The Importance of Form

by Jessica B. | September 21st, 2012 | Lower Body, Strength Training

When working on building strength in the lower body, you really need to keep an eye on form at all times. If you ignore form and rush exercises, you could end up injuring your legs and making it more difficult for you to continue your exercise routine. Here are a few tips to improve your form and to steer you away from injury.

1) Good shoes – When working on the lower body, you need to make sure you have proper shoes. If you are jumping, running, or doing anything else that creates impact on your feet, you could cause long-term injury to your muscles and joints. If you are uncertain about the structure of your feet, go to a running store to have your shoes professionally fitted. Make sure you do this every time you need to switch shoes. If your shoe brand stops making the model you usually use, do not automatically switch to the newer model, as it doesn’t necessarily provide the same support.

2) Stretch, stretch, stretch – After your workout you need to make sure you stretch each muscle group you have worked. This isn’t a waste of time. Many studies have shown that stretching also increases muscle growth. If you have problem areas, make sure you stretch out these after each workout as well.

3) Posture – When doing any lifting or jumping exercises, you need to keep an eye on your posture. Your legs should always be at least shoulder distance apart, and you should keep your knees slightly bent to avoid them from locking. Keep your shoulders back and stand up tall. You might feel a bit achy when altering your posture for the first time, but it can be useful in the long run for avoiding injury.

4) Push for the right reasons – You want to push through when it comes to reps, but you shouldn’t be pushing through huge amounts of pain. If you are feeling pain, stop and figure out where it is coming from. You want to get the most from your exercising, not injuries.

5) Improved results – If you work on your form, you should see improved results. When you have good form, more of your effort can go into the actual exercise, not stressing other areas of the body. It also helps you use your energy more effectively since you are focusing your efforts on the area where they are needed most.

6) Work with a trainer – If you are uncertain of your form, book an appointment with a personal trainer and have them double-check your form. Many gyms push lots of reps and tend to ignore form; if this is the case, consider switching gyms or finding a new trainer. Having someone just shout at you to do ‘one more!’ without double-checking your form is not very helpful in the long run.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.