Imagine this for a second…
You’re on your way to the gym for another killer workout. On your way there, in your head you’re running through all the exercises you’re planning to do. You get there, you change, you hook up your music, and you head on inside psyched to get started.
Only something is different.
You look around and realize that, for some reason, all the mirrors are missing. They’re gone. Every single mirror has been taken down.
How would you react?
How would the absence of this overlooked but apparently intricate component of the gym affect your workout? How would you get through your exercises? We are so used to looking at ourselves in the mirror as we go about our workouts that it would be completely unnatural to go through our routine without one.
And that’s exactly the point.
The reality is that, for the most part, eliminating all the mirrors in the gym would actually improve your workout. It would improve your technique, it would improve your body awareness and it would help you build a better body.
Now I’m pretty sure that there’s a lot of you out there that would completely disagree. In fact, I’m sure there are some of you out there who think that you simply can’t work out effectively without a mirror.
That’s OK. I expected that. But, my reasoning is two-fold.
First, I think that deep down both you and I know that most people use the mirror to check themselves out more than anything. A complete waste of time in my opinion. Everybody does it. But it’s normal – we want results and the mirror speaks the truth. As long as mirrors are there, we will continue to look at them.
But it’s the second reason that begs me to write this article and I’m sure this will answer a lot of questions.
The mirror is a tool that we use to get feedback. It gives us information. It lets us examine our technique and make changes accordingly. Now this would be great if we weren’t being fed incomplete information. You see, the mirror is only capable of giving us information from one plane – the frontal one in 99% of situations. We use the information we get from the frontal plane to make changes in other planes, which I think is completely ineffective and can result in flawed techniques, which we all know can lead to both acute and chronic injuries.
What’s my solution?
The best solution would be to replace your visual feedback system with a kinesthetic one. You need to learn how to feel that you’re performing an exercise correctly, not just see it. To do this, you will need assistance from an experienced trainer who can watch your form for a particular exercise as you perform it and tell you exactly what changes you need to make. While doing this, you will learn what good form feels like and you’ll be able to do it on your own with only your kinesthetic sense giving you feedback. You won’t need a mirror anymore.
Of course, this isn’t always possible. Experienced trainers are not always accessible and finding a gym with no mirrors would be like finding a needle in a haystack.
But I hope you get the message I’m trying to get across here. You need to learn how to use your kinesthetic sense as a form of feedback. You need to learn how to feel that you’re performing an exercise correctly because, after all, that is the most reliable form of feedback you have.