Save a Newbie

TAGS: newbies, triceps, Skip Hill, programming, muscle, strength training, strength coach, barbell, bench press, training

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I'm just tired. I'm tired of newbies doing dumb shit in the gym and me standing by not saying anything. I don’t say anything because, honestly, newbies don’t want to hear it these days. Back in “my time,” the biggest guys in the gym would answer questions for you or even give you advice without you asking. These days, everyone knows everything, so I quit trying to help newbies unless they specifically ask me a question. They simply don't want to hear your unsolicited advice, especially from someone with old, saggy balls.

However, I'm changing my stance because there are things going on in the gym that drive me nuts and are a giant waste of time. I now feel an obligation to help out a dumbass when I see a newbie doing something, well, “dumb-assy.”

Newbies tend to want to do exercises that look like poses. Think about this for a minute. About the only exercises that are legit and mimic a pose are the ab pose in an ab thigh pose and a lat pull-down. The side chest doesn't look like a dumbbell or barbell press. The bicep pose doesn't look like a barbell curl. A squat isn't a pose that you'll see on stage. Knowing this, newbies still tend to go for the more “posey” exercises in the gym and they are wasting their time.

Here are six exercises that I think should be banned for newbies in all gyms:

 1. The double bicep pose, high cable curl: This is where you hook single handles to two high pulleys and, while standing, do a front double bicep curl. No one is building huge biceps with this exercise, so put the cable down and go find a barbell or dumbbell and do some heavy curls.

2. The double cable, standing chest press: This is probably the most popular exercise in my gym. The cables are closer together than a regular double pulley, so the pulleys are usually set about shoulder width. A group of four 20-year olds lean into this exercise for cable presses. They are, of course, unstable because they are struggling just as much to stabilize their upper bodies as they are to press the weight.

Put down the cables and go lie down on a bench and press dumbbells and get huge. Cable pulley presses haven't ever been done by someone over 190 pounds (and your fat, 200-pound wife doesn't count).

3. Machine decline iso-lateral presses: This exercise is popular for one reason—it allows people who otherwise can't press anything with a 45 on each side to put two or three 45s on each side and then do an exercise that only vaguely resembles a chest press. How these kids don’t rip a front delt is beyond me. Their hands end up somewhere in the vicinity of their waist and yet they classify this as a chest exercise.

Put the machine down and go grab some free weights. Machines are for after you get some size, young Gwasshoppa.

Man doing cable fly in gym

4. Front lateral raises with a bar or dumbbell: I overheard a skinny 20-year old ask a slightly less skinny 20-year old what the best exercise was for his shoulders, and the answer was front lateral raises. I expect this from a 20-year old, I suppose. The correct answer would have been to pick up something heavy and press it overhead. They will be serving ice water in hell before you get a skinny kid to push press.

5. One-legged anything: One-legged presses are for figure and bikini girls or if you're working around an injury. One-legged exercises aren't for getting huge and they certainly aren't for newbies. Yes, that goes for lunges as well. These are exercise variations that can be used once you get some size and get past the newbie stage.

Opt for presses or squats or something that involves both legs at the same time. Plus, it is more time efficient to do both legs at once.

6. One-arm anything: One-arm overhead triceps extensions? Inefficient. One-arm triceps press-downs with a cable? Waste of time. Dumbbell triceps kickbacks? No one does this exercise correctly anyway because most times it looks like a combination of a curl and an extension with no resistance because the shoulder is so much higher than the elbow. Even if done correctly, it's a waste of time. Again, quit posing and train with some damn weight. Put the cable down and pick up an EZ bar for skull crushers.

Newbies aren't expected to know that these exercises don’t work or are inefficient. It's your responsibility to step up and tell them. No, they didn’t ask, but that doesn’t matter. If you tell them and they don’t listen, that's their problem. You've still done the right thing by trying to save a newbie. Talk to your gym buddies and turn this into a movement for the betterment of all newbies out there. If we all do our part, there will be much less dumb shit going on in the gym and, more importantly, when I go to do cable press downs, there won’t be a dumbass newbie in my way. Just sayin’.

slayer

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