When exercising at the gym, a “sweat” is the only thing you want to break. But, people who are uneducated about proper weight training techniques end up with strains, pulled muscles, or worst of all, broken bones.
Don Gallucci, a fitness coach and personal trainer at the TriHealth Fitness and Health Pavilion, explains three mistakes beginners typically make in the weight room and how to combat them.
Mistake #1: Not Maintaining Proper Posture
One common mistake beginners make revolves around sloppy form, for example, throwing the head forward, over-elevating the shoulders or locking the knees. “Those are red flags that I like to try to address when I’m training or working with someone as they perform a movement,” Don explains.
Watch yourself in the mirror to monitor your form or ask a fitness professional for instructions.
Mistake #2: Breathing Incorrectly
Don follows the mantra, “exhale on exertion.” This means that means you exhale as you lift weight, and you inhale as you are returning the weight to the starting position.
Mistake #3: Not Engaging Your Core
As you stabilize, engaging your core muscles is crucial for lifting safely. Proper breathing goes hand-in-hand with using your core during exercise. “The best way to engage the core is through proper breathing,” Don points out.
He also tells his clients to "press through the floor and fire through the core," because as you press through the floor, it causes your knees to automatically soften.
What are the Pitfalls of Not Following These Lifting Rules?
The biggest downside is “compensation of the movement, or using other muscles to perform the movement,” Don says. When you use muscles that you should not be using to perform a particular movement, for example, locking your knees when lifting weight, you run the risk of injuring yourself.
And remember, if you ever have questions, always ask a professional who can give you the appropriate guidance.