3 Exercises Women Get Wrong and How to Do Them Right
By ZUZKA LIGHT
Although there’s nothing wrong with lifting heavy weights and training at a high-intensity level, there should be a difference in the way we train that supports our female curves and body structure.
Men typically tend to focus on building their upper bodies, and they also have no problem toning up their legs. Female bone structure makes us different and less likely to have the same advantages as men. Our hipbones are naturally wider, which influences our muscles and makes us more quad dominant. Our buttocks don't get the same amount of exercise as the front of our thighs during normal daily activities like walking and running. That creates imbalances in our musculoskeletal system and can often result in knee and back pain.
Women are much more prone to knee and ACL injuries, along with lower-back pain, than men because of the weak chain of posterior muscles. Having strong glutes, hamstrings and backs is the essential backbone of female fitness and athletic performance. And that's why it's important to start taking training seriously, focusing more on the core and lower body and making sure to employ flawless form.
Here are three important lower-body exercises that women tend to get wrong. Let's take a look at how to ensure you have great form next time you exercise!
Many women do a type of half-way-down squat. They stop the movement when their thighs are parallel to the ground instead of going through the full range of motion because they're afraid that full squats will hurt their knees. This is an old myth that has somehow survived and still confuses a lot of people. The truth is that partial squatting puts too much strain on the kneecap and all the tendons and ligaments that surround the knee. This can create all kinds of overuse injuries, including tears in your hamstrings and ACL.
Another important fact to consider is that parallel squatting doesn't activate your hamstrings and glutes the way full squats do, and that contributes to more imbalance between your quadriceps and hamstrings. Women have to work extra hard to strengthen their glutes and hams because they're naturally more quad dominant. That's not a good thing to begin with because the posterior chain of muscles is literally the base of a well-balanced physique. Women should always focus on building strong glutes, hams and backs, so stop doing wimpy squats and start bringing your hips below your knees!
The most common mistake women make when it comes to lunges is that they take tiny baby steps out of fear of hurting their knees -- similar to the issue with the half-way-down squats. These wimpy little lunges are actually putting too much pressure on the front knee and making the tendons and ligaments around the kneecap vulnerable to injury.
A proper lunge begins with a large step, whether you're stepping forward or backward. The best lunge variation for women is with your upper body leaning forward with a straight back. Decreasing the angle between your thighs and your upper body while doing lunges is going to activate your glutes and the backs of your legs, which should be the main focus of every woman's exercise regimen.
3. Jumping Rope
Typically, people start by jumping much higher than necessary, which ends up hurting their calves and causing painful shin splints right off the bat. The second mistake I often see is in the positioning of their arms. People making this error tend to have their elbows far away from the body and their shoulders are doing all the movement in order to spin the rope. That leaves the shoulders vulnerable to overuse injuries.
Keep your elbows close to your body and your hands in the zone between your hips and waist. All the movement that spins the jump rope should come from your wrists. Make sure to contract your abs and start with a basic bounce with your feet together. Refrain from jumping too high -- just a couple inches off the ground to give the rope enough space to pass through will do the trick.
Check this video where I show you the mistakes and correct form for these three exercises.
I hope this article will help and encourage you to train harder and smarter. And if you are ready to get into the best shape of your life, join my online Zgym, which you can find on my website ZuzkaLight.com. Either way, make these small changes to your workout routine and you'll be building strong and sexy female curves in no time!
Readers -- Do you regularly incorporate squats, lunges and jumping rope in your exercise routine? Have you been doing them with the correct form? Which is your favorite - and least favorite - of these moves? Are there any other moves that are especially challenging for you? Leave a comment below and let us know.
Zuzka Light is a leading fitness personality on YouTube, with hundreds of millions followers worldwide. Her impact is enormous, and her staggering digital presence is confirmation that her contribution to the fitness industry will only grow over time. Zuzka co-founded BodyRockTV before starting Zuzkalight.com, which allowed her to gain an adamant fan base in the United States and overseas. Her personality, style and voice have helped her to become one of the biggest influencers in health and fitness.