Maybe you are one of those millions of Americans who made a new year’s resolution to start or ramp up your exercise routine. If so, then you are in good company. The International Health, Racquet & Sports Club Association (IHRSA) announced that the global health club industry served over 170 million members in 2018.

Regular exercise is well known for controlling weight and promoting good sleep. However, using the wrong exercise form can create long term injuries that keep you from reaching these healthy goals.

This article will cover some common exercise form mistakes and how these mistakes can undermine the benefits you have worked so hard to achieve. They can also hurt you further down the road.

Exercise Form: What is it?

Exercise Form is a specific way to perform a drill or movement. These methods are designed to prevent overuse injuries and promote strength. Correct form guarantees that the movement only uses the intended muscle and avoids engaging secondary muscles.

There is a discipline behind each of your exercise moves. Here is a list of a few exercises and their common form mistakes that are easy to make.

Bicep Curl

Arm or bicep curls are a weight training exercise that uses barbells or dumbbells. You shorten and lengthen your upper arm muscles by alternating or “curling” your arms up at the elbows. This exercise strengthens your bicep brachii muscles.

The correct exercise form for bicep curls is to stand with your shoulders back and spine straight. Keep your back and elbows down at your side. Bend your arms up until they are in front of the shoulders.

Bicep curls done incorrectly can lead to wrist or elbow strain. If you lean back too far when curling, you risk injury to your lower back. If you cannot do this exercise in the correct form, it might mean your weights are too heavy.

Stomach Crunch

A stomach or abdominal crunch is a move that strengthens the rectus abdominis muscle in your body’s midsection. With this exercise, you lie on your back with your knees bent up. Keep your feet flat on the floor and slowly raise your upper torso until both shoulders are two inches off the floor.

Crunches do not eliminate stomach fat. Instead, your side muscles will gradually tighten into shape.

Proper crunch form includes slowly raising your torso and keeping your abdomen tight. Do not tuck your chin too close to your chest or you can run the risk of straining your neck muscles. If your hips are too tight, you might create a lower spinal injury.

The Plank

The plank is a helpful exercise for developing your back muscles surrounding your spine. You hold a push-up like position still, while your body’s weight rests on your forearms and elbows. These back exercises can also improve flexibility in your posterior muscles.

The correct form for this exercise is to keep your hips raised and legs straight. Your goal is to form a straight line from your head to toe. Keep your shoulders above your elbows and face looking down towards the floor.

Bad plank form, can have disastrous effects on your back. Incorrect form can lead to strain in your lower lumbar back region. You also risk rupturing the cartilage discs that separate your vertebrae.

Sit-ups

Sit-ups are another conditioning exercise designed to strengthen your abdomen and hip flexor muscles. Sit-ups and stomach crunches begin with the same starting position lying on the floor. Unlike the stomach crunch, situps involve lifting your entire back off the floor.

The correct exercise form for sit-ups means keeping your knees up and feet firmly on the floor. Cross both of your arms across your chest. Pull your body up from your hips and keep your lower back straight.

One of the difficulties with sit-ups is It’s difficult to avoid rounding your lower back as you lift your torso from the floor. This action pushes your lumbar spine down onto the floor and overworks your hip flexors. This tension can injure your vertebrae.

Resources to Help

There are many medical specialties today that can help you heal from your injuries sustained from incorrect exercise form. Some of these disciplines include:

Chiropractic Care

This health care field centers on your spine and joints and how they connect to your nervous system. Chiropractors are trained to use adjustments to repair joint function and support the nervous system. They provide care free of any unnecessary drugs or surgery.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is a type of treatment in which a trained and certified medical professional applies different levels of pressure and movement to your body’s soft tissue. Massage can be applied to your muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

Sports Medicine

Sports medicine is a subspecialty that focuses on treatment and preventive care for amateur and professional athletes. These professionals can advise athletes on safe exercising tips. They can also treat injuries and help athletes regain their full mobility.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy teaches patients how to manage their individual conditions so that they can realize long-term health benefits. Physical therapists examine each patient and create recovery plans to relieve pain and improve function.

Next Steps

If you want to have the correct exercise form in your workout plan, consult a specialist to show you how to exercise correctly. These specialists can be physical therapists or athletic trainers who are familiar with proper exercising techniques.

Be sure to listen to your body, do not ignore any pain you feel. If an exercise causes pain, stop and then try it again in a few days.

Do not forget to check our website for more information on how bad form equals pain. If your exercise form is doing you more harm than good, we can help you fix that!