Keeping the form to prevent injury

We all know how important it is to keep critical form when bodybuilding. But did you know that if you lose the proper form of the exercise you are doing you can seriously injury your body? If you succumb to an injury, it may take weeks, months or even years to get the muscles back into a place of no pain, and is this really worth the pain issues you’ll encounter later?

The most damaging mantra from years ago in exercising is the phrase “no pain no gain.” This is because most people assume that if you are working a muscle to the point of pain, you are “doing good.” Bad English aside, you are not doing yourself any favors, and may be going up the road to a real injury sooner than later. If you work a muscle until you feel the burn, you can work it a bit more to make the muscle reshape itself. But if you work a muscle to exhaustion, you are over working the muscle and may be risking a tear, strain or sprain. How do you know the difference when you want to push yourself to the next level and feel ready for more? You have to learn to really listen carefully to your body.

The best advice is to work with a good partner. If you are bodybuilding and weight training with a partner, or better yet with a certified professional trainer, this person will tell you when your repetitions go out of form. This is critical to working the muscles the proper way and getting the most out of each and every workout (as opposed to some or “most” workouts). For example, if you lose form on a day you are really tired, if you work out alone, you may be tempted to keep going to the level of pain to make up the difference. But with a partner, you will be told the truth, which is “stop now, rest and do reps correctly later” or “stop now, let’s pick up again tomorrow.” You know and I know no one wants to hear this truth, that our reps are less than as tight as they can be. But if you are honest with yourself, and you worship your body for the temple that it really is, you will understand that poor form is sloppy and has no place in formal bodybuilding.

One way to develop a great and safe routine is not to skip the warm up. This will bring blood to the large muscle groups, and allow your body to pump blood and keep it flowing during your workout. Start with the exercise bike or on the treadmill. Always start slow and work your way up to a challenging pace. Remember, you are not working out on the treadmill, you are going to be bodybuilding in a few minutes, this is just the appetizer, not the main course. Do two or three warm up sets, then begin with seated dumbbell curls. If you are comfortable, start with your last weight session from the last time, or go back and work your way up from a lower weight. Remember to drink water and take frequent breaks to stretch in between. There is nothing wrong with starting with a lighter weight and then to go for more reps. As you get to the heavier weights, understand that this is where the form will slide. Each rep at each weight should be done perfectly, as correctly as possible. This is why there are mirrors in the room, use them!

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