In order to make your workouts more productive and efficient you'll want to avoid these following common exercise "cheats." Cutting corners in your workout cheats you out of money, time and results. I'm fairly certain that is not what you intended.
Many cheat without even realizing it. On cardio machines, cheating might look like locking your elbows while leaning on the handrails. In the weight area, it could be the use of momentum or a slight change in the angle to make your lift easier, and therefore, less effective. Then there’s that dreaded comfort zone, which is so nice and… well, comfortable!
Here are some ways to identify some of those cheating ways. Let’s banish them forever!
The “Hold me Up”
When you start to feel fatigued on the treadmill or Stairmaster, it seems easy to reach for those handrails or the console. That’s because it is making it easier! I've seen people practically tip toeing on top of a very fast treadmill because they couldn't run that fast. "Running" this way while propping themselves up on locked arms! Hilarious, thanks for the laugh, but please stop. Locking your arms and shrugging puts stress on your back, shoulders and neck and creates an unnatural posture that in time can cause muscular imbalances. Not to mention how you'd feel if you lost your footing and fell. Hmmmm...
Try for fewer distractions like reading, or watching television during your workout. Maintain good posture, get into the groove, looking straight ahead with your shoulders back. Touch the handrails lightly to maintain balance. But if you find yourself holding on for dear life, slow down until you regain some strength, then resume your tempo. Focusing on your posture will also help strengthen your back, abs, and shoulders.
"Dude, Those Weights Are Too Heavy”
Some people think that lifting heavier weight means you’ll see results faster. When you swing your free weights around instead of using a slower, more controlled movement, you take the focus off the muscles you are working. Say no to momentum during a rep. Lifting too heavy of weights incorrectly can cause injury to tendons, ligaments and joints. Ouch! Injuries are never fun.
Keep your spine erect, core strong, body firmly planted and move only the muscles you are targeting while keeping the occupied joint in a fixed position. For example, while doing a bicep curl, don’t arch your back and shrug your shoulders. Sorry, but you shouldn't be bending at the knees for a bicep curl to hurl that weight up to your shoulder. The only movement should occur at the elbow, and that should remain stable at your side.
The “Comfort Zone" (yawn...)
Day in and day out of the same workout, lifting the same loads and never challenging your body, can become tedious at best. Your body will only improve by gradually increasing your weight loads. You need to occasionally challenge your muscles with more stress for noticeable strength gains, along with mixing up the exercises for the same muscle groups. If you don’t test your limits, you won’t see or feel improvements.
The Fix:Challenge your body a couple of times a week to go beyond your comfort zone. Push it honey! Try a new machine, slightly heavier weights or higher resistance to increase your level of exertion. Keep your form strong.
The bottom line is you want results! Wasting time and not seeing results or worse, causing injuries, is just downright silly. I. Can't. Even. Begin...
When you want to learn something new you hire someone to teach you that thing, right? Want to learn piano or guitar? You hire a teacher. Want your son to be a better pitcher? You hire a pitching coach. Want your kids to learn golf? You get that pro at the range to teach them.
Whenever you find yourself in the gym and not feeling completely confident or comfortable in the weight area, then that my friend, is the time to hire a trainer.
I've had the pleasure of helping so many women and men (and yes, some teens) over the past 13 years learn this stuff. It's awesome. I would totally dig helping you as well. Check out my website at Full-Body Fitness. Call today to find out about the rockin' Spring Specials going on right now that will get your booty in shape for summer!
Hugs and Blue Skies,