With the new year comes the resolution to get back to the gym. I 100% support anyone who wants to get into shape! And I hope everyone sticks with it. Unfortunately many don’t, and a big reason for that is due to injury. So many people head to the gym, looking to get rid of those extra holiday pounds. We start doing push ups, sit ups, lunges, etc. But the problem is, a lot of folks don’t have proper form when doing certain exercises. And before you even make a dent in their fitness plan, you experience an injury.
Injuries due to improper form are pretty common, but can easily be avoided by adjusting a few simple things when you do certain exercises.
Here are a few of the most common exercise mistakes and how to correct them.
One of the most common exercise mistakes people make is when doing lunges. They lunge forward, allowing their knee to go out over their toes, thus causing strain on their legs, knees and making it easy to hurt themselves. When doing lunges you should focus on a straight back and keeping your front shin straight up and down, not forward. That will help prevent your knee from going too far forward.
See how in the photo on the left my knee is out over my toes and my shin isn’t perpendicular to the ground? In the photo on the right my front leg makes a 90 degree angle and my knee is in line with my ankle. That is how a lunge should look.
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Dropping your head during push ups
Push ups is probably the exercise that I see people make the most mistakes when doing. When doing push ups, your head should be in line with your shoulders and back. You should not be looking up, nor down, during a push up, but out a little ways, to ensure you aren’t straining your neck. Your booty shouldn’t stick up in the air, nor should their be an arch in your back. All should be in line.
Arch In Back During Plank
Ever had your back hurt after doing planks for a few minutes? This is probably because you are arching your back during plank. Or you are sticking your booty up in the air, making it easy to plank and not actually working your abdominal muscles. Similar to a push up, your head, neck and back should all be in a straight line, no hunching of the shoulders, curling or arching of the back.
Pulling on neck during sit ups or crunches
So many people pull on their necks when doing sit ups or crunches. This is a no no. You are doing your abs a disservice. Either cross your arms in front of your chest when doing a crunch, or just place your hands gently behind your head when doing a sit up. Your arms and neck should not provide help to your abs when doing these two stomach exercises.
Kettlebell swings higher than chest
Kettlebells, which used to be reserved for mainly boot camp and cross fit gyms, have become more mainstream over the last few years. The problem with this is that few people know how to properly use this amazing piece of equipment. Because of this, people end up hurting their backs or their legs by using improper form. When doing a kettlebell swing, make sure that when you swing the kettlebell up, it does not come higher than your chest. Swinging it any higher does no good, and doesn’t give the resistance that this movement should provide.
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These are a few of the most common exercise mistakes and how to prevent them so you don’t get injured. The last thing anyone wants is an injury when just getting started working out. Make sure you’re being careful, going slow and using proper form. I know we want to get through our workouts quickly sometimes, but using improper form is doing nothing for your workout and it could potentially cause more harm. Make sure you’re taking care when lifting weights and doing body weight exercises to get a good workout and avoid injury.