7 fitness tips Rebel Wilson’s PT wants you to ignore on social media

Fatima Fokina

According to a 2019 survey, 55% of women aged 25-49 have taken personal health or fitness action based on what they’ve seen on social media. There are big pros, but some even bigger cons to this. On the one hand, a 2019 study by the Journal of Psychology found that the more time women spend on social media, the more motivation they have to exercise, and your girl knows how hard it can be to muster up a bit of motivation.

On the other, social media (Instagram, TikTok, the lot) is an entirely unrestricted sphere. Anyone can upload any content they want, whether they’re qualified to be promoting said subject or not. This explains why, according to research by money.co.uk, one in four influencer workout videos give the wrong advice, and exercises taken from these clips are incorrectly performed up to 80% of the time. Not the one.

Instagram

So, in the interest of setting the record straight, we called upon Jono Castano, a PT who has worked with various celebs including Rebel Wilson. Here’s everything he wants you to flick past and ignore, no matter how convincing they might seem.

1.Ballistic stretching

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For the uninitiated, ballistic stretching is a type of stretching that involves quick and sudden movements, in a bid to maximise flexibility. Take a forward fold. Rather than doing a static stretch reaching towards your toes, a ballistic version would involve bouncing and jerking towards your feet. It’s about pushing your muscles past their normal range of motion, and is typically used by athletes.

Castano is adamant this is something you should avoid without the guidance of a trainer. ‘Without properly warming up the muscles, the jerky movements can cause sprain or a tear in the tendons or connective tissue that joins the muscles,’ he explains. ‘Ballistic stretching, in my opinion, should be utilised only once the body is fully warm or even after a workout. Always start with dynamic stretching to warm up.’

Dynamic stretching, FYI, is similar to ballistic stretching in that it involves movement, but rather than jerking and forcing your body into positions, it’s slower and more natural – no forcing involved.

2. The ‘no hands’ Stairmaster ‘ab trick’

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Word on the TikTok street is that not holding onto the rails of a Stairmaster, will give you ‘abs’. Newsflash: it won’t.

‘The Stairmaster is a cardio machine that has handrails that are meant to be utilised to stop you from falling, or in case of a potential trip,’ Castano tells us. He says there are plenty more efficient, safer core moves to help you build abdominal strength: ‘There are many other exercises that I like to use with clients to build core strength, like hanging knee raises, planks and ab roll outs.’

3. Behind-the-neck lat pulldowns

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In at number one of Castano’s exercises to attempt without a trainer by your side is the behind-the-neck lat pulldown. It’s exactly what you’re imagining – rather than pulling the bar down in front of you, you pull it behind your neck. Why? It’s said that doing the behind-the-neck variation activates your shoulder muscles as well as the muscles in your back that a standard pulldown does, but it’s not as easy (or worthy) as it sounds.

‘If you pull the bar down with your arms too far behind your head, it could overstretch your rotator cuff muscles in your shoulder, which are essential to support your shoulders,’ Castano says. ‘Without the support of the rotator cuffs, you are much more likely to injure your shoulders.’

A study in the Journal of Strength of Conditioning Research concurs. After comparing the benefits of the front lat pulldown to a behind-the-neck lat pulldown, they found that behind-the-neck variations had no bearing on the activation of additional muscles, and should therefore be avoided.

Castano wagers that you’ll reap the same rewards from shoulder presses. ‘They’re very similar when done with dumbbells, but less dangerous because the weight is held slightly in front of you.’

4. Barbell jump squats

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If you’re anything like us, jump squats alone are no mean feat, so adding in a barbell seems intense, but plenty of influencers have been doing it. Castano’s firmly in the don’t-try-this-at-home camp.

‘If you can jump and land without any pain, you’re good to jump squat. But adding weight to this means an increased risk of injury. Learning the correct technique to jump squats can be more effective and utilise more muscles, than adding any amount of weight.’

Noted.

5. Rebound box jumps

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Anyone who follows any CrossFitters will have come across rebound box jumps. The CrossFit community swear by them for speed and efficiency, since they involve jumping back up to the box the second your feet touch the ground. No stepping back, and no breaks between jumps. Some find that landing on the very edge of the box, rather than the top, also makes it easier, but Castano’s not a fan.

‘Due to the impact on the knees and in an untrained state, you can really injure yourself, and potentially tear an Achilles tendon,’ he says. ‘With any exercise, it’s best to have the technique down before adding to the height and pace of the jumps.’

6. The ‘one knee’ balance challenge

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The latest TikTok trend to do the rounds is the ‘one knee stand up’ challenge, which is believed to test your balance. It involves getting down on one knee, standing up, then getting back down on the same knee with your arms crossed over your chest. Then take the back foot into your hand and try to get back up again, without letting go of your foot. Confusing, we know. Hopefully that’s enough to put you off trying.

‘This trend to me seems incredibly easy to harm yourself and cause injury,’ Castano says. ‘It takes quite a lot of core strength to do something like this and even some of the most advanced athletes would probably struggle.’

7. Chlorophyll water

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Food and drink fads come and fade for a reason, and Castano says the chlorophyll water trend isn’t set to stick around. People claim drinking it daily is genius for reducing inflammation in the body, but Castano says there are more reliable things you can be doing.

‘One of them is working out, followed by stretching and recovery,’ he explains. ‘Getting a good sweat on, rehydrating with (normal – no chlorophyll) water, stretching the body and implementing healthier whole foods into your diet is enough to decrease any inflammation in your body. Don’t buy into fads like drinking chlorophyll water.’

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https://www.womenshealthmag.com/uk/fitness/a39651097/rebel-wilson-pt-jono-castano-things-to-ignore-instagram-tiktok/

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