In a new video on his YouTube channel, Athlean-X, strength coach Jeff Cavalier breaks down some of his crunches The most common mistakes we make when doing some very common exercises in the gym. Whether you’re a beginner or you’ve been training for years, he notes those flaws in technique that may be holding you back when it comes to gaining strength and muscle, and offers some simple solutions, starting with your legs.
The worst mistakes you can make with these exercises
According to Cavaliere, many people choose LEG stretches not necessarily because they’re looking to isolate their quads, but because they’re looking for an easier leg workout. “Our quads have a lot of work to do,” he says. “I’d rather you spend time doing extra work for your hamstrings or glutes than doing those extensions.” (Thigh muscles and everything you need to know).
If you decide to do leg curls to build hamstring strength, Cavalier advises against digging your knees into the pillow, as this overactivates your quadriceps and can cause problems down the road, like lower back and lower back pain. He recommends engaging your glutes on each rep, or simply doing a seated or standing variation instead.
For the chest, Cavaliere addresses some of the issues you might encounter while performing a contracting machine. First of all, don’t bend your arms backwards when you get on the machine — rotate your entire body to get the machine into position before you begin and you’ll eliminate unnecessary stress. “You shouldn’t be doing the bear hug motion… When you hug, you are lengthening your shoulders, and once your shoulders are advancing, your chest is not doing the job it is supposed to. Instead, your shoulders are pulling your body and chest back as your arms are advancing.” (15 best chest exercises for chest training).
Shoulders Touch: Lateral Raise Cavaliere has something pronounced with this exercise and points out that your pinky is positioned higher than your thumb on the upper end of the repetition, as if you were serving water with a jug. He explains that this can take a toll on the health of your shoulder. “Instead, what I do is tilt my torso forward a little bit more, and keep my thumb higher than my pinky to ease any of those concerns.”
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