By: Will Sunner

At One on One, we emphasize key training concepts such as pace, posture, breathing, and the last three reps. This week’s Focus Point is going to discuss another important concept: setup. Read on to learn how correct setup can help you get the most out of your training.

 Setup refers to how you position your body prior to beginning an exercise, and it is synonymous with the initial endpoint of the movement.  To ensure maximal safety and effectiveness, you must start in proper alignment relative to the specific exercise.

While the setup is different for every exercise, we have noticed three distinct breakdowns that can lead to faulty movement patterns and potential injury:

  • Shrugged shoulders: To avoid improper shoulder setup, be sure that your shoulders are down from your ears before you begin an exercise.
  • Feet excessively turned out: Be aware of your foot positioning, especially when performing lower body exercises.Occasionally, a slight toe-out position is permitted but not in excess.
  • Pelvis rotated forward (low back arch): Over time, this can lead to low back strain or injury. Focus on keeping your pelvis in a neutral, slightly ‘tucked’ position.

These breakdowns may occur due to muscular imbalances that can be addressed through corrective exercise, or they may occur because of a simple lapse in focus. We must ensure the latter does not happen. If you start an exercise out of alignment, your safety will be compromised. Paying attention to setup can significantly reduce the likelihood of experiencing an exercise-induced injury.

If muscular imbalance or tightness is the issue, ensure you are thorough with your movement prep and following through with daily corrective exercises prescribed by your trainer. Remember, just a few minutes a day can go a long way in helping you move and feel better.

Keep in mind the following strategies to ensure you are setting yourself up for success and getting the most out of your training:

  • Use mirror feedback. Mirrors can provide you with the feedback necessary to check that you are setting up properly and executing the exercise with excellent form.
  • Know your common breakdowns. Awareness is often half the battle. Know how your body tends to compensate and get in the habit of making subtle corrections.
  • Use your body and surrounding environment. Use lines on the floor or your own body (e.g. feet shoulder width) to set yourself up correctly.

 For this week and moving forward, focus on properly setting up for every exercise. Once you have a good setup, you can begin moving through appropriate ranges of motion with the intensity you desire!

Copyright 2011 Fitness Consultants Inc. All rights reserved.