I am going to provide you with two top tips. One is easy, MAKE SURE YOU KNOW YOUR TECHNIQUE INSIDE OUT for every exercise you undertake! For example, performing a dumbbell lateral raise:
It focuses on specific muscles within the shoulder such as your lateral deltoids (the ones at the side).
Using the lateral raise as the example, when you raise the dumbbells out to either side, if your little finger is either level or lower than your thumb, you will NOT target these muscles effectively. Crazy isn’t it! Such a tiny adjustment!
Just by ‘turning’ your hands slightly so that your little finger is above your thumb, your arms extended but slightly bent at the elbow with your shoulders and posture in alignment, you target these muscles nicely!
With everything else in perfect order but your thumbs level or higher than your little finger, the exercise has been instantly made ineffective!
Another example I see so often is the squat………Surely you just bend your legs don’t you?
As I often say to my clients: Educate, don’t just annihilate!
Many people are squatting far heavier than they should simply to impress some unknown spectator they hope is watching. Or some people are not out to impress and perform some sort of ‘bro science’ training, but with the best of intentions, they just aren’t doing it right.
So, let me get to it. The squat is an excellent functional exercise that replicates many daily movements we SHOULD be performing in daily activities. When done properly, it effectively targets your Quadriceps (front of your legs) and your Glutes (arse!), hamstrings, core and much more!
Done incorrectly, it can be the cause of bad knees, a bad lower back, reduced muscle tone in your butt and much more.
To perform it correctly you need to look for a few things:
Your knees can’t be reaching further than your toes! When you squat, they must stay beck above your ankles as much as possible…..How you ask?…..
This is achieved by ‘hinging’ at your hips. Whilst keeping an upright spine, you need to stick your bum back and keep the natural lower curve in your back.
I say ‘hinge’ your hips because you need to imagine yourself as a door hinge when squatting. When you lower yourself down, you fold your body at the hips like a hinge…..
When you stand back up, you push through your heels and bring yourself back upright and open up like unfolding a door hinge……make sense??
I hope so!
Without correct technique and client awareness of their own body, exercises will be ineffective. This is one of the major reasons as to why people go to a gym for many years and get nowhere after the first couple of months!
I hate to say this, but this is why personal trainers are so worthit. Even if just a monthly check up to update programmes, check technique and so on. Who wants to work at something for months, even years and achieve absolutely nothing!
Put it this way, would you do a constant monotonous task at work that achieves absolutely nothing every day for the rest of your working life and even pay your employer for the privilege?
The answer is obvious……I hope! Whether you consider getting a personal trainer or not, the important thing here is that one way or another, you get in to the practice of good technique.