It is imperative that you practice good form when exercising to avoid injury and target the correct muscle groups. Several factors can help improve your form: understanding the target of the exercise, being aware of your alignment, and adhering to your weight limits.
Proper form begins with good posture. Imagine a string attached to the top of your head pulling your torso up. Your jaw should be in a relaxed position and your spine should be straight. Good posture sets the foundation to achieving proper form throughout your weight training session.
You should learn both the target muscle groups and the proper form before attempting to execute an exercise. The form for the most common exercises should be reviewed so you can avoid muscle strains and other injuries. You may also go beyond your own research and consult a personal trainer or physical therapist who may watch you to ensure you are maintaining your form.
Keeping yourself aware of your spinal and joint alignment helps maintain correct form. Beyond good posture, alignment requires you to check in with your body. Your spine is especially prone to injury, it should be straight with your lower back flat. Flattening your lower back might require you to slightly tuck your pelvis. Along with a straight back, you should be aware of your joint in each position to ensure there is not unnecessary tension. You should pay close attention to the muscle groups you are targeting and where you feel the movement. This awareness ensures you are maintaining proper spinal and joint alignment when in motion.
One common mistake is breaking form due to attempting to lift too much weight. This is characterized by no longer targeting the proper muscles and swinging your body to force the lift. Attempting to go beyond your weight limit could result in a strain and minimizes your effort to target specific areas. The correct weight for each exercise is an amount which can be lifted with perfect form for between 12 and 15 repetitions. On the third set, you should still be able to maintain proper form . If you break form while lifting, you must decrease the weight you are lifting so you can avoid an injury.
Maintaining proper form throughout your workout requires good posture and adequate knowledge of the individual exercise. You should check in with your spinal and joint alignment while in motion and make sure you are not forcing yourself to lift more than what your body can handle with the proper form. These measures will ensure you are maximizing your workout while avoiding injury.