If you don't know your way around a weight room, heading to the gym can be intimidating -- and even dangerous. But paying attention to a few simple rules of proper technique can make you slimmer, stronger and healthier all over.
That's why we asked John Romaniello, trainer, author and founder of Roman Fitness Systems to show us what's what when it comes to strength training.
He'll be helping us tackle some of the most common mistakes we all make while building muscle, plus giving us tips and tricks for better form. This week, we're perfecting the bicycle crunch.
The Faux Pas: "Most people have trouble synchronizing the movement, because they're making it too hard on themselves," says Romaniello. He's got a point; there is a lot going on with the bicycle crunch. It's easy to collapse the elbows in, limiting the twist of the movement. Plus, like with normal crunches, you may be tempted to round the spine and pull on the neck.
The Fix: "Instead of putting the hands behind the head, I recommend that clients perform this movement on a bench, and use their hands to hold the bench on the bottom," he says. "This will stabilize them and allow them a more complete range of motion." Remember to move slowly as you bring each knee into the chest for maximum abs benefit.
Tell us how it goes in the comments below, and be sure to check back over the following weeks to fix your triceps extensions and more.
Check out more in our Fix Your Form series below:
Fix Your Form
Photos by Damon Dahlen, AOL
For more on fitness and exercise, click here.