Proper form is vital to keep your body healthy and to fully reap the benefits of resistance training without chronic injury. Regardless of the amount of weight you are lifting, proper form should be your number one priority. We will cover three of the most common exercises today and how to improve your form for each exercise.
Squats seem like a basic movement but many are still squatting with incorrect form. The most common problems people have with squats are: not going low enough, knees are caving inward, going up on the toes and also rounding the back. The proper way to squat is have a slightly wider-than-shoulder-width stance, with the toes pointed out at or close to 45 degrees, your chest up, and your shoulders back. Your weight should be mostly in your heels and you should be able to wiggle your toes as you come up to standing. Gently squeeze your glutes at the top of your squat and always keep the core engaged.
Lunges are a great way to build up quads and glute strength. However, I see many people making these common mistakes: shifting the weight forward to the ball of the front foot, bending the torso forward instead of keeping a straight back and the front knee tends to cave inward. These mistakes are lessened when you are able to keep your balance and maintain a straight back.
The proper way to lunge is to take a big step out with one foot and bend straight down without any forward motion, keeping your back straight. The angle between both shins and thighs should be 90° when in the lowest position in your lunge. Rise straight up with chest up and core engaged keeping the front knee straight. If it helps, imagine a pole through the top of your head, through the middle of your body and down to the ground. Imagine that the only motion you can make is moving up and down along the pole.
Pushups not only target the chest muscles, but the entire body when done properly. The biggest and most common pushup mistakes include: flaring the elbows too far out, going only halfway down, bending the hips up and down instead of moving the body, bending the head down so the forehead is out of alignment with the rest of the body.
Start off by planting your feet together, standing on the balls of your feet and placing your palms slightly wider than shoulder width across the chest. Keep your elbows closer to your sides at roughly 30-40 degree angle from your body. When you rise up from the ground, only your palms and the balls of your feet (or knees and feet if modified) should be touching the floor. Your back should be completely straight, with only your arms moving your body up and down. Go down slowly with control then push up until your arms lock out, and repeat the process.
Hope this information helps you dial in a bit more to your form during your resistance training workouts. If you have any questions regarding exercise form, you are always welcome to contact your Health Coaches at firstname.lastname@example.org.