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Is Bad Form Hurting your Progress?

 width=With every workout program people are bound to make mistakes. The program itself could be completely flawless yet you may not be getting the results you are looking for. The reason for this is most likely improper form during an exercise. The importance of form in an exercise is crucial for the outcome you desire. Bad form not only stunts your progress and wastes time at the gym; it can also cause serious injury. There are a few different ways people can demonstrate bad form without even realizing it and we’ve all seem them before! The first way is usually committed by the overly confident beefcake who with every pump of iron looks like his face could explode at any moment. The second is the person who pumps so fast their weight could probably blast a hole in the ceiling if they let go. The third offender of bad form is committed by the uninspired gym-goer who lifts the lowest weight possible just to get it done. Everyone has seen these people at the gym and you may be one of them, so let’s take a closer look: The Grunter: I often find myself distracted by these guys when their grunts and howls are louder than the music of my own headphones. I glance over and am so fixated by their purple faces and popping veins that the only thing to snap me out of my trance is the thump and vibration of their weight hitting the ground. The problem with this scenario and what makes the grunter an offender of bad form is that the weight is probably too heavy. Sure, lifting heavy is ideal for someone who wants to built muscle mass but at the same time it is extremely important to exercise caution when lifting heavy weights. To avoid injury it is best to just slow down, breathe and perhaps try something not so heavy. Speed Racer: So this particular person is the one you see pumping so fast their body is rocking back and forth and all over the place. I especially notice this problem during bicep curls. When the speed of your workout supersedes the quality of each exercise, you probably aren’t getting the most out of your workout. The problem with performing your reps too quickly is that you lose focus on how to properly execute the exercise. When this happens the high speed and uncontrolled reps not only puts you at risk for serious injury, you don’t work the muscle to it’s full potential and in short, are wasting a lot of valuable time at the gym. This problem is easily fixed by slowing down your repetition tempo (the speed at which each repetition is performed) or only performing each repetition as fast as can be controlled. Passive Lightweight: To build lean muscle mass it is important to incorporate resistance training into your program. The problem is that a lot of people (especially women) believe that lifting weight will make you bulky. The truth is women do not have the levels of testosterone needed to build large bulky muscles like men do. When I see women at the gym curling two-pound dumbbells it drives me crazy! Not only are you wasting your time, you aren’t giving your muscles the exercise it needs to sustain lean muscle. Lifting heavier weights has many benefits and will only give you that lean, sexy, rock hard body you’re looking for so don’t be afraid to lift! Your body is a network of systems that work together to create movement. By definition, the purpose of the nervous system is to dictate movement. During exercise, your body sends feedback to the nervous system to select and execute the proper motor response. If individuals train with improper form, improper sensory information will be delivered to the central nervous system, which can lead to movement compensations and potential injury. Thus, it is important to incorporate proper technique to your workout program. The main thing to remember is to make your workout purposeful. Pay attention to your repetition tempo and heart rate, make sure you have good form and posture, and concentrate on the muscle you are exercising. If you do these things the possibility of injuring yourself and wasting valuable time at the gym will be significantly smaller.   Elizabeth Brown is 22 years old born and raised in San Jose, California. Sheis a full time student in the process of transferring to San Jose State University to complete her Bachelors of Science degree in Kinesiology. As Bodybuilding.com’s 2012 Fit USA Winner, Fitness Model, Spokes Model for Bodybuilding.com’s upcoming B-Elite clothing series, NPC Bikini Competitor, and newly Certified Personal Trainer with the National Academy of Sports Medicine, she aspires to build a career in the Health and Fitness industry to further help and inspire others to achieve their fitness goals.