As some of you may or may not have seen, I recently bought an ab roller to use at home. My best friend had been using one at the gym and said how good it was for working your abs. I love giving new things a try so picked one up for a couple of pounds at a discount shop…
I encountered my first problem when I realised the roller came with absolutely zero instructions or advice on how to use it properly and safely. Secondly there was no guidance on how many reps I should be doing and how many times. Fair enough it had cost me a couple of pounds, what did I expect?! But really for a piece of home fitness equipment I thought that was pretty poor.
So as you do I took to YouTube to have a look for videos of fitness professionals using ab rollers to get an idea of what I should be doing. The first two videos that came up seemed to show the same technique being used. “This must be how to do it then,” I thought. Except I then realised one video had great feedback about the technique and the other negative. Who was right and who was wrong?
As with so many other exercises, getting the correct form is key so I wanted to make sure I was doing it right. Many of the exercises we all know so well such as plank, sit ups, squats, push ups and burpees can do more harm than good if done wrong. The problem with all these exercises is there are so many things to remember when you are doing them.
Don’t mistake me, I am by no means knocking these exercises as I use some of them myself and when done correctly they can be highly effective.
But when you are doing them at home alone there is no guidance, no one to correct your technique. Even when you know what you SHOULD be doing, your body might not be doing it!
Luckily (or unluckily!) I have my other half to tell me when I’m doing things wrong! In the end I took advice from friends who had been using ab rollers at the gym and began using mine. I was adamant I had the correct form but apparently I was arching my back according to Dan (my other half) It didn’t feel like I was arching it but it turned out I was!
Like I said, I’m not knocking these exercises just like I am not knocking using gym equipment at home and I am definitely not knocking working out at home.
What I am saying is you can’t beat going to a fitness class or gym environment where you can get advice, guidance and support from an instructor or trainer. When you are on your own and not sure whether you are doing things right or not it can be stressful, not to mention easy to give up.
I’ve really only recently mastered a proper plank position. Push ups still allude me, I really struggle with doing even half push ups with the correct and safe form. A burpee? Sure I could throw myself into one, but would I show correct technique on the jump, squat and push up? Highly unlikely!
Many people, myself included, want to attempt these exercises because they are hard so we want to see if we can do them and think they will be more effective!
However trying to copy them at home without seeking any help first could be a recipe for injury. As we know with all things, the internet can offer lots of advice but it will vary wildly from site to site.
It’s always better to get it from the horse’s mouth and ask a trained professional! Once you know what you are doing then you can really get stuck into working out at home too.
We should also remember that using exercise equipment and doing these traditional exercise moves is not the be all and end all of a good workout. Dancing has always been the best form of exercise for me and has always been the most effective for keeping me in shape. Do whatever you love to do wherever and whenever you want to. But don’t forget to seek advice so you are exercising safely and don’t underestimate the benefits of going to a class or using an instructor or personal trainer.