If you’re working out at the gym, first of all, congratulations. You’ve made it farther than like, 92 percent of Americans, and honestly, we’re still eating hangover fries from Saturday. We’d hate to fuck with the betch that gets up before work to go to the gym, but we’d also like to help out. It turns out there’s like, a million exercise mistakes that people make on the reg, and if you don’t fix your form asap, you’re wasting your time. Here are the seven exercise mistakes you’re probably making and how to fix them:
1. Squats: You’re Only Squatting Halfway Down
This mistake is so common and so sad, because half-assing a squat will literally lead you to having half an ass. If you’re one of those girls who thinks squatting at the gym is supposed to look cute and bouncy, good luck with seeing any real results. The whole point of a squat is to engage the entire back of your leg and butt area, so you want to get as low as possible, keeping your thighs parallel to the ground and getting your butt below your thighs at the bottom of the movement. Also, make sure your knees don’t go in front of your feet. If you’re doing it right, you should be squatting lower than you would in the Delta terminal bathroom stall.
2. Running: You Have Bad Posture On the Treadmill
If you hopped on the treadmill ready to run with your Twerkout Workout Spotify playlist in hand, stop for a second and fix your posture. When it comes to cardio machines like the treadmill, Stair Climber, or the bike, most people are tempted to hunch over when they get tired, which will actually fuck up your workout and probably cause major back and neck pain. Try to keep your hands off the rails and maintain straight posture with your core tight while running. It also helps to look ahead and keep your neck as straight as you can. Don’t be the girl telling people about your injury from a 30 second sprint on an incline. No one sympathizes.
3. Lunges: You’re Putting Pressure On Your Knees
When you’re doing lunges, it’s important that your step forward is as big as possible. You don’t want to take a baby step and put pressure on your front knee, which can lead to a tendon strain. You want your front heel to be at least two feet in front of your back knee as it bends toward the floor. Also, lunges work your thighs and butt, so you also want your back knee to literally touch the ground in order to feel the move in your ass. If you need to slow down to make sure each step is big enough, do it.
4. Crunches: You’re Using Neck Instead Of Your Core
Any idiot knows that crunches work your abs, so overusing your neck needs to stop like, now. Using any sort of momentum from your hands or head to lift your torso up completely takes the exercise off your core, which makes the whole thing totally pointless. You need to contract your core the entire time and use ONLY the muscles in that area to lift you up. If you can’t nail the form on your crunches, stick to planks or standing side crunches. Just don’t waste your time putting your hands behind your head and pulling yourself upward to then hurt your neck. Everybody will laugh at you if you’re rocking a neck brace because you fucked up crunches.
5. Kettlebell Swings: You’re Using Upper Body Instead Of Lower
When done right, kettlebell swings are an amazing exercise for your entire lower body, because you’re explosively swinging the weight from underneath your butt into the air, using the momentum of your hips and thighs to get enough power in the swing. Most people, however, tend to swing the kettlebell with their arms, and they end up just lifting the weight from their legs to their shoulders without any lower body swing involved. The trick is to avoid lifting with your back and shoulders, and instead focus on a hinge in your hips, basically snapping the kettlebell forward, not upward. You should basically feel like you’re in the “Bend and Snap” scene in Legally Blonde.
6. Plyometric Moves: You’re Landing On The Wrong Part Of Your Foot
For those of you who don’t know, plyometric exercises refer to any moves where you’re jumping in different positions to get your heart rate up. Think jump squats, box jumps, jumping lunges, tuck jumps…. It’s a lot of jumping. But even though these moves are brutal and hard, you shouldn’t be punishing your heels in the process. Landing on your heels leads to injury super fast, and just makes the impact more intense than it needs to be. You should be landing on the middle part of your foot, and then rolling forward to push off the ball of the foot when jumping up. You should be sore tomorrow because of your muscles burning, not your feet.
7. Cool Down: You’re Skipping The Stretch
If you’re in a rush and don’t feel like staying at the gym for some extra credit cool down time, we get it, but it’s super important to take a couple minutes to stretch before heading out. Your soreness tomorrow will be 10 times worse if you don’t stretch, and you’ll probably cramp up later in the day. Spend a few minutes stretching out the muscles you worked. Do yoga stretches that target multiple areas so you can get the most out of a short stretching session, like pigeon pose, downward dog, and child’s pose. It’s annoying to postpone brunch a few minutes longer, but your body will thank you when you can move tomorrow without crying.