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Be Good at Being Bad
by Rachel Webster,
ATH Asst. Editor of Exercise & Fitness
Editor´s Note from Rachel Webster: I am as guilty as anyone else at avoiding things I am not good at. I didn't play team sports in high school because I wasn't good at it. I tend to get involved in things I am naturally good at. It's human nature, I think. When it comes to exercise, though, if you want to see some changes or improvements, you need to get uncomfortable. You have to give yourself permission to be bad at it. I wish I understood this one concept as a kid. I would have tried more things. I hope this article helps you stay motivated to keep at your workout even if you think you are bad at it.
It's that time of year. Everyone wants to turn over a new leaf. Many people are starting new workouts or joining new classes or even starting with a trainer. Media tells us the majority of you are going to fall off the workout and health wagon by the end of the month, if you haven't already. I want to prove them wrong so I am going to give you one really great tip.
Get comfortable with being bad at working out.
What I really mean, is that if you started something new, chances are, you aren't going to be great at it. People don't enjoy doing things they aren't good at. The good news about that is, with consistency, you will become good at it. And as you master each new move, your motivation will snowball. That's a reason to stick with it, right?
Can you barely squeak out a push-up? Modify the push-up to a version that you are able to do, master the modified version and you won't believe what you are capable of with your push-ups a few months from now. Don't try and master advanced version of exercises right out of the gate. Whatever exercise you are trying to master can be modified and progressed appropriately.
If something is very difficult for you, feels awkward or you are pretty sure your form isn't great, you need a modified version of that exercise. It shouldn't be easy, but, it's dangerous to have bad form. Use a mirror to check your form. Here's a short list of common exercise mistakes to help you double check your form:
* When doing a push-up or a plank, don't let your back sag. Hold your belly button in tight. You are working your whole body. Make sure you feel like you are "working" your whole body, not just "hanging" in the position until the clock is at time up.
* When doing an exercise that involves holding a weight, keep your wrists from breaking. For instance, in a bicep curl, your wrist should remain in a straight line.
* When doing pretty much any type of lunging, keep your back straight and your weight back in your heel. Press into your heel to come to the standing position.
* Also when lunging, keep your stance width between your feet shoulder width apart even when you step into the lunge position. Don't let the lunges become tight rope walking. This is especially important when you start out. The increase in the base of support will allow you to focus on the form and not being off balance.
* When doing a glute bridge, also keep your weight in your heels as you press up. Keep your abs tight. This isn't just for your glutes.
* Pretty much any exercise that you are doing for your upper body, keep your shoulders down and away from your ears.
Those are just a few pointers for some of the most common mistakes I see. Always have the exercise purpose in mind when you are performing the movement. Where should you feel something? Are you feeling it there? What can you adjust in order to feel it correctly? Maybe the exercise is too difficult and it needs to be modified. The point is, when you focus during your workouts on doing things to the best of your ability, you will progress a lot faster. The faster you progress, the less time you will feel like you are bad at working out. The less time you feel like you are bad at working out, the better, right?
Be okay with being bad. Work to get better and you will get the body you want. Starting February 1, Check Your Form Friday weekly videos will kick off to help you reach your goals faster and more effectively. In the meantime, got a question? Post it here and I'll answer it for you.
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About the Author
Rachel Webster, PTA, CPT-ACE is a fitness expert, certified as a personal trainer, has an education in physical therapy and over 12 years of experience helping people achieve their health and fitness potential.
Over the years she has worked with a wide variety of clients ranging from kids to the elderly, with goals ranging from performance enhancement for sports to getting off of medications and getting healthy to changing physique. She realized the success of all of these clients had one big thing in common. Consistency. There are lots of excuses for inconsistency, but, she found that one of the largest issues with consistency and adherence was pain and poor movement quality. The reality is, most clients will experience pain at some point and most clients also can stand to improve the quality of their movement. This realization brought Rachel to the decision to return to school to get an education in physical therapy so that she could better serve her clients and get the results they want faster, more efficiently and safely.
Madison Heights, Michigan
Rachel’s Ebook: Fitness Freedom – 7 Steps to Becoming the Fit Female can be found at: http://www.rachelfit.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=139&Itemid=188
Read Rachel's full bio on ATH.