Weight training has loads of benefits, for example it can help to strengthen bones and, in so doing, assist in helping you ward off age-related diseases such as osteoporosis.
However, if you do not adopt the correct form when performing weight training exercises you can do a lot of damage to yourself and can hamper your fitness regime immensely.
What is ‘Correct Form’?
When personal trainers speak of ‘correct form’ they are talking about the proper way in which exercises must be performed.
Exercises are designed to work a particular set of muscles and should one not do the movements in the way in which they are supposed to do, you may end up working a part of your body that you were not supposed to. As such, you may end up hurting it.
A good example of an exercise that many do incorrectly is the kettlebell swing. Here is the correct form you should adopt when performing this exercise:
- From a standing position, keep your feet shoulder-width adapt. Place the kettlebell roughly 20cm in front of you.
- Hinge down towards the kettlebell and grasp it with both hands.
- Initiate the movement by quickly pulling the kettlebell quickly between your legs. Load tension onto your glutes, hamstrings and lower back.
- With a powerful contraction of your glutes, thrust your hips forward forcing the kettlebell to swing forwards on a natural pendulum created by your arms.
- Once the kettlebell has reached shoulder height allow gravity to pull it back down. The kettlebell should pass between your legs at or above knee height.
- Allow the downward swing of the kettlebell to load tension on the posterior chain and repeat the movement.
What many people do is that when they swing the kettlebell forwards, instead of contracting their glutes they take all the tension onto their lower back. The result is that when they swing the kettlebell up they put a lot of strain on their lower backs and, as such, damage/injure the muscles in this area of the body.
Another cause of lower back strain during the kettlebell swing is when people use kettlebells that are too heavy for them. If they use a kettlebell that is too heavy, they are concentrating on just getting the kettlebell up – with whatever muscles that they can – as opposed to using the correct muscles to get the kettlebell up to shoulder height.
How do you Ensure you Maintain Correct Form?
You have seen from the above that having the correct form when exercising – especially working out with weights – is incredibly important. But how do you ensure that you maintain the correct form always so that you do not risk injury?
The simple answer to this is to hire a personal trainer. As they are highly trained and skilled fitness professionals, they are well placed to scrutinise their clients’ form while training and to make sure that they always maintain the proper posture and technique. They watch their clients with eagle-like eyes so that nothing gets by them.
They also make sure that the weights that they get their clients to use are appropriate for their strength and fitness levels. Even though a new client may come to them and say that their goal is to develop muscle bulk, the personal trainer will not start them off on an exceptionally heavy weight. They will start the client off on a moderate weight and will build them up to heavier weights once their fitness and strength levels improve.
Adopting the correct form when weight lifting is essential as it helps to prevent injury from doing the exercises incorrectly. It is not worth it to sacrifice good form as you will end up paying a dear price for this: you will end up putting a halt to your training or, even worse, you could end up under the surgeon’s knife. So, make sure that you always lift weights according to best practices.