ALEX LARKINS PERSONAL TRAINING
- The Importance of Correct Form in Exercise.
July - September 2017
In this issue I am going to discuss the importance of Correct Form and how making little changes could make a huge impact to the way you train.
When we start exercising, playing a sport or doing gym sessions for the first time, we move our bodies to the actions that we’ve witnessed others do, without ever thinking if the movements we’re making are actually right.
What we don’t always realise is that over time when we perform the same exercises over and over again we are likely to cause muscle imbalances, because if the exercise is performed incorrectly you won’t actually target all the muscles.
This could mean that a slight bend, rotation or foot position can have an impact on your muscles, making the exercises harder or easier.
If the exercises aren’t practised correctly over time these movements will soon become habit, making it harder to adjust.
So why is having correct form so important?
First of all, athletes, casual gym users, bodybuilders, basically anyone who is active, will benefit from it.
Practicing the correct technique will help to identify incorrect movement patterns as well as focusing on how the muscles contract from each exercise.
Proper form is very important especially when it involves lifting heavy weights.
If it is left unchanged the misalignment of your body can easily force the tendons, muscles and joints into awkward positions that can potentially cause tears and strains.
Poor form in general could cause other injuries for example; postural problems or chronic pain.
Becoming injured is the last thing you want to happen, as it will just knock your confidence and hinder your progression.
Why do we want to practice good form?
When we exercise we should create goals for each session. An important fitness goal should be to always work the intended muscle group in the most effective way possible.
Creating this goal will help achieve rewarding sessions, enabling you to progress well and reach your long term goals.
Just remember your form will actually determine just how effective these sessions turn out to be.
We must never think at first that lifting the highest volume of weight is going to get the result we want quickly. The weight isn’t the most important factor.
The amount of gym users at the moment who are (ego trainers) trying to lift as much weight as they can without practicing good form has significantly increased.
There is far too much swinging, bending and poor rep range issues being practised. By doing them it will actually stop the focus being solely on the chosen muscles and will recruit other muscles to assist, which will hinder the progression and ultimately cause the misalignment's of the body.
So be strict in every session and focus on allowing yourself to keep continuous tension. This will allow more blood to get pumped into the targeted muscles making each exercise more effective and put you on track to hit session goals. After all, it won’t be just the visual effects that are affected by good practice, such as losing weight or gaining muscle, it will also make a difference to other aspects of fitness including strength, speed, flexibility and many more.
How do we practice good form?
To give you an idea of how body positions can influence a movement I will examine the basic squat.
The squat is one of the most important functional movements around as it has multiple benefits, including promoting mobility, balance and burning fat, helping to complete real-world activities much easier.
Heels off the ground
A common mistake which can cause multiple problems is performing squats with your heels off the ground.
First of all, it will cause pressure to the joint and muscles increasing your chances of injuring your lower back and knees. You are also off-balance so you’re unable to properly activate your glutes or hamstrings which are important muscles during the exercise.
To correct this issue you need to drop the heels down and focus on finding the right foot position.
Misplacement of Knees
The next common mistake is the misplacement of the knees as they drop into the squat.
Often I hear gym users say that they can’t squat as it hurts their knees.
If the knees are out of line, constantly bending inwards or excessively pointing out when they perform the squat it will actually place the knees & hips into stressful positions which will / can cause pain.
It is important that we keep the knees in line with the feet. This is so they’re able to track easily which stops putting needless pressure onto the joints.
Practice make Perfect
A good exercise that can help correct these issues is performing a box squat.
To do this you’ll need to place a box behind you. The height of the box will depend on your body type so you need to place it so you’re able to perform the squat and allow your thighs to be just below knee level when you’re in the bottom position of the squat. Your toes should be out at a slight angle with your knees tracking the same angle.
You’ll soon be able to adjust your position so it becomes less stressful to the joints and maximises the results of the movement.
How to make sure you have good form
If you’re not sure that you’re performing the exercises correctly, there are several things that you can do.
The first is to ask a trainer. If you’re at a gym the trainers there should always be on hand to help.
They will be able to guide you and give you the best information to make sure your exercises are safe and effective.
If you train at home and don’t have anyone to watch you, use your phone and record your movements. By doing this you will be able to see how your body is moving.
If you feel like you don’t have the knowledge and there is no one to ask then I would suggest looking online as there are several tutorials available.
Just remember to focus on your movements making sure they are effective and safe. You’ll soon see the results.
If you want to learn more just contact me on the details below. I am always happy to help.
Alex provides personal training on a one-to-one basis, with a partner, and in groups. With a personal trainer you can do amazing things, not just for your body, but also for your mental being.
Hail Weston ‘Fun Fitness’