Here I am on yet another day doing shrugs while looking in the mirror. According to Lewis Black, I’m in deep trouble. He says, ” If you’re working out in front of a mirror and watching your muscles grow, your ego has reached a point where it is now eating itself. That’s why I believe there should be a psychiatrist at every health club, so that when they see you doing this, they will take you away for a little chat.”
This is a photo of Lewis Black.
They say not to judge a book by it’s cover but I don’t think I’m going to listen to old Lewis. His quote did make me laugh out loud but anyone who really spends time in the gym knows why the mirrors are there. It’s not to feed the insatiable egos of the gym going crowd, it’s to help you maintain proper form when doing your exercises. Mirrors allow you to watch your form and correct it if need be. When you’re using machines for weight training mirrors are still useful but the machine itself forces you to work in a certain range of motion. When you’re using free weights, especially if you don’t work with a partner, the mirror is indispensible. You rely on both feel and sight to make sure you’re keeping your form as close to ideal as possible. The human body is an incredibly efficient thing. It wants to do what’s easiest and often that’s at odds with doing a particular exercise properly. You see it all the time. Some guy who has an investment in looking like he’s lifting big (or who just doesn’t understand body mechanics and how to overload his muscles to stimulate growth) doing barbell curls, swinging the weight around, leaning back, relying heavily on his legs, back, even shoulders to do much of the work his biceps should be doing. True, he gets the weight up and down but he’s not really working his biceps properly and he won’t get the results he’s looking for….truth be told, he might even end up hurting himself. The mirror serves as feedback on your form. You can’t always do it by feel alone but when you can feel AND see what you’re doing you can easily self correct. I, for one, intend to keep watching myself in the mirror but now I’m also going to be keeping an eye out for the guys in white lab coats.
Contrary to popular belief, those of us in the gym aren’t staring into the mirror in order to admire ourselves. It’s part of the checks and balances inherent in weight training. It has nothing to do with vanity. No, you did NOT hear me at the gym singing this song under my breath… http://youtu.be/gjfA9TzjALs