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Workout Form Hacks that Improve Results

Workout Form Hacks that Improve Results

Deploy these simple & smart techniques to improve your workout.

As you go about your workout program, one thing that you must be paying attention to at all times is the form that you’re using. If you aren’t using proper form, you aren’t going to see the results you’re after; this is because you won’t be stressing the muscles in the way an exercise is supposed to be performed.

Worse yet, many people who use improper form are going to be set themselves up for injuries, which is yet another reason why maintaining perfect form is a must. All it takes is moving out of alignment just slightly for severe pain to become a problem.

To help you make sure you are using nothing but the best of form, let’s go over a few common mistakes that you should be avoiding as you perform these popular workouts.

1. Foot Placement During The Squat

Squat Workout Mistake

    The very first thing that you need to be thinking about when performing a squat exercise is your foot placement. The standard squat will have your toes pointing forward, which is great for targeting the quads and hamstrings.

    It’s important as you move through the exercise that your knees align directly over the toes.

    If you let your toes move inward at all, it will instantly put far more stress on the knee joint and potentially cause you to risk serious knee pain.

    Alternatively, one quick and easy way to change around this exercise is to have your feet facing slightly outward.

    This will help target the inner and outer thighs to a slightly larger extent as well, which will then add more variety to your workout program and help to beat a progress plateau.

    Adding this one simple change from time to time can be an effective way to improve your squat.

    2. Back Placement During The Shoulder Press

    Shoulder Press Mistake

      The second form issue to be aware of is your back placement when doing the shoulder press. Many people either accidentally or unconsciously start to develop a sway-back as they perform this exercise, which is then going to cause a high amount of stress on the lower back vertebra.

      With all that weight overhead coming down directly on that lower back, you can quickly imagine the tension that could develop.

      By thinking of squeezing the glutes as well as the abs as you perform this exercise, you will help to maintain far better back alignment. By keeping good back position, you can also help to increase the total amount of weight that you drive upwards, making the exercise more effective.

      The same rules should be applied when doing lateral raises as well as bicep curls, as those are two other exercises that do cause some people to move out of proper back alignment.

      3. Bench Height During The Step Up

      Step Up Exercise

        The next form check that you’ll want to do for yourself is to think about the height of the bench you use during the step-up. If you use a lower bench while doing the step-up, then you’ll be targeting the quads to a larger extent, while if you use a higher bench while doing the movement, you’ll hit the hamstrings.

        The quads will definitely still get activated regardless of whatever step height you utilize, but with the higher the step, the more hamstring activation will be required simply to perform the exercise.

        The same principle also applies when doing the split squat.

        With the step up, the further you step away from the bench, the more hamstring dominant the exercise becomes over just working the quads.

        Both muscles will be worked regardless of what height the step is or how far away from the bench you’re targeting, but it’s the nature of the stress that’s going to differ.

        With this one simple change in how you perform the exercise, you can really change the nature of the stress on the muscle tissues. It’s another excellent way to change up your workout from time to time and ensure that you don’t hit a progress plateau.

        4. Hand Position During The Push-Up

        pushup technique

          Finally, the last of the form checks to look at while going about your workout is with regards to the hand position that you use during the push-up exercise.

          Many people just start off into normal style push-ups, without thinking about the fact that how they position their hands will influence the type of results they get from that push-up.

          If you use a wider than normal hand placement position, you’re going to be targeting the outer chest muscles to a larger degree and may also get a bit of upper back activation as well.

          On the other hand, if you place the hands close together, forming a triangle almost with their positioning, then you’re going to be targeting the triceps to a much higher extent instead.

          You’ll instantly feel the difference in stress loading patterns when making this switch, so don’t be surprised if you do find that you are much weaker when in the triangle hand position.

          The chest muscles will be much less dominant, which are the primary force developers in the push-up exercise, which is why you feel so much weaker overall when performing it.

          With the push-up, you can also use a staggered hand placement approach where one hand is placed higher or lower than the other and you perform the push-up from there. This will get the core activated more as well, really giving a unique twist to the push-up exercise overall.

          So there you have some important form placement hacks to consider as you go about your workout. By having a look at these tehniques, you can both reduce your chances of suffering from an injury as well as increase the results that you get from your time invested in the gym.

          Small changes do make a difference, so don’t overlook them.

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          Last Updated on May 21, 2020

          The Top Fad Diets That Are Actually Worth the Hype

          The Top Fad Diets That Are Actually Worth the Hype

          You have probably seen enough fad diets to last a lifetime. Many have become popular overnight and left just as quickly.

          Some fad diets, though, have actually passed the test of time and are making some headway in the nutritional world.

          Outlined below are four fad diets that are actually beneficial for your health and wellness. Read on to find out why you should consider adopting one (or more) of these healthy eating styles today.

          An important concept you should keep in mind is to disregard the term “diet” as it is typically used. The word diet implies the idea of restriction and removal. Instead, think of the word diet in this context as a healthy eating lifestyle.

          Let’s take a look at some of these healthy eating lifestyles that have been categorized, by no fault of their own, as fad diets.

          1. The Paleo Diet

          The paleo diet, or ancestral eating, is simply eating the way your paleolithic ancestors would have up to 10,000 years ago, or when the agriculture age began.

          The advantage now is you don’t have to do this in a loin cloth, unless you want to… The focus of this diet is proteins, vegetables, some fruits, nuts and seeds and some healthy fats.

          In the paleo diet, there aren’t any grains, starchy carbohydrates, sugars, or dairy.

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          How Your Health Can Change With Paleo

          The paleo diet is a good way to keep your blood sugar under control. It can also have a positive effect on type 2 diabetes, and can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.

          With this healthy eating lifestyle, people have also achieved good weight loss results and boast improved energy levels. [1]

          It’s not just what’s in the paleo diet that’s important, it’s what’s NOT in it. There aren’t any processed and manufactured foods, junk foods, artificial ingredients or chemical additives.

          Paleo is a way of eating that gets you more in tune with your body and, therefore, can provide a lot of benefits.

          2. Whole30

          The Whole30 diet is relatively new and owes its popularity to social media and the #Whole30 Instagram hashtag that allowed people to share and broadcast their success with the diet.

          With Whole30 you are taking 30 days and focusing on nutritious whole foods such as meats, nuts and seeds, seafood, eggs, vegetables, and fruits.

          During the month you are eliminating:

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          • sugar
          • alcohol
          • legumes
          • grains
          • dairy
          • soy

          Whole30 is similar to paleo, but it goes a bit further eliminating sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup.

          At the end of the 30 days, you strategically reintroduce those eliminated foods back into your diet to discover any possibility of health consequences from them or even potential food allergies.

          Finding Out How Food Impacts You

          Most people eat the same things so often and may not realize that certain foods are causing health consequences, as they’ve become accustomed to feeling lethargic and run down.

          With Whole30 you get the chance to see how these foods may have a negative impact on your body. You’ll also reset your taste buds, which may have become desensitized from processed and artificial “foods” and excess salt.

          This diet will help you regain your love of food… in a healthy way!

          3. The Mediterranean Diet

          The Mediterranean diet has been at the top of the list as a very effective diet for some time now.

          For people in countries like Italy or Greece, this has simply been a normal way of life–along with higher activity levels, sunlight exposure, proximity to water, and lower stress.

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          With the Mediterranean diet, the focus is on heart-healthy foods. It looks like this:

          • Fruits & vegetables
          • Whole grains
          • Legumes & nuts
          • Replacing butter with olive oil
          • Using herbs and spices instead of salt
          • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
          • Moderate amounts of red wine

          Help Your Heart & Overall Health With A Mediterranean Diet

          Information from the Mayo Clinic shows that this diet reduces heart disease and lowers your “bad” LDL cholesterol. Studies involving 1.5 million people demonstrated that the Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality, along with overall mortality. [2]

          With all these benefits, this is definitely a “fad diet” that’s worth the hype.

          4. The Alkaline Diet

          The alkaline diet is about changing the foods you eat so that you put your body into an alkaline state and out of an acidic state. When your body is too far on the acidic side it can result in a condition called acidosis. This can lead to issues in your body such as upset stomach, breathing difficulties, headaches, weakness and, fatigue. In extreme cases, it can result in shock, coma, or death.

          The goal is to get your body in a more alkaline state, which results in overall better health. The focus is on including alkaline boosting foods such as fruits, nuts, vegetables, and legumes. You’re also wanting to reduce acidic foods such as low quality beef and poultry, dairy, eggs, grains, and alcohol.

          Pros & Cons With The Alkaline Diet

          The benefits that come from this way of eating is that reduction in inferior quality foods, processed items and alcohol. You may feel improved energy levels, mental clarity and even better joint health.

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          People also report weight loss but again this may come from the reduction in calories from junk and processed foods but this is not a bad thing at all.

          One con with this diet is that the pH value of the food you eat might not have an impact on blood pH, as your body is able to balance this pretty well on a day-to-day basis.

          Follow These Fads for Better Health and Wellness

          There can be a danger in categorizing things as a fad diet because fads come and go. People are always looking for the next big thing or a quick fix.

          The four examples above buck that status quo. These diets, though mainstream, actually can give you benefits and aren’t going to go away anytime soon because they work.

          What makes these diets special is that they boast real whole foods and the eliminate processed and manufactured junk.

          The Big Takeaway:

          Whatever way you choose to eat, the focus needs to be on whole unprocessed foods. Look for the cleanest, local and most natural things you can find for the benefit of your overall health and wellness. Your body and mind will thank you.

          Featured photo credit: Dan Gold via unsplash.com

          Reference

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