You want to get in better shape. Great. So why not start easy, maybe at home with some iconic exercises that people have been using since their high school days if not longer. Sound thinking with one big exception. Many people don’t perform these exercises correctly. In the process, they not only undercut the value of their workouts, they risk hurting themselves. WellWell has identified six of these classic exercises that are chronically mis-performed.
People have been doing push-ups for decades…and a lot of these push-ups have not been done correctly. Errors include flaring your elbows out in a “T-shape” with your torso. It is better to keep them parallel to your body. Flared elbows can lead to rotator cuff injuries and a painful condition called impingement syndrome. Dropping your pelvis is also a no-no because the full benefits of the exercise are lost and it puts extra stress on the lower spine, which can cause back pain. Finally, don’t drop to the floor after extending the full push-up. Lower yourself steadily, using muscles for maximum gains.
This tried and true exercise uses a person’s abs to roll their body off the ground, making it a great core workout. But be sure to lower your back all the way to the ground after each rep. Failing to do so can lead to muscle tightening. Also, it is important lessen the strain on your lower back by making sure it is pressed into the ground so that your torso and spine form a C-shape.
Similar to sit-ups, crunches can have a devastating impact on the black when performed incorrectly. To avoid injury, be sure to lay on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and then contracting your abs to slowly lift your shoulder blades off the ground only an inch or two to activate your core.
Kettlebells have become something of an at-home workout rage in the last few years, but swing these weights incorrectly and your spine, glutes, hamstrings and shoulders will pay the price. It is important not to hyperextend your back as you stand up during a rep, avoid squatting instead of hinging your hips to protect your quads and hamstrings, and don’t hold a kettlebell above your head for an extended period because it can damage shoulders.
Admit it. It is kind of cool to watch people shake those big battle ropes that are seen all over gyms now. Unfortunately, while it looks neat to watch these workouts, battle rope users often make three common mistakes. The have too much tension in their ropes, they grip the ropes too tightly and they bend down too far in when working with the ropes. Too much tension leads to all kinds of mistakes that include overcompensating with other muscles that can lessen the impact of the workout and potentially strain muscles.
Positioning and timing are critical to getting the most out of a set of lunges. The biggest mistake people make is positioning their knees. They should not extend beyond a person’s toes during a lunge. Knees should also stay straight and not go off to either side. Beyond this, leaning too far forward or backward is a recipe for lower back pain. It is also wise to start slowly. Move too fast with lunges and chances are bad form will follow. Only build speed once you’re comfortable.
Let us know if there are other classic exercise mistakes we’ve missed at firstname.lastname@example.org