BodyFit

4 Popular Exercises And What You Could Be Doing Wrong

November 21, 2017

Are you making these mistakes?

Exercises like squats, crunches, pushups and planks are popular because they burn fat and build muscle using just the body’s weight. These flexible and efficient exercises can easily be done from the convenience of your home. But if done incorrectly, they can also lead to injury. In this article, we describe the right way to perform each exercise and highlight the common mistakes that people make without realizing.

SQUATS

Right:

  • Stand with your feet placed apart
  • Your toes should point slightly outwards
  • Look straight ahead and breathe in
  • Lift your arms in front of you
  • Bend your knees as though sitting down and push your hips backwards
  • Rise back to standing position
Wrong:

  • Knees jutting out: To protect your knee joints from injury, ensure that your knees don’t
  • go past your toes when you bend.
  • Rounded back: It can be a challenge to keep your back straight while squatting. But hunching your back is dangerous because it places increased pressure on your vertebrae, raising the risk of spinal injury
  • Looking up or down: Just like hunching your back, curving your neck will increase the risk of spinal injury. To avoid this, keep your spine in a neutral position and look straight ahead
  • Shallow squats: For maximum muscle development, you need to squat as low as you can go, or at least to the point where your knees are at a 90-degree angle to the floor. Don’t worry if you lose balance the first time, practice will help you squat right.

CRUNCHES

Right:

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor
  • Place your hands behind your head. Don’t lace your fingers together
  • Place your elbows out to the sides
  • Tighten the abs and tuck in your chin slightly
  • Lift up and forward, lifting your head, neck and shoulders off the floor
  • Hold for a moment and slowly get back down
Wrong:

  • Pulling on your neck: Apart from spraining your neck, this means that you are using your arms instead of your abs to lift. If you find yourself doing this, place your fingertips behind your ears or cross your arms over the chest.
  • Dropping on the floor: Another common mistake is holding the position until the top of the crunch and abruptly relaxing on the way back down. If you are guilty of this, you are missing half the benefits.
  • Holding your breath: Depriving the body of oxygen will make crunches a lot more painful than they need to be. Make sure to exhale on the way up and inhale on the way down.
  • Rushed reps: If you focus on speed instead of strength, you are risking a back injury. Keep your movements slow and controlled, and pause at the end of every rep to prepare for the next lift.

PUSHUPS

Right:

  • Place your hands firmly on the ground under the shoulders
  • Place your body in a straight line with your toes on the floor
  • Look slightly ahead and tighten your core
  • Inhale and lower until your chest grazes the floor
  • Exhale as you push back to starting position
Wrong:

  • Sagging or arching back: It places a lot of stress on your lower back. A simple way to avoid this is by tightening your abs and hips.
  • Chicken neck: Your chest should be the first part to touch the floor. Sticking out your face is not only awkward but can also place undue strain on your neck. Look slightly up or straight ahead to prevent this.
  • Flaring elbows: Pushing out your elbows can be hard on your shoulders and upper back. To ease the strain, tuck in your elbows close to your body
  • Incomplete push-ups: A proper push-up forces you to go all the way to the ground. If you don’t have the strength for that yet, try simpler variations of a push-up first. You will get better results by doing easier versions with proper form rather than regularpush-ups with poor form.

PLANKS

Right:

  • Place your hands on the floor like you are about to do a pushup
  • Place the toes on the floor to stabilize the body
  • The body should be in a straight line and your eyes looking at the ground
  • Hold this position for 20 seconds or as long as you possibly can.
Wrong:

  • Wobbly arms: Many people place their arms too far apart from their bodies, creating unnecessary strain on their wrists, shoulders and neck. For the perfect position, set your arms directly under your shoulders with your hands at a shoulder-width distance.
  • Tilted hands: Are your hands angled into your body? It puts pressure on your wrists and can make your position unstable. Always place them parallel to each other or slightly outward for a solid plank.
  • Lowered hips: This commonly happens when your abs and arm muscles start to tire out. Squeeze your glutes and spread your feet to gain more support.
  • Drooping head: A common tendency is to stare straight ahead or gradually let the head sink lower. It puts increased pressure on the spine and base of the neck, causing headaches and neck pain. Your head is like an extension of your spine, so you must always keep it straight during a plank.
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