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As a professional fitness trainer, competitive runner and triathlete, what I often see in the weight room at a gym is cringeworthy. Unfortunately, most of us have seen atrocities being committed, in bodily form though exercise. This is my public service announcement to make it stop.
Before you embark on a strength-training program know this:
If you lack core strength, your body will find the easiest path to lifting, pushing, pulling or carrying any kind of weight. The easiest path, as you may have guessed, is usually not the one with the best form and therefore can result in injury.
Never sacrifice weight for form. If you cannot perform the exercise with good posture, reduce the weight or get rid of it entirely. Contrary to popular belief, the weight room is not a place for ego.
Take a good look in the mirror the next time you perform one of these moves and check yourself before you wreck yourself get hurt:
One of the simplest moves but worst offenders.
Stand with feet about hip distance apart, shift your weight to your heels and lead with your glutes as you lower toward the ground, keeping a straight back.
The issue here is usually a heavier load then the body can handle and a rounded back. Drop some weight if you cannot keep your back aligned with your head.
Keep your shoulders out of your ears. You also want good alignment. Your shoulder should be in line with your elbows. You want a straight line from elbow to wrist.
This is where your core strength really comes into play. If you cannot keep a straight back, drop down to your knees until you can. Also, you should be focusing just beyond your hands so you keep your head, shoulder and spine all in alignment.
Beware of the knee coming over your toes. Think of moving straight up and straight down. No forward motion allowed. Also beware of starting with your feet too close together or too far apart.
Please, please, please do not swing the weights or your body. Please. If you feel the need to move anything except your arms, the weights are too heavy.
Keep your upper arm as close to your body as possible and extend from the elbow.
Bring this as your guide the next time you go to the gym, make copies and hand them out. Everyone, except maybe your local physical therapy center, will appreciate it.
What makes you cringe in the weight room?