Form is everything when it comes to seeing results in the gym (and to prevent injury). Whether you’re doing a squat, deadlift, lat-pull down, plank, moving with intention and mindfulness matters. Not only can accurate form keep you out of a physio office, it can boost the efficacy of your workouts, and subsequently get you amazing results!
As a kinesiologist graduate, I take the human body very seriously and prioritize correcting my clients form while I train them in the gym so you have the best guidance possible. I’m your girl if you want a kickass strength training workout coupled with a little HIIT and steady state cardio. Check out my website for more info.
With that said, if form is so important, what’s ONE form technique you can steal from me? Read on to learn the top form adjustment that will transform how you workout! Cuz girl, if I can save you extra time, effort, and unnecessary setbacks, that is exactly what I am going to do. Work smarter, not harder, as they say. And Remember, we all started out somewhere. So Commit to be Fit and leave the rest to me as I show you the way!
Planks are HARD! Thats no surprise considering you are training your entire abdominal wall, not to mention your shoulders and legs, too! But let's not make them harder than they have to, okay? The biggest mistake I see people making while planking is having an exaggerated dip in their lower back. This means your core is not being kept tight enough and your hips start to sag towards the ground.
Think about pulling your belly button in and up toward your spine to activate your core better. What does this do? It ensures you keep a neutral spine. By keeping a neutral spine while doing this exercise, you will significantly increase your core strength and will simultaneously improve your posture.
Speed, efficiency, stamina - these are all things we want to accomplish on our runs. How can you improve your running mechanics to get the desired outcomes?
Whether you're doing a HIIT on the treadmill or jogging along the seawall — make sure your foot that is striking lands UNDER your center of mass. This means your front foot should land underneath your body and not out in front of it like you probably normally do.
What does this do? It ensures you're not putting too much impact and pressure on your legs and knees by ‘reaching’ too far ahead with our lead foot. If you 'reach' too far with that lead foot you can create imbalanced strides. How can you fix this? One way is to lean slightly more forward with your strides. Alternatively, adjust your cadence (steps per minute) to allow your core to stabilize and hamstrings to consistently power you forward.
Added benefit: Injury prevention — shin splints, knee pain, sore quads, and tight hips.
You girls know I’m all about the booty! I love me a good booty/leg day and naturally I am very passionate about glute activation. Before any leg day, especially one that is booty focused, I make sure I do a proper glute activation warmup to get those booty muscles fired up in preparation for my exercises. Although squats are arguably NOT one of the best exercises for booty gains, ensuring your glutes are working while you are squatting is essential for proper squat form, and preventing injury to the knees, back and hips. You see a lot of people squatting with knee valgus (knees caving inward) which in part has to do with your glutes not firing the way they should.
Start your workout by firing up your entire posterior chain – the muscles that run up the back of your body, including the glutes, the erector spinae, calves and hamstrings It’s amazing how much a seemingly small adjustment can transform your workouts. Watch the video below for some examples of glute activation exercises.
The Standing Shoulder Press
For your overall functional fitness, you can reap huge benefits from having a strong overhead press including your overall core strength. What I see quite frequently in the gym is people pushing heavy weights overhead which a huge arc in their backs. Yikes. The force of the weight is coming right down on your spine and an overarched spine can cause back pain or injury.
You hear your trainer tell you to tuck your pelvis all the time, but what does that mean, how do you do it, and why does it matter? Let's break it down. By aiming your tailbone towards the ground and engaging your pelvic floor — imagine holding in your pee — you are able to engage your lower abs in a more efficient way. What we want to prevent is having an arch in your low back. Instead, you want to have a neutral flat back. It doesn’t have to be completely flat to the point that your shoulders begin to round forward, but having your belly pushing out and your ribs flaring is what we are trying to avoid. This tweak is a total game changer and can help with so many of your exercises in the gym, including your plank, pushup, and even bicep curls.
I hope these form tips help you get the results you're looking for in the gym! Simple technique tweaks can be the make or break in your fitness journey. If you would feel more comfortable having a trainer keep an eye on your form for you, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about personal training sessions in a Vancouver gym near you!
'Commit to be fit'