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What Fitness Instructors Say vs. What They Really Mean

Confusing commands, translated into basic English.

Taking a class led by an experienced fitness instructor is a smart way to kick your workout into high-gear. In that room, the music is pumping, the enthusiasm is contagious and the sweat beads that form are a reminder that all this hard work is going to pay off. There's almost nothing that can break the vibe -- until, that is, your instructor barks out a command that sounds like gibberish.

Wrap your rib cage in!

Do what, now?

If you want to get the most out of your workout -- and do it safely -- you have to understand these directives. So, the digital series #OWNSHOW asked different fitness instructors to translate some commonly used, confusing commands into plain, simple English.

"Push the ground away from you."

Ngo Okafor is a personal trainer who often says this phrase to his clients. In an effort to "push the ground away," however, far too many people make the mistake of leaning forward and pushing their bodies forward. That's not the right idea, Okafor says.

"The right way to do this is to think about pushing your entire foot through a balloon," he explains. "So, you get down into the squat position, and as you pop that balloon, you drive your body up."

 

"Wrap your rib cage in."

When fitness instructor Cece Marizu asks her class to do this during weight training, it can be understandably confusing. Here's what it really means:

"I want you to have your back in a nice, neutral position when you're lifting or pressing your weights over your head," Marizu says. "Why am I asking you to do that? A lot of people tend to over-arch their back when they're doing this move, which can lead to a lot of pain and injury."

To feel what it's like to "wrap" your rib cage, Marizu says it's as simple as opening and closing your ribs.

"Closing is the 'wrapping' of your rib cage," she explains. "So, take both hands on the side of your rib cage. I want you to close them -- so, bring them together. Flex your abs a lot. Take a small breath and hold it there."

 

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