This is the first post of 6 in this series of how to's. Get excited!
I have been working in different aspects of the fitness industry for 10 years. I have worked in many different venues; health clubs, college recreation centers, sports training facilities, corporate fitness centers, and a Pilates studio. It pains me to see people performing exercises with incorrect form, mostly because bad form leads to injury but also because so much of the benefits of the exercise are lost when form is poor. Over the years 6 exercises pop up all the time, they are all great exercises when performed with GOOD form but really poor when not, doing more harm than good. Exercising with good form is something that is learned, it does not always come naturally and if we continue to exercise in poor form we will build our muscles in incorrect patterns and create imbalances within our bodies. If you aren't sure how to perform an exercise or it just doesn't feel right, seek out a professional; ask a trainer walking around at your gym, sign-up for a single session to get guidance, or seek out information. Often times we aren't sure what muscles we should be feeling during certain exercises and we think if we feel anything that is good, but we should feel what should be working, not maybe what is working.
EXERCISE NUMBER 1: SQUAT
Benefits of performing squats: work glutes, quads, hamstrings, and postural muscles.
1) Begin by facing forward, feet forward, knees forward, and focus forward. Stand with your legs should width distance apart, or slightly wider. 2) Start by reaching your arms forward and sit back as if you are reaching for a chair. Fold deeply at your hips, knees, and ankles while keeping a flat back position and focus forward. Engage your core muscles to maintain stability through your low back. 3) Lower down as deep as you can while keeping your knees over your ankles and making sure your knees are going straight forward.Think about tracking your knees in line with your toes. Maintain your flat back position. Come as deep as you can while maintaining good form and keeping your toes on the ground. 4) Return to standing by pressing down through your heels, extend your legs to a straight position (but not to hyperextension) and bring the body upright.
PERFECT FORM! Good knee alignment from both the front and side views. Hips are reaching back, flat back position, knees stay over the toes and not in front and they are ALWAYS going straight forward (no movement inward or outwards).
*Model: Fellow Pilates Teacher, the beautiful Karin.