Today I went to a friend’s house. I am teaching him to do some DDP yoga and how to defend himself. Basically I am doing yoga and some MMA with him at the moment. The problem is that when he was a kid, he had a fast height growth. This led to him having some joint problems. Then, he went and did some gym training and even did some classes of kick boxing and BJJ.
The problem is that nobody told him that he should not actually do strength training or that there is something wrong with his body. Due to the fast height growth and improper form used at the gym (it is practically impossible for him to hold the form needed for most regular gym exercises), his spine is not aligned right, shoulders are not really where they should be and his leg mobility is practically zero.
All this could have been avoided if a responsible trainer would have took the time to actually look at his body, analyze it and watch his form. This could have happened in BJJ, kick boxing, at the gym, every single time someone told him what to do to train. Unfortunately, it did not happen.
The result is that now he needs to do recovery. It is possible that he might need some manual passive resistance recovery done on him to straighten joints. I am hoping that yoga will be enough. Fortunately, DDP Yoga does involve a lot of the resistance needed. I do believe it will work.
Now, getting back on track, I often see people complaining about various different things that are actually caused by improper form.
As you work out, you need to remember that quality is definitely more important. It counts how you run, how you lift, how you jump, how you hit, how you move and so on. Keep in mind that even really experienced athletes often talk with others to get some feedback. Perfecting form is always going to boost performance, reduce injuries and conserve energy.
When form is improper, too much stress is put on ligaments, tendons and muscles. This will eventually lead to sprains and strains, among many other potential injuries.
If you look at the top athletes in practically all sports, you see an emphasis put on working smarter as opposed to harder. Maintaining proper form will help you to increase your overall workout efficiency. Your energy will be better used and the body will get stronger, faster, leaner, whatever you want, in a shorter time frame.
When you have improper form, you target the wrong muscle groups or muscles. Think about the simple squat. If your back is in an improper angle, you put way too much stress on your back, as opposed to having most of the stress put on the thighs.
What Does It Mean To Focus On Form?
When you go to the gym you often see people that use heavy weights and balance around as they lift them. This is a great example of improper form. There are actually so many that do not even know what the correct form is for the exercises they do.
You need to focus on quality exercises. This means low reps and low weights. You use these until form is mastered. This can be a day for the really simple exercises and it can be months for others. For instance, mastering some fighting techniques lasts a lifetime, and you might not even be able to master it.
Ideally, you want to work with trainers. As experienced as possible. The trainer needs to look at you and monitor movements. When the body is not aligned and the exercise is not done properly, repositioning is necessary. Correct form has to become second nature in order for performance to appear.
In the event that you do not have a trainer, your mirror is your best friend. Observe form, go slowly and make all the needed corrections. When mirrors are not accessible, record yourself. Ask someone that knows correct form from the sport you practice to give you feedback and critique.
The last thing I have to say is that even if you believe you mastered form, you do want to talk with a trainer in order to get feedback. This should be periodically done. Exhaustion and injuries will erode form. Getting back on track fast and getting help from someone is always useful.