Regardless of how consistent we are with our strength training, the exercises we complete hardly have an effect if they aren’t completed with proper form. However, finding the time to incorporate regular strength training is often hard enough as it is – let alone taking the time to research proper exercise form.
Proper exercise form is key to successful strength training.
Luckily, making a few simple tweaks might be all it takes to really benefit from those strength training exercises.
Today’s article is written by Mary Johnson. She is sharing 7 tips to improve your exercise form during your weekly strength training workouts. Try out some or all of these strategies to get stronger, stay injury free and become a better runner in no time.
As runners we always hear about how important strength training is. Do we always follow the rule of thumb of one session a week? Not always…at least I struggle pretty hard to keep up with this task even though I know how beneficial it is.
Strength training for runners is crucial for many reasons, the most important being injury prevention.
While most people know which exercises to do on a regular basis and add to their weekly routine, not everyone is very knowledgeable when it comes to form. When performing these kinds of exercises, form is crucial to reaping results and staying healthy.
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So here are some ways you can do your strength training and get those results you are working so hard for.
7 Tips to Improve Your Exercise Form
1. Do your research
Before starting any strength training, you should watch videos and read as much as possible. You can learn a lot by paying attention in the gym, asking questions, and even setting up an initial session with a trainer to check your exercise form.
If you don’t want to go to a gym and prefer exercising at home, you can also look at websites like 30 Day Fitness that have a lot of informational articles. For example, you can learn the proper way to do sit ups and much more.
2. Focus and be present
Strength training requires you to be present every second of your session. Focus on what you are doing and your form, as even one slip can really throw off your form and the rest of your set.
When you focus on being present during your workout, you are really in tune with your body and learn what all it can do. This could also be a great way to exercise mindfulness by using your weekly strength training session as an opportunity to tune in a ground yourself.
Don’t forget to breathe! When you are working hard, you may be tempted to hold your breath. However, one of the best things you can do is fuel your exercises by exhaling during the hardest part and inhaling deeply.
Learning how to breathe properly during a workout is key for seeing results! In fact, when strength training, breathing properly allows you to exert more power, helping you lift more weight and endure for a longer period of time.
4. Watch your back posture
When you are strength training, whether it be with free weights or your own bodyweight, your back posture is essential. Hold your back in proper form with your shoulders back, no tension in your neck, and your core engaged.
This will protect your back and also make sure that when you are doing upper or lower body workouts, you are actually working out the muscles in which you were intending.
5. Stand in front of a mirror
Though it may feel a little funny when you are just starting out, there is a reason why people stand in front of a mirror during strength training! First off, it enables you to be able to watch your form and be sure you are staying in line. Second, seeing yourself provides you with more control over what you are doing. This can then help you immediately see if something is off in your form.
Watching yourself in a mirror is highly recommended! If you work out at home and don’t have a full-length mirror, just use a window or the tv screen – it won’t provide the clearest imagine, but it’s still reflective enough to give you an idea of what you’re doing.
6. Be mindful of your knees
For the longest time, people have had the misconception that running is bad for your knees and that runners have bad knees. While this is entirely false (it’s actually the exact opposite!) one thing does remain certain: even though they are strong, you need to take care of your knees!
You do not want to lock your knees while you are working out, so keep a slight bend in them at all times. It is also very important to guard your back and in order to avoid unnecessary stress on your back, you’ll need to keep your knees in the correct position.
7. Rest between sets
A proper strength training workout requires rest between sets, which can be anywhere from 45 seconds to 90 seconds. Not resting actually does more harm than good!
Resting between sets is also very important in terms of calorie burn. When you rest between sets, your heart rate decreases and then goes back up when you start a new set. This fluctuation in heart rate not only helps build stamina and cardiovascular endurance, but it also helps you burn more calories.
Remember that having good exercise form is essential in order to maximize your workouts and therefore to see results from strength training. If you are putting in all the effort but not holding proper form, you are setting yourself up for injury and potentially sabotaging all of your work.
Be sure to check in your form consistently and you will see the results!
Further reading: The Best At Home Strength Training Workout