If you’ve gone to the effort of working out, it’s always a good idea to make sure you’re doing it right, not only to avoid injury but to ensure you aren’t wasting your time. But one particular workout that can be particularly hard to master is (of course) core workouts, which is exactly why we’ve spoken to health and fitness coach Sami Rose and certified personal fitness trainer and professional dancer, Kaley Hatfield, to get an idea of what we’re doing wrong. These are the mistakes everyone makes when doing core workouts.
“So many people rush to incorporate weighted ab exercises or tricky moves, instead of nailing the fundamentals,” Rose tells The List. And this is their first mistake. “Nailing a plank hold for an extended period of time will be far more beneficial for core strength and ab development in comparison to complex weighted circuits done inefficiently with poor form!” she continues. In other words, when it comes to core workouts, your technique is key.
Core workouts are all about control
Another mistake many people make when working out their core is “using too much momentum, instead of slow and controlled movements,” says Rose. She elaborates: “Exercises like lying leg raises can be very effective when done properly, but if you’re swinging your legs up with momentum and not lowering with control, you’re significantly reducing the time under tension for your abdominal muscles.” Hatfield agrees, telling The List that often this puts pressure on your back. For core workouts to be effective, you really need to learn control. “Tucking your hands under your glutes and focusing your energy into your low abdomen, possibly even bending your knees will engage the core and take pressure off the back,” advises Hatfield.
You also need to become more aware of your neck and spine. “When performing planks, I see a lot of clients tucking or extending their necks,” says Hatfield. “You’re going to want to have your focus down, slightly in front of your finger tips,” she continues. To avoid injury, “I always say to pretend like you have a diamond choker on, that you want to show off, not hide.”
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