Those mirrors on the walls near our free weights and in our fitness rooms? They’re there for a reason.
When you’re lifting weights, it’s helpful to check your form in a mirror. A glance now and then will allow you to ensure that your back is flat in bent-over rows or that you’re extending your arm properly in triceps kickbacks. You can avoid injuries by addressing any inconsistencies between lifts on your right and left and keeping your neck in proper alignment.
If you’re taking part in an exercise class with complex movements, a mirror can provide valuable feedback as you learn the steps. It also can help you see the instructor in a crowded room or pick up the moves from your classmates.
But studies have found that gym mirrors can have a negative impact if used for the wrong reasons. Those who gaze at their peers and make negative comparisons can come away from a workout feeling discouraged or anxious.
And too great a reliance on a reflection can prevent you from realizing how an exercise should feel. It’s important to notice and concentrate on the muscle or muscles you’re trying to activate while lifting.
Take a look to keep your form on track and tackle new moves, but avoid spending too much time looking at yourself or others. Working out is a physical experience; pay attention to how you feel for your best success!