Weight training can be a bit of a minefield if you don’t know what you’re doing, especially concerning movements and lifts that utilize your back muscles. Improper lifting with these muscles can eventually, or quickly, cause a range of issues with posture and the proportion of your body’s strength. In extreme cases, this can result in injury and long-term health problems.
Preventing this is a matter of knowing when you’re doing something wrong during exercise and how that should look or feel. Thus it’s helpful to identify some of the natural bad training habits that we’re inclined towards and know how to correct them.
Even for those of us who hold good form in high esteem, we tend to lose focus on it, especially during the last few reps of a set, which are usually the most difficult and stressful. That’s the point where we start falling into poor form and losing our ability to keep our back straight, which will immediately result in poor posture.
Additionally there are several other mistakes that can lead to this same phenomenon, given varying time spans.
Our task is to find these mistakes and weed them out of our workout routines.
Disproportionate Muscular Focus — Focusing too much on one side or one area of your body will result in greater strength in that area, while leaving the other side of it weak and unworked. The easiest example is when you work your biceps without also working your triceps. Eventually, you’ll get “muscle bound”, where your joints are contracted by the stronger side and you’ll walk around with a slight bend in your elbows.
The easy fix, is to always be certain that if you work one side of your body, you need to work the other as well.
Failing to Keep Your Spine Straight — Keeping your back straight is critical in just about every weight training routine. Even when engaging the back muscles in resistance training, your spine should remain as straight as possible. If you’re having trouble doing the exercise without bending your spine, you’re using too much weight.
In all exercise scenarios, you need to do your best to be conscious of whether or not you’re keeping your spine straight.
Not Distinguishing between Twisting and Rotating Your Torso — In an exercise that requires you to rotate at your torso, you need to keep in mind that there is a difference between a controlled rotating motion and a loose twisting motion. The proper form, is to simply rotate the whole upper half of your body while keeping your hips in place and unmoved. The moment you start to move your hips, you’re “twisting” instead of rotating, which can cause your spine to move in some strange positions and directions.
Before you do that type of exercise with any weight, practice rotating at your hips, using your arms and hands as reference points while keeping your legs planted and your hips perfectly still. Even without weight, it’s tougher than it sounds.
Doing Too Many Reps or Using Too Much Weight — When engaging in resistance training, you want to set a goal in terms of reps. If the weight you’re using causes your form to fail before you get to that number, you need to lower the amount of weight. While lifting and training should put stress on your body, you shouldn’t be shaking and yelling with a contorted facial expression just to get one more rep in. You should be in complete control of all your movements.
If you aren’t able to control your movements, your spine will always be what’s at risk. Having too much weight and getting bested by gravity means you automatically engage your spine to either remain standing or maintain the position that you’re trying to do the lift in. It’s not necessary or helpful to your body. Use less weight and get the form right.
Your spinal column will thank you.
Arica Wright is a professional blogger that enjoys providing consumers with heath and fitness advice. She writes for Fitness 19Gyms, a leading health club franchise.