You can bust your butt at the gym, but if your form is ?, coupled with a poor diet, you might as well spend your time binging Season 7 of Shameless. If you’re not seeing the desired results (aka J.Lo’s bod), it may be time to evaluate your form. Without throwing down $300 each week for a personal trainer, our pros are here to share the do’s and don’ts of these 5 common exercises.
1. Push Up
The problem: Your elbows are out wide.
The Solution: Keep elbows in towards your ribcage when you bring your chest to the floor. Your shoulder is a ball and socket joint, meaning it has a large range of motion. Adding stress (body weight) with elbows out wide can cause serious damage. Keep your elbows moving straight back to help align your shoulders and engage your triceps. Remember “tight is light” – keeping your core and butt tight makes a simple push up a full body toner.
It’s pretty easy to mess up a body weight squat. Before adding any weight, make sure you have the basic mechanics down. Recruiting your largest muscle group (glutes) equals major calorie burn. To start the squat, pretend like you’re sitting down in a chair – feet hip width apart and shoulders back. Prevent future knee pain by keeping weight in your heels (toes should be slightly off the ground) and getting your butt parallel or slightly lower than your thighs when you’re at the bottom. To get out of the seated position, squeeze your butt and press through your heels to stand all the way up.
Many issues we see with the press mirror what we described in the push up – elbows are out wide. Whether it be dumbbells, kettlebells or a barbell, your press should look the exact same in each scenario. With elbows in the frontal plane (not out at a 90 degree angle), suck in your belly button and begin to press knuckles up towards the ceiling. Elbows move forward to extend arms and bring weight overhead. Keep your tummy tucked in and your back straight, not arched. The weight should stay directly over head, not too far in front or back. Following the same motion, bring hands back to starting position.
The Problem: Your knee is going out over your toe.
The Solution: Keep front heel firmly planted on the ground and check to see that your knee stacks directly over your ankle. You should be able to see your toes! Both knees should be at a 90 degree angle and as you press out of the lunge your front heel should stay firmly planted to the ground. As with all moves, suck in that belly button and keep shoulder blades tucked into your back pockets!
Even if you’re doing a marathon a day sandwiched between two CrossFit WODs (which by the way, please don’t), you can’t outrun a deficient diet. Efficiently preparing your body for exercise with proper nutrients is the fastest way to results. Focus on post workout recovery to boost muscle repair, regrowth and restoration to kill your next sweat session.
When it comes to your health journey remember, Khaleesi wasn’t built in a day. Patience and a positive mindset are the only way to reach your goals. It can take at least a month to see the effect of a consistent diet and workouts, so don’t give up! The #1 reason people stop exercising is lack of time and lack of results. Avoid fatigue dropout by setting aside the time and outlining small, realistic, achievable goals. With the right mindset, you too can reach your health goals (or rule the iron throne).