Having the right body form while exercising is not something that can be overlooked at any point in time. This is mainly because of two reasons. First, the wrong form cuts down the impact of the exercise movement thus making it pointless. Second, it can potentially have the wrong impact and push the body into the injury-prone territory. If you are repeatedly performing an exercise in the wrong manner, you will not be able to reap the benefits. You can either get a coach to get your form checked or take the help of a family member or a friend who has some amount of experience regarding exercising. If you are the kind who believes in taking challenges head-on alone, observation and determination are your best tools. Train the mind to strictly follow the directions that you read or receive. The human body has a tendency not only to resist difficult movements but also accommodate them as a fight-back mechanism. For instance, while performing an elbow plank, your hips tend to raise. This is how your body tackles the stress that a plank position puts you in, thereby disturbing the ideal position.
Let us first try to understand what defines a good exercise form.
A good exercise form is when your body parts are performing an exercise in harmony with each other. One important thing to remember about good form is having the ideal length-tension relationship of all the muscles in your body. This makes sure that too much force is not exerted on any one muscle at any one given time. In this way, the force is homogeneously distributed in the body, thus mitigating the risk of injuries. It is like an entire system adapting to a benefitting challenge. The correct form will also increase strength and power in the movement.
Whether you are working out to get a healthy body or training for a specific goal, the need to have the right form is inevitable. It charges up your body in the right direction. Many exercises begin at a basic level and go up to an advanced level. Every step up to an advanced level challenges the body more and more. Having the right form is essential from the start so that the more difficult versions don’t act upon the body.
Reducing the chance of injuring yourself relies on having control over the movement. You should be able to keep your joints in proper alignment at all times during an exercise. When you lose control of a joint, you significantly increase the risk of injury. Maintaining good body mechanics allows our muscles to work optimally.
Moving on, let’s get into deciphering why does exercise form matter?
Better exercise form maximizes the outcomes while ensuring safety from getting injured. But there is more to it. There are more benefits that come out of having a perfect form. Here are some of them.
Your focus improves
Achieving a perfect form while exercising is about employing your body as well as the mind. Your mind needs to know how to get the muscles working towards it. Now this works on two levels. One is where the involvement of mental faculties results in an improvement in the focus. The second is confidence. When you know you are doing it right, you feel even more empowered to continue doing it. In a nutshell, mind and body work together in a symbiotic relationship. One helps the other.
The oxygen flow in the body increases
If you have been holding your breath while exercising, that’s not good practice. More so, it makes movement difficult than it actually is. As a movement gets executed well accompanied by proper breathing, the inflow of oxygen increases. This is good for the body. It also allows you to work out harder and elongates the time temperament. Better oxygen flow accounts for better performance.
Gradual progress comes out
When you invest all your ounces of strength and focus in the body to perfect an exercise, it is bound to reach its best. This also builds strength, tones the body, and prepares it for the advanced versions. The wrong form hampers the progress, so you won’t be seeing the results tower with success.
Listening to the body is very essential
Everybody is not the same. What works for your friend, might not work for you. As you get started with exercising, keep a keen check on when your body is asking you to stop. The progress trajectory can vary. It is always advisable to take an expert’s guidance.
Now that we know what happens if we have bad form, let’s dive deep into some of the common errors we all end up making. And what can be done to avoid those errors.
Save your elbows from wandering
Curl weights that are excessively heavy may be chosen by certain gym-goers, resulting in wandering elbows. This is poor form, and it might harm your shoulders, neck, and back. Maintain proper form by tucking your elbows in at all times. When you're on the bench press, the same thing applies. You'll place too much pressure on your shoulder joints if you point your elbows squarely toward the sides. Maintain a close relationship between your elbows and your rib cage. It will relieve stress in your shoulder blades while also making things easier!
Do not knock your knees
Squatting with your knees caved in is improper squat form. This could cause joint pain and injure your knees. If you do it incorrectly, you may limit the strength and size of your legs. Ensure that your knees are tracked over your toes, even if your foot position varies based on your ultimate training aim. The amount of joint stress will be reduced as a result of this.
Heel striking is not good
When running or jogging, avoid striking your heels. When you're sprinting, your heel is the first part of your foot to make contact with the ground. This high impact pressure can jar your ankles, knees, and hips, as well as induce heel pain. Instead, land on the balls of your feet or your midfoot. When running, try to strike your feet underneath your hips. This will teach your body to absorb trauma without putting unnecessary strain on your feet and legs.
Do not hunch or arch your back
It's not a good practice to hunch or arch your back while attempting a deadlift. It has the potential to harm your discs, surrounding nerves, and your entire spine. It's also unproductive because it limits how much weight you can lift, resulting in smaller increases. Maintain a flat back, squeeze your abs, and pull your shoulders down before beginning each rep.
Straining your neck can tighten your body
Simply staring in the wrong direction while exercising might put a strain on your cervical spine. When doing pull-ups, for example, resist the urge to stretch your neck to reach the bar. Even if you reach the bar this way, you will not be working the right muscles, and you may get a neck injury as a result. Begin in a dead hang and elevate your body with your core, not your neck. Sit-ups are the same way. You'll get no results and an ache in your neck if you strain your neck to get to a sitting position. Lift your body with your core muscles engaged, touching your ears and head but not pulling them.
Raising the hip needs to be controlled
We've all tried to plank with our bottoms elevated in the air or our floppy bodies dangling from our shoulders. When performing the plank, this is bad form. It can actually create tight muscles and tissues all over your body, resulting in joint damage. Your body must make a straight line from head to heel to perfect the plank. Make sure your head, neck, hips, spine, and legs are all in one straight line while maintaining your shoulder blades pulled down.
Not maintaining a straight alignment
Dangling legs and a swinging body are common results of pull-ups. Swinging up to the bar will not only rely on momentum rather than muscle force, but it will also jolt your shoulders, which can be dangerous. Maintain a straight torso with your legs positioned 10 degrees in front of your body. Maintain a stiff body by keeping your knees straight and clenching your muscles. Staying in complete control is the key to executing it correctly.
Not setting the equipment according to your body measures
One of the most common errors made by gym-goers is failing to adjust the equipment to the proper height or level. Consider the seat height on a bicycle. Place one foot at the lowest point of the downstroke while seated in the saddle. Adjust your seat so that your knee is only slightly bent. This will prevent you from overstretching or hunching down. This is also true when it comes to weight machines. To modify the settings, follow the steps. Before you do anything, make sure it's set up to fit your specific build and height. This will assist you in lifting the weights properly and avoiding injury.
To further the stance we are trying to make here, we got Coach Vibhas to simplify some of the common gym movements by pointing out the mistakes exercisers are prone to. Watch this video to find out.
Coach Vibhas goes by the name The Mad Coach has 8 years of professional experience in the field of nutrition and fitness. He is certified by the American Council of Exercise and American College of Sports Medicine. He is also a certified Nutritionist from NESTA and an L2 functional trainer, with mastery in L2 KettleBell. He is proud to have delivered over 1000+ body transformations.