Whether you’re new to strength training or need a refresher, proper form can keep you safe and help you build solid muscle. It’s easy to lose sight of your form, especially when you’ve been training in the same routine for a while. You may start to daydream because you’re more focused on the clock or something that happened at home.
Look, we’ve all been there. But getting lackadaisical with your form can lead to serious consequences. You might not build strength at the same level or injure yourself. Take a few minutes to read about these three strength training tips to improve your form.
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Having good form during strength training can be the difference between hitting a new goal or regressing. Worse yet, bad form can easily lead to injury, setting you back further. Maintaining good form can help you build solid muscle and teach your body to use multiple muscle groups at once.
Even if it feels like you’ve mastered a lift or exercise, it never hurts to check your form. You can do this by:
There are also plenty of video tutorials by experts and amateurs on the internet available.
While technically not related to form or technique, this strength training safety tip should not be ignored. Cold muscles are prone to injuries—don’t skip the warmup. It can be as easy as a brisk 10-minute walk, stretching, or a quick low-intensity exercise.
Moving too quickly during your lifts is never a good idea. You could endanger not only yourself but anyone around you as well. No matter how much weight you’re lifting, always do so in a controlled manner. And when you’re finished with a set, give yourself a minute before restarting.
While some exercises or programs like high-intensity interval training (HIIT) call for fast-paced movement, remaining under control is still a top priority. There’s no point in moving fast if your form is off—you’re just risking injury.
To a certain extent, you expect some pain or strain during your lifts. It’s perfectly reasonable to push past pain to find your limits. But at some point, you must listen to your body. If an exercise is causing significant pain, stop immediately. It could be due to form being off, using too much weight, or another factor.
Instead of pushing yourself to a breaking point, avoid that lift for a few days. Let your body reset and come back to it at a lower weight. If you’re still noticing significant pain, it’s time to find a new lift.
Sometimes you have so much going on in life that you start to daydream. If this is you during strength training, snap out of it. Put your mind into the workout by focusing on the muscles you’re using. Improving your mind-body connection can improve your form, leading to better results.
Do your lifts involve swinging motions? If so, avoid using the momentum to perform your lift—put those muscles to work. The best way to do this is to remain under control from the beginning of the lift to the end. This is especially important if you’re using free weights or kettlebells, as nothing is stopping their momentum except you.
An easy way to tell you’re using too much weight is to see if you can lift it without swinging. If not, lower the weight and focus on your form to build up strength.
For the exercises that require you to start in a standing position, check your posture. Are you standing tall with your chest lifted? Or are your shoulders hunched and tense? It’s such a small thing to do, but fixing your posture can help you maintain solid form.
Help yourself maintain good posture by keeping your core engaged. A strong core leads to a strong lift and even stronger muscles.
Weight lifting with proper form is the easiest way to progressively build strength and avoid injury. But weight lifting is only half the battle. To get the most out of every lift, you need energy to power through it and protein to recover from it.
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