At the very least bad technique when exercising can lead to inferior results, and possibly result in injury. Make sure that you get professional guidance when performing a new exercise, or even exercises that you’ve been doing for a long time as it’s easy to fall into bad habits. At W Fitness we show you the correct technique and we are always on hand for help and support. The better your form and technique is, the faster and better your results will be!
Here are the Top 5 common exercise technique mistakes:
Holding and pulling the head when completing an ab-crunch
The most common mistakes when completing an ab crunch include tucking the chin into your chest, holding your head (causing strain to the neck), jerking upwards into the crunch, coming up too high from the floor and not keeping your core muscles contracted. Your abs should be doing the work in this exercise – you shouldn’t be feeling any strain in your neck! By using the correct form, you neck muscles will become stronger and the strain in your neck will reduce.
Make sure only your head and shoulders are lifting off the floor. Don’t tuck your chin in towards your chest and make sure that your abs are contracted throughout the whole exercise. This exercise should be controlled, using your abs – don’t jerk your head off the floor trying to get momentum for your shoulders to follow.
While this exercise is excellent for your core, you won’t see any real definition if your abs are hidden under layers of fat. You need to be burning fat and building muscle in order to see a real difference.
Lifting your bum or dropping your hips during a plank so you’re not holding a straight line
The most common mistake when completing the plank is either raising your bottom too high or dropping your hips too low. Both indicate a weak core, and if you let your hips drop, this will put pressure on your lower back which can lead to back pain (at the very least you will not be working your abs). Make sure that you keep your legs straight with your shoulders directly above your elbows. Your body should be in a straight line from head to toes. Keep your head in a neutral position looking at the floor and make sure that you don’t dip your back or lift your bottom too high. This is an excellent core strengthening exercise if done correctly. Make sure you have a rest if you feel your hips dipping or raising as this means you are not using the correct technique.
Arching your lower back when doing leg lifts
It’s very common to arch your back when doing leg lifts. This puts strain on your back and makes this a very ineffective abdominal exercise. To do these correctly, make sure you keep the natural curve of your back and keep your head and shoulders pressed to the floor. Relax your neck and keep your back muscles and abs contracted, otherwise you will only be working your hip flexors. Raise and lower your legs slowly without letting your heels touch the floor. Stop if you feel your back starting to arch. It is better to do fewer reps correctly rather than lots of reps incorrectly.
Leaning back when doing bicep curls
A common mistake with bicep curls is trying to lift weights that are too heavy and leaning back to try to raise the weights. This means that you will be working your shoulders and not your biceps as well as putting a lot of pressure on your lower back which can cause injury. Swinging the weights to get momentum is another common error as all it does is shift the tension from your biceps to your front deltoids making the rep easier but ineffective. You need to isolate the muscle to produce a stronger, more effective workout. Make sure that you are lifting weights that are comfortable for you and not too heavy. Keep your back straight, and your shoulder blades back and down and contract your abs. Make sure you keep your back, elbows and shoulders still and curl your arms up to your shoulders. If you find that you are leaning back and struggling to lift the weight, then try a lighter weight.
Letting your knee come forward over your toes when doing lunges
Common mistakes when doing lunges include letting your knee come forward over your toes (which can put pressure on your knee causing injury), leaning forwards and looking down which can strain the neck. You can cause injury to your knees and back as well as not actually working the thighs and glutes. Make sure that you step forward with one leg and lower your hips so that both legs are at 90°, making sure that your knee doesn’t come forward over your toes. Look straight ahead and keep your body upright.
Should I lock my joints when completing resistance exercises with weights?
Locking your joints when completing resistance exercises with weights, or doing body weight exercises, places more pressure on the joints which can lead to injury. Not to mention, if you’re using a weight that’s too heavy, you can do some serious damage. Plus, as locking your joints gives you a mid-movement rest, it gives you a less effective workout.
What’s better? Bad technique but more reps, or good technique with fewer reps?
For any exercise, it is always better to complete the action using the correct form for fewer reps or less time, than it is to complete more reps with the incorrect form. Using the correct technique will build up the necessary muscles and slowly you’ll be able to complete more reps of the exercise (without damaging any joints or injuring yourself in the process!).
I’m using all the correct technique, so why am I still not losing weight?
You might be exercising every day, but if you’re doing the wrong exercises, you could actually be gaining weight!
You may be doing everything by the book (or so you thought!) – you’re eating relatively healthy; you’re exercising a few times a week and you’re really committing yourself to it! However, are you doing the right exercises? Are you hitting your target areas? Do you push yourself hard enough? If you’re not sure, you’d better read on…
You could exercise all you like, but if it’s not benefiting your body, then it’s not doing much good. You need to understand how to exercise, now this may sound silly, but by doing the wrong exercises you can actually put on weight. Now a little weight gain is completely normal when you first start exercising as your body is adapting to its new routine and storing energy reserves – but don’t worry, this won’t stay around for long! You need to complete a variety of workout techniques, make sure you’ve got a little cardio alongside weight training, Interval training is great! Usually quick and hard bursts are often more effective than longer workouts, and watch out for cardio, i.e running on the treadmill, as this can add to your weight gain instead of reducing it. Increase your metabolism through weight training for burning off food faster!
Come and visit us at W Fitness to find out how we can help you achieve your goals. We have a 30-minute resistance based circuit that we can tailor to your needs, cardio equipment and nutritional advice and information, all under one roof, providing a safe, friendly, supportive environment where you can start your journey to a healthier, fitter you!
Caroline & Hannah xx