Share |


Proper form, without question, is the most important element for safe and effective strength training. Using the proper form will help to minimize injuries and strains and ensure that the muscle you are targeting is the one you are actually working. Some of the more obvious form breaks are seen every day in every gym. At the beginning of every repetition remind yourself to do the exercise correctly so you can get the most from that rep. The three most common form issues are speed, range of motion, and isolation

 Range of Motion
Every exercise has a correct, or optimal range of motion. To a certain degree, however, your range of motion for a given exercise will depend on your own flexibility or history of injury. Always be sure to move the weight through the entire range of motion as outlined in the exercise description or suggested by your trainer, so that all parts of your muscle benefit from the exercise.

Every exercise that works by moving weights – including your own body weight – should always be done with the weight under control. Move the weight slowly through your range of motion, and don’t use momentum to lift the weight. Everyone has seen people jerking weights around. Except when being done for specific reasons, this is counter productive. If you find that you can’t complete your sets at the proper speed you are using too much weight. Drop back a little and do the exercise at the right speed. You will feel how much more effective working out at the right speed

Every exercise is designed to work specific muscle group(s). When you recruit muscles not targeted by the exercise you are defeating the purpose of the exercise and robbing the target muscles of their workout. Have you ever seen a person throw their entire back into a simple biceps curl? It is dangerous for the back and does nothing for the biceps. Another example of this type of form break is using your legs to get the weight moving for an arm exercise. If you can’t do the weight with the proper form you are lifting too much or your muscle is exhausted and you should stop (see Sets and Reps, below).

Many exercises start with weights in a hanging position before you lift them. It is often tempting to impart a little momentum to the weights by swinging on the horizontal before you lift them. This is cheating – but cheating yourself and your workout. Most often swing is done unconsciously. Try to concentrate on your form as you lift, and eliminate the swing.

Breathing correctly is an important aspect of proper form, and a simple one to master. As a rule of thumb, inhale when you are working with gravity, and exhale when you are working against it. You should not hold your breath and bear down during normal strength training. Your muscles need oxygen to work properly – give it to them by breathing correctly.

Use the "Negative" or "eccentric" part of the exercise to help get the most from your workout. Every resistance exercise has to parts – the positive lift and the negative drop. Always execute the negative part of the exercise under control as this will significantly benefit the effectiveness of your overall training.
Check out the Exercise Library on various exercises and workout movements...