Mastering The Basics Of Form In Fitness
Working out can be daunting, especially if you are new to the whole concept. Some of you might have been working out for years, but struggle to keep motivated due to pushing yourself in the wrong ways, or perhaps injuries set you back?
No matter what level you are at in your training, starting with the basics is always the best way to go. This way you can be sure that the things you are spending time doing are giving you the maximum benefit whilst also ensuring you are safe from injury and harm.
So, let's start with the basics:
Squatting: Always ensure your feet are pointing outwards away from the body and sit back into your squat like there is an imaginary chair waiting for you. Keep the chest open, shoulders back and core activated to avoid putting excess pressure into the lower back. Tuck the pelvis down so that your back not in a huge banana curve.
Lifting: Before you even pick up any kind of weight, ensure your posture is how it should be. Chest open, shoulders back, feet planted firmly on the floor and the back flat or straight. If you are a beginner, it is always a good idea to start with the lightest weight possible and work your way up from there. This way you are allowing for different areas of the body to test how strong they are and then progress. Keep a record in your phone or in a fitness journal so you can track your progress and changes.
Crunching: This exercise is one of the most horrible exercises to get wrong. Not only can you do serious damage to your neck and back, but you will basically get nothing out of this exercise if you don’t perform is correctly. Surprisingly, you should never throw yourself into a crunch, it should be slow and controlled. Preferably with the thumbs lining the neck, elbows shooting out and arms out as flat as possible in the chicken wing position. This way you are ensuring your arms are doing as little as possible, except supporting the neck. Your abs should now come into play. With the feet planted firmly on the ground or in table top position you can flatten the back, take a deep inhale, then exhale as you draw your eyes in the direction of your thighs, squeezing the abdominals without straining the neck. Come back down to a completely flat lying position before doing your next repetition. No half reps!
Lunging: See our full article on lunging for more detail but the key with lunges when you are staring out is to use a mirror. Standing hip width apart, step back into your lunge (always start with reverse lunges to avoid knee injury) and see where your foot lands, adjust the hips to face forward and your foot should be placed a little to the outside of your body, not directly behind. Allow your upper body to fold forward a little, so as to not put so much pressure on the lower back. Repeat on the other side. Remember slow and steady wins the race with these.
Upper body: As I have been mentioning this whole time. Shoulders back, chest open and core activated. Think of those jeans you wish you could still fit into then pretend to zip them up, this feeling of zipping up those jeans and tucking in the pelvis is how you know if you core is on or not. Be conscious with you muscle and mind connection as this can be the difference between activation, injury and success.
Quick fix: If you are struggling with push-ups start on your knees and then ensure your wrists are a little out from your shoulders.