Let’s admit it, most times when we decide to workout (at the gym or at home), we are more focused on our physical appearance or hitting the heaviest weights quickly. However, have you ever checked on how you move during a workout? Is it efficient, safe, and effective? Here are 3 reasons why proper form is important.
- Decreases the risk of injuries
Incorrect form can increase the risk of any injuries to occur during a workout. Performing with proper form means that you will be performing consistently, meaning doing the same thing the same way every single time. Injuries tend to occur from doing repetitive movements with incorrect technique. Think about it this way, if we are overloading the joints and muscles excessively with improper form, the tissues are constantly getting damaged over a period of time resulting in an overuse injury. For example, one of the common myths is that deadlifts cause lower back pain. However, research shows that performing deadlifts with correct form do not lead to lower back injuries.
TIP #1: Focus on quality over quantity first. Start off with low weights and reps while you master your form. Once you feel comfortable, start to increase weights and work your way up. Remember, there is no need to rush.
- Increases your performance
Correct technique improves athletic performance. If we are using improper form during a workout, we will not be getting the best optimum results we are looking for. If we are performing with improper form, this can mean that we are targeting unintended muscles. When working out, it’s important to learn which specific exercises targets what muscle groups. Once we get that down, we will be performing with better efficiency. The better form you have, the better your results will be. You will be able to reach your goals faster.
TIP #2: Sorry to say, but rest days are important! Do not skip them. Rest days will help prepare your muscles for the next workout and reduce muscle fatigue. As muscles recover, they adapt and become stronger. This will prevent a workout plateau and overtraining.
- Improves muscle imbalances
Injuries can result from muscular imbalances, poor movements, and overuse. Stronger muscles will always compensate for the weaker muscles when performing movements, especially when they can not match the strength of the other side. As a result, the stronger side will be working harder and will fatigue easily, which increases the risk of an injury. Both sides must work together efficiently.
If you are unsure if you are performing a movement correctly, reach out to a professional such as a Sports therapist, trainer or coach and/or look at your form in a mirror. For example, if you are performing upper body exercises you do not want one shoulder to be higher than the other, this will cause the body to be unbalanced. By performing unilateral exercises you are able to close any asymmetry gaps, whereas if you are only working both limbs it will go unnoticed.
TIP #3: Start off with the weaker side and let that side set your workout volume. Examples of unilateral exercises can include: single arm rows, single leg deadlifts, and single leg glute bridges.
Always remember there are three things to consider when it comes to proper form: alignment, range of motion, and tension.
Kia Smith (Sports Therapist)