Modern gyms are equipped with mirrors so that people who train can see their body form and most importantly can see the proper exercise technique. In the beginning, the mirrors have been used visually to enlarge the space. This doesn’t mean they do not continue to be used for this purpose and nowadays. But mostly they are used to keep track of the of the right technique execution of each exercise.
In fact, during the exercise looking in the mirror has no importance. Why? Because bodybuilder appreciates the exercise’s technique basically on feels. They should feel the muscle, which is working, otherwise, the exercise is done in a wrong way. In order to enhance the focus on the muscle, there are people who even close their eyes.
There are many trainers who claim that looking in the mirror while performing exercise is harmful. A starter in the gym can be really confused by looking in the mirror, while advanced athletes can constantly admire themselves in the mirror(it is about people who suffer from bigorexia).
In addition, the mirrors really harm exercises’ technique. The most dangerous is looking in the mirror during performing exercises in the slope. But, about this aspect, we will talk later on this article, while further, we will try to understand the negative effects of looking in the mirror when exercising.
It is already a certainty that regular looking in the mirror while training can reduce physical performance with a typical attenuation of the reaction rate. Also, it can lower the level of force development and the ability to maintain balance.
It was observed that if you train in a gym with mirrors and keep them look, you focus your attention not on you, but on the man in the mirror. Yes, it is your reflection, but it is away from you. Just try to do some squats with barbell without looking in the mirror, and you will get a new experience.
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There have been done some researches that found that watching yourself exercising can make you feel fatigued quicker. It was proved when you do not see yourself you endlessly tired. Thus you can do more exercises. In a recent study, a group of people was asked to repeatedly squeeze a ball.
They reported getting tired more quickly when they saw the hand squeezing in the mirror. It is important they do not look at the second hand who was free. This experiment shows once more that visual system feedback directly affects the muscle fatigue feeling.
It is well known that older people fall more often than younger people. There are several reasons for this. The first one is that once we aging, our equilibrium worse, because the inner ear is reducing its sensitivity, and for balance, we increasingly rely on vision. With the eyes, we can see that we are in equilibrium.
If a person starts to fall, everything will start to bend, and he tries to get back into position. Of course, we can maintain balance due to our eyes, but it will not work as good as the inner ear. To get back to equilibrium creates some delay in reaction time. While automatic borrowing balance, namely inner ear, is more sensitive to small changes and can immediately send a signal to the muscles necessary to correct the imbalance.
You can do a simple test to convince yourself how you rely on your vision while maintaining balance. Stand on one leg, lean forward and maintain a balance of approximately 30 seconds. If you feel comfortable in this position, close your eyes and see how quickly you will begin to lose balance and waving.
The closer people are to old age, the harder it will be to pass this simple test. The same problems can occur in case of young people if during the years of training they use to look at their self in the mirror.
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Obviously, The Next Question is What to Do?
Visual system equilibrium is slower than the inner ear. When you look in the mirror, the reaction is increased. Why so? Because firstly you will have to see the movements in the mirror, acknowledge them and then make a decision on the respective adjustments.
This detail is not so important in case of slow motions but in case of explosive, where strength and power are required this can be essential. So, try do not look in the mirror while squatting, even with peripheral vision. If for some reason it does not work, find something to cover the mirror with.
Do not see closing the eyes as a solution to this issue, as it is not. You risk too much to get imbalanced with a barbell on your shoulders and injure yourself or other users of the gym. Limiting the number of squats is not a solution too. There is a big number of exercises like deadlifts, bench standing, traction and lifting dumbbells for biceps that have to be done away from the mirror.
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It is a real struggle of pro and cons arguments about mirrors in the gym. There are people who consider them absolutely inevitable in the gym. It is true that mirrors are not so bad if you use them occasionally. We can not deny that mirror provides a constant visual contact and helps to better understand your body. It helps you to see the weak point of your body and determine to work on them.
Also, looking how you lift heavy weight can help you to increase your self-confidence, and motivated you more than words can do. It is nice to see your valves while lifting these weights. Since bodybuilding is a sport which makes you look great when you absolutely feel the need to get the feedback from looking in the mirror.
Also, if you prepare yourself for a competition, the mirror will absolutely help you to study the right position, what posture you have to adopt in order to show your body at maximum. As you see we mentioned positive effects of training in front of a mirror and preparing for a competition.
However, have to be said that negative aspects of having a mirror in front of your while training outweigh the positives. This opinion is most common among bodybuilders with some experience in the gym, while newcomers will not understand it from the first training session.
A solution to mirror is to use video camera recorder which will help you to see what you are doing wrong and will help you to improve your technique. It will not distract your attention like a mirror does. Pay attention to the fact that during training program is better to release the brain from unnecessary visual images. You have to concentrate on the sensations in the muscles and the desire to perform another repetition.
We would like to stop our attention on risks you take every time you look in the mirror while exercising. It is well known that our spine is S-shaped. A deflection is in the lumbar region, and the other is in the neck. On the site of bending flat cylinders, vertebrae are not resistant to injury. They're coming to the edge and press down the intervertebral disc.
It threatens a pinched nerve or strain. Opposite ends of the cylinder apart, which creates the risk of a herniated disc. It turns out that the cervical spine area is also threatening to injuries as an as lumber. And the greater the bend, the greater the risk of injury.
When you turn or raise your head to look in the mirror, the risk increases. The same thing happens when you lower your head and rests his chin on the chest. The best trainer will advise you to keep your neck neutral. Remember this, because according to statistics neck injuries occur more frequently than lumbar injury.
It was detected a number of exercises performed in slope position that has a high degree of neck injury: breeding hands, thrust rod in the slope, hyperextension, push-ups, deadlifts, lying leg curls, concentrated the curl. Most common cause of injury while doing these exercises is the namely unnecessary raising of the head.
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As you see the mirror in the gym have some great advantages, but the most part they are harmful to you. Along with visual perception of getting tired quicker when looking in a mirror, this habit can cause you some very serious injury.
And getting injured is the thing that nobody wants to happen since this means a long break and lose your results so hard achieved. If you are one of those people who does not imagine exercising without having in front of you a mirror, then it’s up to you to keep doing it this way.
As more as it proves to be effective for you. But when it comes to exercises that can really get your neck injured because of raising the head, then you have to think twice and stay away from the mirror.