All the gym-goers can understand the joy of adding more plates or using a heavy dumbbell. Adding more weight while exercising indicates that you’re getting stronger than before. And, yes, it is an achievement and probably one of the best feelings. But, are you doing it right? At what expense is it coming? – Maybe it at the cost of proper form. All of us have witnessed someone, or sometimes we might have attempted to lift heavy without a proper form. But, your weight-lifting form is more important than weight itself.
Proper form is essential for weight lifting, and other exercises too demand that. Be it running, weight lifting, jogging, walking, anything, you have to it properly. There are different rules for all of them, and you have to follow them properly to get better results. So, what is a bad form or an improper form?
Bad Form/ Improper form:
Bad form is when you do an exercise in a way in which it is not supposed to be done, like a poor running posture or sometimes lifting heavier than your strength. Your overall execution is unsafe, inefficient, or can be both. In short, you better stop doing that.
Why is weight-lifting form more important than weight?
Swinging at a place while moving weight can be one of the signs that the weight you’re lifting now is heavier, and you need to look for something less than that.
- Can hurt your back: The back and spine have a role to play in almost all the exercise. So, a back alignment has to be maintained while performing any exercise. Putting too much stress on the back might create problems, reduce the stress on your spine and build lower back strength. Take help from your trainer and focus on your back alignment during an exercise. Lifting heavy weight can cause spinal injuries like herniated discs.
The image below clearly tells the difference between a right and a wrong posture. Most of the exercise demands you to keep your back straight/flat or slightly arched. Your posture is more likely to struggle if you try to lift heavier than what you can actually.
Note: This varies from exercise to exercise. It is always advisable to consult your trainer before doing any new exercise. You can ask him/her to demonstrate you, or you perform and get it checked from them.
- Joint pain: Weight training involves bending, extending, rotating, etc. So, such movements include elbows, knees, shoulder, hips, etc. Wrong form or a posture will directly hit them, resulting in pain and sometimes injury. Perform slow, controlled movements and lif according to your strength. It would be best if you pull the weight rather than the weight pulling you. Keep the knees and elbows slightly bent and avoid locking them.
The image below shows how the bad squat form is directly hurting the knees as they are locked. And, if the weight is too heavy, then you might get injured.
Note: You are supposed to lift the weight and not the vice-versa.
Be careful. Ask for support if you’re trying to increase the weight. Focus on your strength and decide accordingly.
- Hinders muscle growth: If you’re not doing the weight training right, i.e., in an improper form, you’ll end up targeting some entirely different muscle group than you intended. So, your desired muscle will not grow or strengthen how much ever you try. And, in most cases, you’ll end up getting joint pain or sometimes can result in severe injuries.
- Bad posture: Weight training is known for improving posture and prevents back pain, but only if done right. It strengthens the core, shoulder, and back muscles, which are essential to stand with a proper posture. But, if you’re not performing it right then, the same weight training can result in bad posture and severe back pain.
What happens to your form when you lift heavyweights?
- If you have enough strength, you will be able to do the exercise easily without swinging at your place. But, if you don’t have enough strength to pick the heavier weight, the other muscles will come into play if the targeted muscle doesn’t have enough strength.
- Once you lift more than your strength, your movement patterns, postures, form, and muscle strength will suffer. Your body will be tired, and you will not be able to do any exercise with ease.
How can you gain strength without compromising weight-lifting form?
- It is possible to increase muscle strength even if you make slow progress. It’s the progress that matters. The real progress is in gaining strength without compromising form.
- Increase the weight slowly and only if you’re able to perform the exercise right. Ask your trainer and pay attention to your body. The body is smart and can give you signs when you go overboard. Just don’t ignore them.
- Increase the number of reps. This way, you can target the desired muscle group with more concentration without compromising the form.
- If you want to try something with heavier weight, ask for support. And inform your trainer about the injuries(if any). So, he/ she can guide you. Inform as soon as you start your training at the gym. Follow the simple beginner tips to muscle building and improve your performance gradually.
- Use a weight belt while performing weight training. It can reduce the stress on the lower back while the person is lifting in an upright position and prevents back hyperextension during overhead lifts.