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Are You Compensating?

July 17, 2006


In her inaugural column on Crotonblog, Miss Fit Asks: Are You Compensating?

It’s not just that guy in the flashy sports car that is compensating for a lack of something. A huge percentage of folks in the gym are compensating for their deficiencies and it can really get them into trouble. Not to mention, misguided workouts can be a waste of precious time.

If you use the wrong muscles to do an exercise, you’re making up for a weakness in another muscle and setting yourself up for injury.

Example: if you do squats and feel it all in the quads (front of thighs), or if arch your lower back or let your knees go past your toes, you’re not working your entire leg and you could have lower back or knee stress. To do a squat correctly, you have to get the glutes (butt) and hamstrings (back of thighs) into the act. A stability ball helps to correct bad form. Put the ball between the wall and the small of your back. Walk your feet out in front of you, so when you do the squat, your knees stay over your ankles. Make sure you keep your spine neutral (not arched or rounded) and squat down ‘til 90 degrees (like you’re sitting in a chair). Concentrate on squeezing your butt to activate those glutes and hams. When you can do 2-3 sets of 20+ reps easily, add some weight to the process.

A personal trainer can help correct bad form and insure you’re not compensating or wasting your time.

Miss Fit, also known as Eve Hartman, is a National Academy of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer who gladly makes house calls. For more information, contact her at 914-588-0591 or at


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