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The Best Ways to Learn Proper Exercise Form & Habits

Published: 7/28/14

More people these days are abandoning their sedentary habits and seeking out ways to improve their overall physical fitness to help them live healthier, happier lives. One issue with those who decide to take the plunge and make the gym a part of their everyday lives is completing exercises without using the proper technique.

For people to reap the full benefits of exercise and avoid serious injuries, individuals who are exercising must learn the proper exercise techniques and practices. When executed properly exercise provide a host of benefits, such as promoting the growth of lean muscle tissue, improving a person’s muscle strength and stimulating the growth of bone tissue. If an individual is using an incorrect form and creating bad habits while exercising they risk developing serious injuries – such as sprains, stress fractures and torn ligaments.

Although there are hundreds of exercises that require perfect form to complete properly, the most common exercises that are performed inaccurately are abdominal crunches, bicep curls, the leg press, lunges and squats.

Abdominal crunches are performed improperly because most people raise themselves off of the floor and do not allow their abdominal muscles to contract; which negates the whole premise of performing crunches.

Bicep curls are also an exercise that is performed improperly due to the fact that some people choose a heavier weight than they can lift – causing them to hunch their shoulders forward to lift the weight. To prevent improper form a person should choose a weight that they are able to lift, and make sure to align their head and spine while lifting the weight. The bicep curl should then be performed with the bicep doing all of the work, lifting the weight in front of the body without moving the elbows or shoulders.

The leg press is performed incorrectly when people do not keep a neutral spine or when they press their backs completely against the back support when pressing their legs out to push the weight. To perform this exercise correctly a person should maintain the natural curve of their lower back when pressing their legs out against the weight, and make sure that their neck muscles are relaxed while keeping their head steady against the head rest.

Lunges and squats are often done incorrectly. When performed properly, lunges and squats strengthen a person’s abdominal muscles, glutes, hamstrings and quads, but when lunges and squats are performed incorrectly a person will eventually experience knee pain and back pain. Leaning forward with the upper body is one of the tell-tale signs of improper form when performing these two exercises. To properly execute lunges and squats and avoid injury a person should keep their toes pointed out directly in front and, when performing regular squats, take an athletic stance with the knees slightly bent.

To prevent injury and perform a variety of exercises to the best of their ability, gym members can learn proper form from fitness instructors, personal trainers and even from workout animations & DVDs.

Fitness Instructors: A person can be taught proper workout form and exercise habits with help from a fitness instructor. A fitness instructor usually teaches a group in a class setting. Within the fitness class, a fitness instructor teaches a group of students how to execute a particular exercise or movement in a natural rhythmic way that instills proper muscle training. As he or she goes through the specific motions of an exercise, the students attending their class must mimic and execute that particular movement so that it is somewhat identical to the instructor’s movements. However, if a fitness instructor sees that a few people are still struggling with a certain movement of the exercise, the instructor will go directly to those people, and take the time to show them the proper motions and movements of the exercise via up close visuals of the instructor’s movements.

Personal Trainers: A personal trainer’s job is to help their clients get physically fit through a variety of exercise routines. For the personal trainer and the client to be successful, the personal trainer must teach their clients the correct form and instill good habits when performing exercises.

Workout animations & videos: Another way to learn proper exercise form & habits is by watching exercises being done via workout animations & workout DVDs within the privacy of a person’s own home.