A wrong posture could break your back. Here’s how to get it right!
So you got on the exercise wagon but you aren’t seeing results? When done correctly, the right workout regime can help lose weight, strengthen muscles and help bone density. However, fitness experts say the most common reason for muscle strains, sprains, fractures and workout related injury is bad form. Mirror points out the most common mistakes in your form and how to fix it.
Squats have been criticised for being harsh on the knees, but when done correctly, they improve stability and strengthen connective tissue.
The most common mistake is bending forward. Once you establish the correct stance, other mistakes are automatically eliminated.
Avoid wearing shoes with compressible soles as they hamper with your form. Barefoot is the best bet. Don’t keep your feet too close together or your heels will lift off the ground as you bend.
A wider stance will ground your feet and steady your body. Opt for deeper squats for maximum impact. Lower your body slowly all the way with arms raised parallel to the floor. If your knees cave in, try pointing your toes outwards.
Planks are know as the multitasker workout plan because they build the core of your abs, shoulders, arms and back all at once. Incorrect form means you could risk injuring your core muscles, which is a scary thought you’d best avoid.
The most common mistake is one that planks share with push-up errs. Arching your lower back means you are putting stress on the wrong muscle. This could also mean havoc for your lower back. Keep your core strong by popping your chest out and keeping your shoulder blades together. Check your feet and ensure they aren’t turning out or in but lay squarely on the tips of the toes.
Ace the basics and then try variations. Plant your hands directly under the shoulders but wider apart like you would for a push-up. Toes must be firm on the floor. Squeeze your glutes to stabilise the bottom half of your body and avoid locking your knees. Keep your head in line with your back which leaves you staring at the floor a foot ahead of your hands. Hold each position for 20 seconds.
It’s crunch time
Fighting unwanted belly flab, the abdominal crunch is the most common go-to exercise for those looking to strengthen abdominal muscles or burn tummy fat. Bad form can cause damage to your lower back and neck.
Using your arms to pull your head up while doing a crunch is a big no-no. If this happens involuntarily, try folding your arms across your chest. Your arms are not supposed to do the work, your abdominal muscles are.
Lie flat on the floor, knees at a 90-degree angle. Maintain a fist’s worth of space between your chin and chest. Sit up until your chest reaches your knees and remember to inhale when you lie down and exhale when you rise.
Pull-ups are one of the oldest textbook exercises but it is common for one to compromise on form while chasing more reps. The move is supposed to work out your back and biceps but it could end up hampering those muscles and leaving you with a lengthy medical bill.
Swinging your legs to help you reach the bar. Keep your legs straight. Not going all the way is also cheating. If you start or finish your pull-ups with a bent arm, you haven’t completed the pull-up.
Start with a bar that needs you to jump to get on. It’s best to be suspended without your toes touching the floor. Pull up until your chin is over the bar, guide your body back down until your arms are locked out. Do one rep short of what you are capable of but don’t cheat on form, a strong move is better than a failed jig.
Good stretch, bad stretch
Hamstring stretches are advisable for runners as well as those looking for added flexibility in their workout. The burn of a hamstring stretch is often confused with the increasing tension on the sciatic nerve as you lean forward. You should be able to reach your toes at 90 degrees.
Bend over and let your entire body weight dangle straight down while reaching for your toes in order to stretch your hamstrings. It puts a lot of pressure on your spine. Holding a stretch like this for 30 to 60 seconds leaves your spinal discs vulnerable to rupture.
Sit down and take a load off while you reach for your toes. The exact same stretch done from a seated position is much safer. Keep your toes pointed away from your face and hold your back straight.