With all the best will in the world you head down to the gym and bust out set after set. You get halfway through and think, man, this really hurts, and not in a good way. There are certain exercises a lot of us do wrong. These are some of the most common 5 Exercises We’re Doing Wrong (And How to Fix Them).
Probably the most functional and useful movement there is, but one which modern living has ruined by tightening our hips and backs.
Wrong: Toes pointing way out, and a torso that leans forwards. Often accompanied by a super wide stance.
The fix: Everyone’s built differently, and some people’s feet will turn out more. Top-end powerlifters have a wide stance and turned out feet, but for most of us, a narrower stance, just wider than shoulder width, is best. Point your feet forwards and allow your knees to track outwards not inwards. Spent time stretching your hips, back and ankles to improve your squat. The leaning torso is a result of tightness.
Push-ups are challenging, at least they should be if you’re doing them correctly.
Wrong: Elbows way out to the side, and sagging or snaking hips.
The fix: The push-up is a full-body exercise. Think of it like a plank, in which you need to keep your core tight. Squeeze your abs, glutes and quads. Your arms, they need to tucked in to your sides. The middle of your palm should be roughly in-line with your nipples.
If a plank seems like an opportunity to rest during your workout, you’re doing it wrong. A solid plank will challenge every muscle group in static holds.
Wrong: Squeezing your hands together in prayer, and taking the load off your core by shifting into your shoulders and arms.
The fix: Stack your shoulders over your elbows, squeeze your abs, glutes and quads. Point your heels backwards actively, and keep your head in a neutral position, not bowed.
A good jump rope session will tax your lungs and legs, but also your shoulders. Jumping rope improves your coordination, too, but only if you’re doing it right.
Wrong: Arms too far out to the sides, which tires them out and makes you slower and less accurate. Looking down, and bending the knees or kicking back.
The fix: Keep your elbows tucked in, close to your sides, and rotate using your wrists. Keep your head up. With regards to your feet, stay on the balls of your feet and jump up, keeping your knees soft, but your legs straight. Don’t kick back.
Another full-body exercise, which is incredibly easy to get wrong. Get it wrong, and you’re in for a world of back pain and possible injury. Deadlift is primarily an exercise for your posterior chain — back, glutes and hamstrings, but what we see often, is people lifting with a rounded back, just trying desperately to get the weight off the ground. Your posterior chain is strong, so use it.
Wrong: Rounded back, no use of the glutes or hamstrings. Bar too far away from the shins.
The fix: Keep the bar close. The further away from you it is, the less you can leverage your glutes and hamstrings. Do not round your back, keep it strong and straight. Push through your heels and engage your core.
A good tip for finding the right deadlift position, is to set up, and then gently lean back until you feel like you might fall — that’s when your lift begins.
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