top of page

The Form Factor

Movement that utilizes the muscles; whether it is walking to the mailbox or dancing in the kitchen to your favorite song is considered physical activity. This means any movement you do is considered physical activity. However, strategic, methodized, repeated, and intentional movement is exercise. The American Heart Association recommends moderate to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity with resistance or weights at a minimum of two days per week. Exercise with the use of corrective strategies and a variety of different strength training can give optimal results. When done correctly, the execution of each movement will feel right. Exercise should feel good. In order for it to feel good and create the desired results, it is important to perform proper form to reduce your risk of injury and increase your efficiency. Once you've done that, you'll see an increase in muscle and strength in no time. By avoiding these form faux pas, you may save your spine, muscles, and joints from additional stress.

Many variables contribute to good form in each movement, but here are five of the most frequent form errors and how to rectify them.

The Move: Squats The squat is a favorite exercise among trainers, coaches, and fitness enthusiasts across the world. It should come as no surprise that there are great gains to be made with it but only when done properly. Let’s look at 3 key areas that might be keeping you from getting the gains you want from your squats game. Squats burn calories and may aid in weight loss. They also reduce the likelihood of knee and ankle injuries. The action strengthens the tendons, bones, and ligaments that surround the leg muscles while you exercise. It relieves some of the strain on your knees and ankles. Mistake 1-Not Squatting low enough. You're restricting the power and size you can create in your legs and your range of motion if you're not squatting to parallel or below. You are far more likely to injure your knees as well since the barbell's power does not move onto your hips until you achieve parallel. Forget the false belief that parallel squats are hazardous for your knees. The Form Fix -Sit back into the squat like it's a chair.

Your ankles will stay straight and you'll be able to see your toes until you go into a deep squat. Squat with your core braced and your thighs parallel to the ground (or lower) at the bottom. This gives you the right center of gravity, protecting your joints. Mistake 2-Your heels are up. Squatting on your toes can cause strain on your ankles and increase your risk of a knee injury. In addition, it also keeps you from getting the muscle gain for your glutes. With all your weight resting on your knees and quads, your glutes are left with no resistance. The Form Fix- Press through your heels. You can do this by lifting your toes. Feel your foot pull your toes up or back in your shoes. Don’t lean forward under the weight. If you find 9it challenging to keep your heels planted, it is most likely due to tight calves. Take time to stretch your calves to establish and keep proper form. Mistake 3-Not using your core. While you are focused on building certain muscle groups with squats, the core of your body plays a key role in preventing injury. If you curve your back during squats, your lower back will pay the price. When the core muscles function collectively, they support the spine, preventing pressure on the back. When you don't know how to properly engage your core during weight training and you get weary, your back will automatically arch. The Form Fix -Contract your core muscles. During exercise, engaging your core helps your torso to transmit power from the lower to the upper body and back again. To activate your core, envision yourself bracing for a sucker hit to the stomach. You will not suck in your stomach. Take a big breath in and tense all of your abdominal muscles. It may help to visualize your abs "zipping up"—bringing your navel up and toward your spine. When you engage your core, you should be able to continue breathing: first, fill your abdomen, then