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Form Over Function

 width=Upsetting as it is that I do not have a video to open this article with, I think anyone who has been to the gym knows exactly what I’m about to describe to you.  I’m referring to that one person in your gym, almost every gym has one, who’s in the corner huffing and puffing while throwing some weight around in a jerking fashion.  Although I’m sure he’s working hard, that jerking motion scares me. I would be willing to agree that any amount of lifting, regardless of the form (within reason), is still beneficial.   But how beneficial the lift really is has a lot to do with how well you’re working your target muscle.  Knowing and demonstrating the proper form can help to not only take your results to new heights, but can also help to lower the risk of possible injury. As beneficial as the weight room is, it can also be a dangerous place and any time you’re moving a heavy weight from one location to another, there is the possibility of injury.  Fortunately, I do not know anyone on a personal basis who has injured themselves in the gym, but I have heard stories, and in nearly every circumstance, the injury was a result the lifter using poor form. I think it is clear that lifting with the proper form is necessary but I also think there are many people who have never taken the time to learn the proper form.  There are many YouTube videos available online that can show you the proper form and I highly suggest checking them out if you are not entirely sure on how to perform a lift.  I do not think there is anyone who would not benefit from checking in on his or her form every once in a while, I too check in on my form all the time. If I were to pin point one aspect of my lifts that I always try to improve, it would be my form.  My personal advice is to “visualize” what muscle you are lifting.  As simple as it may sound, I use this technique for nearly every lift I’m performing.  If I’m lifting biceps, I think about contracting my bicep.  If I’m working my front deltoid, I think about isolating and contacting my front deltoid.  Even if you do not know the exact form, trying to mentally isolate that target muscle can improve not only your results, but also reduce your chance for injury.   Jack Burdick is majoring in Neuroscience at the University of Minnesota and along with his weightlifting workouts, he competes in marathons and ultra-marathons (50 mile races) and is looking to earn a Cross-Fit title or to be recognized with The World’s Fittest Man title which is reserved for an ultra endurance power athlete.