You might be wondering why fitness professionals are so nit-picky about making sure exercises are done with proper form. While it can sometimes be frustrating to receive criticism and process the information that goes with some complex exercises, it is worth the time and effort to make those modifications.
1. Proper form is heavily stressed because it ensures you are working the muscle that is actually targeted in a specific exercise. For example, in a Romanian Deadlift the target muscles of the exercise are the hamstrings and glutes. One common mistake of incorrect form during this exercise is arching your back, instead of keeping it straight and tight. When you allow your back to arch, it takes away from the tension in your lower body and puts unwanted stress on your lower back
Notice the difference between the two Romanian Deadlift pictures. In the one to the left, the back is heavily arched. In the one below, the back is straight and the shoulder blades are pulled back, while the bar is tight to the body.
2. Proper form prevents injury. When certain exercises are done incorrectly, it can lead to unwanted pain from your workout. Another example of this that many struggle with is knee pain. This can be a problem that might be stemming from poor form during squats or lunges.
3. Proper form helps you get the most out of your workout. Referring back to squats for example, if you aren’t sitting into a full squat when instructed, this smaller range of motion during “half-squats” can limit the amount of work your muscles are performing. This complete range of motion can be applied to all exercises as well, like bicep curls, triceps extensions, or many others you can think of.
Here, the squat is only performed with partial range of motion. Another common mistake it shows is having the weight shifted too far forward. This results in the weight being supported by the front of the feet and the knees far past the toes.
With proper form, you will notice that the weight is shifted more towards the heels of the feet. This allows you to sit all the way into the squat, ensuring less risk of injury and a more efficient workout.
To make sure you are doing exercises correctly, ask our fitness staff. If your group exercise instructor isn’t doing so already, ask for tips of what the proper form is for each exercise. If you’d prefer to ask before or after class, they will be glad to help correct your form so you have the best workout possible. If you plan to ask for tips before class, arrive early enough to allow the instructor adequate time to set up for class. Another helpful tip might be to ask what specific muscle is being targeted and where you should “feel the burn” during the exercise. For example, “What muscle is this supposed to be working?” This will help you make the mind-muscle connection, and you will notice the benefits.