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  • Perfect form ensures a fantastic physique


    By Travis Steffen on Thursday, January 14, 2010in Muscle & Bodybuilding  

    I often see people in the gym performing exercises with the best of intentions, yet using less than optimal form. Beginners, intermediates and die hard gym rats may all experience improper technique in their workout routines from time to time. The correct execution of prescribed exercises is crucial to avoiding injury as well as realizing the full potential of your workout.
    For those that are new to working out, it’s important to learn the proper technique of an exercise from a professional. While there are a lot of people in the gym that may be doing an exercise right, there are also a lot that aren’t, which could lead to injury. Have a knowledgeable personal trainer show you how an exercise needs to be performed so that you can get it right the first time and avoid picking up another persons bad habits.
    For experienced gym goers, it’s a good idea to periodically re-evaluate your form. After an exercise becomes routine it can be easy to slowly slip into less than perfect technique. It’s best to have a professional take a look at your form and let you know if there are ways to improve. Check in every once in awhile and you’ll continue to reap the full benefits of your workout.
    A large part of performing exercises properly is remembering to stay mentally focused on the task at hand. Visualize the way the movement should look while you are doing it and focus on the muscles involved. You shouldn’t be talking with the person next to you or your training partner, looking around or making a grocery list in your head. An effective training session takes just as much mental energy as it does physical. Concentrate on the correct posture and movement of your body and save everything else for later.
    Keep your movements smooth and controlled. For example when performing a bicep curl, after you have raised the dumbbells, control them on the way down as well. Don’t just let your arms fall to your sides. The negative portion of the exercise needs to receive just as much effort and attention as the positive and vice versa.
    Once you have learned the proper execution of an exercise keep a mental checklist of things to consider in avoiding injury. For example, when performing a squat you want to remember to keep your head up and your core tight. With a chest press done on a flat bench, you want to make sure your back stays flat against the bench to avoid a lower back injury. Learn what the specific cues are for each exercise you do and remind yourself of them throughout the workout.
    Some other points to keep in mind
    Be prepared. Make sure your workout is suited to you and that you are working at the appropriate level for your ability. Your workout should be difficult enough in order to get the full benefits, but not so difficult that you can’t do them.
    Dress appropriately. Wear proper shoes for your particular workout that are comfortable and offer good support. Your clothes should be lightweight, fit well, breathe well and be comfortable. If you are working out in the cold, dress in layers to easily adapt to your changing body temperature.
    Notice the equipment. If you are working out at a gym or health club, make sure their equipment is in good working order. If you notice any pieces that appear to be missing, frayed cords, deflated stability balls or anything else that doesn’t look right, notify an employee so things can be fixed.
    If you are working out at an appropriate level for your ability and using proper technique and good form, you will reach your full potential. Sometimes you may just need to make minor adjustments in your execution to see some positive changes. Just make sure you are learning and taking advice from the right people.

    blog10I often see people in the gym performing exercises with the best of intentions, yet using less than optimal form. Beginners, intermediates and die hard gym rats may all experience improper technique in their workout routine from time to time. The correct execution of prescribed exercises is crucial to avoiding injury as well as realizing the full potential of your workout.

    For those that are new to working out, it’s important to learn the proper technique of an exercise from a professional. While there are a lot of people in the gym that may be doing an exercise right, there are also a lot that aren’t, which could lead to injury. Have a knowledgeable personal trainer show you how an exercise needs to be performed so that you can get it right the first time and avoid picking up another persons bad habits.
    For experienced gym goers, it’s a good idea to periodically re-evaluate your form. After an exercise becomes routine it can be easy to slowly slip into less than perfect technique. It’s best to have a professional take a look at your form and let you know if there are ways to improve. Check in every once in awhile and you’ll continue to reap the full benefits of your workout.
    A large part of performing exercises properly is remembering to stay mentally focused on the task at hand. Visualize the way the movement should look while you are doing it and focus on the muscles involved. You shouldn’t be talking with the person next to you or your training partner, looking around or making a grocery list in your head. An effective training session takes just as much mental energy as it does physical. Concentrate on the correct posture and movement of your body and save everything else for later.
    blog7Keep your movements smooth and controlled. For example when performing a bicep curl, after you have raised the dumbbells, control them on the way down as well. Don’t just let your arms fall to your sides. The negative portion of the exercise needs to receive just as much effort and attention as the positive and vice versa.
    Once you have learned the proper execution of an exercise keep a mental checklist of things to consider in avoiding injury. For example, when performing a squat you want to remember to keep your head up and your core tight. With a chest press done on a flat bench, you want to make sure your back stays flat against the bench to avoid a lower back injury. Learn what the specific cues are for each exercise you do and remind yourself of them throughout the workout.
    blog8
    Some other points to keep in mind

    Be prepared
    Make sure your workout is suited to you and that you are working at the appropriate level for your ability. Your workout should be difficult enough in order to get the full benefits, but not so difficult that you can’t do them.
    Dress appropriately
    Wear proper shoes for your particular workout that are comfortable and offer good support. Your clothes should be lightweight, fit well, breathe well and be comfortable. If you are working out in the cold, dress in layers to easily adapt to your changing body temperature.
    Notice the equipment
    If you are working out at a gym or health club, make sure their equipment is in good working order. If you notice any pieces that appear to be missing, frayed cords, deflated stability balls or anything else that doesn’t look right, notify an employee so things can be fixed.
    If you are working out at an appropriate level for your ability and using proper technique and good form, you will reach your full potential. Sometimes you may just need to make minor adjustments in your execution to see some positive changes. Just make sure you are learning and taking advice from the right people.
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    About Travis
    Travis Steffen is a Master Trainer and founder of WorkoutBOX. After years of experience training professional athletes and thousands of others just like you, he knows exactly what it takes to get you in serious shape. Follow his expert guidance and you're guaranteed to get amazing results.
    Want to hear even more of what Travis has to say? Keep in touch with him on Facebook and Twitter!

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