5 Exercises My Ego Prevented Me From Doing

By: Schuyler Schmidt

I have an ego. I’ll admit it. I’m not above taking a quick glance around the gym, making note of the exercises others are doing and mentally declaring myself better. In my mind, I’m the strongest, fastest, and best trained person in the gym. In reality, my stubbornness and pride have created more holes in my training than I care to admit. Check your ego at the door, like I did, and see if you can’t also benefit from some “too easy” exercises.

1. Pull-ups/Chin-ups

strong-278x245What I thought: Since I swim and lift weights, I certainly have enough upper body strength to do pull-ups.

Reality check: I couldn’t do a chin-up and fail even more miserably at pull-ups.

What I did: First, I worked a mix of band-assisted and eccentric (lowering portion only) chin-ups, decreasing the thickness of the band until I could do one full chin-up from the hang position without any assistance. Then, I started doing one rep as explosively as possible with 30 seconds of rest for 5 sets, working my way up to 10 steps. The next step will be playing around with this rep scheme to keep improving.

Where I’m at now: I can do multiple chin-ups in a row, but I’m still working on the pull-up. I’m going to use the same method I used for the chin-up progression, hopefully attaining the same results. If you have any training tips for me, please comment below!

2. The Turkish Get-Up

What I thought: How hard can getting up off the ground be?

Reality Check: When I finally tried it, I had no idea what I was doing or how technically difficult the exercise actually is.

What I did: I attended Dave Wu’s Turkish Get-up class and started doing the ¼ and ½ get-up progression until I could do a full get-up.

Where I’m at now: I’m working on maintaining perfect form while using some weight and eventually doing “bottoms up” get-ups.

3. Single Leg Squats


What I thought: I already do Bulgarian split squats/rear foot elevated split squats. Single leg squats shouldn’t be a problem.

Reality check: I could do a single leg squat to parallel on my left leg, but my right leg was a disaster. Asymmetry is not cool.

What I’m doing: I’m still in the initial phases of correcting this. From what I understand, I have a lack of control of my femur in an unsupported environment, meaning my gluteu

s medius and hip rotators aren’t able to keep my thigh from internally rotating on my squat.

I’ve decided to start at the very beginning, following a progression from a split squat, to a lunge, to a single leg box squat, while increasing the depth as I progress. I’ll put in some lateral squats and lunges and rotational squats and lunges, as well.

The hardest thing for me will be regaining my balance, which has been compromised by some fairly significant leg injuries. In the past, I’ve trained around these problems, but not anymore. Yes, this will take a long time, but this is something I need to “follow the recipe for” in order to benefit in the long run.

4. The Chop and the Lift

half-kneel-rev-rot-chop-b-femaleWhat I thought: Pulling or lifting some weight across my body will be a piece of cake.

Reality check: I fell the first three times I attempted the exercise.

What I did: First, I practiced the half-kneeling stance, doing some pressing from this position. Then, I added in some bird dogs.

Where I am at now: I can do the chop and lift well, so I am adding more resistance. I normally do this exercise before I squat or deadlift, which helps me effectively brace my core.

5. Warming Up

What I thought: I don’t have time to warm up before I lift. Besides, I’m young and limber. I don’t need to do any type of static or dynamic stretch, let alone activation work.

Reality Check: Working out with Praneeth, Dave, John, and Aaron opened my eyes.

What I did:  I followed their short, effective warm-up routine.

Where I’m at now: My warm-up isn’t perfect, but I’ll keep tweaking my routine until it is because I feel so much better now when I start to lift.

Don’t let your ego sabotage your training! Perform your own reality check and become the best trained person in the gym, not just in your own mind, by incorporating some “too easy” exercises into your workout routine.


Does your ego sabotage your training or do you leave the ego at the door? Which “too easy” exercises have you been avoiding in your program? Comment below and remember to”like” us on facebook!

My name is Schuyler Schmidt, and I am a third year honours Kinesiology student at Waterloo. I love everything that involves movement and look forward to learning more through my classes, training the varsity athletes, seminars, and the Strength & Conditioning Club. Having dabbled in everything from distance running to powerlifting, I have a broad view of fitness and believe that “one workout doesn’t fit all.” Outside of academics, I enjoy hiking, canoeing,  jewelry making, gardening, and working at a vineyard/winery in my hometown.





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3 responses to “5 Exercises My Ego Prevented Me From Doing

  1. I really like the formatting you’ve got going on in this post. I’m currently working on my ankle ROM and thoracic mobility to improve overhead squats. I plan to learn the barbell snatch so I don’t want to die trying.

  2. austinalehunt

    Thanks Benny! It sounds like you have a good plan to learning the barbell snatch — good luck 🙂

  3. Yes, the warm up! I always half-arse it because I want to get to lifting, and just think ‘yeah i’ll be fine’. Not cool.

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