The first time you exercise regularly, it can be intimidating, especially if you’re going to a new gym by yourself. It’s okay not to be a health and fitness expert, but you can harm your body if your posture is incorrect. Express.de chatted with Jason Bone, Head of Strength at FLEX Chelsea and Hollie Grant, Founder of Pilates PT (@thepilatespt on Instagram) to find out the six most common mistakes people make in the gym and how to correct them.
Heels rise in the crouch
One big mistake fitness newbies make is letting their heels lift while doing squats, with or without weights.
Jason said, “Try to keep the weight on your heels as much as possible.
“Sometimes your hips are too tight to squat down, so work on your hip flexibility and stretch your hip flexors and glutes.
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Weight on the forefoot when doing a lunge
If you’ve noticed that when you fall out, you’re putting your weight on the front of your foot, this is where you need to fix.
Jason said, “There is a tendency to kick your toes off when you lunge, but doing so will put more strain on your quads than your post chain.
“Start with a static lunge and focus on the push-up from the heel.”
Use your neck muscles to straighten yourself up
Remember – a sit-up is for your abs, not your neck!
Jason said, “Think about the contraction of your abs, start with slow, controlled movements and keep your eyes on the ceiling.
“It’s not about getting all the way up, it’s about being able to hold the contraction in the abs.”
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Forget about your spinal health
When doing heavy lifting exercises like deadlifts, squats, and lunges, you need to keep an eye on your spine.
Hollie explained, “Large compound movements are actually very technical and difficult to master.
“But since they are well known, many beginners go to the gym, load themselves with barbells or dumbbells and jump into these movements.
“While I actively want people to get stronger, fitter, and try these movements naturally, the main thing we need to do is make sure they’re done well.”
The main reason for doing these exercises is to “make sure the right muscles are used” and “don’t take over the dominant muscles”.
Practicing ensures that you are safe and not injuring yourself.
Hollie added, “When you practice compound movements, you need to consider the shape of your spine – ideally we want to keep a fairly neutral spine for the hip joint.
“If you imagine the distance between your hipbones and the lowest rib, it shouldn’t change when you hinge on your hip. As this distance increases, there is a chance that you will be moving in the direction of the lumbar extension (essentially a back bend).
“This can make your lower back muscles worse. When the distance shortens, you are in lumbar flexion and tuck under. “
You can watch videos or tutorials on these movements online so you know what your technique should be – but make sure they are created by trained fitness and health professionals.
Additionally, use the gym mirrors to aid your technique by looking at your form and comparing it to what you’ve seen online.
Hollie recommends mastering the technique before starting weight gain.