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By: Chris Stanko, PT
Research has shown that exercising regularly is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Engaging in an exercise program is very important, but it is equally important to have proper form and technique while performing all exercises. Improper form can lead to joint irritation, muscle pain and soreness, and injury. Also, if you are trying to isolate a specific muscle group while performing a certain exercise and you do not have good form, you will often not strengthen the muscle(s) that you are trying to work on.
Squats, lunges, planks, and crunches are examples of common exercises that are frequently performed incorrectly. Below are examples of how these exercises should be performed as well as common mistakes.
DO: While performing a squat, the knees should bend, the hips/buttock should shift backward, and the back should stay straight as the trunk comes forward.
DON’T: Some common mistakes include having the knees go too far over the toes, not shifting hips/buttocks back far enough, and/or trying to keep the back upright and not letting it come forward.
DO: While performing a lunge, you should have a long stride front to back, your back should stay straight, and your body should translate straight down like you are trying to kneel down on your back knee. Your front knee should not go past your toe.
DON’T: The most common mistake is to translate your body forward and not straight down. This will cause your front knee to go past your toe and put a lot of pressure on the front of your knee.
DO: While performing a plank, your back should be completely straight. Your head should be in line with your body and your body should be in a straight line from your head to your toes.
DON’T: Common mistakes when performing a plank are to have your head down, have your shoulders too rounded, drop your chest too low/pinch your shoulder blades together, and/or have your buttocks too high in the air.
DO: While performing a crunch, you should draw in your abdominal muscles and lift your shoulder blades off the floor keeping your head in a neutral position.
DON’T: Common mistakes in the performance of a crunch would be to pull on your head too much, lift your whole trunk off the floor (this engages your hip muscles too much), and/or use your arms or momentum to perform the motion.
If you need help ensuring you’re exercising correctly or developing an exercise plan that’s right for you, click here to learn about Sheltering Arms’ fitness and wellness services or schedule an appointment to meet with a certified fitness specialist.