I’ve now spent the majority of August in the weight room at our gym, lifting, pushing, pulling, working every muscle group with the best respective exercises, in the safest way I can. I’m far from an expert when it comes to weight lifting, however, I’ve informed myself enough to know that when I pick up a weight or get under a barbell, I’m going to carry out that exercise with proper form.
When you decide one day that you want to abandon the cardio machines and venture over to the weight area of your gym for the first time, you’re probably going to
want to cry be a bit intimidated by everything going on over there – especially if you’re a girl and especially if you have no idea what you’re doing. I had a pretty good idea, but I was still really overwhelmed with the sea of bulky, grunting, scantily clad dudes who seemed to be throwing their weights down at my feet with every step I took. Maybe it was their way of trying to scare me out of their sacred, testosterone and sweat laden lair…or maybe it was a figment of my imagination. Either way, they all looked like experts to me, with bulging muscles and perfect form. It kinda psyched me out, making me reluctant to do anything but just watch them, shy and weak, from the most desolate corner of the gym while I merely contemplated the idea of working out along side any of them.
Well, I decided to suck it up and get to it because staying intimidated wasn’t going to help me get stronger. And, to my surprise, I realized very quickly that a lot of people (a lot of the guys!) around me at the gym have little-to-no idea what they’re doing – whether it’s their improper form, doing an exercise that does more harm than good, or just plain ignorance, a lot of them seem to be ill-informed.
So, in order to ensure that you always know what you’re doing, read up and research the proper form and different techniques associated with the exercises you incorporate into your workouts extensively before you attempt them. It will save you from serious injury, I promise.
I’m going to go over two of the main – and two of the most important – exercises that I’ve seen demonstrated incorrectly at my gym. I’ll include some useful links and videos to show you how to perform these moves correctly.
For a really good reference, Nerd Fitness has a lot of useful information about working out properly in a gym, including how to warm up properly, how to squat, how to deadlift, how to do a pull-up, and how to do a push-up. I’m kind of obsessed with this site, but it’s one of the best all-around resources I’ve found on the internet to date and if I can find everything I need in one place, I’m not going to be mad about it. Right? Right. Onward!
- Stand with feet a little wider than shoulder width apart, toes pointed slightly outward
- Squat back and down until your quads are parallel to the floor
- Keep your back flat, do not arch it
- Keep your chest and head up
- Be careful not to extend your knees past your toes
- Drive through your heels when coming out of your squat
- If you are using a barbell:
- Use a wide grip (about as wide as your toes) with palms facing foward
- Rest bar on upper back, do not place it on your neck
- Make sure your elbows are high, pointing back instead of straight down
Here’s a great video for body weight squats:
And here’s a good, quick one I found for barbell squats:
The Barbell Deadlift:
- Stand with toes directly under the barbell, feet a little wider than hip width apart
- Squat down and grasp barbell with an overhand grip (palms facing down), hands slightly wider than feet
- Keeping a straight back, stand up by driving through your heels and hips
- Keep your chest out and head up
- Be careful not to round your shoulders – if you start to round your shoulders, you need to use less weight
Here’s a quick video showing proper form:
That’s all for now. Next time I see someone doing something ignorant in the gym, I’ll make sure you’re the first to know 🙂
Do you lift weights at all? Or do you stick to a mostly cardio workout regimen?
How much research do you do before you complete a workout that is new to you?
Did the weight room and all the lunks in it intimidate you at first, or was it just me? I’m fine on the intimidation part now, but I think most of those guys are still getting used to the idea of seeing a set of boobs in the weight area, at least that’s what their awkward glances tell me.
Sorry I didn’t post Tuesday. I suck, per the usual. But not as much as I used to. So there’s that. K bye.