Makeover Your Exercise Moves For More Effective Workout
Exercising the incorrect way can not only lead to a frustrating lack of results, but also injury. NY1 Health & Fitness reporter Kafi Drexel got a lesson in exercise technique.
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If your crunches are not crunching, you cannot put up with push-ups, and your squats are giving you squat, you're likely in need of an exercise adjustment.
Sit-ups, push-ups, and squats are three of your most common exercise moves. The only trouble is that most of us do not know the right way to do them. So for a fix, we enlisted the help of Stacy Berman, founder of Stacy's Boot Camp.
“The problem is if you are doing an exercise and you are doing it the wrong way, you are going to reinforce negative movement patterns, which can increase your risk of injury,” Berman says. “And, as well, if you are not doing the right things, you are probably not working the right muscles.”
Sit-ups can be a pain in the neck done the wrong way. Berman says the most common mistakes are locking hands behind and yanking the head up, along with swinging the hips to get up and down.
For a more effective and safe ab workout, Berman says focus on crunches lifting your torso from the belly button up to about a 45 degree angle each time.
“What you really want to focus is keeping your elbows open and your chin up and then trying to pull in from your stomach before you even sit up, and then follow-through and sit up. And then come all the way down,” she instructs.
Squats are another exercise staple. But done the wrong way, you'll wind up working your knees instead of your backside.
“The muscles that should be working are the butt, the quadriceps and the hamstrings,” says Berman. “Two of the things people do are, when they are coming down into the squat, they let their knees pass over their toes, which will cause the knees to eventually hurt. And they also pitch forward.”
To do it right, keep your spine in a neutral position. Your knees should stay in line with the rest of your legs and as you lower, stop as your thighs create a 90-degree angle. Also, make sure you sit deep into the squat for maximum results.
Like sit-ups, push-ups can also cause neck pain done the wrong way. You can also have lower back, elbow and shoulder pain.
“One of the most common mistakes I see is the hips going up and down as you are doing the push-up. So really you are not bending your elbows that much and you are just sort of letting your butt go up and down,” she says.
To fix it, hold the stomach tight, keep your body rigid and lower and come up – just like a moving plank.
Another tip, doing even just a few moves the right way is always much more effective than any repeated movement the wrong way.