Our pocket-sized computers connect us to people, information, and ideas all around the world, yet we still can't seem to get enough. You're probably reading this on your phone, in fact. Psychologists have suggested our attachment to our phones serves the same function as the cuddly teddy bear of our childhood: It's always there for us when we need it.
But is being tethered to your smartphone sabotaging your workout? It very well might be—and in ways that might surprise you.
Screen Time Ruins Your Posture
As functional strength expert and "Sexiest Trainer Alive" Angelo Grinceri points out in an Instagram post, the habit of hunching forward while texting on your phone alters the natural balance of your spine by flattening the lumbar curve and allowing your head to hang forward.
Per Grinceri, "poor lifestyle habits lead to shoulder and neck pain," both of which can interfere with your ability to lift properly.
In a similar post, Team Bodybuilding.com athlete Lee Constantinou, who created the HercuLEAN Trainer, emphasizes the effects of poor posture while demonstrating the right and wrong ways to perform a seated cable row. As he illustrates, a curved lower back, shrugged shoulders, and excessive forward head lean alter your body's mechanics to the point where the exercise doesn't even target the correct muscle groups anymore.
I'm not suggesting we all enter a 12-step program for our phone addictions—I'm not sure I could use mine less, even if I wanted to. But if you want to make your work at the gym count and not waste time with crappy form, start by correcting your posture.
Check out this article for excellent tips and stretches on correcting body alignment.
Distraction is Bad for Your Pump
As we pointed out in the article "9 Things You Must Never Do in the Gym," it is downright rude to camp out on a machine while texting or take up space in front of the squat rack posing for a dozen selfies. But cellphone distractions go far beyond being a trivial annoyance. Rest time between sets and workout focus are vital components of your training program, and an addiction to your phone impairs both.
Back in the olden days, bodybuilders had nothing to stare at except the clock on the wall ticking away the seconds of rest between sets. These days, it's not uncommon to see gym goers watching videos on their phones or posting on social media instead of paying attention to why they are actually there—to work out! Resting too long destroys your pump, while not paying attention—well, that's plain stupid and dangerous.
Instead of getting distracted by your favorite device, use it as a tool to get motivated and stay focused. Find an app to help you track your exercises efficiently or download a fitness podcast to entertain you during cardio. Staying focused is the key to a better workout, and your phone should never get between you and your goals.