Good Form: It's Not for the Weak
by Scott Gray,
Here's a quick multiple choice quiz. Does the effectiveness of a workout depend on:
If you read the title, you probably guessed the correct answer is "Form." But does that reflect how you actually work out?
Contrary to common practice, good form is essential for effective workouts. In this article, we'll explain good form so you can maximize results and prevent injuries.
Well, maybe "maximize" is overstating the situation. Something that people with poor form have in common, and you can observe this first-hand at any gym, is that after they make their initial progress they plateau out. This usually happens within three to six months. After that, no matter how many years they spend going to the gym they look the same. They are wasting their time. And their health.
What is form?
Think of form as the quality with which you are exercising a specific muscle group. Your form depends upon the method in which you perform the exercise. The better your form, the better your workout will be. For example, getting six pack abs will be far more achievable if you are doing those crunches correctly. Yes, it will hurt more, but cheating will not get you the good results.
Your form is good when your motions, joint alignment, speed, and breathing conform to the standard for that exercise. Good form is biomechanically correct, and it achieves the proper stimulus to the intended muscle.
An example of good form is pulling your shoulders back (by trying to pinch your shoulder blades together) during the bench press. Most people fail to do this, and thus work their front deltoids. This leads to muscle imbalances and an asymmetrical look, in addition to leaving you with an underpowered, underdeveloped chest. People round their shoulders forward, because doing so allows them to lift more weight. But correcting this builds your chest muscles and ultimately increases your bench press far beyond what a shoulder rounding person can achieve.
Why is good form important?
Good form is not only important for correctly exercising a muscle group and attaining more impressive results, but is also key to preventing injuries. Strains, tears, and overuse injuries can all easily occur with poor form. And such injuries are nearly always attributable to poor form. Do you see the obvious solution, here?
How to use good form in your workouts:
Good form in your workouts will minimize injuries and maximize
results. Good form depends on concentration, along with correct and
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Where an article is not bylined with a specific author's name, it was written by Mark Lamendola (see photos on home page and elsewhere on this site). Mark is a 4th degree blackbelt, has not been sick since 1971, and has not missed a workout since 1977. Just an example of how Mark knows what he's talking about: In his early 50s, Mark demonstrated a biceps curl using half his body weight. That's a Jack LaLanne level stunt. Few people can even come close. If you want to know how to build a strong, beautiful body, read the articles here.
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