From Crunches to the Elliptical: Tips to Avoid Injury at the Gym

You might be doing more harm than good at the gym. Here's how to get in shape the right way.

Going to the gym may be one of your New Year’s resolutions – but make sure you're doing it right.

Dr. Hooman Melamed, a California orthopedic spine surgeon, shared his advice for how to workout properly without injuring yourself. He carried out a demonstration at Olympix Fitness.

First, when lifting weights, don’t get too ambitious, he said.

“Every other week I have someone coming into the gym doing a deadlift and they feel a pop in their back,” he said. “Heavy weights can lead to poor form. You need to start with light weights.”

Avoid injury by keeping your back flat and weights as close to your legs as possible.

“A very big mistake is that people start rounding their back and then their center of gravity gets far away,” he said. 

The elliptical is a popular aerobic exercise machine, but you’ve got to know proper technique. Don't swoosh your body back and forth, Dr. Melamed said.

“It’s really a fluid movement that’s coming through your shoulder going through your hips and your lower extremity,” he said. 

For stomach crunches, Dr. Melamed said to put your hands near your ears, bring your upper body up and hold for a second, then slowly go back down. Many people put their hands behind their heads and, in turn, crunch their necks instead of their stomachs. 
When using a kettle bell avoid swinging your whole body which can strain your lower back. What you want to do is tighten your core and rear muscles to stay in control, he said.