Workout tips

Exercise without headphones or iPhone

Using running as an example can be used to tune into our bodies and learn to listen. Instead the tendency is to distract ourselves with music while there is a symphony being played be an intricate orchestra if we only paid more attention to what is going on deep inside.

Paying attention to each foot strike, each step we can learn about how we move, we can listen for signs of over exertion. There are a myriad of things that need our attention.

Aside from the inner listening, running outside and being aware of one’s surround is so important from a safety issue. Headphones take away the ability to attend to our immediate environment.

Phones and headsets in the Gym

Everyone seems to be glued to their phone, please try leaving it in the locker. All too often many people perform one set of an exercise and are right back to scrolling thru their phones. This is a pet peeve of mine. Why it bugs me so much I don’t know, maybe I’m showing my age, but when I started lifting we never had headphones and cell phones had yet to be invented. We went to the gym to lift and workout not surf the web.

Here again, there is so much to pay attention to while lifting that being distracted is the last thing we need. Take performing a deadlift - this is a complex movement pattern that should demand our complete attention. Breaking down this exercise there are a number of elements that need to be coordinated to execute the lift properly.

Another thing is timing of exercises, instead of getting on the phone, use the time in between for a super set to increase the effectiveness of your workouts, packing in more effort for the time spent working out.

So take a break from being distracted leave the electronics home so you can run uncluttered.

Running, Cadence and using a Metronome

Recently coaching ideas in running have suggested an optimal cadence is between 85 and 90 foot strikes per minute. There are several advantages why increasing one’s cadence is beneficial. The most important thing is that as cadence increases our stride length decreases and our foot will hit the ground under our center of gravity with less impact.

This rapid turn over changes our running mechanics from a force style of running to a more energy efficient style as though we are falling forward rather then pushing off.

Of course we can do this by counting our footstrikes but that is tedious at best, instead invest in a small metronome. Seiko DM50S Clip Digital Metronome is a great little device that clips to a shirt or ball cap.

There are a few form ideas, picking the heel up towards our butt, or peeling the heel as if stuck like velcro. Danny Dreyer, founder of Chi Running, has many many form fixes that help with learning to run more efficently.

Learning to run at 85 rpm takes time, the easiest place to start is to find your cadence and increase gradually over time 2 to 4 beats.
For more info on Chi Running please go to

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