Proper form does more than just make people look good, it’s highly beneficial, nay essential. It’s the reason you hear commentators during sporting events talk so much about technique and practice, because it makes a massive difference in performance and separates the bad, mediocre, good, and great. To clarify why, here’s 5 major reasons to spend some time focusing on proper form.
1.) Avoiding Injuries
The primary reason for proper form in exercise is injury prevention. With weights, you’re putting greater stress on your muscles, joints, and tendons than they’re used to handling. Your body is a big kinetic chain, with every part linked together. So, if one part is out of alignment, the rest risks breaking down.
If your squat or dead-lift form is off, you risk major injury to your lower back. If your bench technique is off, you can damage your wrists and pectoral muscles. If you aren’t careful with abdominal exercises, it can lead to lower back and neck pain.
It’s a major reason we Fitness Coaches at Xperience preach technique so much; to avoid our people from getting injured. I know personally, that’s my greatest fear; having someone injured on my watch. So I do heavy technique focus first to ensure they have a great foundation going forward.
Think about when you hear a strange noise with your car, you know that something is off, out of alignment, and you’re certain it’s affecting your car’s performance. It’s the same with your body.
If you’re bending too much, reaching too far forward, too far backward, have knees or wrists in the wrong places, you’re not able to get a full lift. Proper form allows for a more complete extension and contraction of muscles with consistent tension and range of motion – which allows for better output.
3.) Reaching Your Goals
This plays off the previous one. If you’re getting better output, it will create better results. If you see exercise as a mathematical formula, better technique multiples results rather than simply adding, creating a larger after effect – i.e. more results which will get you to your goals faster.
If your goals are essentially to get stronger, better form, as I said previously, allows for better extension and contraction of muscles, which allows for a more complete lift, creating better muscle development.
4.) Less Waste
With bad technique, such as bending or leaning too low or far back, you’re expending more energy than necessary. It inadvertently becomes wasted motion. Hopefully, you properly fuel yourself before an intense workout, so you don’t risk tiring yourself out before you’ve even started.
An easy analogy is driving a car. If you know you need to get somewhere yet occasionally take what you think is a shortcut because it’s more familiar, it might in fact, take more time and waste gas trying to get you where you need to be.
You’d think this would be the easy one, right? Unfortunately, bad technique can affect your breathing. Your muscles need oxygen to move weight, it’s why you huff and puff after lifting weights, because your muscles want more oxygen. Timing your breathing can be essential to getting more out of your workouts.
A simple guideline to follow, is to breathe OUT as you exert yourself (as pressure can build up this allows you to let it off), and breathe IN as you lower the weight allowing your muscles to bring fresh oxygen in before lifting again. For my clients I always count their reps so they can focus on breathing rather than counting, and usually remind them to breathe in and out as they do so.
Proper technique is essential to reaching your goals. It makes sure you don’t hurt yourself while getting the most out of the exercises you do. It’s why we at Xperience always suggest working with a Coach or even a friend who has experience in fitness to ensure a safe and effective fitness routine. If you find that some exercises are difficult for you and easy for others, it could be technique. Reach out to improve your form, so you can have the best workout possible!
Personal Trainer @ XF