The Importance of Correct Form When Weight Lifting

When you are lifting weights, there is always the temptation for you to use extra muscles to help make that final lift that's just too much for your straining muscles. You may naturally slouch, or you have poor posture due to improper training. Did you know that having the wrong form isn't just bad for your workout, but it's actually dangerous?

Why Proper Form is Important

There are a few reasons that you need to maintain proper form when you are lifting weights:

  1. Proper form helps to prevent strains -- When you are using the muscles correctly, they will be pushed until failure - but no further. If you try and throw in that extra rep and use improper form, there is a very real risk that you could strain your muscles and injure yourself. Your body will often compensate for the lack of power by using other muscles, and you increase your risk of injuries and muscle strains.
  2. Proper form helps to focus on the target muscles -- Unless you are a professional, most of the exercises that you do will focus on a number of muscles at once. (A bench press, for example, focuses on the chest as the prime mover, but the triceps, serratus anterior, and shoulder muscles are used as well.) The exercises are designed to target specific muscle groups, and doing the exercises with the proper form will ensure that the muscles are worked properly. If you use improper form, the exercises won't yield the desired results, and you'll see less progress than you would want. When you incorporate other muscles into an exercise that doesn't call for their use, you'll reduce your muscle gains.
  3. Proper form helps you to breathe -- As you study the proper form for weight lifting exercises, you'll learn the breathing techniques that accompany them. This breathing is very important, as it will give your muscles more strength and endurance. Lactic acid is produced by your muscles, and oxygenating the muscles helps to eliminate the acid. By breathing properly, you'll ensure that your muscles can work for longer periods of time without becoming exhausted or strained due to the buildup of lactic acid.

Why Improper Form is Dangerous

When you use your back to press the weight back up, or you lean back to give your biceps more leverage for that final curl, you're putting extra pressure on your spine. The muscles protecting your spine are strong, but you can actually seriously injure them if you make a wrong move or jerk too quickly. When you are weight lifting, you need to avoid using your back for your exercises, as you can strain your back.

Another type of improper form that many people have when working out is extending their arms or their legs until their elbows or knees are locked. When this happens, you are hyper-extending the muscle, which is dangerous and can increase your risk of the muscles being damaged. You will definitely be sore the next day thanks to this hyperextension, and you place extra strain on your joints. If you aren't careful, you can rip a tendon and cause yourself serious injury.

As you can see, maintaining proper form in your exercise is very important, so it's in your best interest to learn the right form when weight lifting or doing any kind of workout. If you do, you'll be much safer as you exercise, and you'll see the best results from your efforts to lose weight, get in shape, and build those muscles!

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