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The Most Common Mistake in Fitness Workouts
Fitness enthusiasts often overlook the importance of correct form during workouts. According to Stephanie Mansour, TODAY fitness contributor and personal trainer, many people make a crucial mistake that hampers their workout efficiency and safety.
Mansour reveals: “The biggest mistake I see in the gym is people failing to engage their abs and draw their naval toward the spine during workouts.” It’s not just an issue during ab exercises, but something people miss out on during all types of exercises.
Pitfalls of Not Engaging Your Core Properly
So, why is engaging your core crucial during workouts? Well, if you suffer from low back pain, poor posture, or excessive post-workout soreness, you may be missing out on the benefits of engaging your transverse abdominis, the deep ab muscle. Engaging your core can help prevent these issues and enhance the effectiveness of your workouts.
How Engaging Your Core Can Enhance Your Workout
Imagine doing a deadlift or bicep curls while engaging your core. This small adjustment can transform your workout, strengthening your abs while you work on other parts of your body. Tilting the pelvis by engaging the abs can also support your low back during these exercises.
Correcting This Common Workout Mistake
Learning to properly engage your core might require a bit of practice, but it’s an easy fix. Mansour suggests visualizing certain scenarios to facilitate this:
- While standing: Pretend someone is about to punch you in the stomach. This will naturally make you engage your core.
- During plank: Imagine a fiery surface beneath you, and you’re trying to pull your belly button away from it.
- When lying down: Pretend you’re zipping into a tight pair of jeans, which will engage your deep ab muscles.
Exercise to Enhance Core Engagement
The pelvic tilt is a simple yet effective movement. “Practicing the pelvic tilt before your workout will ensure you’re able to engage your abs, regardless of the type of exercise you’re doing,” advices Mansour.