What is good form? Getting a definition on that varies as much as the people exercising. And yet, the more proper your form is, the more effective your exercise will be. While there are plenty of how-to videos, nothing beats direct advice from a specialist who can see you in real time. As a beginner or even an experienced trainer, building a fitness foundation will help you prevent injury, target the right muscles, and create an overall balance to your workout routine.
Preventing injury is the first thing people think of when ‘proper form’ is mentioned. No one wants to be in pain. Start with a warm-up before each training session. If you are lifting weights, start with a weight you can lift comfortably for a single set of 12 repetitions. Practicing good form is more important than increasing weights. Reduce the weight if you need to in order to maintain the correct form. This will help you establish a good baseline.
This baseline of good form will allow the exercises you do to target the right muscles. If you aren’t following the right form, you could strain the muscles you were trying to work or use different muscles not required for that exercise. Efficient body mechanics will maximize the available strength and energy you have to put into a movement. So once the core is stable and you are moving with good form, you are ready to expand your exercise routine.
Aim for balance, not perfection. There is no one perfect way to move, so ‘perfect’ is a poor goal. Think, for example, of squats, lunges, and step-ups. The direction of your feet and knees, the curve of your back, and how to distribute weight on your feet are all dependent on your body’s particular needs and limitations. A good Physical Therapist will be able to correct any safety errors while also allowing for variation. You should be able to breathe easy and focus on the exercise with greater detail if you are using the correct form. This will help you maintain your blood pressure and avoid potential heart problems.
- Always warm-up beforehand.
- Use unhurried, controlled movements.
- Stop any exercises if they cause you pain.
- Plan rest days in between your exercise days.
- Visit a Specialist at the beginning and throughout your program for advice and modifications so that you can use the proper form for Your Body and Your Exercises.