5 Exercises You're Probably Doing Wrong
A regular exercise routine is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but improperly performing exercises can lead to injury.
Lauren Triboletti, a certified personal trainer and cancer exercise specialist at the Virtua Fitness Center, has highlighted 5 exercises that you’re probably doing wrong and don’t know it.
Here’s how to perform them for maximum impact and minimal risk of injury.
Lunges: Bend, Don’t Snap
Lunges can strengthen your quads and glutes while improving balance and flexibility, but poorly executed lunges can put strain on the back.
For an effective lunge, remember the following:
- Step forward until your legs are a comfortable distance apart. Bend your front leg until your thigh is parallel with the ground.
- Keep your back straight and your torso balanced between your front foot and back foot.
- Always make sure your front knee doesn’t go past your toes.
Squats: Take Them Sitting Down
Use the natural act of sitting as your guide. If you’re starting out, try using a chair. Pretend you’re going to sit down but stop within an inch of the seat. Over time, you’ll build the strength to do strong squats unassisted.
Push-ups: Don’t Drop and Give Me 20
The push-up is a great exercise for developing the chest, shoulders, upper back and triceps, but poor alignment can lead to injury.
- Place your hands flat on the floor and in line with your shoulders and keep your back straight.
- Tighten your abs and don’t let your rear-end stick up in the air.
- Bend your elbows as you lower toward the ground and then push back up.
You’re better off starting out with assisted push-ups, starting from a standing position and doing push-ups from a counter-top, bench or wall. Eventually you can work your way down to a standard push-up.
Planks: Play it Straight
Planking is a great core exercise that also raises your heart rate. Like push-ups, people tend to let their torsos sag or keep their butts too high in the air.
Keep your back aligned but relaxed, and lift with your core. Don’t forget to take a break when you get tired.
Abdominals: Reach for the Sky
Abs images are everywhere. On TV and in the movies, everyone is sporting 6-pack abs and selling ways to achieve them. The truth is, improperly performed abdominal crunches can do more harm than good. It’s a bad idea to fold your hands behind your head and pull up; all you’re doing is straining your neck and spine. Instead, extend your arms to a point on the ceiling and use your abs to lift your torso toward that point. It’s always a good idea to check with a professional to make sure your body is in the correct alignment. For exercise ideas and reference guides, you can visit Exercise Prescription. Don’t be pressured to overtax yourself, but take the time to perform exercises properly. Find what works for your body, and you’ll build strength and stamina over time.
Updated March 15, 2017