What is Proper Form?
Proper form means you are doing the same thing the same way each time.
When you first start doing an exercise with a coach or in a class, your likely are only hitting about 1-2 or your reps properly engaged. And that's not said to bash you! Your mind is trying to figure out how to make your body do what you're asking it to.
Our default as humans is to choose the path of least resistance. But when it comes to training a muscle, we want to work with the resistance, not turn away from it.
Repetition is key to building the muscle memory to perform an exercise correctly. But you want to make sure you're repeating in a way to correct and adjust, working your way to finding proper alignment, to maximize the movement in the safest way.
When you perform an exercise guided by an experienced and strong instructor in a group class, you are way more likely to pick up tips and cues on how to better perform the movement than on your own. And even more so working one-on-one with a good personal trainer, but caution - not all of them are good ones! More on that in another post.
Why Does Proper Form Matter?
Your form must be consistent to keep you safe and for you to progress.
Avoid injury! We're not saying it can't happen anyway, but when you're focused on proper form, the risk of injury becomes significantly less. You are using the right muscles for the right movements when you're using proper form, and that limits you relying on other muscles to try to jump in when (and where!) they shouldn't be. Yes, we have secondary muscle focuses for certain moves and yes, some moves will call on additional muscles to assist - but with proper form, the difference is drawing those other muscles in INTENTIONALLY.
Get the most from your efforts! Don't just go through the motions. Putting in the work for the sake of counting the reps and checking it off isn't going to cut it. You need to connect with what you're doing and HOW you're doing it. There's a different between just lifting a weight up and down vs. activating your front upper arm muscles to contract as you exhale, maximizing the effort at the top of the move with a slight pause, and slowly lowering while keeping the contraction as you inhale. We like to say it's not about just the movement, but about doing the movement MINDFULLY. Every single repetition is your chance to correct and adjust. FBP Founder Andrea thinks of it like a kind of checklist. Asking yourself a series of questions: "What muscle am I using? Am I breathing? Are my abs engaged? Are my shoulders down and back? Are my knees relaxed?..." and so on. When she's leading classes or working with clients one-on-one personal training, that's exactly what she's checking and reminding you of as you go. Her goal is that over time with reminders and focus on technique, instead of just 1-2 of your reps really hitting spot, that 95-100% of them hit their mark! And that makes for a safer, and so much more effective, workout. If you're looking for help getting the most from your workouts, or if you're not sure you're doing an exercise correctly, reach out to Andrea directly with the subject "Form Check" and she's ready to help.