PSA: “Avoid muscle mistakes at the gym”
So making it to the gym is half the battle, lol!! The next half is the working out And if it is your goal to actually lose weight or be healthy, you want to make sure you’re doing all your exercises correctly. Not only will you feel more burn (bye bye fat!!), you will put less strain on muscles causing less damage to them in the long run. Over at Fitbie.com, they had a great in picture guide on “6 Exercises You’re Probably Doing Wrong” by David Jack, a performance coach and director of Teamworks Fitness in Acton, Massachusetts:
Your Bad: You lead with the knees
Lowering your load—with or without weights—hardly seems like an advanced fitness feat. Alas, squats are sneaky, and sinking to the ground set after set could inhibit the move’s lower-body benefits (and injure your knees in the process).
With the squat, the temptation is to bend at the knees and start cranking away. “There is usually a tightness in the hip flexors and calves that pulls knees forward,” says Chris Mohr, PhD, RD, and owner of Mohr Results in Louisville, Kentucky. But starting the movement by driving your knees forward will grind your joints without calling on the power of your glutes and hamstrings, the very muscles the squat should strengthen.
Another knee-grinder? Not squatting low enough. “When you don’t go deep enough, the pressure ends up staying in the knees and in the quads,” says Jack. A low squat shifts the load away from the knees and diverts it to the hip, activating your glutes and hamstrings. To get the most out of the move, try to lower your body until your thighs are nearly parallel to the floor.
Your Bad: Your knee drives past your ankle
Chugging through a lunge by shifting most of your weight onto the front foot forces your knee to act as the sole shock absorber, instead of sharing the blow with the hip and ankle joints. “We basically have three key joints in our lower body: our ankle, our knee, and our hip,” says Jack. “Whenever we level change, whether it’s a squat or a lunge, we need to spread the load between those joints.”
Sounds simple enough, but it’s often easier said than done: “There’s usually an imbalance, a weakness in the back of the body that causes us to focus too much pressure on the front foot,” says Mohr. Couple that with a lunge’s forward momentum and your knee will sail past your ankle, putting you at serious risk for knee strain.
Your Bad: You round your back
Deadlifts are the antidote to the cubicle hunch, as they strengthen the muscles along your posterior chain. But allowing your back to round under the weight you’re holding can strain your lumbar and glutes.
Your Bad: You don’t treat it like a total body exercise
It’s almost too easy to cheat a pushup. You let your hips sink, place your hands as far apart as possible (if you start closer to the ground you wont have to go down as far, right?), and only lower your body a few inches. Unfortunately, a couple huffs and puffs while shoving your chest off the floor does not a pushup make.
“If you’re only feeling tension in your shoulder blades, arms, and chest, then you’re missing half of the exercise,” says Jack. “Your quads should be tight, your glutes should be on, your core should be engaged, and you should have total body tension before you even initiate the move.” In other words, if your don’t hips rise at the same time as your shoulders, you’re ignoring muscles that should be in the mix. (And risk looking like a flailing worm at the gym.)
PlankYour Bad: You just hang out
If you consider this low-maintenance move easy, that’s probably because you’re doing it wrong. Perform a plank correctly and you should be shaking like a leaf after 10 to 20 seconds in the position, says Jack.
Being able to “hang out” in a plank for an extended period of time is a glaring indicator that you’re not activating your core, leaving your joints to bear the brunt of the move. Instead of building solid abdominals and setting the groundwork for your six-pack, you’ll strain connective tissue in the lower back, hips, shoulders, elbows, and any of the joints involved in supporting the exercise.
Your Bad: You’re sitting down
Working your arms isn’t an excuse to get off your legs after a grueling set of squats. Boost biceps, along with your lower back, glutes, hamstrings, and calves, by completing curls while standing. “A standing biceps curl engages the muscles that run along the backside of the body,” says Jack. “These muscles, which are part of your posterior chain, act as a counterbalance to the weight you’re lifting in front.” Sitting relaxes these muscles and you don’t get the full benefit of the exercise.
Happy “Keeping It Tight” and “Doing It Right” Ladies!! xx
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