Check your ego at the door

Although increasing the amount of weight lifted for any given exercise is a great way to increase muscle size or performance, it is also a great way to get injured, if not done properly. This is the single most common, and possibly costly, mistake people make. Often times people are working out to impress there audience, such as the other gym members, or there workout partner. Proper form is not often enough taken into consideration.

Your form is paramount and should never be at the expense of weight. Too often we fail to realize that the muscle will respond to the stress that is placed on it. There are many different ways to increase that stress without increasing weight. Instead of picking up the heaviest dumbbells on the rack and doing curls rocking your whole upper body, or performing a full ten reps of half squats why not check yourself. Ask yourself a few important questions:

1. Am I using the proper form?
2. Do I feel pain where I shouldn’t?
3. Am I activating my core while performing this exercise
4. Am I jerking the weights around?
5. Am I capable of isolating the muscle group being work?

If you said yes to any of these questions you may want to check yourself. There is a much safer way to workout that will benefit your body! Try slowing down the repetition tempo, decreasing the weight at muscular fatigue to perform more reps, performing combination or supersets, or performing an isolation exercise prior to a multijoint exercise. All these will increase the stress to the muscle without adding weight.

It may come as a surprise how much more you can exhaust yourself and fatigue the muscles even more when you use the proper form, and incorporate new things into your routine besides just heavy lifting. The best part about using great form is that if you are working out not just for your but the audience at the gym the people who “really” know how to workout will be much more impressed by your impeccable form. Now go get your lift on and do it the right way!