Thursday, 4 June 2015



People of 21st century seem to have been swept away by the maddening wave of being Healthy and Fit. It is no longer impossible to don the physique of your favorite actor or actress. This is the prime reason for us noticing a vast number of people with their gym gears on and hitting the gym-to be healthier and fitter.

But is it really so? Are all these people fit in the true sense? More often than not these fitness freaks are seen complaining of muscle cramps, shoulder pain, neck pain, low back strain, muscle overload and hoards of other injuries. All of these problems not only become a barrier for you in achieving your target but also de-motivate you. Exercise is a science. In each exercise you have to be aware of your posture, movement, strength, speed and repetition. Improper application of any of these variables can be harmful and instead of making you fit, it will deteriorate your physical condition. Epidemiological studies conclude a rapid increase in the number of injuries caused due to improper fitness training in the recent years. This directs us to the purpose of this article-To orient fitness seekers on being completely fit and how to prevent them from being a victim of injuries related to fitness training.


Before you get all zest up and impatient to hit the gym you should get to know the prerequisites of starting with the actual workout. 
The degree of movement available at all joints is majorly dependant on the strength & flexibility of muscles, stability of ligaments and integrity of joints. So before you start, knowing these factors will aid your programme and help you work on any factor which is lacking short.

Wearing appropriate shoes plays a pivotal role in imparting stability. In most of the
weight bearing and cardio exercises most of the body’s stability comes from the feet and core. Hence if the shoe provides with a good grip and is inflexible you need not worry about being unstable and can direct your attention to the target area. 70% people wear wrong size & type shoes. One essential point to keep in mind is that if you experience any pain or discomfort either around the feet, ankle, knees it is quite possible that your incorrect pattern of shoes are the culprit.
  Physiological Well Being
Scientifically speaking there are no two people with the same physiology. Various factors have a play in making up our physiology such as gender, age, nutritional status, metabolism, hormone level and most importantly any diagnosed medical condition. If you plan your workout with these factors in perspective it will give way to germane results.


1. Inadequate Warm Up and Cool Down: It's always a smart idea to incorporate adequate warm up & cool down. Warm up is the preparatory phase for exercising. It functions by increasing the blood flow subsequently increasing the oxygen supply which in turn increases speed & force of muscle contraction. All these factors prepare the various body systems for the upcoming activity in a safe & gradual manner. IN opposition, cooling down has the effect of returning the blood back to the heart rather than allowing it to pool in the exercised muscles which helps in returning the heart rate back to normal. In addition it helps in reducing lactic acid levels & ensures that the vital organs continue to receive a sufficient supply of blood & oxygen at the end.

2. Being over zealous: Being enthusiastic to exercise & to reach your goal is a positive attitude. But don't let it get the best of you as with all the adrenaline pumping through your vein you tend to ignore your limitations. This is possible by letting your system adapt to the challenge progressively & not forcing the change upon a system which is not prepared to handle it. So take your eyes off the heavier weights or kilometers indicator on the cardio machine & give time. Judge for yourself- Are you there yet?

3. Lifting too much or too little: Either of these extreme measures aren't going to fetch you desired results. Keep aside the condescending attitude & lower down the weights if you need to. Instead it would be wiser to increase the number of repetitions or set with the same amount of weights. This will prevent your muscle fibers from undue overload. On the contrary if you are lifting light weights, you might as well put them aside as they will prove to be nothing more than a wasted. So the ney is to strike the right balance between doing what you are capable of & loading the muscles with right amount of weight.

4. Improper management of rest interval: While it is important to allot a stipulated amount of time for various exercises it is also important to know when to stop & take adequate rest in between. Instead of taking longer or shorter breaks change the tempo of your exercise for better results. For instance, while doing Biceps curls lower the weight slowly (enhanced eccentric load) and lift it with a strong and controlled contraction (concentric load). This is very motivating as you can see your muscle working and will help you pump your guns without unprecedented damage.

5. Improper management of exercise and diet: It is popularly known that if you are working your calories off to get those cuts
& abs without following a designed diet plan, you are wasting your time. Diet & exercise are two sides of the same coin. So let your exercise regimen to be aided by your diet plan. Apart from this remember to keep yourself adequately hydrated at all times. Avoid working out on an empty stomach or heavy meals.

As we all know this exercise is designed to work the muscles situated over the lateral side of your back (Latissimus Dorsii).
The Blunder Approach: This movement requires excellent shoulder joint mobility, maintaining a straight spine and activation of core for stability.  Most of the people pull the barbell down the back of their head and keep their backs either too hunched or hyperextend from the low back while pulling the bar down. Consequently the load is not directed to the Lats and results in trick movements leading in Rotator cuff injury, Trapezius spasm, lower back & neck strain and Shoulder impingement syndrome.

The Correct Approach: If done correctly this exercise can prove to be a great way to

develop your back muscles. Place your hands slightly beyond shoulder width distance and instead of pulling the bar behind your head pull it in front of your head. Make sure you lean back a little from your back while maintaining an erect spine and using your core muscles for stabilizing your body. Concentrate on pinching your shoulder blades together and take care to avoid pulling the bar beyond the level of your collar bone. Maintain the contraction while the bar moves up and fight the momentum while leaving the bar. 

Squats are the pinnacle of lower body strength. In addition if done correctly squats also help to workout core muscles, arm muscles, low back muscles and with more repetition act as cardio exercise and aid in weight loss. But it is easily possible to goof up while doing squats.

Stand straight with your feet shoulder width apart with the knee pointing straight ahead. Bend your knee, keep the spine neutral and mimic the action of trying to sit in a chair. Take precaution to not let your knee cross over your toes and try making an angle of 90 degrees with your knee. Make sure you keep your chest up and don’t hunch your upper back. If you are lifting weights then roll your shoulders back before lifting. Practice this movement facing the mirror in the front and side view.

This is the most effective manner of getting a strong and stable lower back along with the added bonus of working the core. Any form of exercises which requires core activation is great as all the movements of arms and legs can be carried out effectively if the core is active and working.
Set the bar over your mid-foot with the feet at shoulder width distance and pass your hand over the bar maintaining them at the same distance. Do not let your back hunch or hyper extend as either of the positions exert great stress on the disc and its structures when your lift weights. Drag the bar up just grazing your shin and squeeze your gluteal and thigh muscles while lifting up. When lowering the weight down the quintessential point is to bend from your hips rather than from your knee. If you bend from the knee the bar might hit or roll over your knees and land down over your forefoot instead of the midfoot. This will alter the mechanics and make lifting the weight up more strenuous for your back. 

Mention of this exercise may have you raising your eyebrows and has you wondering who would go wrong while doing this simple exercise but a considerable number of people fail to execute this exercise correctly.
A major misconception that people have is that it’s good to lift heavier weights. This
transfers all the weight over to your chest and other shoulder muscles which are definitely not the target muscles. Instead pay attention to the form, direction and precision of your movement. Lift manageable weights with more reps; it will pay you greater dividends. Improper execution of this exercise can lead to Biceps tendinitis.
Adopt a posture with your spine straight with a slight bend in your knee. Roll your shoulders back and lift by using your upper arms strength in a straight line and lower down with a slow and steady pace.

Crunches are the most incorrectly and over performed exercises. It’s a trend to complete a 100 or 150 crunch challenge but what you forget in the process is that it’s the quality of exercise that matters and not always the quantity.
Begin with lying on the ground/mat with a neutral spine and relaxed neck. Cross your hands over the back of your head in order to support your neck slightly with your hands. Make sure you don’t hunch your upper back or bring your elbows close to each other. Lift up using your abdominals by imagining someone is punching you in the stomach. Slowly lower down your back. The commonest mistake people make is to strain their neck while lifting up. This is because they fail to connect with the muscle they have to work and instead of contracting their abdominals they lift up with their neck.

Apart from this there are numerous exercises where you can go wrong. Hence we conclude that if you carry out exercises with a scientific approach you can keep uninvited injuries at bay and focus on gain not pain. Another important fact to remember is that if you develop any injury, you should immediately visit an expert in exercise science - A Physiotherapist.

We have become tech smart, book smart & street smart, it’s time to become gym smart…

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