When it comes to resistance training, form is everything. Not only does correct form help protect your body against injury, it also ensures that you are engaging the correct muscles in the right way so that you can gain the most from each exercise.
Here are 3 Common exercises that many people are getting wrong, and how to fix them!
Static Lunges - Lunges are an excellent lower body workout. They shape, tone and strengthen your glutes, quads, and hamstrings, plus you will burn some serious calories whilst you are at it. The problem with lunges is that if you do them wrong you can cause some serious damage to your knees!
Where people go wrong: The most common mistake I see people making with this exercise is allowing their knees to extend over their toes as they lunge forwards. This movement places a large portion of the weight into the ball of your foot, which ultimately puts your knee cap at risk. Another issue is when you don’t allow your back knee to bend enough as you lower because this can cause issues in your hips.
How to fix this: Keep your attention focused on both knees. Make sure you are allowing for enough bend in your back knee as you lower down, and ensure that your front knee stays behind your toes as you lower. Alternatively, you can start from a hands and knees position, bringing one foot forward and positioning it so that your knee is directly above your ankle, then tucking the toes of your back foot under and stretching up into the held position from here.
Plank - The plank is one of my go-to body weight resistance exercises because it really works on your whole body. Even though it is a core focused exercise and will make your whole core burn! It also works your shoulders, upper arms, glutes, and quads. The problem with the plank is that because it is a held position it is very easy for people to start off with good form, then lose it as their body begins to tire which can hurt your lower back.
Where people go wrong: Alignment is very important doing the plank. If you let your hips drop you are placing too much pressure on your lower back. There is also a large amount of pressure placed on the costochondral joint, the cartilage that connects the ribs to the sternum.
How to fix this: The plank is actually a very strong exercise and as soon as you feel your body shaking with the effort, or any sharp pain, you should stop immediately. Outside of this, it is important to keep your legs, hips and shoulders aligned throughout the practice. Remember to use variations from your knees if you are just starting out with the plank. This way you can gradually increase your core strength and ability to move into the full plank.
Leg press - The leg press is an excellent exercise for really toning your glutes and thighs. The problem is that because this exercise feels relatively comfortable, as you get to sit down and basically lie back, so people often relax too much in this position. If done incorrectly it can cause injury to the disks of your lower spine.
Where people go wrong: The main problem I see with this exercise is people lowering the sled too far. The problem with this is that as you lower down, your knees come up close to your shoulders and this can cause your glutes to lift up which in turn places your lower back at risk.
How to fix this: This exercise really needs constant control throughout the whole movement. From raising to lowering. Lower down at an even pace and take note of the point where your glutes want to start lifting up, as this is as far as you should go, even if you feel you can take it further. Remember to keep your feet evenly spaced and firmly planted as you raise the weight back up.