Weight training has lots of benefits. For example, this activity can assist with strengthening bones and, in so doing, help you ward off age-related diseases such as osteoporosis. However, if you don’t implement the correct form when doing weight training exercises you could do a lot of damage to yourself and could also slow down your fitness regime immensely.
What is ‘correct form’?
When personal trainers speak of ‘correct form’ they’re talking about the correct way in which exercises must be done. Exercises are designed to work a specific set of muscles and if one does not do the movements in the way in which these are supposed to be done, you could end up exercising a part of your body that you weren’t supposed to and may end up harming it.
A good example of a movement that many people do incorrectly is the kettlebell swing. Here’s the correct form you should be adopting when performing this exercise:
- Stand up straight and keep your feet shoulder-width apart. Have the kettlebell approximately 20cm in front of you.
- Hinge down – at your hips – towards the kettlebell and take hold of it with both hands.
- Start the movement by quickly pulling the kettlebell between your legs. Load tension onto your glutes, hamstrings as well as your lower back.
- With a strong contraction of your glutes, thrust your hips forward to force the kettlebell to swing forwards on a natural pendulum which you create with your arms.
- Once the kettlebell has reached the height of your shoulders, let gravity to pull it back down. The kettlebell should go between your legs at or above the height of your knees.
- Let the downward swing of the kettlebell load tension on your posterior chain and repeat the exercise.
What many individuals do is that when they swing the kettlebell forward, rather than contracting their glutes they put all the tension onto their lower back. The result of this is that when they swing the kettlebell up they place a lot of pressure on their lower backs and, as such, hurt the muscles in this area of their bodies.
Another cause of lower back strain during this particular exercise is people using kettlebells that are too heavy for them. If they do this, they are concentrating on merely getting the kettlebell up – with any muscles that they can – versus using the right muscles to get the kettlebell up to shoulder height.
How do you make sure that you maintain correct form?
You’ve seen from the above that adopting the correct form when exercising – particularly when working out with weights – is incredibly important. However, how do you make sure that you always maintain the correct form so that you don’t risk injury?
The simple response to this is to hire a personal trainer. Owing to the fact that they are highly trained as well as skilled fitness professionals, they are the best people to scrutinise their clients’ form while training and to ensure that they always maintain the proper posture as well as technique. They monitor their clients with eagle-like eyes so that zero gets by them.
They also ensure that the weights which they get their clients to utilise are appropriate for their strength and fitness levels. Although a new client may come to them and say that their goal is to develop muscle bulk, a trainer won’t start them off on an exceptionally heavy weight. They’ll being the training routine with a moderate weight and will build them up to heavier ones 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’s not worth it to sacrifice good form as you’ll end up paying a dear price for this: you’ll 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.
If you’re unsure about how to start a weight training programme, Trifocus Fitness Academy has a variety of personal training courses that can help to set you on the right track. For more information, visit our website.