It takes a significant investment of time and effort to stick to your workouts. So you want to be sure that you’re getting the maximum benefit from every second you spend in the gym.
One of the best ways to do that is improving your form. This is true whether you’re doing plyometrics, lifting weights, running, or just about anything else.
Even if you already know a thing or two about your workout form, it’s good to check yourself from time to time. Make sure you’re not committing any of these common mistakes.
Cardio machines offer a good workout and are a great way to warm up before you lift. But when you’re feeling tired, you may start to hunch - especially on the treadmill - and lose proper form.
Holding onto the rails, hunching over, and looking down are all examples of bad posture. The results? Neck pain, back pain, and even long term flexibility and functionality problems.
To fix this issue, don’t hunch your shoulders or bow out your elbows to hold onto the rails. In fact, you should only use the rails if you absolutely need to balance yourself.
Whether you’re using a treadmill, elliptical, or any other machine, always keep your core tight and your eyes fixed straight ahead, not down.
You’ll see many men and women do lat pull downs behind the neck. But if you want to prevent injury and improve your form, it’s best to skip this. The movement is not natural and can lead to neck and back injuries.
Don’t worry that you’re somehow missing out on some essential muscle building exercise here. It’s not important for healthy mobility or functionality. Think about tit - when would you ever normally have to pull down on something heavy behind your neck in that way?
Switch these exercises out for presses and pull downs in front of your body. They are safer alternatives that still help you get strong. The advantage is you won’t be putting yourself at such risk for neck injuries.
You should not use momentum or a rolling motion to exercise your abs. To really work your core, concentrated contractions are most effective.
Using your body’s momentum to complete sit ups and crunches doesn’t do much to activate your core. Instead, your body relies on muscles in your legs and arms to complete the motion. It can also lead to neck strain and related problems.
To prevent yourself from using momentum during core workouts, switch out sit ups for static moves like planks and bridges. These help you isolate your core and force you to stay still and focused. You won’t move around a lot, but you’ll definitely feel the burn.
You should keep your chin up, metaphorically speaking. After all, a positive attitude is essential to a successful workout routine.
But some people get in the habit of craning their necks upward during exercise. It’s especially common during deadlifts and squats. Bad news - arching your neck that way does more harm then good.
Don’t assume you should do the opposite and force your neck downwards either. Instead, keep looking straight ahead. A good way to do this is imagining you have an apple between your chest and your chin. That will help you keep your neck straight and look directly ahead.
If you decide to avert your gaze somewhere else, make sure only your eyes are moving. Keep your neck neutral to avoid problems like straining.
Start applying these suggestions to improve your form today. And don’t forget to use the best muscle building supplements and the best weight loss supplements. They will support your efforts at the gym and help you see solid results.
Part 2 of this post will cover 4 more ways to improve your form and prevent injuries.