Proper Exercise Form – Check yourself with your cell phone
Proper exercise form is critical for getting the wins and gains you are looking for. If you perform an exercise without proper form you can end up building up different muscle groups than originally intended leading to additional movement compensations. Let’s think about this from a person who sits all day at a desk (myself included.) Because I’m sitting all day, my lower body is out of alignment as certain muscle groups adjust to compensate for my sitting posture. If I slouch or take myself out of alignment my body has to further compensate for that misalignment, thus strengthening muscles I don’t want strong and weakening muscles that I do want strong.
So how do we fix this? Through proper exercise form
But here’s the thing, if you don’t know what you look like while performing the exercise, how on earth are you ever going to know if you’re executing with proper form? You could (and should) hire a fitness professional or certified personal trainer to give you external auditory cues as to where your body is in relation to how your body should be performing a certain exercise. But that’s only half the battle. If someone says “tilt your hips” that may or may not mean anything to you. Or you think you are doing what’s been asked of you.
That is until you see yourself on video. There is a wild difference in the brain between seeing yourself do something on video and having someone else tell you whether you’re doing something correctly or incorrectly. I believe part of it is ego, and part of it is simply not knowing where your body is in relation to space.
I’m currently video taping myself a lot while I create content for this site and I’m shocked by some of the movements I see myself do on camera. But that doesn’t discourage me from continuing on. I’ll most likely go back in 4-6 months and reshoot the videos where my form is atrocious. It’s something that I can be aware of. I can spot others misalignments while moving because I can see them. I can’t see myself. I can listen to others give me cues on how to correct something, but I don’t totally grasp what they’re saying until I see myself doing it on video.
Give it a try. Go video tape yourself doing certain movements. See if you’re following proper exercise form for a particular movement. It’s fascinating. Not to make yourself feel good or bad about the way you’re performing something. It’s for your own personal growth. Physical fitness is about personal growth. You want to be bigger, faster, stronger, healthier than you were yesterday. Nothing more, nothing less. If you can only touch the top of your shins today when you try to touch your toes but end up being able to touch the bottom of your shins in 6 months then that’s a huge win. You’re better than you were 6 months ago.
Most phones have auto timers these days and you can get a phone to stand up on it’s own with pretty much anything in your house. Think about what your trainer or your coach told you about performing a move. Look up definitions of correct form online. Watch the video, get the external cue into your head and correct it mentally. Your internal awareness only goes so far as to where your body is in space, and it’s altered by things like sitting all day or typing on a computer for long periods of time. This awareness needs to get adjusted. Give your brain the extra external feedback it needs.
And don’t worry if you’re not perfect yet. I’m sure not. And here’s a video that proves that. But hey, as I get more knowledgeable and correct myself the better I’ll be. And the better you’ll be.