Fitness freaks and new gym-goers alike, there is no denying the fact that our relationship with leg day is the perfect example of the love-hate stereotype. What may seem like simple exercises can actually have unexpected results- great in the long term when done right, sore and painful for the next couple of days and even really bad when done wrong.
If your trainer isn’t pointing out the following mistakes during your legs workout, you need to be wary.
1. Not Keeping Your Heels Firmly Planted
When you do leg presses or hack squats, make sure your feet are planted at appropriate angles. Ask your trainer to guide you with the placement of your feet depending on your height and build. The failure to do so would reduce your ankle mobility and you would end up lifting your heels when doing your reps. Result? High chance of injury, extremely low chance of muscle gain. And we want none of that.
2. Locking Your Knees
A very common mistake that most people make when working their hamstrings and quads is allowing their knees to stray. It is crucial that you don’t lock your knees when completing a rep nor allow them to move awkwardly inward. Repeatedly making this mistake can lead to weak hip abductors and increase the risk of injury. If it is too difficult for you, you can work on strengthening the group of muscles that make up the back of the body such as dead-lifts and lunges. Another tip to avoid the knee-straying mistake is to place a band around the top of the knee when working your lower body. The band creates tension giving a direct cue to your knees to move outwards.
3. Rounding Your Back
You are most likely to make this mistake when doing deadlifts and free-weight squats. You need to learn how to keep your back flat when you go down. Even keeping it slightly arched is fine but if you continue rounding it, you can be in for a lot of trouble like incredibly painful disk injuries. A nice way to go about it is to constantly watch your form in the mirror and correcting your posture every time.
4. Looking Up During Squat Sessions
Lifting your gaze during squats can compromise your spinal alignment! That is because rounding your cervical spine puts awkward pressure on your neck disks. You need to keep your gaze neutral. Try to look straight at yourself in the mirror, not breaking eye contact.
5. Ignoring the Hamstrings
The problem with a lot of people is that they tend to ignore certain muscle groups just because of their low visibility. One such muscle group is the hamstrings. While a hectic leg day may tempt you to leave them out of your routine, doing so regularly can be very detrimental to your knees. It is important to balance your muscle gain all over your legs and not just one or two areas. Leg curls and glute bridges are a couple of highly effective exercises that target the hamstring muscles. Make sure you include them in your leg day workouts.
Here’s wishing you a healthier and safer leg day. Do let us know which of these mistakes you tend to make during your lower body workout.