Written by Bridget Wolfel
As busy moms, most of us only have our 60 minutes during class or at the gym to exercise and get a good workout in, so why not improve on your form and really make the most of your workout. Not only will improving your form make you stronger and leaner, it will also help you avoid serious injury. Here are a few tips to help you focus on form and stay on track:
Correct your Posture
For most exercises you do, you want to have your shoulders relaxed and pulled down your back (no shoulder shrugging). You’ll lift your chest slightly as you keep your gaze facing the same way as your body. Lengthen your spine by imagining a string pulling the top of your head up to the sky. Remember to never lock your knees and never extend them past your toes during an exercise.
Engage your Core
You hear this time and time again during class, “Keep your abs tight!,” or “Make sure to engage your core!” It’s so important during most exercises, but especially important when you’re bending over, lifting weights over your head or doing any kind of balancing exercise. Think of it as pressing your belly button into your spine.
Quality not Quantity
You’ve seen it before in the gym, the man or women in the mirror just going through the motion of their exercise trying to get in as many reps as possible. This is the most frustrating thing to see as a trainer because most of the time, the person is not getting anything out of the exercise. Even though we time many of the exercises we do during class, it doesn’t mean to get in as many reps as possible. You’ll get much more out of the workout if you concentrate on correct form and take your time through the exercise, rather than rushing through it and losing your form.
When we exercise, our muscles demand greater amounts of oxygen, making correct breathing techniques very important during a workout. When an exercise becomes difficult, a lot of people will hold their breath, an action that can be very dangerous. Itis recommended to exhale on the exertion phase of the exercise (usually the hardest part of the exercise) and inhale on the easier phase (i.e. as you are lowering the weights).
Focusing on good form can be applied beyond just strength training in the gym or during class. Having good running form can help you run faster and avoid common aches and pains associated with running. Having good posture while you drive, while you’re holding the baby or just walking up the stairs can help you avoid serious chronic injuries later on in life. One of the many good things about attending Stroller Strength is that you always have a trainer to ask if you are unsure how to do an exercise. Don’t’ hesitate toasktoseea demonstration a third or fourth time. Usually, if something doesn’t feel right during an exercise or if you aren’t noticing a difference, you probably aren’t doing it right! So if you want to get the most out of your workout and avoid injury, focus on form!