Sharpening your training technique wisely

Published 10:33 am Friday, September 30, 2011

As a master trainer, I have other personal trainers come to me to sharpen their training skills and learn advanced training technique, but one thing I stress to them all is the importance of incorporating proper exercise form in the weight room.
Proper form is a must, because of several reasons.
First, if exercise is done correctly there’s much less chance of injury. Most injuries in the weight room don’t happen in dramatic fashion. Most begin with just a little twinge that doesn’t feel right. Then that twinge sometimes gets worse.
Another reason I teach, and use proper form in the weight room is progress.
If exercises aren’t performed correctly, you won’t get desired results. Also, when you exercise incorrectly, whether using machines or free weights, you emphasize the wrong muscles. This leads to strength imbalances that not only detract from your progress, but also could hurt you then or later on.
Weight training exercises may look simple, but can actually be very complex.
Whether I’m teaching clients or trainers, I show them how many pieces there are to an exercise, how those pieces influence parts of the body, then how to put all the exercise pieces together. That culminates into an exercise routine. I also show them how just ¼ inch difference in an exercise can triple the results received from that same exercise. In fact, did you know just breathing correctly when doing abdominal exercises will more than double your rate of success?
I tell clients that every exercise I have them do is to get them ready for another exercise. There’s no such thing as the perfect exercise routine forever.
Your body will eventually adjust to the routine and stop making the same progress. Your routine will then have to be changed.
The key is knowing how and when to change it.
Yet another reason to learn proper exercise form from the start is that when someone has learned exercises incorrectly, their body gets used to it. The way they incorrectly learned these exercises is chemically etched in their brain. This makes it harder to re-learn (if you will) the new proper exercises.
Another reason to learn proper exercise technique is that you’ll enjoy your exercise more. You’ll be more stable, and able to be more aggressive, having the confidence in your ability to perform exercises well.
So, just how do you go about learning proper exercise form? Well, first let’s go over what not to do.
Don’t learn by copying someone else in the gym who looks like he or she is in good shape.
Don’t get your sole exercise knowledge from television, because you can’t get answers to questions you might have.
Don’t get all your information from books or magazines for the same reason. I recommend you contact an exercise professional. Sit down with them and express your goals.
When they implement your program, ask questions, and take notes. Be sure to tell them if something doesn’t feel right during your exercise sessions.
Learn proper exercise form, and you might just become an expert exerciser.

Diet or fitness question? Email me at Or visit
David Crocker of Landrum has been a nutritionist for 24 years.
He served as strength director of the Spartanburg Y.M.C.A., head strength coach for the S.C. state champion girls gymnastic team, USC-Spartanburg baseball team, Converse college equestrian team, lead trainer to L.H. Fields modeling agency, and taught four semesters at USC-Union. David was also a regular guest of the Pam Stone radio show.

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