5 Common Exercises You're Doing Wrong, Experts Reveal
Practicing proper form and technique is incredibly important when working out, yet so many individuals overlook this crucial step. Technique is how you go through each motion of an exercise to engage certain muscle groups, and you maintain solid form in order to avoid injury, A Healthier Michigan reports. Good form also helps you go through the full range of motion, move more productively, and boost your overall performance. When performing classic moves such as lunges, pushups, and squats, you likely go through the motions without even thinking about them. But there are some very common exercises you're doing wrong that you should be aware of.
Rushing through the movements to get your workout crossed off the list is not the name of the game. The experts at BLOCH teamed up with personal trainers and physical therapists to reveal five popular exercises people typically don't perform correctly. Keep reading to learn what you may be doing wrong so you don't make these mistakes moving forward. And when you're finished, don't miss The "50-Mile Month" Walking Challenge Is a Surprisingly Easy Way To Get Fit.
Hip Hinges or Deadlifts
Using improper form while performing hip hinges or deadlifts is a common error many make. You may be rounding your back, which can put unnecessary stress on your lower back. In addition, you might be assuming more of a squat, which will favor other groups of muscles. "If this happens over time, it can contribute to weakness in the posterior chain, glutes, and hamstrings, which can impact how you're moving overall," Laura Kummerle, PT, DPT, OCS, explained to BLOCH in the press release.
You should maintain a flat back, and bring your shoulder blades down just a bit to really work your lats. You may also need to keep your legs straight, depending on the variation of hip hinge or deadlift you opt for. And lastly, be sure your hips are doing most of the movement rather than your knees.
Another bad habit is rounding your back while doing squats. Whether you're rounding or over-arching your back while squatting, you will put unnecessary stress on your lower back. In addition, if your knees curve inward during the exercise, this can negatively impact your ankles, hips, and knees.
Be sure to maintain a flat back, and press your hips back when you descend. It's also important to keep your knees lined up with your second toe. "If you're having trouble with this, think about corkscrewing your feet into the ground, or you can place a band around the knees and push out into the band," Dr. Kummerle noted.
If you find yourself leading with your head or shoulders when rowing, stop what you're doing ASAP. Rather than initiating the movement from the legs, many individuals bring their shoulders and head back before extending the legs. This will put added strain on the back and neck.
"Try something called a Top Quart Drill or Legs-Only Drill," Amanda Diver, PT, DPT, aka "The Rowing Doc," suggested to BLOCH. "This puts the emphasis on the legs, ensures that the shoulders and neck are not overused, and allows the legs to do most of the force production for the movement. Doing this drill about 10 times at the beginning of a rowing session can be very beneficial over time."
A surefire way to increase the stress put on your shoulders is by flaring your elbows outward while bench pressing. If you continue to do this when working with heavy weights, you could suffer from a shoulder injury in the long run.
The next time you hit up the gym for some bench presses, make sure your elbows are around 30 to 45 degrees out to each side. Lower the barbell or dumbbells toward the bottom end of your sternum.
Last but not least, you could be running wrong without even knowing it. Not using proper form when getting in your strides could put extra stress on your joints, resulting in injury.
A popular error among runners is overstriding. This occurs when your front foot touches down a little too far ahead of your body, which can cause hip and knee discomfort. In addition, you may be making the error of striking with your heel too harshly, increasing the impact on your joints and raising the likelihood of shin splints.
To better your form when running, make sure you keep your posture tall, touch down midfoot, and maintain short strides. Baby steps are key when it comes to increasing the number of miles you run.