Updated: Mar 17, 2020
Whether it’s for rehab, gaining strength, losing weight, or becoming less sedentary, exercise is a broad, sometimes overwhelming world that you can get lost and confused in. I know when I first started exercising, I didn’t think about much other than my end goal for myself. I didn’t think about the purpose of each movement I was making, what it was doing for my body, or even what muscle I might be working. It wasn’t until years later, after I became a Crossfit coach, that I realized a lot of people don’t know what their bodies should be doing with movement and
Your form is diabolically the most important thing when performing any exercises. It can be the difference between gaining strength or gaining another injury. When given exercises or certain movements, we should always be thinking about form. If you can look in a mirror, or even video yourself on your phone while your therapist corrects any posture with tactile or verbal cues, it’s a lot easier to understand what you might be doing incorrectly if you can see it. And once you see it and feel the correct position of your body, you are one step closer to gaining a better understanding of that exercise. Your therapist can then decide whether that specific exercise needs to be modified to a point where the form doesn’t break down and you can gradually progress to that full range of motion. Any type of therapeutic exercise should be looked at as a progression and not a race to get it done with.
We should also be considering what muscle that exercise is strengthening and what does it do for my body. I tell my athletes when working out, “you should always be thinking about one thing when you are lifting”. Whether that is, “I need to push through my heels”, “I need to drive my knees out” or “I need to set my hips back and down” when you are performing squats. We can also apply this tactic in a rehab setting. If you are a patient given glute hip bridges, you should be telling yourself “Draw in my core, push my feet into the ground, and squeeze my glutes”. Those two exercises are often translated into functional everyday life. For example, a stronger glute and core will help with completing daily tasks and decreasing pain. Therefore, it’s so important to be mindful of your movement because it can help lead to overall independence in the long run.
Going forward, can you be more conscientious with your movement and try to take the time to reset your form before every repetition? It will give you an opportunity to focus on something good, erase the clutter of the day from your mind, and provide you with an opportunity for better health and wellness. Your body does a lot for you every day, treat it the best you can.
This post is approved by Dr. Hunter Knight PT/DMT/COMT.