If you want to get stronger in the gym, avoid unnecessary sports related injuries or become more efficient at a particular sport, you need to make an effort to learn correct exercise techniques.
Oftentimes in the gym, people choose an exercise because it looks good or they watched someone else doing it. The problem is they don’t know if they’re doing an exercise correctly until someone points it out, or they get injured.
When you work out at the gym, the exercises you choose are not supposed to simply just make you look good. Each exercise has a purpose and trains a specific muscle or group of muscles. In order to get the most out of each exercise, it’s essential that you do so using correct form.
Using poor or improper exercise technique can increase the risk of injury, especially if you’re lifting weights as part of your routine. Lifting weight places enormous stress on your body, and exercise technique is specifically designed so that you can move the weight safely. If your technique falters, you place unnecessary stress on areas of the body, such as your back, shoulders and knees.
If you make an effort to learn how to exercise effectively, it will ensure that you safely gain the full benefits of your strength-training program, while staying safe in the gym.
Use a Mirror
Watch yourself as you perform an exercise. Check to make sure you’re balanced and not favoring one side. Adjust as needed.
Know what an exercise is supposed to look like before you try it. You can hire a trainer to show you, watch training videos or read a book.
Take It Slow
Exercise progression, especially when it comes to volume and intensity, is one of the biggest traps to fall into. More is not necessarily always best. Push yourself during your workout, but listen to your body and know when to slow down a little. Try to maintain a set intensity level for a few weeks. When it becomes comfortable, that’s your sign that it’s time to progress to the next level. Doing too much too soon will make you develop bad form.
Make Sure Your Weights Aren’t Too Heavy
Don’t feel pressured into lifting a weight that’s too heavy for you. A good way to tell if a weight is too heavy is to listen to your body. If you can’t move it in a smooth, non-jerky motion, maintain good form, or you feel the need to hold your breath, that’s a good indication that you need to downsize your weight. I’m a huge fan of lifting weights, but you must master movement patterns without weight before loading up the plates.
Exercise should never be painful. If you feel pain, there’s a good chance that your form is bad. Stop right away and adjust your body as necessary to do the exercise correctly. If there’s still pain, avoid that exercise entirely.
The next time you’re in the gym, take a moment to assess how you look and feel as you do your routine. Movement is something that we are naturally designed to do, so all movements should feel somewhat comfortable. Have fun and make sure you’re getting the most out of your gym performance in each and every session.
By Samantha Clayton, AFAA, ISSA – Vice President, Worldwide Sports Performance and Fitness
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