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What is proper form and technique & is it really important?

Engage your core, tighten your glutes, squeeze your thighs! Do you get tired of hearing this from your coach or trainer over and over? There’s a reason for the constant cueing and adjusting.

Form and technique is a thing! How you perform an exercise can make a significant difference and have a greater impact on your overall physical fitness goals than the actual exercise or workout itself. This is one of those times where it’s quality over quantity, using proper form and technique during an exercise not only prevents injury but it can directly affect your results.

But just so we’re clear form and technique are two different things.

FORM is the specific way of performing a movement, or an exercise usually in strength or resistance training. The main purpose of proper form is to prevent injury and maximize the benefit of the exercise.

TECHNIQUE is a way or variation of performing an exercise with a specific purpose in mind. It’s how you perform an exercise in order to target certain muscle groups.

For Example, In a squat position, proper form would be to stand with feet a little wider than hip width distance, hips back, toes pointing forward, chest up and shoulders back. Improper form would be leaning forward and rounding your back.

A technique for a squat would be to stand at a much wider stance and feet facing out, still with your chest up not and shoulders back, not leaning forward or with rounded shoulders

The technique of the squat might change but your form for a squat should always be correct.

Here are some of the main benefits for training with proper form.

  • Reduce the risk of injury! Injury can result from placing extra strain on the body from working unintended muscle groups. What happens is that, when you’re doing an exercise, using incorrect form your body will incorporate other muscles to complete that movement. The problem is you’re using the wrong muscles and it causes strain. You want the intended muscles to complete the movement or action. The types of injuries you can get from bad form can include muscle tears, strains and sprains, joint damage or worse.

  • Not using more energy than necessary! While engaged in strength or resistance training, you’re exerting energy in order to complete the movement. Improper form like, bending or leaning back too far, pushing or pulling too hard or fast, you’re putting out way more energy than you need, it then becomes wasted action. It’s like taking bad shortcuts or cutting corners. You take alternate routes or do something to save time, or more money but in the long run you end up spending more or wasting more time and or gas, and potentially end up not getting the results you want.

  • Efficiency in reaching your goals. When working with proper form you complete an exercise in its full range of motion with a complete extension and contraction of muscles with consistent tension. This makes for better efficiency, and if you’re efficient in how you perform your exercises you will get better results.

When you’re just starting out, you should expect to dedicate time to learning proper form. But even if you’ve been at it for years, perfecting form and using different techniques can boost performance, conserve energy, and help you get your muscles popping!

Why work harder when you can work smarter? Proper form helps you work out more efficiently so you can use your energy for the extra push rather than wasted movements and time, while improper form can force unintended muscles or muscle groups. The better your form the better your results.

Some overall tips to help you achieve proper form while exercising would be;

  • Slow down each movement, make your muscles do the work. Don’t use momentum to lift and swing weights, use your muscles. You’ll trigger more muscle fibers if you lift and lower weights with control through the entire range of motion. If you cannot lift a weight without swinging it, it is too heavy and you should decrease the weight.

  • Always work with good posture. Stand tall with your chest up, shoulders back your arms at your side. Don’t hunch at the shoulders or hold tension in your neck. Always keep your core engaged. The stronger your core, the more effective you will be at lifting weights and everyday activities and movements.

  • Remember to breathe. You’ll naturally want to hold your breath, try not to. Try to exhale in the hardest part of the exercise. If your core is engaged you can use your breath to push through the movement.

  • Pay attention to your body. If you know you're supposed to be working a specific body part or a target muscle group and something doesn't feel right, it probably isn’t. Make adjustments, ask a professional, a friend or look into what the proper form or technique should be for the exercise you’re performing.

You can be working out hard whether at home or in the gym, for hours consistently it doesn’t mean you’ll get the results you expect. Take your time, learn how to do the exercise, the reason why you're doing the exercise. Find out what the proper form is. It’s never a bad idea to reach out to a professional personal trainer or coach to learn how to do an exercise. Understanding the mechanics of the body will help you to exceed in performing any movements, keep your body safe and strong. If you need a personal trainer here in Boston, MA or Virtual Training anywhere!

Having improper form can have negative effects on your body and leave you further away from your fitness goal, so if you’re gonna do it, you might as well do it right.

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Those videos were very informative and helpful. Thanks

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