The dangers of wrong lifting form

In Photo: Mark Ed Floro

OFTEN overlooked is the importance of proper form when lifting weights. Some of us get caught up with stacking on the plates to lift heavy, or are in a rush to finish up our sets and repetitions that we end up sacrificing proper form.

Wrong form will put to waste the hours we invest in the gym, not to mention heighten the risk of injury.

Our intensity and dedication in doing things the wrong way will not get us the results we desire, but may even lead to us hurting ourselves and the subsequent downtime that will go with it.

For bench presses, for instance, we should slowly lower the bar to our chests and not bounce them off. We should also use the full range of motion and not do incomplete repetitions or half reps in order to reap the full benefits of this chest building exercise.

Barbell or dumbbell bicep curls ought to be done in a controlled manner with our elbows close to our sides, without leaning back at the end of the movement and minimizing upper body swing. Our arms and elbows must  not swing forward. Experienced lifters may sometimes use some advanced technique that do not seem to conform to these rules. But unless advised by a reputablefitness professional, we should avoid leaning back while doing bicep curls as it puts us at risk of lower back strain or injury.Swinging also removes the effort from your biceps.

Barbell leg squats—which entail placing  a barbell at the top of our backs and then then squatting downward then moving back up– must be done with our spines erect and our upper bodies leaning forward slightly. Our backs and shoulders must not be rounded in a letter C like position, nor should the back be hyper-extended. Placing our backs in a C position with weight on top of it poses a very real and serious threat of injury as we are placing our spines in a very unnatural spot. As it is, full range leg squats may not be the safest exercise for those with a history of lower back problems or weak lower backs.  Compound this with wrong form and you openly invite injury.

As a general rule, go slow and steady, purposely feeling every repetition, avoiding unnecessary movement of body parts that are not supposed to be involved in the exercise.

Some in the gym, will on their own, be swinging dumbbells the way they would a golf club, a tennis racket or whatever sport they are into, not knowing that this may not help enhance their athletic performance but heighten the probability of injuring their shoulders and rotator cuffs. Let’s stay clear of inventing our own weight training exercises and instead consult a fitness professional on what may work best for us.

Revisiting proper form and technique is never a bad thing. It’s perfectly OK if you have to lift lighter weights, so long as you are lifting right. The correct form will yield better results and make for a safer workout.

Proper form is the norm. There is no other way to go about it.