Proper Technique

The importance of technique cannot be overlooked during exercise.  The philosophy “less is more” is applicable to exercising, because the gains from exercising really come from a full range of motion and proper technique.  Some people use the gym to show off how strong they are by lifting as much weight as possible while putting their technique at jeopardy.  Practicing form is essential, and as you get more comfortable with the motions, you will gradually be able to increase the weight while still maintaining correct form. Remember you can always add weight, but it takes only one bad repetition to sustain an injury!

Proper technique promotes a balanced, proportional way to build muscle.  A few common exercises that are often performed incorrectly are bicep curls and back squats.  During bicep curls, many people like to use a heavier weight because they think they are building muscle, but in many cases, the technique is not properly maintained.  These people tend to bring their shoulders forward and their elbows back.  And by doing this, they are no longer isolating their biceps.  By keeping your shoulders back and good posture, the biceps will be lifting all the weight and they will get the proper work needed to increase in size.

Another risk of having poor technique is injury. Weight lifting puts an immense amount of stress on the body, and all exercises are meant to be done in a matter where the stress will not cause injury.  For example, many people are afraid to do the back squat because people who do not master the technique can easily get hurt.  Firstly, always perform deep squats.  Many people believe that they are more at risk when going deeper, so they only squat half way down.  The knee joint is strongest when it is fully flexed, and it is unnatural to put that much weight on it when it is not flexed. Also, the hamstrings and gluteus maximus are not being worked when the knee is not fully flexed, causing muscle imbalances.  Secondly, make sure the bar is resting on your shoulder blades and back muscles, not on your spine.  Many people complain that squats hurt their back too much, but if the weight rests on the shoulder and back muscles, it is much more comfortable and the risk of spine injury decreases significantly.  Thirdly, make sure safety pins are ALWAYS set.  Just in case something does go wrong, the safety pins will be there to save you from serious injury.  Back squats can be one of the most rewarding exercises, but only if it is performed correctly.

Using proper technique while exercising has numerous benefits, and even if at first you are only able to use a small amount of weight while demonstrating proper technique know that in time you will have more well trained muscles and get the same results as those using improper technique but at a much reduced  potential for injury.


Story by: Robbie Zusman

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