Exercise is like most self-improvement endeavors; if we aren’t vigilant, we can begin to backslide. Even the most seasoned exerciser can experience drift, especially when it comes to proper form.  As you focus on other variables such as pace or intensity, form can start to suffer.  However, you will get more intensity by slowing down & ensuring you are using proper form! It’s important to remember that exercising with poor form will, at best, feed dysfunctional movement and, at worst, lead to injury. One on One’s Back to Basics series will give you the tools to confidently train with proper form. Check out a few essential form concepts that will ensure optimal safety and effectiveness.

Set-up and Endpoints

Set-up and Endpoints are the building blocks for proper form. Set-up is the initial starting point of a movement (essentially endpoint 1). If you are not in proper alignment during the set-up, it is nearly impossible to maintain proper form throughout the movement. Endpoints are the transition point where a force is decelerated in one direction and accelerated in the other. Every exercise has a well-defined endpoint, and it must be achieved with proper form. We must not sacrifice form to meet the endpoint.

Maintain “I”

Capital “I” refers to the position your body forms when in proper alignment. The horizontal lines across your shoulders and across your hips form the top and bottom of the I while the spine forms the vertical line of the “I”. Your letter “I” should be straight and tall. This means your shoulders, hips and spine are level and neutral. This is vital for preventing injury. If your spine is out of alignment, it puts you at high risk for neck and low back injury, especially when performing loaded movement.

proper exercise form posture

The Last 3 Reps

The last 3 reps are those challenging reps of the set where most of the physiological change occurs. It is vital to perform these reps with excellent form! Stay strong in the last three reps and avoid succumbing to the fatigue. Challenge yourself to maintain proper exercise form and make the last three reps look just like the first three.

proper exercise form bench press

Whether you are at One on One or away, using proper exercise form is a must.  Keep these concepts in mind to prevent injury and get the most out of every workout.  To see more exercise specific examples (e.g. push-ups, deadlifts, pulldowns, and rows) check out our blog!