June 20th is the first day of summer, so that means it’s time to create your summer fitness routine! When putting together lists of goals, it’s incredibly important to make sure that you’re performing exercises correctly. Using the correct form will ensure that you’re getting the most out of each exercise and doing what you can to prevent injury.
Not everyone makes it to the gym and among those who do, most struggle when it comes to keeping a regular fitness routine. If you’re dedicated to your routine and are regularly hitting the gym, it is important that you do your exercises in the right manner.
Misaligned movements and bad form during exercising compromise the workout and place unnecessary stress on muscles and joints. This puts your body at risk of soreness and injury. Detailed below are seven exercises that you may be doing incorrectly at the gym, alongside form fixes that can help you derive maximum benefits from your workout.
Lunges help to improve core strength, in addition to toning glutes, thighs, lower back, and legs. However, poor technique often leads to injury. Most commonly, the small steps taken by fitness enthusiasts while performing lunges places more than required stress on the bent knees. Over a longer term this causes a rundown of the cartilage and strains the tendons, which can cause problems.
In order to correct this, maintain a gap of at least two feet between the front foot and the lowered back knee when stepping forward. Ensure that both the front and back knees form right angles. It is important not to twist the waist and maintain an erect posture, which will help you maintain the integrity of the exercise.
Crunches help to improve posture while stabilizing core strength and contributing to a healthy back, but doing them wrong can hurt your spine and neck. Jerking the neck off the floor, tight bending, or anchoring the feet to the floor can do damage and are motions which should be corrected.
For best results, bend your knees and raise your legs to keep your calves parallel to the floor. Keep an eye on your form and make any needed adjustments as you go so that you can be conscious of your movement. Always striving to do this exercise correctly will ensure that your core is getting stronger without compromising other parts of your body.
When done correctly, planks develop core strength around the spine. When they’re done incorrectly, they can hurt the shoulders and spine, leading to injury. This is an excellent example of how incorrectly performed exercises do more harm than good.
To execute a plank with correct form, the body should be maintained in a straight line all the way from the head to the heel. The bottom should not be raised and the core should be engaged. A plank done correctly for 15 seconds would be more effective than one done incorrectly for a full minute, so focus on your form and pay attention to the way that your body is aligned during planks.
Focusing on the right way to do exercises is the best way to ensure that you’re getting the full benefits from your workout and putting in the effort required to be safe at the gym.
Bicep Curls and Dumbbell Rows
Both of these exercises give poor results when too much weight is taken all at once. Though this may serve to impress your friends at the gym, it fails to deliver desired results. An excess amount of weight stresses not only the muscle that is being worked, but also other muscles and the nearby joints. Results are faster when you are performing exercises correctly.
Lat Pull Downs
Performing the lat pull down exercise correctly means guarding your neck, shoulders, and back. Being conscious and intentional when performing this exercise is the best way to be sure it’s done safely and you’re not doing any damage to your body.
It is important not to pull down the bar when the back is hunched. Instead, your posture should be erect and the shoulder blades should be pinched together. Be careful not to pull the bar lower than your chin, as that could cause a muscle tear.
Doing this exercise should be challenging and the form modifications that make it easier will most likely cause more damage than good. Failing to keep your legs on the floor or resting them on the bench may take off the load from your upper body, but does not bring the intended benefits of a bench press. These actions can also cause you to lose balance and you may end up either falling off the bench or dropping the bar on your chest.
Even when you are outside the gym, it is important to remember that straining the back to lift heavy weights can increase pressure on the spine. Jerking and sudden wrong movements cause serious injury to the muscles holding the spinal cord. It’s best to do this exercise slowly and use the appropriate weights. If you can’t execute this exercise in the way it was supposed to be done, then it might be time for you to lower the weights that you’re using.
Summer is here and that means it’s time to get active outside. Find ways to get out in the sun and move your body – it will be fun and help you meet your goals. Performing exercises correctly is another step towards achieving the milestones that you’ve set out, so let us know if you’re interested in learning more about the proper form for certain exercises.
At Ultimate Phitness, our team is here to guide and support our clients, offering them advice and helping them create sustainable exercise plans.