In a video leaked by someone who happened to be working out at the same hotel gym as President Obama, the world got a peak into the exercise routine of the most powerful man on earth. The President is sorrounded by some of the best and smartest advisors in the country, but apparently none of them is a personal trainer, as his approach and technique leave a lot to be desired. But he is in luck, because my colleagues and I at Precision Physical Therapy & Fitness are here to help.
To start with, lets look at the President’s seated shoulder press:
The first problem here is the limited range. By not bringing the weights all the way down, the President is not getting the full benefit of the exercise, nor is he working on improving his range of motion. This leads to a lack of flexibility, which much like the Republican Party Platform, is not an effective strategy.
Second, take a look at how the President’s lower back sits against the seat, and how there is a gap there bigger than in last year’s federal budget. This is a common problem that develops when we try to lift weights that are too heavy, and can lead to back injuries and other problems. The smart way to go is to lower the weight and make sure your back sits flush against the seat, or better yet, to do the exercise seated on a ball while using you core to sit upright.
Next, lets look at the President’s walking lunge, curl & press:
This is an excellent exercise, as it hits everything from the hamstrings and glutes to the biceps and deltoids. It also develops balance and stability. Our only advice here is to slow down (especially during the eccentric or negative movement) and to try to make like the current Congress’ approval ratings, and get really low.
Next, the basic arm raise:
The President is going way too fast, and like passage of his Affordable Care Act, seemingly more concerned with getting the exercise over with than doing it right. The right way to do this exercise is in a slow and controlled manner, pausing at the top and always turning your hands so you look like Bill Clinton giving a stump speech. In other words, with your thumbs up!
Next is a step-up combined with a knee-raise.
This is another excellent exercise, but the execution can be better. For starters the height of the bench, much like the UV setting on John Boehner tanning bed, is too high. Once again the President should slow down, and pause at the top with his lifted leg parallel to the ground. Whenever doing an exercise that involves taking a foot off the ground and then putting it back down, its important to make like you are managing a political crisis and focus on a soft landing.
Proper exercise is not just a series of movements you try to get over with as soon as possible, but rather a state of mind. To that end, what you do in between sets and when resting is just as important as the lifts themselves. Take for example how the President puts down his dumbbells:
Like America’s recent policies in the Mid East, his posture here is weak and dangerous. You should never bend your spine like that, and always pick up and put down objects by bending at the knees.
And remember, exercise is supposed to be fun. If you are working out because you feel like you should, you are not going to last too long, and might start to look like this guy: