4 Mistakes to Eliminate from Your Gym Routine
Lifestyle Whether you’re a seasoned vet or stepping back into the weight room after a break, it’s important to keep safety top-of-mind. Use these guidelines to keep your mind sharp and your body healthy.
After a long winter we often rush back into the gym to get in our best shape for the summer. According to Dr. Raj, ABC News Medical Consultant and CEO of Beverly Hills Orthopedic Institute, the majority of the injuries are caused by these common mistakes.
Mistake 1: You’re not warming up
“Most people have this energy where they just want to get into a workout right away so they skip warming up,” Dr. Raj says. This is the most common reason why people get injured because your muscles are tight and your joints are not as mobile as they would be after a few minutes of movement.
The Fix: If the stationary cycle or treadmill is not available, dynamic stretching has been shown to prep your muscles for activity. Try a walking cross-behind lunge for your lower body. Keep your hands behind your head and get into a deep lunge by stepping your leg across behind you. Interchange between the left and the right foot about eight times. For upper body, do the medicine ball twists. Starting at one hip, bring the ball up and over towards your opposite shoulder at least 10 times.
Mistake 2: Squats are making your knees hurt
“I’ve seen people complain about knee pain, and more often than not it’s because they are doing squats wrong,” Dr. Raj says. If the axis of your knee is ahead of your foot, you’ll end up loading your knee instead of your glutes, which is straining your knees.
The Fix: Keep your knee behind your ankle. To make it a little easier and to drill in perfect form, Dr. Raj suggests squatting against a wall.
Mistake 3: You’re putting your back at risk by standing wrong
If your stance is off, lifting weights can overload the discs in your back.
The Fix: Stand in a staggered stance when you curl a weight up. You’ll naturally extend your back with your hips forward and your back in its natural position.
Mistake 4: You’re running downhill wrong
“There is absolutely no value in sprinting downhill,” Dr. Raj says. You have to rely on your hamstrings when you run too fast, and if they are weak they can’t tolerate any twisting or instability. The minute you twist, you’re putting yourself at risk for knee, ankle, and ACL injuries.
The Fix: Leave the sprints for the uphill portions of your workout, and strengthen your hamstrings with exercises on a ball. Lie flat on the ground and place your heels on the ball, leaving the hips on the floor. Keep your arms straight out from the body. Then raise your hips until they are fully extended and perform a leg curl and flex the knees as your heels drive the ball closer to your body. Move the legs back out again and repeat this 10 times.