5 Exercises You’re Doing Wrong

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Image via Jeanna Strassburg

Alright, it's a new year, and we've committed to get back into shape. With the best of intentions, we set out on a new workout regimen, and when we catch ourselves in the mirror, it just doesn't quite look right!

What are we doing wrong?

Fitness trainers say that there are several exercises that they often see us getting wrong. By performing these exercises incorrectly, not only are we not getting the full benefit of the exercise, but we're also at risk for injury.

Here are five common mistakes you could be making!

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Image via Jeanna Strassburg

Squats

Squats are a wonderful way to strengthen your quads, glutes, and lower back, but one performed improperly can do more harm than good. A “hunched back” is a common mistake people make when attempting a squat. This can cause too much strain to be placed on the lumbar and can cause back injury.

You want to keep your shoulders back and an arch in your back. Place your hands on your thighs and slowly slide them forward and sit back like you are sitting in a chair. Keep your head and chest upright. Your thighs should come to be about parallel with the ground, and your elbows should be over your knees. Pause about 5 seconds. Press through the heels and come back up, nice and tall. Don't add weights until you are sure you have proper form.

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Image via Jeanna Strassburg

Lunges

A proper lunge works your upper legs and glutes. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and take a step forward. The foot on your leading leg should lie flat on the floor, and your back foot should be up on your toes.

Come down until both your legs form 90 degree angles at the knee. Make sure to keep your trunk posture upward, not hunched over your front leg, or take such a wide step that you overextend.

{ MORE: 7 Parenting Trends to Look For in 2019 }

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Image via Jeanna Strassburg

Planks

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A plank is one of the best abdominal/core strengthening exercises you can do. The basic form is just a regular push-up position, but instead of on your hands flat against the floor, you want to rest on your forearms with your arms bent at a 90-degree angle.

The back is flat, and theh neck is in a neutral position so there is no stress on your neck. You should feel it all in your core. You want your back as flat as possible, and your butt shouldn't be up too high, or down too low. You should hold between 30-60 seconds.

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Image via Jeanna Strassburg

Crunches

Bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor with your hands behind your head. Press your back flat against the floor. When you crunch, you come up only a small amount while completely flexing your abdominal core.

Make sure you're not using your arms to lift your head or for momentum. Your head shouldn't be moving. A common mistake people make is bringing their chin into their chest. Your head should not be doing the work — your abs should!

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Image via Jeanna Strassburg

Elliptical

Here, your posture is key! Keep your back straight and shoulders back. The movable arms should help you with a broader, but natural, range of motion.

If it's uncomfortable for you, let your arms swing naturally at your side. Far too often, we bear weight on the machine to take the pressure off. Not only is this cheating, but you are also putting strain on your lower back. Keep your trunk postured up with your shoulders back.

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What exercises are you not sure if you're doing correctly? Have you ever “cheated” an exercise on purpose?

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What do you think?

5 Exercises You’re Doing Wrong

Jeanna Strassburg is a wife, and mother of three, who enjoys kitchen dance parties and summer time! Jeanna received her bachelor’s degree in Education from Brigham Young University-Idaho in April of 2007. She enjoys spending her time cooking, cleaning and tending to the proper duties of a stay at home mother… NOPE! Truthfully, she enjoys eating the food, but not making it or cleaning up after it. She likes to have a clean home, but loathes laundry and dishes. Loves her children, but coul ... More

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1 comment

  1. gfeld says:

    I have never cheated an exercise because i never do any!! Well, now post-baby I am looking for some exercises and these look perfect cuz they will target the right areas. Thank you so much for making me aware of these and for making sure that I will be doing them correctly, as well! 🙂

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