From the Mouths of the Experts
By Ryan Krane, Fitness Consultant and CES (Corrective Exercise Specialist)
Ryan specializes in helping chronic pain sufferers address and eliminate recurring body aches through expert-designed flexibility, posture and strength training.
Many people that go to the gym are either doing exercises improperly or not performing the right exercises for their goals. And why bother going to the gym if you’re not going to do it right? Using gym equipment improperly has a number of drawbacks, which include:
- Not gaining maximum value from the exercise
- When done improperly, other muscles have to compensate to assist a weak major muscle
- Chance of injury
- Stress on the musculoskeletal system
Some examples of exercises that people perform incorrectly are:[checklist]
- Bicep curls – when people do bicep curls they tend to do two things wrong:
- 1) they use their back to assist them in lifting the heavy weight. As a result they are compensating and take the focus away from the bicep curl.
- 2) They use their shoulders to assist them during the curl. To correct this, use a weight light enough so that you can properly perform the exercise with your shoulders retracted at a slow tempo.
- Rowing machine – many people do this exercise incorrectly by using their whole body to pull the weight back instead of keeping their upper/lower body still. As a result of using their entire body, they don’t isolate the muscles in their mid back. When done correctly the legs are fully extended, the shoulders are back, the head is in neutral and the arms pull the cable back with no help from the lower body.
- Calf raises – this is one of the most common exercises that people perform incorrectly. The main mistake that people make is letting their calf go below the height of the ground, which turns the exercise from a strength exercise to a stretch. To perform this correctly, rotate the leg/foot inward and raise your foot up and hold the contraction for 2 seconds and then return downward in 4 seconds. Never let the foot go below the height of the ground (if done on an elevated) surface.
- Squats – A common mistake people make when squatting is turning their feet out and their knees inward. This is a result of tightness and weakness in different parts of their lower body. To compensate for the feet turning out, make sure you stretch the lower calf muscle along with the hamstring – this will help alleviate pressure on this part of the leg and allow it to function properly. To correct for the knees moving inward, stretch the inner thigh before doing the squat.