If you regularly go to a gym, then the one thing you’ll find instructors talking about the most is the importance of correct form while performing an exercise. Ignore that advice at your peril. Because if your form is wrong, not only are you not going to see any gains from your training, you’re going to come away with an injury.
I can speak from experience because I’ve been there. As I’ve written before, I dislike going to public spaces like a gym to workout. As a result, all my workout has been at home, and you could say that I’m self-trained, in a way. Well, I’ve had plenty of help from some wonderful trainers on YouTube. But one advice that I didn’t fully internalise for the longest time was the one about form. As a result, I’d suffered pulls and sprains, stress injuries and just general stiffness during my early days of working out.
At the time, I’d thought that I was perhaps overdoing my workouts. But I soon realised that it was a matter of form. I found out that while performing many of my moves, I was overcompensating, like over extending my shoulders or bending or squatting wrong while lifting weights, because my form was poor. Now form is closely related to your mobility and your range of motion. How you run, how you lift, how you move your arms are much more important to master than how far you can run, how much you can lift and how rapidly you can move your arms.
Because, by mastering your form you’re also conserving energy, engaging the correct muscles for your exercise and therefore giving a boost to your performance. Once this was clear to me, I re-learnt many of my moves, especially compound movements that require different sections of your body to work in a coordinated manner. And I started doing them slowly, until I had perfected their form. It’s only then that I started adding weights or going through the moves at a faster pace.
If you want to master correct form, as ever, YouTube is your friend. In this video, trainer Heather Robertson shows the correct form of some of the most common exercise moves that you will encounter. Moves such as the squat, the lunge or the dead-lift are the building blocks of exercises, so it’s important to get your basics right. So watch and learn, and have an excellent workout!