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5 exercises you’re doing wrong

5 exercises you’re doing wrong

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A new study from the Monash Injury Research Institute has revealed training injuries in Australia have increased by 150 per cent since 2003.

The influx of new training programs that make you do exercises quite fast, without focusing on technique may be to blame. Any exercise done fast can amp up the risk stakes. So if you’ve ever had an injury, it’s likely you’ve been doing it wrong.

In denial? Have you ever been eager to act like a natural, gone gung-ho and absolutely killed your body to the point where you couldn’t walk properly for days? Or have you followed a fit chick’s workout, decided it’s easy and attempted to copy her in the hope of activating instant abs, but completely over done it? If the answer ends in yes, delayed onset muscle soreness, a hot epsom salt bath and a rather awkward penguin waddle, then friends it’s time to take a step back and re-learn the basics.

Knocking out a few quick rounds or nailing 100-push ups might be efficient, but are you checking in? Are you working the right muscle groups or simply going through the motion? Ruben Roscha, personal trainer and owner of Rubens gym, says “neglecting your body and losing focus is the biggest mistake people make. Often you get the type that thinks ‘been there, done that,’ and because there’s more education out there it becomes a common pitfall and the focus becomes about quantity over quality. People get caught up putting their energy and focus into the wrong thing,” he says, “Instead of doing 15 or 20 reps on a heavier weight or switching to a higher gear on the bike, focus on the quality of how you’re moving.”

Rocha says neglecting good technique not only leads to tendonitis, sprains or delayed onset muscle soreness, but it stops us activating the most essential component of an effective workout – the breath. “People will often come to me and say they feel dizzy when they do a sprint –it’s because they work so hard they stop breathing,” says Rocha. “If you become aware of how you feel, injuries are less likely to occur and you will enjoy yourself more and get results.”

Rocha gives his take on the five common moves and trip ups we make and how to fix them.

1. The move: Lunges
What you’re doing: “Often we get caught with our head looking down, shoulders rounded and a short stance. Or we fall into the trap of having a relaxed core or poor knee to foot alignment so our front heels lift,” says Rocha.

How you should be doing it:

  • Maintain an upright torso throughout the movement.
  • Aim to have the head stacked in line with the neck, spine and hips while keeping the shoulders set back and your chest open.
  • When lunging, keep the stride length relatively long and make sure the front knee doesn’t hang over the front foot.
  • Keep the front heel down and the rear heel up.
  • Make sure the hips are equal distance to both of your feet.
  • Focus on the back knee dropping down towards the ground, rather than the front knee lunging.
  • Start by alternating your legs with hands on hips, then as you build confidence in your movement and strength, feel free to hold onto dumbbells and let them hang by your side.

2. The move: Squats
What you’re doing: “Often poor hamstring flexibility and hip mobility results in us rounding our back. If we have an imbalance in the quadriceps, our knees point inwards and our heels lift off the ground,” says Rocha.

How you should be doing it: The best way to learn to squat properly is to un-think the process and practice sitting down and standing back up again.

  • Set up a chair or step.
  • Set your shoulders back, place your hands on your hips and set your feet shoulder width apart.
  • Sit down on the chair/step, then leading with the hips and keeping the core braced, stand back up.
  • Try to resist the temptation to place hands on your knees.
  • Make sure your heels stay glued to ground for the entire movement.
  • As you build confidence, strength and mobility, reduce the height of the chair/step.
  • Once you are in can command of your body weight, try holding a medicine ball at chest height.

3. The move: Push-ups
What you’re doing: “Sometimes we get carried away with being able to do a push-up and forget to focus on our range of motion by having our arms out too wide or in too close. It’s not uncommon for us too drop our belly and not engage our core,” says Rocha.

How you should be doing it:

  • Imagine a plank on your hands (just a little wider than shoulder width).
  • Keep a beautiful straight line from the shoulders through the hips to the heels and maintain the plank position the whole time you move up and down.
  • Tighten the core before starting your push up and tighten the quads by pulling gently up on your kneecaps.
  • The key is to take the chest all the way down to the ground, so lead down with the chest.
  • When pushing up, lead with the hips and keep a strong plank all the way through.

Note – you can apply the technique on either knees or toes.

4. The move: Tricep Dips
What you’re doing: “If you lack strength and mobility in the shoulders or arms, then you tend to have small range of motion and will stick your elbows out like chicken wings,” says Rocha.

How you should be doing it:

  • Sitting on a bench, place your hands down on the bench directly below your shoulders.
  • Slide your butt off the bench and drop the hips straight down to the ground.
  • Try to keep your elbows in and tracking back.
  • Start off with your feet flat on the floor in front of you and a bend in your knees.
  • To increase difficulty, walk your feet further away from the bench until your legs are straight and on your heels.
    Make sure your butt is close to the bench every time you drop down.
  • Keep moving straight up and down in a vertical line.

5. The move: Burpee
What you’re doing: “Often we let the nuts and bolts of a burpee get sloppy and forget to tighten it all up a little (or a lot),” says Rocha.

How you should be doing it:

  • Imagine a strong full range squat with a push-up.
  • You will link the two by using a strong jump back – kicking your feet out and landing on your toes.
  • After jumping up at the end of the burpee, link it straight to the next repetition.
  • If you make it look and feel smooth, you have mastered this brilliant full body celebration.

Article sourced from The Juice Daily, written by Sam Bailey.