If you flip through any health or fitness magazine you’ll find a load of great exercises that you can do to get pumped and fit. Go to the gym and you won’t see anything new – you will see people running (and hogging) the treadmills, others pedaling away on the cycles, muscle guys hoisting hundreds of pounds of weights into the air and the collection of intimidating machines. In other words, when it comes to fitness and exercise, there’s really nothing new to discover. You can easily Google “weight lifting” and come across tons of new moves. You can then go into the gym, do those moves, and see very little progress. The most frustrating part – you know those moves should work and that you ought to be ripped because you’ve seen guys do those moves before and they have a body like The Situation while you’re looking like The Disaster. What gives?
Here’s a secret – it’s your size. Gay guys are all about measurements and size – length, width, height, girth, inches – they all play a big role in gay men’s lives … but not in the area of exercise. Look at your body. Now think of all the guys in your life. Are you all the same exact size, shape and have the same form? Probably not. The exercises you’re doing in the gym or on your own may not be doing much good simply because they don’t fit your body type. Gasp, revelation! If you have long arms, you could be weak in the area of bench pressing. If you have short arms you won’t be able to deadlift as much as, say, someone who’s a couple inches taller than you. Are you a fan of the squat? The length of your legs plays a big part in determining how much weight your body can handle. To stay motivated in the gym, you obviously need to see results. To get results, you need to do exercises that fit your height and body type. Here are some considerations that may drastically change how you work
Flat Feet: If your feet are flat (that means, without an arch) your feet may roll inward when you run, jump or even do a simple thing like walking. What’s so bad about that? This limits your performance during exercises and especially when lifting weights. Your feet shouldn’t roll in as you exercise; they need to do the exact opposite to power-up your moves. The Fix: Do exercises that strengthen your hamstrings and glutes such as hip raises.
Small Hands: They may look cute but are killers when it comes to your exercise. The smaller your hands, the quicker they will give out on exercises that require a firm grip. You may also have more difficulties gripping weight bars, though you probably haven’t heard many complaints about your hand action before. The Fix: You have to work toward improving your performance during pulling exercises. Train your forearm and strengthen your grip with moves like the Farmer’s walk. Or, try holding a heavy kettlebell or dumbbell in fromt of your thighs for 30-60 seconds.
No Butt: Ah, not so bootylicious? It’s a downer because we all like a firm, perky bottom. Flat butts and backsides are usually the result of your pelvis being tilted too far toward the back at the top. This is a health problem because it could mean that your lower back is vulnerable, making you prone to spinal injuries. The Fix: You need to strengthen your hip flexors and overall posture. Try yoga which sets out to align your body, make you more flexible and tones your muscles. And have you seen some of the hot “earthy” men that wind up in yoga class? Seriously, get in there. Not like that … well … maybe … moving on.
Long vs. Short Arms: Oh, we all like our men tall, dark and handsome but guess what – tall guys, or guys with long arms in general, are at an disadvantage in the fitness realm. It’s been found that long-armed men may be prone to more injuries, especially when it comes to the ball-and-socket shoulder joint. Shorter-armed men have a slight advantage but when it comes to pivotal muscle-building moves like the deadlift because you have to squat lower and that puts a bigger strain on your back. The Fix: Long-armed guys should do quick-movement moves like medicine-ball throws. During the deadlift, shorter-armed guys should keep their torsos upright. Do this by keeping your legs farther apart before and during the squat.
Long Legs: For anyone over 6 feet tall, damn you lucky bastards. My envy and jealousy aside, longer leg bones means that on moves like the back squat, the bar has farther to travel on each rep. This means your muscles are working harder each move you do and you’ll have a harder time increasing your strength and your size. You know that old mindset of tall, lanky guys being a bit clumsy? Turns out that taller guys tend to have poor form during exercise. The Fix: Stop trying to show off in the gym. When you do leg exercises, use less weight. You can increase your reps to compensate but overall, decreasing your weight will decrease your back strain.
Overall, if you’re working toward your ideal body, keep in mind that not all moves are created equal because you aren’t like everyone else out there. Your body is unique and the moves you’re doing are going to differ between you and those of your friends. So wisen up boys and become size queens – your fitness and your health may depend on it.