Preventing Injury – Exercising with Proper Form

If you have read any of the other exercise related posts from this website, you will likely recall that I mention doing whatever exercise it is you are doing with proper form. The reasons for this are to prevent injury, to get the most out of the exercise, and to achieve what the exercise is designed to achieve.

Proper form is not always an easy task. It can be frustratingly difficult to perform an exercise or activity and monitor your own form for potential flaws. For this reason I recommend tackling this problem with a friend.

If you are new to exercise in general or are learning a new sport/activity, I recommend that you get the help of a professional trainer. They will be familiar with the proper form of an exercise, will monitor your form, and provide corrective feedback.

If you do not have a lot of money to spend on a trainer, it is ok. You can just get them for a session or two. Once you know the proper form, you can teach this to a friend who can monitor you on occasion to make sure you haven’t fallen back into old habits. The money you spend on a few training sessions will be much less than the money you spend on trying to fix an injury, plus you will not have to deal with the frustration of being injured. Trust me.

Another important point to consider is the potential imbalance in your body. I am talking about two things here. First, it is not unusual at all for one side of our bodies to be stronger than the other. One side may also be more or less flexible than the other. Also, our basic core muscles may also be weak. This causes instability. This instability can lead to poor form or our form being broken very easily. This leads to injury. Injury sucks.

Now just because a person may be out of balance in some way does not mean they cannot perform well. It is entirely possible to find athletes that are serious competitors in their respective sports but are out of balance when tested.

So how does one find out if one is unbalanced in the aforementioned ways you ask? I will start by telling you that the best information I have found on the subject contained in one place is from Timothy Ferriss’ book The Four Hour Body. There is a plethora of good information contained in this book, so I would encourage you to purchase it. Since it is a reference book, I would recommend buying a hard copy. I find reference books, especially ones you tend to flip through a lot (as you will with the previously mentioned book), to be easier than electronic copies. That is just me though.

I will mention a few things from The Four Hour Body regarding imbalances and how to test for them. If you have the money, you can see a professional for an evaluation. Information on how to find these types of professional is available in the book it appears I am selling (I am not in fact selling this book though. It just happens to be good and the author deserves my endorsement). You can also look up the accompanying blog on the internet. I am not sure if the information is there, but it is worth a try.

Ferriss also provides a link to a video that will show you how to do a test on yourself for imbalances. That video can be found on YouTube at the following link (self movement screening how-to video).This video will show you exactly what to do explained in a clear and concise manner. It does not tell you exactly how to correct any imbalances found. As previously mentioned though, you can find that info in Ferriss’ book. I bet you could find some info on it from a simple Google search too.

If you do find that you have any imbalances, take the time to correct them. Ferriss points out a few examples of NFL teams that have used these testing and corrective techniques. They have made a significant difference in overall team injuries compared with teams not using the same techniques.

Also, I would encourage you to think about your form when doing exercises and sporting activities. Even if you have been doing something for years and are quite good at it, you may benefit from an analysis and possible improvement in your form.

I am drummer and have spent a great deal of time playing aggressive music that is very physically demanding behind the drum kit. Several years ago I took the time to experiment with my form and it caused me to rearrange and reconfigure the way my drum kit was set up. This was after 15 years of playing at a high level. It is truly never too late to learn.