Complete Pediatric, Family, and Athletic Health Centre

Biomechanics- Using Proper Form While Working Out

As we enter into the new year many of us set goals to become healthier and get more active. Biomechanics are extremely important when it comes to working out and exercising. If we don’t use proper form during exercises we risk hurting our body.

First off, before beginning your moderate to high intensity workout be sure to warm up your muscles. You can do this with some simple low intensity cardio. For example, walking on the treadmill for 10-15 minutes before beginning your workout. The benefits of warming up are endless:

  • Increases your heart rate slowly
  • Increases blood and circulation
  • Prepares your bodies muscles, tendons and ligaments for work
  • Prepares your mind for the activity to follow
  • You can also incorporate dynamic stretches into your warm up that will mimic the activities to follow in your workout

Now that we have established the important of warming up, lets talk about posture and positioning during certain exercises. For most exercises you want to remember:

  • Keep a neutral spine- don’t exaggerate the natural curves in your spine, this could create back pain down the line.
  • Don’t hyperextend or lock out any of your joints- Be sure that you aren’t moving past your joints natural range of motion. Don’t lock out your joints or hyperextend them during the exercise movements.
  • Do not track your knees over your toes- For exercises such as squats or lunges make sure that your knees aren’t travelling past your toes.
  • Keep your feet neutral- Keep your feet stable and planted on the floor. Don’t rock up onto your toes or onto your heels during your exercises.
  • Make sure each movement is controlled- During your exercise you want to make sure that your body is stable and that you are targeting the muscle you want worked. For example, a bicep curl. You want to make sure that you elbow is tucked into your body and you are only moving your arm into a flexed and then extended position. If your body begins rocking with the movement of the curl then you are no longer only targeting the bicep muscle, you are using accessory movements to help perform the curl.
  • Keep your shoulders back and your head in line with your shoulders- We want to ensure that your posture is good and upright before performing and strenuous movements.
  • Keep your feet shoulder width apart- For most exercises keeping your feet shoulder width apart give your the right amount of stability to perform the exercise.
  • Remember to breath through the exercises- never hold your breath.
  • Don’t push your body too far- Use your body as a guide and know when to stop. You know your body best.
  • Remember to lift with your whole body- Your body works better as a whole. Even though you may be targeting one muscles, use the others for support and stabilization.

Now, each exercise is different but these are some key points that are important to remember while working out. The therapists at DHT will provide home exercises for you to perform based on your treatment plan and goals. Proper form is important in order to keep your body healthy and on track to rehabilitation as well as injury prevention!

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