Six Exercises for Better Form - Part 1
One Leg Romanian Dead Lift, Push-Ups & Inverted Row
A friend of mine once had a great idea. He was working at a remote Alaska gold mine and needed a haircut. The only problem was the nearest barber was a four-hour drive away. So he decided to cut his own hair. How hard could it be?
With scissors in hand, he started trimming, cutting shaping and styling. It doesn't take much of an imagination to realize how this "great idea" turned out. The haircut looked so bad he ended up taking a razor and shaving it all off. Fortunately, he knew his hair would grow back in a few weeks and a professional would be able to start the repairs.
People who work out in a gym without basic instructions are like my friend and his untrained scissors. The big difference is, if you mess up while working out, you risk much more than your hair. You can damage muscles, tendons, joints and bones.
I'd like to offer a little help. I'm going to share with you the proper way to do six common exercises that are regularly done wrong by beginners. Three this week and three next week. To make things easier, I've included pictures showing exactly how you should proceed.
One Leg Romanian Dead Lift - This is an essential gait pattern exercise. It's crucial for proper hip function, knee function and cross body stabilization while running or walking. But the real reason most people do it is because it helps make your butt look good.
Stand upright, feet underneath the hips and shift your weight onto one leg. Maintain a neutral spine and inhale as you reach back with the heel of the free leg. Simultaneously, sink into the knee of the standing leg, pushing the hips backward. The knee of the free leg will be straight, the knee of the standing leg will be bent and the spine will be long and neutral. At the bottom firmly grasp a kettlebell and tighten the abdominals. Exhale and hinge at the hip back to an upright position.
Inhale, hinging back down, release the handle of the kettlebell, returning it to the ground.
Exhale, hinging back up to return to the starting position.
Push-ups - A great way to build upper body strength that requires no special equipment.
Laying face down, toes flexed, place the palms on the ground slightly wider than shoulder-width apart with the heel of the hands in line with the lower chest. Retract and depress the scapula (shoulder blades) and contract your core. Exhale pressing the body up until the arms are extended, stopping just short of locking the elbows.
Hold. Inhale. Lower the body until the elbow forms a 90-degree angle and the upper arms are parallel to the ground.
Make sure to maintain a neutral spine position throughout the exercise.
The most common way people cheat is by lifting the hips too high or letting them drop too low. Don't roll or externally rotate the shoulders. Avoid locking the elbows. Choose a spot directly in front of your eyes on the ground and stare at it, to avoid lifting your head.
Inverted Row - Push-ups work the front, the inverted row works your back. Both must be exercised equally so your muscles stay balanced.
Lay down face up underneath a TRX suspension trainer with the handles adjusted to several feet above the ground. Grasp the handles, palms facing the feet, and place feet on an 18-inch platform. Retract and depress the scapula (shoulder blades), engage the abdominals and the glutes and lift your body into a rigid plank position.
Exhale, pull the body up while maintaining the rigid plank position, driving from the elbows and rotating the palms inward. Stop and hold when the elbows are past the body and the palms are parallel. Inhale, slowly returning to starting position.
Keep the glutes fully engaged throughout exercise to prevent your hips from dropping. When pulling the body up, try to pull the shoulder blades together. If your strength does not allow for you to pull your body up with the elbows past the torso, decrease resistance by using a resistance band or lower your feet.
You should not shrug, roll your shoulders, flex the hips or allow the hips to sag. Never crane your neck or overarch your back.
Part 1 2
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