No matter the type of exercise you engage in, proper form is the most important part. If you don’t have proper form, you won’t see the results you’re expecting, and you’re putting yourself at risk for more injuries. Most people are breaking their form and not even realizing it. Here are five exercises you might be doing wrong, and how to correct your mistakes.
A lunge, or a split squat, is an effective lower-body exercise when done correctly. The common mistake in this exercise is allowing your front knee to track forward over the toe. This mistake can cause injuries and joint pain.
Another common mistake is not letting your back leg bend. By keeping it rigid, you restrict movement and cause hip pain. The back knee should be bent as much as the front knee. To do this move correctly, drop your hips straight down and bend both knees. Keep your front heel planted firmly and make sure it’s in line with your toes, not over it.
The plank is everyone’s favorite, and most hated, core exercise. The two most common form mistakes with a plank is either letting your body sag, or keeping your hips too high off the ground. A proper plank should have your body assume a straight line from your head to your heels. Your weight should balanced on your forearms with your elbows directly underneath your shoulders. Tighten your core and clench your glutes for the best results.
If you’re having a hard time with knowing what proper plank form feels like, have a friend place a long dowel on your back. The dowel should be touching your glutes, upper back, head, and heels at the same time if you’re in the proper form.
The best way to make sure you’re squatting correctly is to watch yourself in a mirror. It’s easy to let your knees fall inward while performing this move, but they should be pointing straight ahead both while lowering into the squat position and rising out of it. Start with your weight on your heels and keep your back straight and your head aligned with your spine throughout the move.
The common issues with a plank are often the same problems people have when doing push-ups. Your body should be in a straight line from head to toe. Make sure your back is neither too high nor too low. Get in correct plank form and place your hands directly under your shoulders. Keep your glutes and core braced while you slowly lower yourself to the ground.
The first step to doing a bicep curl correctly is picking the right weight. You don’t want to use something that’s too heavy, or too light. Really focus on the muscle you’re targeting and try not to use your back when lifting. Bicep curls only require you to move one joint, so concentrate on that joint. Don’t allow your elbows to leave your side and don’t move your hips.