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Gym Language Decoded for Your Health

By Sara Butler

Starting a new fitness regimen can be intimidating; throw in the gym lingo you’re surrounded by and it can make it even worse! If you’re planning on joining a group exercise or fitness class and you’d like to feel comfortable with the instructions before you arrive, then take a look at these common fitness phrases and what they really mean!

Keep Your Chest Up!

When you hear someone tell you to keep your chest up during an exercise, what they really mean is to keep your head and spine neutral. Basically, it’s supposed to help you from hunching over during a squat or other similar movements without overcorrecting.

During an exercise, if your head and chest are up too far, then your hips will follow. This creates a problem since it doesn’t allow for your hamstrings and glutes to fully engage. When bending at the hips for a lunge or squat, you should be leaning forward slightly, hinging at the hip with your back at about a 45-degree angle.

Keep Your Feet Shoulder-Width Apart

When you hear this phrase, you should view it as instructions to take a stance you feel comfortable in. That may mean your feet are slightly more than hip-width apart or even slightly narrower. The point is that you want to take a stance that helps you feel strong and natural so you can fully benefit from the exercises you’re doing.

Squeeze Your Shoulder Blades Together

This really means that you should be focusing on working from the muscles in your back. The aim of this cue is to help you work your back muscles during exercises such as rows or flys. Instead of trying to focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together, try to pull your arms back until you feel the muscles engage.

Watch Your Form in the Mirror

While looking at your reflection while you exercise isn’t glamorous, it is useful. When you’re instructed to watch your form in the mirror, instead of looking at your form, focus instead on how you feel. You should absolutely focus on your form, but don’t fall into the trap of watching yourself exercise the entire time. Instead, check yourself for a few reps and then focus more on how you feel during the exercise instead of watching it happen.

Don't be intimidated by the gym. It's new now, but before you know it, it'll be as familiar as anything else in your life -- and you'll be healthier, too!

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Denton, Tex.


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