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Form Saves You From Injury- Here’s A Few Tips

“Watch your form!” sounds an order from the laundry list of “DO THIS” your parents gave you as a kid, doesn’t it? You know: Eat your vegetables. Brush your teeth. Clean your room. Wash your hands. “Form” technique not sexy and the warnings to “watch it” have been said so many times in your P90X or Insanity workout it’s probably white noise by now. But truth is this: keeping proper form will help you get through your programs without injury, allow you to really work the muscles you’re supposed to be working and keep your breath minty fresh all day.

OK, I made that last part up but the rest is true– so here’s some things to keep in mind when going through your workout whether you’re jumping, lifting or high-stepping your way to a righteous sweat:

“Spine and Align”

This is a nice catch phrase I learned at the first P90X Certified Training and it makes much more sense than saying “Keep your back straight”. In short, “Spine and Align” simply means “Head connects to spine in a straight line”.  If your back is rounding, if your head is dipping, those are signs your form is going South which can lead to all kinds of weird feelings and lower back trouble.

Shoulders Down

This is a huge one which puts focus where it needs to be and gives your poor, overworked shoulders a break. In your next workout, just for fun, make it a point to pay close attention to where your shoulders are. I’d bet they’re tensed up and being drawn toward your ears. This was a problem I had big issues with- the tendency to tense my shoulders. I’d do it in push ups, triceps and chest resistance work. If your shoulders are tensed up while doing a pushup, you’ll find much more fatigue in your shoulders- making them work overtime in support than the focus of your pushup: The chest. The same goes for tricep work (pull overs, skull crushers) and chest presses. Focus on keeping your shoulders down in their natural position while doing these moves and you’ll be amazed at the difference and focus you feel.

Wrists Straight

Wrists have a tendency to invite injury. There’s a lot of working parts in there, after all. To avoid most wrist injuries, go back to the “aligned” principle: The more things are in line, the less they’re stressed when under weight. That means when doing a bicep curl or tricep work, don’t bend your wrists to get the weight up. And while push ups may require bent wrists, I’ve come to enjoy push up stands. They keep the wrists straight and offer less potential for wrist overuse. Again, this isn’t a hard and fast rule (try benching with perfectly straight wrists) but knowing to keep your wrists as straight as possible will avoid injury that comes from overuse in the 90 degree bent position.

Knees Behind Toes… Mostly

This tip always felt weird for me. I mean, looking down… how can you really tell if your knees are over your toes or not? Simple trick- use a mirror. The thing is, the more your knee goes out over your toe, the more shearing force is applied to your knee and who wants all the soreness built into inevitably built into that action? 1,2,3… not it. Combined with “Spine and align” and “See With Your Chest”, you’ll find your leg work gets better (and less sore/potentially awkward) in short order. There can be exceptions to the rule here (squats do have a tendency to go over the toes) and this is a general safety precaution (correctly applied to lunges)… but use your judgement here.

“See With Your Chest”

You could go all kinds of R-rated comedy routes with this line but let’s stay focused, shall we? “See With Your Chest” is simply another great “cue” that comes from P90X Certification. If I’m asking you to “see with your chest”– is your chest down? Newp– it’s UP and facing FORWARD. By keeping your chest up, you avoid that lower bend in your back and droop across the back shoulders which adds stress to muscle groups you may not be targeting.

No doubt– you could fill vaults with tips on form but this is just a handful of items I personally struggled to understand when I first began P90X and Insanity. When it’s all said and done, listen to your trainers, watch the form on the DVDs and how/if its corrected and keep yourself injury free.

For questions or genuine help  from a P90X Certified Coach , email me here or at dan@howdoigetfit.com. Better yet, let’s get you the support you need through making me your Beachbody Coach right here.

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