Egregious Acts of Exercise: Cardio Edition

Because heinous biomechanical mistakes aren’t exclusive to the weight room.
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Heinous biomechanical mistakes aren’t exclusive to the weight room. Here is the down-and-dirty on the most abominable acts performed on innocent cardio equipment — and directives to correct them.


People love to put the treadmill on a steep incline then take a death grip on the handles as they lean back at a similar angle so they are essentially perpendicular to the treadmill belt — the equivalent of walking on flat ground, but with a super-intense grip workout.

Simple solution: Duh. Let go, and allow your legs and glutes do some work.

Rowing Machine

Rowing is a total-body exercise with an emphasis on the lower body, so if your arms, upper back and shoulders are fried after two minutes, you’re doing it wrong.

Simple solution: Sit up tall, drive first with your legs, then pull with your arms last.


When you program the steps to move so fast that your legs pinwheel underneath you as you dangle between the handles with locked elbows and shrugged shoulders, you’re sure to tweak a trap — but probably won’t get in any actual cardio.

Simple solution: Slow down and again let go to actually use your lower body for the workout.

Assault Bike/Elliptical

These machines are designed to be upper- and lower-body trainers, but most people skip the arm action — essentially halving the muscles used and therefore the calorie burn.

Simple solution: Get a grip and use both arms and legs for a total-body training experience.

Spin Bike

Unless you’re training to ride a bike downhill at breakneck speed, using zero resistance on a Spin bike and pedaling in hyperdrive puts you on the road to nowhere.

Simple solution: Crank that knob a turn (or 10) to add some tension — and value — to your ride.