The Importance of Proper Form
So, you’ve been pumping iron! I’m sure you feel accomplished, but I bet your muscles are sore too! I’m enduring all that right now, let me tell you. Just took on a new workout routine, and my quadriceps are shredded!
And when I say shredded, I mean they’re in agony. (Well, maybe not agony, but they are in pain!) After day #1 of my new regimen, I thought the old quads were just in shock from the hundred squats I did the day prior. But it was a little more than just a shock to the system, I came to realize when I couldn’t perform glute lifts without twinging. I had a muscle tear, due to poor form while working out.
As it turns out, I’ve been doing squats incorrectly my entire life. (Squats, seriously? Could they be more straightforward?) It took the gyms closing down for me to realize this, as my muscle tone has since decreased, putting me at higher risk for injury. And I did just that! I injured myself!
So this muscle tear got me thinking… What else am I doing wrong? Just about every exercise ever, it seems! My form just isn’t good. But despite the pain and mild embarrassment, I’m glad that this is coming to my attention. Now I’m looking into exactly how every exercise is performed before I go do it myself. And I think you should too!
Why is form so important?
Rounding your back while you’re doing mountain climbers can pull your back muscles. Slamming your legs on the ground after a leg lift can result in bruising. Pushing yourself beyond your full range of motion can cause muscle tears. Lunges that pass the knee over the toes can lead to knee problems.
Basically, anything done incorrectly can have some pretty painful results. I can vouch for it, having done everything wrong for the last few weeks.
Tones the Target Muscle
Let’s say it’s ab day! You’ll do some planks, Russian twists, and flutter kicks to get your core rocking!
But you’ve been doing this routine for a few weeks now, and your core isn’t feeling any stronger. If that’s the case, it’s probably because one or all of your ab workouts aren’t being performed correctly. I used to think Russian twists were just a little too easy and couldn’t fathom why my fitness app wanted me to do so few of them. “I could do hundreds of these, why am I only doing twelve?!” As you’ve likely gathered, I was doing them incorrectly, making the movements easy to the point of uselessness. (I had my feet planted on the ground while twisting my torso. So silly.) Needless to say, my abs didn’t look like a washboard after a few weeks of improper Russian twists.
When you perform an exercise incorrectly, you’ll probably still feel a burn somewhere. You might mistake that burn for progress, but that’s not the case if you’re trying to work a specific muscle. You’re working a different muscle, and said muscle can get worn out if you’ve been inadvertently activating in every workout you do. Make sure to let all your muscles feel loved! Nourish each one of them with correct form!
Improves Muscular Function
When you’re strengthening your target muscles and not hurting yourself, your muscular function improves! You’ll have an easier time doing the workouts that used to be so hard. You can start taking your exercises to the next level by slowly adding more weights, maybe throwing in some more reps, whatever will help you meet your fitness goals!
In addition to making more challenging workouts not so challenging, improved muscle function allows you to do your daily living activities with more ease! Do you lift heavy objects at work? Now you can lift them even better! Do you hurt your back when you bend over to pick up the pen you dropped? Now you have an easier time squatting, retrieving that pen with proper squat form rather than a back strain!
Now you know what to do!
If you want to do a proper burpee, don’t just mimic two-dimensional animation on your fitness app. Watch a video of a living person doing a burpee, ideally a video with a lot of likes! Be wary of ones with lots of dislikes. Or, consult a personal trainer. Just always make sure you’re doing something correctly before you make it a regular thing!
Stay healthy, functional, and out of pain!
Next time, we’ll talk about another mistake I made in my new workout routine! Learn why spot training comes with problems in an article titled “Do Ab Exercises Burn Belly Fat?”
Author, Licensed Massage Therapist
Katrina Jenkins graduated from Towson University in 2013 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Science and worked as a nurse’s aide briefly before pursuing her true passion. She graduated from the Massage Therapy Institute of Colorado in April 2016 with honors and completed the Touch of Healers Scholarship Program the following summer. She has been a part of the Moyer Total Wellness Team since the summer of 2017.