If weight loss is a goal, you may have started going to the gym more frequently to get back into shape. But unless you are a personal fitness trainer, you may doing some fundamental exercises wrong. NHS Choices, a health service in the UK, contacted Physiotherapist Nick Sinfield, to get the lowdown on the top 10 exercises done incorrectly.
He advises performing them “in a slow and controlled manner, going through the full range of motion and lifting within your comfort zone.” Otherwise, especially if you are over 40 and get injured, you will not bounce back as quickly.
“If the weight is too heavy, you will be working the shoulders and not properly targeting your biceps,” says Sinfield. Moreover, he talks about the dangers of leaning backwards when lifting more than your handle, which puts too much strain on the lower back.
So much can go amiss with the stomach crunch. First, the work should come entirely from the abdominals—not the neck. Be sure to keep the neck long instead of tucking the chin into the chest when contracting the core. Curl up until your shoulders are about 3 inches off the floor, then hold for a breath before lowering down.
Do not pull the bar down to the back of the neck. Bringing the bar down to the top of the pectoral muscles is much safer. To do the lat pulldown correctly: keep the shoulders back and down, contract the core muscles, and do not arch the low back.
This machine seems simple enough, but if your form is off, so too is the effectiveness of the exercise. “Your legs should not be bent more than 90 degrees. When you straighten the legs, push through the heels…to avoid straining the knees.” Sinfield also stresses the importance of keeping a neutral spine and relaxing the neck.
When you suffer from sore knees, improper technique with lunges will only exacerbate that. The common mistake that Sinfield notes is “stepping into the lunge and allowing the front knee to lean over the toes.” You may also be leaning forward or back or to one side, which strains the neck and may cause muscular imbalances. One way to correct that mistake is to think less about bending and more about lowering the hips to create 90 angles with both legs.
Read the full article, “Top 10 Gym Exercises Done Incorrectly.” Follow Nick Sinfield on Twitter @NSinfield.