. I witnessed some cyborg inside the Slippery Rock Barbell Club intentionally bloody himself while doing dead lifts, rubbing the knurling of a barbell along his bare shins.

These are the type of things most of us just don't need for our health and wellness.

Planet Fitness caters to all the mostly sane, everyday people who simply want a gym without all the oddball duchebaggish behavior. But the irony in the commercial is that sane, everyday people would benefit most from nothing more than LIFTING THINGS UP AND PUTTING THEM DOWN.

Nothing else is as effective for increasing functional total body strength, balance, coordination, and muscle tone. Not the rows of elliptical machines, the tanning booths, the flat screen TVs, or the newest machines that isolate the triceps and obliques. None of those thing are as time efficient and effective as picking things up and putting them down.

Take lunges. The hip and quadricep (front thigh) muscles must generate force with most of the weight on one leg. Controlling momentum of the body (plus any additional loading like dumbbells) requires the abdominal and back muscles to stabilize the pelvis. The hip adductors (inner thigh muscles) and abductors (outer thigh/butt muscles) balance the leg so that you don’t tip over.

If you're not doing some variations of lunges, rows, dead lifts and chin-ups, pretty much anything that involves you picking things up and putting them down, you probably should be. I make this claim not as a gym-culture blind fitness fanatic, but as a doctor of rehabilitative medicine who has helped hundreds of people to decrease their pain and increase their physical performance.

Lifting things up and putting them down is what real life requires of us. Since we ALL pick things up and put them down, it's often helpful to identify dysfunctional movement patterns and use various modalities, hands-on mobilization, stretching, strengthening, and stabilization exercises to attempt to correct them to the greatest extent possible.

Some of this requires...you guessed it. 

Up next is a report on what recently transpired when I tried picking things up and putting them down over at the local Purple.

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