Top 10 Gym Mistakes (Part 2) - Tearing it up on the treadmill,The benchmark,Stand and deliver,Planking

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6.    Tearing it up on the treadmill

Description: Description: Tearing it up on the treadmill

If a brisk walk on the treadmill does your body good, you can only benefit from creating your own mini-mountain by raising the incline to up the challenge, right?

Wrong. If you’ve increased the incline to the point where you have to hang on to the rails for support, your body is receiving no benefit at all – in effect, you’ve hut down your potential for burning kilojoules.

You’ll have a far more effective workout if you walk at a pace, and incline, that leaves you out of breath but still in control.

7.    When you’re getting squat for your effort

Squats might work wonders for toning your thighs, but if they’re performed incorrectly, they can be hell for your lower back and your knees.

“Get your form right by engaging your core, keeping your chest open and your shoulder back,” says Rossouw. “Keep your torso as upright as possible while you squat – you may find it helps to look at a point straight ahead of you or even on the ceiling, but be sure not to drop your gaze to the floor. As you rise, protect your knees by driving them outwards and pushing through your heels”

8.    The benchmark

Description: Description: The benchmark

It’s all too easy to lose your focus and arch your lower back while working on the bench.

To prevent this, Rossouw suggest placing your feet on the bench – or even putting them in the air, with your knees bent to a 90-degree angle, to force your back down.

9.    Stand and deliver

Try to get the most out of your standing sessions by keeping your feet placed squarely under your hips with a slight bend in your knees.

Rossouw also recommends locking your should blades. “You can perform a range of movements form this position,” he says.

10. Planking

There’s plenty of room for error while performing the plank, comments Melson.

“Although you’re aiming to have your body in a straight line, from your neck to your feet, many people find their bums in the air, or dipping their hips – a position that places pressure on the shoulders and back.”

“Protect these muscles by making sure that your shoulders are over your elbows, your legs are straight and your feet are hip distance apart.”

“If it helps, you can balance on your forearms instead of your hands.”

You tell us

Picking sides

Description: Description: on running and cycling

Michelle Cavé, 32, is a PR executive at an advertising firm in Joburg.

“I’ve always focused more on running and cycling that other exercises. This means that I’ve consistently worked the same group of muscles – the outer ones – and ignored the others.

“Because of this, I’ve build up the muscles on one side of my knee, while the other has remained undeveloped – and it doesn’t help that I’ve never been a big one for stretching. Now, the stronger muscles are pulling the kneecap from its central position – and it’s very painful! I’ve visited a podiatrist, who suggested I correct the problem by wearing sneakers that help support my ankles. A biokineticist has recommended stretches to strengthen the inner knee muscles”

Machine malfunction

Nonhlanhla Mondlane, 30, is a freelance journalist from Nelspruit.

“I’ve learnt the hard way that, if you don’t use the gym equipment correctly, it can be hazardous!

“On one occasion, I tripped on a moving treadmill and fell, hurting myself quite badly.

“More recently, I was using the deep chin assistant, and had grabbed onto the steel framework to hoist myself up. I banged my leg quite badly. It felt a painful wound, and a mark which only went away with use of tissue oil.

“Next time I want to use the machines, I’ll definitely ask for a trainer’s advice first!”

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