Adam Marelli works hard at working out, but still had some things to learn. "I wanted to get through the numbers, when I wasn't doing like a full extension of a sit-up, a full range of motion in a pull-up or in a push-up," says Adam.
Once Adam got educated in proper form by fitness trainer Stacy Berman, he could feel the difference. "With the right technique these really simple exercises totally got me, and I was, you know, I was tired, it took up, like, it took awhile of getting used to," says Adam.
Two of the major problems with doing exercises incorrectly are risk of injury and not working muscles you're trying to work. For instance, Stacy says it's important to watch for knee drifts over the toe if you're doing lunges. "And when you're doing this improperly, there's just so much stress on the knee and the lower back which we obviously want to avoid. Push back. So, instead you'll take a bigger step forward," says Stacy.
That straight line is important when it comes to push-ups, too. "You give the illusion of moving up and down, but it's not your elbows bending, it's more your hips floating up and down," says Stacy.
Instead, keep the body firm and flat, and bend only at the elbows. And when it comes to sit-ups, forget about the crunch. Coming up a little farther from the floor than a crunch, and not all the way up is better.
One last bit of advice is to focus on form. It's better to do 13 exercises perfectly, than to do 20 imperfectly. If you're wondering about your form, Stacy recommends trying sessions with a trainer, or getting a DVD or book that demonstrates proper form.