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.
We spent an afternoon at Equinox with trainer and manager Rebecca Woll, learning the ins and outs of some of the most popular strength-training machines.
In the coming weeks, we'll be sharing Woll's thoughts on the biggest mistakes we all make while building muscle, plus her tips and tricks for better form. This week, we're perfecting the assisted pull-up.
The Faux Pas: "The assisted pull-up machine works the same muscle groups as the lat pulldown, however you're standing up, so you need to fire more muscles," says Woll. If you don't do so correctly, though, you'll find yourself drifting backwards as you pull yourself up. "That's really common," says Woll, as is allowing the elbows to pop out as you reach the top of the machine and the shoulders to scrunch up toward the ears.
The Fix: Keep the chin tucked as you pull yourself up. Concentrate on moving forward through the movement, says Woll. (The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, after all, she points out.) Allow the elbows to move only slightly away from the body at the top of the machine and remember to keep the shoulders back and down.
Tell us how it goes in the comments below, and be sure to check back over the following weeks to fix your form on the row machine, the seated fly and more.
Check out more in our Fix Your Form series below:
Photos by Damon Dahlen, AOL
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