Make sure you’re doing exercises correctly to save yourself a world of hurt
Any time you jump on a treadmill, pick up a weight or even do a sit-up, knowing the right form for a workout can make all the difference. Even with simple exercises, it’s easy to get sloppy, which can often result in sore joints or muscles and derail your workout until you recover. Experts say that form is one part of your workout that’s easy to fix and can often result in huge strides for your exercise routine, particularly if you get a professional to take a look.
Try a Trainer
A lot of the time, you can save yourself a lot of discomfort by consulting a professional trainer before starting any new workout routine. A trainer will be able to scrutinize your movements and correct your form if necessary. Often, this amounts to just a simple adjustment of shoulder or pelvis positioning, or even just finding your correct center of gravity. Most strains and muscle injuries are preventable, so working with a trainer will ensure that you avoid those sorts of problems by maintaining the proper form.
Many exercises, like kettlebells, free weights and medicine balls are highly effective, but require very specific forms that many may be unaware of. A lack of understanding in how to correctly lift weights or how to land when engaging in jumping exercises can often result in unnecessary injury. Consulting a trainer before using these kinds of workouts can save you some serious pain, so if you’re thinking about trying a new exercise, get someone to show you the ropes first.
Here are some tips on avoiding strain during your workout, even if you can’t get a trainer to check out your moves:
- Don’t skip the warm-up. Spend a good 15 minutes doing stretches and cardio warm-up before reaching for the weights. This can make all the difference in avoiding injuries.
- Build a foundation. Before you jump straight into a high-intensity, technique-heavy workout, it’s important to build a full-body foundation. Try strengthening your mobility and your stability with exercises like lunges, squats and planks and pay close attention to landing safely and softly on the middle of your foot. Everything in the body is connected, so it’s important to build stability from the ground up—landing incorrectly on your ankle can cause problems in your knees or hips. Build balance and strength before you move on to the more difficult stuff.
- Ask a professional at your gym to look at your form. Though a personal trainer may not always be a viable option, your gym may have a fitness professional willing to take a quick look at your workout. Ask nicely and be open to criticism—though small details of your form may be invisible to you, any fitness professional may be able to offer you a great tip that will keep your exercise from causing you pain.