When you don’t know the proper form for the exercises that you’re doing, you can end up getting injured. When that happens, you have to try to either avoid using the injured area or put your fitness goals on hold until you heal.
There are specific forms for every type of exercise that you do. But first, what you always want to start with regardless of the exercise you’re choosing is to make sure you warm up.
That’s because warm-ups get your body ready for the exercise that you’re about to do. Warm-ups speed up your heart rate and get your blood pumping. They increase the amount of oxygen in your blood.
They also loosen up your muscles as well as your joints. Your body will be nice and limber before you begin your exercise routine. Since your muscles are warmed-up and ready, you’re less likely to get injured.
One type of exercise that’s popular in fitness routines is cardio. But the proper form for cardio is found in balance. You have to know how often to perform cardio, how hard you should work out and how long you should work out.
And all cardio exercises must have a cool-down period once you’re done. A cool-down does more than just help prevent muscle aches. It brings your heart rate and oxygen needs down at a slower rate so you don’t end up dealing with any sudden dizziness like you can get if you just stop abruptly.
This is standard regardless of the kind of cardio you’re doing and includes running, swimming, cycling outdoors on a moving bicycle or one that’s stationary. It also includes working out on a treadmill, using a stair stepper or a rower.
The best time frame for cardio is to not work out longer than 20 minutes at one time if you’re pushing your body hard and you’re not someone who exercises regularly. Never raise the difficulty of your cardio workout before you know what the proper form is.
The form is going to vary depending on what exercise you choose to do under the umbrella of cardio because a cycling form will be very different than a swimming form.
For cycling, you would stretch your torso while keeping your stomach pulled in the direction of your back and angle this part of your body forward.
Part of the proper form is to make sure that your hands are relaxed. Don’t grip the handlebars tightly. There are different swimming styles but for freestyle, you want to make sure that you don’t extend your neck or raise your head when you need to take a breath.
Doing so makes your hips and legs get out of alignment. Your body should be one long straight line with the head and torso straight. When swimming, you want your body slightly on the side rather than having your stomach facing the water full on.
Don’t stretch out farther than you can easily reach with your arms and don’t push the water. There’s a proper form for running. When you run, direct your gaze in front of you. Don’t pay attention to your feet.
Keep your head straight. You want to keep your shoulders pulled back. Don’t let your arms flail away from your body. They should be close to your body with your arms bent at a 90 degree angle.
To picture proper form for your arms, your closed fist should swing from a hand span below your chin and back to your sides. Don’t run with your back completely straight. Instead, the right form is as you run, you want to angle your body a little forward.
The proper form for lifting weights will depend on the type of lifting that you’re doing such as arm versus leg, free weights versus machine weights. You should always make sure that your muscles are limber before lifting weights.
You can stretch your arm muscles if you’re doing upper body lifting by performing arm circles, stretches or a couple of minutes of cardio. When you’re lifting weights for upper body strength building, you need to make sure that you don’t lift using other muscles.
For example, when lifting for arm muscle development, it can be easy to strain your neck because some people pull against these muscles. You want to make sure you keep your back straight, especially if you’re doing dead lifts.
If you arch your back, you can pull a muscle in the lower portion. You also want to make sure that you’re not overreaching for the weight. Doing this can cause you to injure your shoulder muscle.
A big mistake that some people make when they don’t know what the proper weight lifting form is so they use their whole body in an attempt to lift, roll or sway the weight. You’ll usually notice this if you catch yourself rocking back and forth.
Part of proper form is not trying to do too much lifting at once. This usually happens when someone increases the amount that they lift by too much. The biggest mistake here that can lead to injury is doubling the amount of weight that you’re trying to lift.
This is when someone who’s lifting 25 pounds decides that they can handle going to 50 pounds at a time. While you might be mentally prepared to handle that, your body isn’t. Your muscles can’t handle a big increase that happens all at once.
Instead, you have to gradually introduce your muscles to more weight. This is no more than 2.5 to 5 pounds at a time if you’re using hand weights. But if you’re lifting weights using dumbbells that allow adjustments, you’d still want to increase slowly.
Go small before you go big. It’s safer to increase what you can handle than to add more than your muscles can take. Strength training also requires proper form. When you’re strength training make sure that it’s muscles you use and not momentum.
It can be easy to get just a bit out of balance and injure arm, or back muscles. You have to make sure that you’re standing correctly. Keep your shoulders straight and your body relaxed.
The only area of your body that should be tight are your core muscles. If you use resistance bands in your exercise routine, you need proper form because it’s easy to get injured using one when you don’t have the proper form.
The way that you use them will depend on the exercise that you’re doing. If you’re working on your arms, you want to stand in place pinning the band in place beneath your feet.
Holding a handle in each hand, slowly raise your arms upward while building tension in your biceps. Hold onto that tension as you slowly lower your arms. Any quick jerking moments with a resistance band can cause it to recoil and snap you.
Many people think of yoga as a calm, gentle exercise but yoga can give you quite the workout if you use it correctly. It can help you to lose weight, tone your muscles and build overall body strength.
The number one cause of injuries when doing yoga is improper movements and holding the position incorrectly. Some of the poses in yoga are known as rests and yet some people hold these poses with their body tensed up and their weight not properly distributed.
When that happens, you can sprain a shoulder, put too strain on your arms and back.
During any yoga pose, you have to be careful not to throw your core out of balance. This happens when stick one half of your body out of alignment.
The reason it’s called a warm-up is because doing so warms the muscles and warm muscles are less likely to sustain an injury. Even if your exercise isn’t particularly tough or long, don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can skip the warm up.
When you warm up your body first, you gain flexibility. This makes it easier for your muscles to be able to go through a range of motion as you exercise. Your warm up boosts the amount of blood flow to your muscles.
This helps you get a better workout. There are several different kinds of warm-ups you can do. You can jog in place for 5-10 minutes. Or, you can do 20-30 pushups. Jumping rope also works.
If you jump rope for 2 minutes, this can warm up both your lower and upper body. Jumping jacks can do the same thing. Or, you can do squats. Between 10-15 reps will warm up the muscles.
You can also do lunges and gain the same type of warm up. By taking even just a few minutes to warm-up, you can make sure you don’t have to take an unexpected break on your fitness journey.