5 Common and Essential Exercises, and The Right Way to Do Them

By Ada Coonerty

Roll your shoulders down and away from your ears. Bend your knees and tuck your hips in slightly. Engage your core. What does this all mean? FORM!

We all could use a Form Check-up while working out, whether you are a beginner or an avid athlete.

This article will try to address some common elements of "proper form."

Squats:

This is a critical exercise for strength and power in the lower body. Common mistakes include knees buckling, weight distributed to the inner edges of the feet, knees buckling inward, and weight being shifted forward onto the balls of the feet or toes causing your heels to lift off the floor and/or the knees to pass over the toes.

To avoid these common mistakes, make sure your chest is lifted, in other words, I should be able to see your necklace, that your knees are pressed out, and that your weight is shifted back into your heels (you should be able to lift your toes).


Bicep Curls:

Often, the mistakes we see are a swinging motion of the entire body and arching of the back. Even though the weights make it on top, there is little control, if any, of the rest of the body.

To prevent these errors, have a slight pelvic tilt forward to protect your lower back which in turn engages your core. Also, keep elbows in and not flared outwards forcing you to use the biceps to bring the weights up and control the weights back down.


Push-ups:

A challenging move for your whole body and is commonly done incorrectly. Common mistakes are dropping your head or looking up, shoulders up by your ears, and dropping of hips.

To eliminate these errors, remember the following: Start in your plank with your palms flat, fingers spread open like a web, hands shoulder-width apart, shoulders stacked directly above your wrists, legs extended behind you, heels back, and hips tucked slightly so your glutes and core are engaged. When bending your elbows, think chest lowering to the floor (NOT YOUR FOREHEAD). You want to push through the palms of your hands to straighten your arms. I like to think you are pushing the floor out from under you.


Bent Over Rows:

If your back hurts when you row, chances are you are not in proper form. Common mistakes I see are arching of the lower back, neck not aligned with your spine, standing too upright, and rowing too quickly so you are using momentum rather than the intended muscle group.

To address these errors, start with your feet hip-width apart, and a slight bend in your knees. Your shoulders should be directly over your hips with a neutral head and neck position so your chin is tucked the entire time. Hinge your hips backward so you’re at a 45-degree angle. Rotate your shoulders back and away from your ears so you are engaging your lats. Pull your dumbbells toward your hips using your back and arms squeezing your lats. As I say in class, you want to squeeze and hold a pencil that’s between your shoulder blades. This move should not be performed at super speed. Pause on top and slowly lower dumbbells back to the starting position.


Shoulder Press:

Performing shoulder press exercises can be done both seated as well as standing. The most common mistake I see is the arching of the lower back.

If seated, always maintain your lower back’s natural curve. Avoid pressing your lower back into the backrest. Whether you are seated or standing, your feet should be shoulder-width apart and you should hold the dumbbells at shoulder height with your elbows at a 90-degree angle. Slowly lift the dumbbells above your head without fully straightening your arms. Pause at the top and slowly return to the start position.


I Salute You!!

Ada Coonerty

@fitnessfromadaz



About Ada Coonerty

I am a 48 y/o mother of two and married to a supportive husband. Everyday for the past ten years I wake up absolutely loving what I do - Fitness. There are two words I do not have in my vocabulary, "I Can't." Rather than saying, "I can't," I believe in saying, I will try, this is a struggle but I will practice, I will modify. I look forward to working out with you all and have fun while doing it!!

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