By Chris Chee, PT
There’s more to exercise than repetitions
Exercising provides us with numerous benefits; they can make us stronger, make us faster, make us more flexible, give us more energy, and help with pain to name a few. But to get the most out of our exercises they need to be performed correctly. An exercise performed improperly will not give us the benefits we are looking for but more importantly can lead to injury.
Compensating is a common cause of performing an exercise improperly as your body is trying to use areas that are not the primary targets due to a lack of strength and/or mobility in other areas. If you have ever done an exercise and not “felt it” in the areas you expect chances are looking at how you are performing the exercise, or your form, would help to address this.
Squats are a common complaint
As an example, if you have ever done a squat and felt mostly your low back tightening up and not much happening in your hips and thighs, correcting your form can help. Some common compensation patterns that we might see with squats include: rounding the shoulders forward, flexing through the low back, tucking your tailbone underneath you, having the knees buckle inward, and starting the squat by flexing through the knees instead of the hips.
Form isn’t always just “stick your chest out”
If you’ve been trying to be conscious of your form and are not feeling your exercises in the appropriate location or if you are experiencing pain with an exercise, it’s likely that you may have muscle imbalances or joint restrictions that are getting in the way. In these cases, the common cues of “stick your chest out” or “engage your abs” may not be appropriate for you.
Prehab is more cost effective than Rehab
Addressing the difficulty before the injury is usually much more cost effective than waiting for an injury to develop. If you have already tried to be conscious of your form and are not seeing results the next step should be to consult with a physiotherapist that has experience in assessing sports injuries. In addition to the manual, or hands on, treatment that you receive, our physiotherapists are well trained to assess posture and form and come up with an appropriate exercise plan to help you achieve your goals. So whether you have been working out regularly, are looking to get back into a regular routine again, or are looking to start working out, the team at Family Physiotherapy is ready to help you achieve your health and fitness goals!