With the worldwide appeal of YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat influencers showing people how it’s done from afar, practically anyone who steps foot in the gym now has a good idea of what to do. But there’s good, and then there’s right – and this is what many people still get wrong.
Incorrect movement can not only lead to injury, in extreme circumstances, but can also make workouts less effective. This can naturally lead to people becoming unenthused with their routine, and even giving up – here are the things to look out for.
Sprinting on the treadmill
You’ve probably read all about the effectiveness of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), which involves short bursts of extremely exertive exercise. And if you see this taking place on a treadmill, you may have seen people literally jump up and slam their feet down on the side of the machine, in between bursts of high speed.
This is actually a pretty dumb thing to do (for instance, would you ever do that outside, or plan to stop a car in the same way?). VeryWellFit.com have a simple guide to using the treadmill for HIIT workouts – and emergency stops are nowhere to be seen.
Yes, the lat pulldown machine is made to exercise your back, so it makes sense to pull the big bar down behind your head, right? You immediately feel the strain in your shoulders and back, and can get a good pump on pretty quickly.
However, this is a quick way to injury and muscle strain, as you’ll naturally pull your head forward, arch your back, and effectively be repeating a completely unnatural movement again and again. If you see someone doing it – don’t follow suit!
Lunges & squats
While excellent in aiding your balance and building core strength, these are dangerously easy to get wrong. You may feel it’s a little easier to put your front knee further forward when lunging, or arch your back when squatting, but this also means you’re not getting the full benefits of these excellent, anytime, anywhere exercises.
Both squats and lunges are an absolute cornerstone of any effective workout these days, and you’ll find professional form available from PTs, group training classes, and even boot camps holidays by Prestige Bootcamp.
Pre and post workout stretching
Finally, you could be making the ultimate mistake before you even begin your workout. Warming up your muscles before you begin exercising is the greatest prelude to any workout, but also the simplest thing to miss. Instead of starting with a jog, begin with a march, instead of going straight into a lunge, start with a few knee lifts.
Warming up helps to defend your body against injury, and should only add 5-10 minutes to your time in the gym. Similarly, cooling down afterwards, with some simple stretches, will help your muscles to recover from the extra strain you’ve put them through in the last few hours. Adding both to your workout will make whatever you do in between far more effective – and you’ll be in better shape to keep it up over time.