1. You wear the wrong shoes.
Look for shoes with extra padding in the soles to protect your heels and foot bones from the high impact of each foot strike. Keep in mind, however, using them only for walking or running—not dance or cardio classes.
2. You look at your feet.
Looking at your feet while walking on the treadmill can cause you to lose your balance. It can also strain the back of your neck and misalign the rest of your body, causing your hips to poke out behind you—which stresses your spine, hips, and knees.
Gaze straight ahead and keep your shoulders level and chest open. Your hips, knees, and lower-back will follow, making a relatively straight line from the head to your feet.
3. You slap your feet down.
Landing flat-footed can cause muscle strain. You end up leaning backward as the belt goes forward, which strains back muscles from the force generated through your hips and back. This could also cause you to lose your balance. Be as vertical as you can and walk or run as you would normally, Land on your midfoot or the ball of your foot—not your heel.
4. Your arms are all over the place.
Swinging your arms by winging them out to the sides or criss-crossing them in front of you as you walk is simply not efficient. You burn up energy with your arms and won't be able to work out as long. Keep your arms by your sides until you get to higher speeds. Once you reach a jog, keep arms bent parallel to each other and at 90-degrees, which helps with the rotation of your torso.
5. Your stride is too long.
Stretching out your legs in an effort to cover more ground sacrifices form and efficiency. Someone who overstrides will appear to be leaping high with each stride. The most effective way to run is three steps per second.
6. You hold the bars.
Walking on an incline burns more calories than walking on level ground—unless you sabotage results by hanging. You burn fewer calories when you support part of your own body weight. Walk naturally on the incline as you would normally walk up a hill outdoors. You should be nearly vertical with a slight lean (five degrees), not way forward so you're grabbing onto the front of the treadmill. Your feet should come down underneath your center of gravity, not far out in front.
7. You hunch forward.
If you lean too much in any direction, your body will naturally work to keep its balance, says Benjamin Figueroa, senior exercise physiologist at Fox Rehabilitation in Cherry Hill, NJ. Hunching forward can cause you to develop an anterior tilt or excessive forward lean, which can cause you to lose your balance and may contribute to lower back pain. Keep a solid upright posture, which includes engaging your core muscles. If you can't maintain good posture, slow down the treadmill speed, says Figueroa.
Improve overall conditioning with these basic jump rope techniques
The two basic jump rope techniques
The bounce step and the alternate-foot step are two basic jump rope techniques that help you develop the proficiency you need in order to improve your fitness and sports performance. These techniques also improve your overall conditioning and create the muscle memory that is required for you to master the complex movements of other jump rope techniques.
These two basic techniques reinforce proper jump rope training form: maintaining an upright posture with your head squarely above your shoulders and your eyes facing ahead (which helps you maintain balance); beginning your jump when the rope reaches the top of your head; and becoming aware of the stretch–shortening cycle that is a critical part of each jump.
The bounce and alternate-foot step also serve as the best techniques for establishing your training baselines and testing your conditioning and proficiency.
The bounce step
The bounce step is simple and effective. To perform it, you repeatedly jump off of both feet while maintaining a jump height that just clears the rope. You should time the swing of the rope while jumping with both feet.
• Improves quickness, balance, and the lightness of foot necessary for agile and omnidirectional movements.
1. Jump with your feet together.
2. Jump just high enough to clear the rope (no more than 3/4 inch [1.9 cm] from the jumping surface) by pushing from the balls of your feet while slightly bending your knees and flexing your ankles.
3. Land lightly on the balls of your feet.
4. Stay on the balls of your feet and repeat steps 2 and 3.
• Bounce only once per swing of the rope—don’t double-bounce.
• Begin with one jump at a time to establish timing and rhythm, then increase to 5 jumps per set.
• Master the bounce step before attempting the alternate-foot step.
This movement is similar to the bounce step. Instead of jumping with two feet, however, alternate jumping with one foot at a time, as if you were running in place.
• Helps you develop a quick first step, the ability to efficiently change direction, and improves your start speed.
1. Jump by lifting your knees forward without kicking your feet backward (kicking your feet behind you while executing this technique can cause your feet to catch the rope). You may raise your nonjumping foot a little higher than an inch (2.5 cm) from the jumping surface.
2. Swing the rope around and jump over it with one foot; on the second turn of the rope, jump over it with your other foot.
3. Continue alternating your feet (lifting your knees as if you were jogging in place) at a slow pace until you establish a comfortable jumping rhythm.
4. Count only the jumps with your right foot, then multiply by two to calculate your total number of jumps per set.
• After jumping with one foot, be sure to wait for the rope to pass over your head before you initiate the next jump.
• Bounce quickly and gently on the balls of your feet. Do not double-bounce. Do not kick your feet backward
1. Smaller loads can pack a serious metabolic punch. "Light weights allow you to perform movements with greater speed and explosive power, which stimulates your fast-twitch muscle fibers and elevates your heart rate," says Gaddour.
2. Lighter weights are crucial for increasing your strength.That's because they challenge the small muscles around your joints, the ones that get overpowered by bigger muscles when you use heavier weights, Gaddour says. Working these muscles helps stabilize your joints, setting you up for huge gains when you pick up bigger loads again.
3. A 10-pound dumbbell can help you better perform some bodyweight exercises. For example, it can act as a counterbalance, helping you perfect difficult moves like the single-leg squat. Holding the weight in front of you makes you more steady. This allows you to concentrate on the movement without worrying about losing your balance, he says. So even though you're now lifting more than just your body, the exercise becomes easier.