A number of people fear gymming out for fear of hurting their backs. They don’t trust the trainer’s capability to deliver a safe program. This fear is aggravated by the lack of knowledge of how to exercise – of feeling incompetent in handling dumbbells, barbells and machines. And uncertainty is indeed stressful.
Fortunately, this gap can be filled by a good personal trainer – who is duty bound to help clients achieve effective and safe workouts, which can be achieved by sticking to certain basic guidelines. Many gym members have quit disillusioned because one or more of these instructions have not been followed:
- Maintaining Neutral Spine: Neutral spine is that natural position of the spine where all 3 of its curves are held in good alignment. This is the strongest position for the spine to be in, as there is very little unwelcome stress on muscles and its surrounding structures (tendons and ligaments).
- Proper Hip Hinge: It is the act of bending at the hips and not at the lower back. It involves shifting the weight to the posterior (back of the body); the shins are perpendicular to the floor, while neutral spine is maintained. A proper hip hinge keeps the spine long and flat. A hip hinge is the basis for a strong athletic set up, involving the core muscles. It is the antithesis of rounding the back that can cause injury. Visualize the distinctive way young children pick things up off the ground – that is a hip hinge.
- Breathing Correctly: Correct breathing effectively increases intra-abdominal pressure; the spine then is well supported. The upper body can thus be held rigid during exercise.
- The Right Technique: Fundamental to effectiveness and safety in exercise is religious adherence to instructions; exercise technique ensures that our joints move in the best possible manner, thus maximizing productivity of time and energy in the workout. Improper exercise form can increase risk of injuries.
The quote, ‘Safety doesn’t happen by accident’ succinctly emphasizes the need to invest in a good starting position.
Senior Faculty (Exercise Science)
K11 Academy of Fitness Sciences
Fitness Icon Kaizzad Capadia