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Using Proper Form

by jeff denson

Above all else, every exercise MUST BE DONE IN PROPER FORM. If for any reason you feel you can't do an exercise in proper form, then DON'T DO IT. Everyone has specific issues that must be addressed, such as flexibility, past injuries, arthritis, etc. that may prevent them from doing an exercise properly. In these cases, an alternate exercise may need to be substituted.

Safety

The most important reason for sticking to proper form is safety. While there is no such thing as a 100% safe exercise (I've known people who've thrown their back out bending over to tie their shoes or unloading a dishwasher), we should strive to be as safe as possible. The exercises I have chosen have been used for years by thousands of people and have been proven to be generally safe without long term negative consequences. If you choose to modify the exercise, it may feel alright now, but what are the long term effects going to be on the joints involved? Is it going to slowly damage the joint in a way that you won't feel until five, maybe ten years from now? I don't know and neither do you. And I'm not interested in running a long term study on you to find out. If I chose to do an exercise in a specific way, then I have chosen that way because it has been done that way for years and the effectiveness and long term effects are well known. I'm not an exercise scientist. I'm not out to invent new exercises, I just want to use the ones that have been around long enough to know that they are safe. If you have a standard beloved exercise that you would like to add, then by all means ask about it and I will consider it. However, if you want to experiment and invent new exercises, you'll have to do so on you own, because you won't do them with me - period don't ask.

Effectiveness

By changing an exercise, you may be changing which muscles are dominant for that exercise. Each exercise is selected because it works a particular muscle group. By changing the angle, grip, range of motion, body position, etc. you may be changing which muscles are the primary movers for that exercise. This will reduce the overall effectiveness of the workouts. It's essential that each exercise work the intended muscle group. If you change the exercise form, you will probably reduce the effectiveness of the overall workout plan.
 

Use the Appropriate Weight

It's not the weight that's important, but the results that count.

Always use a weight that is light enough to allow you to complete your set in proper form. Using a weight that is too heavy may impress the other gym rats, but it won't produce the desired results. At best, it simply won't work the correct muscles; And at worst it might cause an injury.

And we've all seen it, someone doing curls using their whole body to swing a big weight. And I'm not talking about a little bit of body English such as in cheat curls, I'm talking about using pure momentum to sling a weight that is so heavy they have to let it drop uncontrolled on the negative portion. This has almost NO BENEFIT for their biceps, which is why you do curls. It's their back and hips that are doing all the work. It may impress the other gym rats, but their biceps will never grow doing curls in this fashion. They're wasting their time. And of course, later they'll complain that they can't grow big biceps because they are a hard gainer, or genetically challenged, or some other nonsense, when in reality they're just an ineffective trainer. You will get bigger biceps by using a lighter weight and doing the exercise in proper form. Remember, it's not the weight you lift, but the results you get that count.

Always Use Proper Form on EVERY rep of EVERY exercise

How much is your health worth?
 

Do you skip routine maintenance for your car?
Your body also requires routine maintenance. You can buy a new car, but you only get one body.  So how much is your health worth? 30 minutes a day 3 times a week?
 
Disclaimer: YOU should always consult a physician before beginning any exercise or diet program.  If you haven't trained for a while, start out slow with LIGHT weights.  Use a weight or resistance that allows you to do 15-20 reps.  Do this for at least two months to give your muscles, joints, and ligaments time to prepare for the real work.  Besides, for the first 6-8 weeks you're just preparing your body for the real workout.  You'll get about the same results during this time no matter what you do (within reason), so don't risk getting hurt.  Always follow proper form for any exercise. Don't sling the weights.  Often you'll see people in the gym using body English to sling the weights instead of muscle.  Besides the fact that this does little to work the desired muscles and thus will not give you good results, it greatly increases your risk of injury.  And workout with a partner.  It's safer and you're more likely to stick with it.

 

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