A General Note about Exercise Form

The most important thing when doing any exercise is form.  If your form is off, you will not get the results you want and you will likely hurt yourself.  This article isnít going to cover specific form for specific exercises, but will instead attempt to point out common pitfalls regarding form.

The best way to keep your form is to remember that most of the muscles in your body should be kept pretty tight and rigid for most exercises.  For instance, when you are performing a dumbbell curl, regardless of the type of curl, you donít want your arms flailing around or your upper body just moving around as if you donít have any weight in your hands.  The best way to think about this is to remember to keep your core (abs) nice and tight when performing a workout.  This will help to prevent you from bobbing around or flailing.  For each exercise you are trying to hit specific muscles and, in order to do this, you need to isolate the movement to that muscle as much as possible.  For the dumbbell curl, youíre not trying to work out shoulders, so you shouldnít be moving the top half of the arm (shoulder to elbow) at all.

Now, letís use the example of a bench press.  Generally speaking, for anyone that wants to put up weight, you need to have your feet firmly planted on the ground and need to limit any potential movement outside of your arms and shoulders.  Therefore, you need to have a tightly flexed core and firmly planted feet that cannot move around.

Here is an exercise where people often mess-up their form: lateral raises.  Often times, people are just throwing up weight almost jumping as they get to the top in order to get the weight up to the shoulders.  But, this is not a hips and legs exercise.  Therefore, you should only use your shoulders to perform the lift.  Keep your core tight, feet firmly planted, and donít move anything but your shoulders.

Without proper form, you will not see results.  The most important thing about form is to isolate the muscle groups that you are supposed to be working for that exercise and to perform slow and steady motions.  A recurring theme in this article, and one that will serve you well, is to keep your core tight during most (basically all) exercises and to have your feet firmly planted to provide stability.  Basically, you want to make sure that you are performing the exercise correctly.

Check out some of the other articles for more specific explanations of the proper form to use for specific exercises.

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