Hands down the most common mistake you’ll see at the gym is people performing exercises with improper form and technique. Not only does this result in an ineffective workout, more importantly, it’s dangerous!
In this blog, we explore why form is so important and why nailing it should be your top priority before venturing on to heavier weights.
The most important reason for maintaining proper form is to prevent injuries. If your body falls out of proper alignment when you’re lifting a heavy weight, your muscles, joints and tendons can end up in awkward positions. This in turn can cause strains or tears.
If you have to rely on momentum to complete a rep, by swinging the weight or swaying your body, then you need to choose a lower weight. It’s far, far better to lift lighter weights with proper form than to lift heavier weights with sloppy form.
Resistance exercises are designed to target specific muscles – but if you fail to maintain proper form, then you risk not only straining these muscles, but also working entirely different muscles.
When you use sloppy form, the exercises don’t work effectively. The emphasis is shifted away from the prime movers (target muscles) and onto either smaller synergistic muscles or worse, passive joint structures like tendons or ligaments. This is where the risk for injury is created.
If you allow your form to break down in a workout and start using momentum, reducing your range of motion or speeding up the movement, then you lose the ability to accurately monitor any improvements. To make sure that you’re keeping a fair track of your progress, you must perform exercises using identical – correct! – form. Otherwise, you’re doing different exercises, making it impossible to compare.
Proper breathing in resistance training is key, as it helps you to generate the force needed to push through reps and reduces the risk of severe increases in blood pressure. Correct form facilitates the movement of air in and out the lungs, which will make it easier to focus on the exercise.
Hopefully by now, you understand why form is important for resistance training. But it’s also essential for rowing, which, in Grow classes, you’ll do alongside resistance training (because this combination makes for THE most efficient full body workout). Check out our blog here to learn about optimal rowing technique. It’s tempting to try and row as fast as you can when you first strap yourself into a rower, but actually it’s far better to go slow and first and nail the technique. Then, you can start to build up speed, but not before.
Practicing poor form, even if it is unintentional, is cheating yourself. It’s like cutting corners in a race – obviously, you’ll finish in less time, but only because you are running a shorter distance, not because you ran faster, got better or grew stronger.
That’s why working out with a trainer is so beneficial – and here at Grow, your form is our top priority. All of our instructors are fully qualified PTs and will guide you to make sure that you’re performing exercises correctly and with the right weight, to make sure that you get the best results.
Any questions about form? Chat to one of our PTs if you need a little extra guidance – they’d be happy to answer any questions and give you some pointers.