5 Exercises You’re Doing Wrong
Back by popular demand: the most common fitness mistakes and how to fix them.
We all know you can’t see results instantly from working out. But if you’ve been going to the gym consistently and are still not noticing results, odds are you may be doing something wrong.
California trainer Kristin Anderson says that many people do exercises incorrectly, either because they are rushing to get through them or they aren’t checking their form. This can lead to muscle strain, injury, and worst of all, a futile workout. If you want your time spent in the gym to be as effective as possible, make sure you’re doing the following five moves correctly:
Push-ups. A push-up is a basic yet highly effective exercise in which you hold your body up parallel to the floor, and then slowly lower towards the ground, then push yourself back up. It can be done with your legs straight or with your knees on the floor.
Incorrect form: If you tuck your chin under so that your forehead is the first thing to touch the ground, you are doing a push-up wrong. “This puts intense strain on your small neck muscles, which can lead to terrible headaches, upper back and shoulder injuries,” says Kristin. Also watch out if you flop to the ground instead of slowly lowering yourself, if your back starts to sag, or if you lift your chin to try and pull yourself back up from the floor. Kristin says these moves can lead to chronic lower back pain and neck pain.
How to fix: Think of your body as one long wooden board. A board doesn’t bend, and neither should you. “Your gaze should be 12 inches in front of your hands on the floor,” says Kristin. “This keeps your neck in a straight line with the rest of your body. You should feel like you are one solid piece coming up from the floor and not like one part of your body is coming up first.”
Forearm Plank. This is one of the most effective total body exercises; you hold yourself up in a plank position parallel to the floor, with everything from your head to your feet perfectly straight. There should be no sagging, and your whole body should be pulled in tight.
Incorrect form: You can tell that you are doing the forearm plank incorrectly if you feel your hips sagging or your chest sinking to the floor. “This will hurt your lower back and shoulder joints instead of strengthening them,” says Kristin. “You also won’t be getting the entire super slimming benefits.”
How to fix: Do your forearm planks next to a mirror. “Visually adjust your position, then look away from the mirror and start to ‘feel’ what good form feels like,” says Kristin. If you don’t have a mirror, Kristin suggests “scanning” your entire body from head to toe, asking yourself where each part of your body is and if it’s straight and tight.