Health & Fitness πŸ’ͺ🏾❀️: 9 popular exercises you’re likely doing wrong

  
The decision to exercise is always a smart one. Research confirms that anytime you work up a good sweat, you reap physical and mental rewards. But while you don’t need fancy equipment or a personal coach to get in a workout, you do need to do your exercises correctly if you want to avoid injury and make the most of your efforts.
There are a surprising number of exercises that seem simple but are actually harder than they look. And if you’re going to all the trouble of putting on your workout clothes and lacing up your sneakers, you might as well make your sweat count. Here are nine exercises that you’re probably doing incorrectly…
1. Stretching 

 Man and woman stretching
Most people don’t realize it, but you need to get limber before you stretch. (Photo: Jacob Lund/Shutterstock)

Wait, what? How is it possible to get stretching wrong? Many people either skip the stretches altogether, or attempt some quick knee jerks or toe touches on cold muscles to “limber up” before a workout. Both of these options are a recipe for disaster. Stretching should be an integral part of your workout, beginning with dynamic stretches β€” such as arm circles or leg swings β€” to ease your muscles into motion, and ending with static stretches β€” such as sitting toe touches β€” to lengthen a muscle before or after your workout.
One stretch that many folks get wrong is the hamstring stretch (you know the one where you bend from the waist and try to touch your toes.) If you are not capable of bending over without rounding your back, you should not be doing this at all! Instead, she recommends lying on your back while stretching the hamstrings to avoid injury.
Here’s how to get all of your stretches right:
Don’t:
Bounce

Stretch without warming up

Stretch an injured muscle

Be overly aggressive with your stretches

Do:
Start with dynamic stretches (high knees, arm circles, hip circles, leg swings, etc.)

Alternate stretches day-to-day

Gently move through stretches

2. Lunges 

 Woman doing lunges
If your front knee extends beyond your toes, you could be putting yourself at risk for injury. (Photo: Veles Studio/Shutterstock)

Lunges are a fantastic exercise for your glutes and hamstrings. But they are also incredibly easy to get wrong. And bad form on a lunge doesn’t just look sloppy, it could also lead to injury. So this is one exercise that you’re better off skipping unless you know how to do it correctly.
Don’t:
Lean forward or back

Lunge too far forward

Turn your foot inward

Externally rotate the back knee

Do:
Keep your body straight the whole time

Move your knees in a straight line

Try different lunge variations

3. Crunches 

 woman doing crunch or situp
When doing crunches or situps, be sure to keep your lower back straight. (Photo: Uber Images/Shutterstock)
 Situps exacerbate postural problems by rounding your back. Also, situps place high loads on the lumbar spine and can lead to disc herniation!
You don’t need to forgo crunches and situps altogether, but they shouldn’t be the only part of your core routine. Mix them in with moves such as the Pilates hundred or yoga’s boat pose to build strength and reduce your risk for injury.
4. Pullups 
 Men doing pull ups
To get a pullup right you need to concentrate on control and form. (Photo: bikeriderlondon/Shutterstock)

A common error when attempting pullups is to pull the weight behind your head, which can lead to rotator cuff issues. If you’re not ready for controlled pullups or chinups with good form β€” and let’s face it, most of us aren’t β€” see if you’re gym has a lat pulldown machine. These are great for building strength while you’re working toward the pullup goal. Here’s how to get those pullups right:
Don’t:
Swing your lower body to create momentum

Jump to get yourself to a higher level

Cheat by going only halfway up or down

Do:

Keep your movements slow and controlled

Lift with your palms facing you (for chinups) or away from you (for pullups)

Aim to complete the full range of motion

5. Planks 

 woman doing a plank exercise
When planking, lower your hips and look straight ahead. (Photo: George Rudy/Shutterstock)
It seems like everyone is planking these days, but that doesn’t mean they’re doing them correctly. Planks can build core strength and relieve lower back pain, but when done incorrectly, they can exacerbate these problems. Here are some tips from Gorshkova to help you nail your next plank:
Don’t:

Arch your back

Lower your hips

Look up or straight ahead

Reach your butt to the sky

Tilt your hips

Position your hands too far apart

Do:

Lock your pelvis to your abdomen by squeezing your glutes

Focus on your breathing

Try different plank variations

6. Pushups 

 Woman doing push ups
You can vary your pushup workout by changing your hand position. (Photo: Stas Tolstnev/Shutterstock)

Similar to planks, it’s easy to lose proper form when doing pushups. This exercise is tough, and many people like to cheat it by slouching or only bending the arms a little bit. But these shortcuts won’t get you anywhere when it comes to building strength. The key is to keep your body locked by squeezing your glutes and engaging your core. Here are Gorshkova do’s and dont’s to help you get the most out of your pushups:
Don’t:
Perform half a pushup (not going low or high enough)

Hold your breath

Hold your chin too close to your chest

Place your hands too far forward

Do:

Keep your elbows closer to your body

Keep your body in a straight line from your shoulders to your heels

Make sure you are completing full reps

Keep your head in line

Try easier pushup variations to build up your strength
8. Bicep curls 
 Woman doing a bicep curl
Bicep curls seem simple, but they can be deceptively difficult to get right. (Photo: Uber images/Shutterstock)

On its own, the bicep muscle really can’t lift as much weight as it can when it works in conjunction with the rest of the body. So the biggest mistake that people make with this exercise is to try to lift a heavier weight than their bicep alone can handle. This requires tapping into other muscles (like the legs and lower back,) defeating the whole purpose of the exercise. Here’s what to watch for when doing your bicep curls:
Don’t:

Swing the weight or your body

Bend at the wrist

Flare your elbows

Do:
Lock your elbows to your sides

Squeeze your bicep as you curl the weight up

Control the movement as you lower the weight down

Aim to complete the full range of movement

9. Walking 

 Walkers
Think you know how to walk? Think again. (Photo: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock)

Is it possible to walk incorrectly? Sadly, it is. Sure you can flop yourself around if you’re just trying to get from place to place. But if you want to enjoy the health benefits of a good walk, you should pay closer attention to your form. Here are some of the key points to keep in mind. 
Don’t:

Slouch
Pound your feet into the pavement

Watch your feet while you walk

Do:

Look straight ahead
Gently engage your core

Relax and enjoy your walk

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