To constantly work on and improve your technique and proper form is an essential part of Crossfit. Learning proper exercise technique should be the starting point of every athlete’s fitness journey, and it’s one that never ends.
We all love the metallic thudding sound of a heavy loaded barbell when it hits the ground after a PR but if you push too hard without dedicating time and effort to technique and proper form, you will inevitably hit plateaus or injury before too long. By approaching training in a smarter way, you will be able to smash those weights for longer periods of time without having to worry about compressing your spinal discs, dislocating joints or burning out.
WHY PERFORMING EXERCISES WITH PROPER FORM IS SO IMPORTANT
1. AVOID INJURIES
Yes, I know, you’ve heard that SO many times before but it’s 100 % true. Exercises are created to target and strengthen specific muscle groups (and often your full body), provoking specific physiological adaptations in relation to your training.
Now, in order to train in the most efficient way, you must pay attention to your form. Doing a specific exercise with improper form can, and often does, lead to injury, keeping you out of your training for longer periods of time, depending on the seriousness of your injury. For example, take the Deadlift. In figure 1.1 we can see the difference between correct and incorrect form.
This exercise is a full body compound exercise involving many muscle groups, especially in the posterior chain.
Every beginner has done this exercise for the first time with rounded back for many reasons like bad intermuscular coordination, not being able to hold the desired position due to local fatigue, etc. But rounding your back during the Deadlift places huge stress on the spinal discs. Over a period of time you may compress them, and you want to avoid that.
2. GET THE MOST OUT OF EVERY EXERCISE
As we said earlier, exercises are generally created to target specific muscle groups. Doing each exercise with proper form makes sure that you make use of the full potential of your body. Proper form ensures that your body is stressed properly, and so it will respond and adapt in the best way possible. The result is that your strength, power and/or muscular endurance improves.
3. REACH YOUR GOALS FASTER
Let’s imagine that your current goal is hitting 200 kg on back squats for doubles. In the initial stages of learning the back squat the communication between your brain and muscles is at its highest. You begin with the process of motor learning. Motor learning is a very long process, but once you have learned the motor pathway of a certain exercise (correctly or incorrectly) it stays with you for a long period of time (just like learning how to ride a bike, you can never forget it). Now, let’s get back to that back squat goal. If you learn to execute this exercise the incorrect way, you are increasing the time needed to achieve your goal. Your form is bad; you waste a lot more energy on stabilization because your body is trying to protect you from getting injured. You’re making very little progress, your back hurts, and you’re wondering why is this happening to me. Well, this answer is simple- your form is incorrect!
Proper form places the muscles in perfect alignment, and from this position they’re able to generate the highest amount of force. Pure biomechanics!
4. USE PROPER FORM AND STOP WASTING ENERGY
Proper form places your body in its strongest position. Improper form causes your body to expend unnecessary energy to compensate for a weight moved through a less efficient range of motion.
Increase your efficiency by thinking and caring more about form rather than about ego.
5. BREATHE MORE EFFECTIVELY
Proper form allows you to breathe more efficiently during each exercise. Think about a heavy Squat Clean for example, having that weight too low down on your chest is not only dangerous for your wrists and arms (as they can be damaged by the extra stress of holding the bar in place) but if will also press down on you and constrict your breathing.
Improper form will place extra stress on the breathing organs, and you’ll struggle with your breath. This causes less oxygen to be inhaled, and less carbon dioxide to be exhaled. With this said, your cells won’t get the adequate amount of oxygen and you’ll fatigue a lot sooner.
As you can see, proper form during exercise is very important. There are a lot of things that can go wrong if you ignore this issue. This article should be reminder always to watch your form, and for you beginners, do not rush anything, learn how to perform the exercises, train smart, and watch how quickly you progress as a result.